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Old July 19, 2012, 03:03 PM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
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Will competition get you killed? Police take

http://www.policeone.com/Officer-Saf...et-you-killed/

Ron Avery has a pretty good take on this stuff (yes, I should know as I'm on the Internet).

The article makes the point that most competitions are tactically unrealistic. However, he argues that the tactically trained use competition to practice basic skills and increase speed.

Also, he brings up the idea that you need automaticity of skilled response under stress and that competition enables you to do that. Stress innoculation to avoid the freeze is a big deal now in modern views of critical incidents.

I was reading a new mystery where a big strong police detective is grabbed from the front by a big nutso who wants to kill him by twisting his neck. The guy basically freezes and doesn't employ the easiest - Glock to belly, bang, bang, bang or various combative/knife moves.

He is saved by his sidekick who is a fightin' psychologist (that really cracked me up - hahaha!). The point being the guy lacked the automaticity under stress.

Glenn - a rather laid back FOG psychologist.
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Old July 19, 2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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It's a good article and I agree with most of it, although I'm not part of the training or competitive world. But there are other things to be said, too.

Do you expect all law enforcement officers to be "higher end competitive shooters?" Do you expect all infantrymen to be as skilled as snipers? It won't happen. Not everyone can be above average, or even average, for that matter.

He said policemen don't go in for competitons or something like that. Some departments do, or did. The Border Patrol was well known and the best known target shooters (it was just target shooting) were from the Border Patrol. Some departments used to stress shooting skills at one time, though it may no longer be the case. And by the way, none of this is new. Everything the man said was probably true sixty years ago when a K-38 was considered a fine police weapon. Even those got hot-rodded but the regular gun was what got carried.

The thing is, shooting is a basic skill and plain old target shooting is necessary to achieve at least a minimum skill level. Some old timers believed you needed to be a fairly good shot before you should attempt anything else. But we immediately run into problems with anything else.

Unless you're willing to run a lot of risks on your course, safety is going to be an overriding concern and right away, that detracts from the realism of the thing. I'm speaking of a training course, not a competition course but the same holds true. Then there's the element of time. You may need to be in an awful hurry in real life but there's no stopwatch held by someone keeping score. No one will watch where your feet are either. There's no pressure in scheduling the next round of competition, either. All of those limitations come with the territory. Pretty much everything else has to be learned on the job, in a manner of speaking.

It's worth saying that for someone who isn't in law enforcement, all the rules are different, even in real life. So keep that in mind.

If you've read Chairman Cooper's little red book, he talks about the reaction to a threat and barely mentions firearms. That's the point Mr. Meyer is making, I thinking. To some, it's called street smart.
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Old July 19, 2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
The article makes the point that most competitions are tactically unrealistic
True, to an extent - I mean, who is actually going to run into situations the various "stages" represent in RL. I don't mean run into as in have them occur, I literally mean who in their right mind would run in to said situation.

That said, would I want to get in a shootout with an IPSC champ?
Not on your life, Buddy!!

Unrealistic, maybe, but definitely good practice for shooting well under pressure and stress
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Old July 19, 2012, 04:18 PM   #4
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I'm not a cop but shoot gun games with many of them. I would think they would be better off shooting gun games than nothing or a qual target.

Only fools would look at a gun game as tactical training. As a 5 gun master the "gamer" in me would wait for a threat to walk into my sights, if there is no timer involved.
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Old July 19, 2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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I was an LEO and a competition shooter. I would rather have my fellow officers go shooting than play a round of golf - any kind of shooting. Bullseye, plinking, they all build familiarity with shooting.

Most cops don't shoot because:
1. They think they know 'secret ninja shooting techniques" - they don't.
2. Most don't like to be soundly beaten by women and, yes, children with similar equipment. They need to get over it.
3. They don't think a lowly 'civilian' could show/teach them anything - wrong again.

Much of what I learned and later taught came from the ""playing fields"". And neither I nor any of my compadres had any difficulty seperating the game from the street.
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Old July 19, 2012, 06:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
...The article makes the point that most competitions are tactically unrealistic. However, he argues that the tactically trained use competition to practice basic skills and increase speed...
And that's really the key. Competition isn't about tactical realism. It's an opportunity to practice basic skills under stress. There really aren't a lot of other ways to do that.
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Old July 19, 2012, 07:05 PM   #7
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Good article. My personal opinion is that most police ,or soldiers for that matter, never get to go toe to toe with anyone with much training or skill so even with a low level of skill and overwhelming numbers they get the job done. The real rub will happen when they come face to face with an opponent with sufficient skill and numbers to fight. Then I would definitely want all the training I ever could have had.
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Old July 20, 2012, 05:57 AM   #8
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Wasn't there a thread here a few months ago about some high ranking competitive shooter who attempted to intervene in some sort of situation? As I recall, he actually carried as his everyday weapon a five shot revolver.
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Old July 20, 2012, 06:24 AM   #9
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Regardless of training or practice, some folks are just not hardwired to "go to the gun". In most cases, this is not a bad thing. Look at the numerous tales from the old west where the gunfighter shot an innocent or friendly because he automatically drew and fired at a perceived threat.
I was chastized for making a forum post in which I stated I had "brushed my cover back and gripped my pistol" when suddenly confronted by a man who had a revolver in his waistband(not illegal). The man was reaching for something on an upper shelf which exposed his gun and when I came into view, he dropped his hands to his waistband. Cops kill people almost daily for making this move BTW. Not knowing if he was covering up or drawing, I took 2 steps back and initialized the draw stroke. The other guy froze in place and I simply walked away.
I handle firearms daily and may be a little quick to resort to them but it hasn't failed me so far.
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Old July 20, 2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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This is why I wish there were more competitions like the National Tactical Invitational available. The courses require you to think of more than just shooting.

That said, competition shooting has a useful place....but it does have limits.
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Old July 20, 2012, 07:59 AM   #11
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It also depends on whether you are just 'playing a game' or doing it 'like the real thing'.
Jim Cirillo went through an IPSC match like it was the real thing . The others laughed at him !
They were clueless ,just playing a game .Cirillo had been through a good number of shootouts and won each of them . So who were the fools ??
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
It also depends on whether you are just 'playing a game' or doing it 'like the real thing'. Jim Cirillo went through an IPSC match like it was the real thing . The others laughed at him !

They were clueless ,just playing a game .Cirillo had been through a good number of shootouts and won each of them . So who were the fools ??
While winning "a good number" of shootouts would be #1 on my list (above loosing any) and far from foolish. I do think its foolish to go play a game and turn it into something it isn't (thats why the folks that won were laughing at him). "The real thing" in USPSA/IPSC is run and gun shooting as fast as you can, accurately, at targets that are not white. There is no way to tell what "the real thing" would/could be in a shootout, or thoes who lose (on both sides) would stop having them.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:26 AM   #13
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Well there can be a middle ground. Attend competitions and have fun, and attend others in a more tactical orientation.

Me, I'll do it to have fun. My tactical needs generally involve holing up with an M1 covering the stairs and bedrooms while She Who Must Be Obeyed calls the police, unless tactical shooting at Texas sized mosquitoes is included (need 20mm AA for that though, we grow them big here).
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Old July 20, 2012, 10:41 AM   #14
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Here's another angle on the situation.

There is training and there is competition. The training can be as tactical or realistic as you can make it without being a competition. I think the training should be in the nature of pass/fail, although I have no idea how you might do that. But competition introduces rules and such things and complication immediately sets in.
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Old July 20, 2012, 11:34 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
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Good FOF is scripted and after a run, there is an after action analysis of your responses by the safety officers and referees that follow you through the action.
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:13 PM   #16
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Great article.

I am a career leo, recently retired from the USBP. I have been a competitive shooter of some sort most of that time. I never win any matches, never have, probably never will. But I enjoy shooting, it is one of my true passions.

Range Nazi's tend to take the fun out of it. I remember one cowboy match I was in, I had gotten so confused on the course of fire I just started shooting everything. When I finished, I was laughing, the other shooters were laughing, the RO was laughing, one RO came forward and said
"That's nine procedural's". He was shooed off, but it guys like that that take the fun out of it.

I love to shoot IDPA and laugh t every procedural I get. I use the running and gunning first and foremost as a fun hobby. I have competed with the cut throats- no thanks. I use IDPA to hone my skills and practice with my equipment. Up until I retired I ran my duty gun with duty ammo. I was fortunate in that, the USBP has always understood the value of competitive shooting and encouraged it. I was given all the ammo I needed to compete. I even was issued a Les Baer 45 for a while.

Competition is no replacement for training, however, it is a great place to get trigger time and hone your skills. Do I think it will get you killed? Nope.
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:28 PM   #17
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Muscle memory: Anytime muscle memory includes proper marksmanship fundamentals its good. (Sight alignment, grip, trigger control, etc etc)

Muscle Memory is developed in the sub-conscience where you act (in this case revert to your marksmanship fundamentals) whether you release it or not.

If you shoot in competition, and practice your fundamentals regularly, then they will be instilled in such case you might need it in a SD or LE situation.

In the book, "Secrets of Mental Marksmanship" by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham, they relate a story of a State trooper who made a traffic stop, the driver shot the trooper, according to the trooper, the next thing he knew was he was changing magazines and scanning left and right. The bad guy was dead.

The trooper was an ISPC shooter.

I highly recommend the above book to any one who is interested in shooting regardless if its pleasure, competition, hunting, or SD.

Or any other sport. I use it working with my granddaughter for her basketball and volleyball. She swears it has helped her.
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:07 PM   #18
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The 'Catch-22' in my opinion is that if you are trained and conditioned to respond with force, you just might end up doing that as a autonomic response in a bad situation. Example seems to be the current movie theatre shooting in Colorado. I'm thinking if a guy stands up and draws to confront the shooter, he most likely will be dead in short order. However with lots of training and =practice that just might be the 'Knee jerk' response.

How to practice and prepare for a quick response, but still hold off. Strikes me as a contidictory situation much of the time.
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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I don't know the competitions you shoot, but where I shoot, we have to shoot prone, hiding behind a baricade...........every way imaginary based on the proposed threat the targets and senario poses.

Heck I've even shot where we had to crawl through a tunnel witha flashlight and pistol. I doubt I'll ever have to do that again, but I did do it in SE Asia.
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:38 PM   #20
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That was a pretty decent article. I agree with some points and disagree with others. I feel that the main point to take away from the piece is this:

Quote:
When it comes to tactics and thinking, the results are mixed. If the competitive shooter is a “gamer”, and really isn’t all that interested in training for tactical situations then I say that he/she is not going to be prepared for the reality of death staring them in the face. But if they train for tactical situations and compete; it is a different story.
Training is vital, whether takes the form of competition or not.

I also really like these points that Avery makes about IDPA. (probably the most reality-oriented shooting game out there in comparison to IPSC and USPSA etc)

Quote:
With IDPA, the gear has been limited to what would be “reasonable” to carry in a defensive situation. But now we have match imposed limits on how the gun can be carried, how you will reload the firearm and other artificial restraints that limit the creative imagination of the shooter to “solve” the problem presented. The scoring of the targets imposes a dramatic time penalty for anything falling outside an arbitrary 8” circle and the shooting slows down to an unrealistic speed that is not reflected in the speed of actual engagements or force on force training scenarios that I have done exhaustive research on...Unrealistic Equipment — Taking a look at modern competitive equipment, we see guns and gear costing thousands of dollars. With the exception of production or stock gun classes...
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Old July 20, 2012, 03:11 PM   #21
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I agree with what he said (which I think I alread said) but competition is an artificial situation to begin with and I think everyone understands that. I wouldn't go so far as to say it necessarily creates bad habits. And I wouldn't say that anyone sees it as training for anything. It may be good preparation but it still isn't training.

What I would say, on the other hand, is that bad practices in training will create bad practices in "real life." I know you've probably heard about trainees being instructed to keep their brass policed up. That sort of thing. Some aspects of training situations, just like in competitions, are hard to avoid, though, without a doubt, unless you're willing to accept a high level of risk of injury. And then there's the simple fact of having to manage either a large number of competitors or a large number of trainees. I don't have any specific suggestions. It's been a long time since I had anything to do with training.

Another more basic problem is the different ideas that various instructors have. This ought to be less of a problem in a large law enforcement agency but more of one for a non-law enforcement individual who wants to increase his skill levels and takes a course from someone. Some of those folks can be awfully dogmatic, I understand.
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Old July 20, 2012, 04:20 PM   #22
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There is training and there is competition. The training can be as tactical or realistic as you can make it without being a competition. I think the training should be in the nature of pass/fail, although I have no idea how you might do that. But competition introduces rules and such things and complication immediately sets in.
I think training and competition can be good as long as they don't teach you habits that would be bad in a real life situation. And just shooting a lot is good as long as you don't pick up bad habits.

In real life situations whether to shoot or who to shoot is often not easy to discern. When I was going through police firearm's training, they showed us shoot/don't shoot videos that acted out actual incidents that had happened. (This was forty years ago so I don't know if they do anything like that today.) We were then graded on a pass/fail system whether we made the correct decision as a responding officer on whether to shoot and/or who to shoot.
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Old July 20, 2012, 10:18 PM   #23
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IF you use your training in the competition, it is usefull to hone your skills under the minor pressure of the clock and your ego.
If you use a different skill set in competition, it may override your defensive skill set.

Or, if you can make the switch, you can have two complimentary skill sets.
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Old July 20, 2012, 10:52 PM   #24
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I never understood the mentality of "your a fool to think IDPA is training". I think your a fool to not think it's training. Sure it may not be tactical training, but it is most definitely fundamental training. Police and soldiers will get different tactical training but the fundamentals will be the same.


Training - Definition
1. (n.) the process of bringing a person, etc, to an agreed standard of proficiency, etc, by practice and/or instruction
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Old July 21, 2012, 06:24 AM   #25
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So where does the instruction part come in? And where does the agreement come in, too?
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