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Old August 28, 2012, 07:11 PM   #1
kraigwy
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Reason why its hard to believe competition doesn't count in SD Situations

“He’s always been a marksman,” his wife said. “He shoots in competitions"

Apparently the 57 year old was filling wife's shopping list when two robbers tried to hold up the store, Manager warns customers, but grandpa, draws fires twice, hitting twice, killing one of the suspects.

It's dern hard to convince me that his competition shooting didn't add to this guys abilities with a hand gun.

Story:

http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2...obbery-attempt
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:23 PM   #2
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While I still defend the two policeman in the Empire State Building Shooting and while I posted in an old thread about Training trumps Experience that I prefered experience, I will agree that everyone should get the best training they can, and I am not so sure that it should not be mandated.

The key to your thread to me is not only training but the key word competition, it is impossible to equal the stress and adrenalin rush of a firefight except to be in one with bullets coming and going, but at least competition adds stress to the equation.

The other reason competition is so important, IDPA, USPSA, 3 Gun etc. is that in all the ranges I have gone to, for safety reasons they do not allow drawing from a concealed holster or an open carry holster and shooting or shooting from different body positions, prone for instance. You can still shoot one handed and practice with both hands as I know you advocate, and still shoot kneeling by the bench or behind and around the shooters bench, but that is about it.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:41 PM   #3
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
it is impossible to equal the stress and adrenalin rush of a firefight except to be in one with bullets coming and going,
And Muscle Memory trumps stress and adrenalin rush. To react without muscle memory requires thinking something trough.

Muscle memory requires no forethought except to recognize the danger. The reaction is done subconsciously IF YOU HAVE DEVELOPED THE PROPER MUSCLE MEMORY.

You can't go out and develop muscle memory by experience. Who would want to, but you can by good practice and competition.

Ask your self why SEALs or Special Forces are so much better then an ordinary infantryman. Hard training followed by more training. (I get tired just reading about SEAL training).

There is an old Army saying, "You fight like you train".

I realize there are ranges where you can't practice your draw (never been to one my self) but that is no excuse. 80% of my draw practice is either with a blue plastic training gun or dry firing with my revolvers.

I practice bullseye to keep sharp on my fundamentals.

Certainly beats doing nothing.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Well said Kraigway.

I remember the first time I drew my service weapon during a felony stop. The pistol appeared in my hand sites were aligned on the subject without conscious thought. My partner, who fancied himself a quick draw, had not drawn his weapon.

This happened because I trained and trained, ran scenarios through my head on every situation I could think off.

Plus thousands of rounds in Bullseye competition.
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Old August 29, 2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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If a shooter has been successful in IDPA / USPSA / Steel Challenge competition and has successfully hunted big game with a handgun, he’s likely to be pretty damn dangerous in a gunfight.
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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You can't go out and develop muscle memory by experience. Who would want to, but you can by good practice and competition.
Some of us have had the opportunity to develope muscle memory by experience but still must renforce it with continued practice/training. Hopefully we will never have the opportunity to put it to use.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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Who has argued that competitions are not in some way helpful?
The general argument is that competitions are not tactical training.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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If all other factors are equal, yes training and skill help.

Always has been that way, just ask the USMC and Army if their training was not a give factor in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that is also why they now spend so much time on marksmanship. They did a 180 degree turn from the Vietnam 'spray-n-pray' to precise marksmanship (and the optics help to!)

Yes, skill is not everything but again, but all other things being equal, it does help.

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Old August 29, 2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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An interesting perspective on the stress of an actual gunfight vs the stress of competition from someone who has seen both.

In the April/May 2012 issue of Handguns, there was an article by James Tarr entitled Hot Shots. The article was about Ted Puente, the back to back winner of USPSA Multi-gun National Championships in 2006 & 2007 (Iron Sight division), and winner of the Limited category at the 2009 USPSA Handgun National Championships.

Tarr pointed out that during his 18 years of service with the Milwaukee PD, Puente had the misfortune to have been involved in an “on-the-job shooting”. Puente was quoted in the column as saying:
“When I’ve had to use force for real, that pressure you endure during an actual shooting is probably one-quarter of what you endure during competition. People don’t believe me, but you’re just reacting in a life or death situation; you don’t have time to think about it.

“When you’re competing basically, you’re betting a million dollars <and> 10 years of your life because ... all the last 10 years of preparation are put on this one stage. ...it makes it really hard.”
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:19 PM   #11
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A perfect and relevant perspective
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Old August 30, 2012, 05:06 AM   #12
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There's a sign on the wall of practically every boxing gym in America that reads "THE MORE YOU TRAIN, THE LESS YOU BLEED". Perhaps they should start hanging them at shooting ranges as well.

I've been shooting IDPA and action pistol for a few years now (usually with my duty gun and gear) and that extra trigger time has made a big difference in my overall gun handling skills. I'm faster on the draw, faster on target, more accurate, and more confident, even with my patrol rifle. I gauge myself against other officers that I've trained and qualified with for years, good shooters but none of whom compete, and where we used to be close in time and accuracy, I'm now much faster and more accurate. Also, a lot of guys are good shots but have trouble with their draw, mag changes, and clearing malfunctions, I don't really have to think about those things, the repetitive practice has made them second nature.
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Old August 30, 2012, 06:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Reason why its hard to believe competition doen't count in SD Situations
The reason it isn't hard to believe is because of all the folks who state that you never know how you will do in battle. If you can never know how you will do, then you can't know if competition (the right kind) would be beneficial or not).

Of course, lots of people who have never been in competition shoot bad guys multiple times just fine. For all we know at this point, the shooting distance was across the counter or just a few feet, something where the benefits of pistol competition likely would not have made an iota of difference.

I noticed that the article didn't say how many times the guy fired, just that the suspect was hit twice.
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Old August 30, 2012, 08:05 AM   #14
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Could someone explain to me how you're betting a million dollars in a competition?

Likewise, Mr Spy, you ought to retract that statement about people who don't compete doing just fine and how if you shoot across the counter or from just a few feet, competition doesn't make any difference. If I suggested such a thing, people would jump all over me.
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:05 AM   #15
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Could someone explain to me how you're betting a million dollars in a competition?
It's marketing, if you are selling a product and looking for a candidate to market your product, who you gonna give the million dollar contract to, the winner or the looser.

You don't see losers on Wheaties Boxes.

As in the story posted, the competition had this on his mine, would the contract go to him if he looses? This had all the time before the match and before each and ever stage to work on his mind. This could very will distract from muscle memory.

However, on the street, an incident just happens, no time to think about it, just time to act. With out thinking and worrying about it, there is no mental block interfering with muscle memory.

Any one who says there is no such thing as match pressure, never shot a match.

I can give my own example. Lets look and the EIC program. To get a distinguished badge you have to shoot a several matches. Points are awarded based on how you place in those matches.

The first points are easy. You're not expecting them, you're just concentrating on your shooting and SURPRISE, you made the cut. You're a bit shocked but happy.

Then you shoot more and more matches working up to your last points. They should be easier, right, because you have more experience and your shooting has improved.

Nope it don't work that way, the closer you get to legging out the harder it is, not because of your shooting fundamentals, but in mental management.

After each shot, you think about the points you lost, trying to add them up to see if you can still make the cut. You're worrying about the last shot(s) and not about the next one, even though the last shot is history and you can't do anything about it.

This works on your mind, you're more worried about the points you lost instead of the fundamentals you need to keep from loosing more.

My best shooting improvement came AFTER I legged out (got the distinguished badge). A big relieve, now I"m shooting for fun, no pressure. I just shot and let muscle memory worry about the fundamentals.

And this was for a little Gold Badge, sure it means the world to me but it sure as heck isn't a million dollar contract.

I'm still a certified LE Sniper Instructor and teach classes. I use hostage targets to practice on. Small part of the bad guys head behind the hostage.

We all know that you can't Practice Sniping by shooting bandits hiding behind hostages. No way to practice that. Most LE never fire their rifle at a bandit but they still have to be ready.

To many hear say you can prepare for a gunfight without being in a gun fight, THAT IS SILLY. You can't practice gun fights.

But there are ways to add stress. On the above case, instead of using a normal hostage/bandit target, paste a picture of your daughter or granddaughter on the hostage part of the target.

Trust me this shakes up the shooter, even knowing that's only a picture. But he keeps at it, practicing so he doesn't see the hostage but only the bandit, With enough practice you develop enough muscle memory you only ever see the target or bandit portion of the target, the hostage doesn't exist.

We say you never know how you would act in a shooting situation, but if you've developed the proper mental management, you wont have to worry about it, you'll just act. The gun comes up you look at the bandit and fire without ever seeing the hostage or robber across the counter, you sub consciencely just shoot the target.
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:18 AM   #16
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I hear what you're saying but don't understand part of it and also don't agree with part of it. I agree that competiton is important and helps, though I'm not so sure that any and all competition helps. However, I certainly agree there is pressure, though not necessarily stress. But let me explain.

The pressure of competition, or anything else, may create a certain amount of stress. If you can actually do something about it, the stress should be less, at least in theory. By this I mean only that with your practice and preparation, you have taken steps to reduce the stress. But perhaps stress is not the right word for what I'm trying to say, but there is a certain amount of management of the stress involved.

I was expecting you to say when you were speaking of it getting easier but it doesn't, that the competiton is getting better, too, or that what you have to lose is getting bigger. I do understand the part about the surprise, which I remember very well on the rifle range in the army, at my surprise at hitting the longer range targets. I was equally surprised at missing the closest one but I wasn't the only one, judging from what the ground looked like in front of the target. Lots of us were overcompensating, apparently.

On the other hand, I'd worry about acting without thinking.
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:38 AM   #17
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There is a study by the Force Science folks that indicates that within a short distance - trained and untrained folks have a high probablility of a hit and even a head shot. When you get to distances about 12-15 yards (IIRC), then the untrained fail to perform.

That should support DNS's statement. It was on policeone.com by Ron Avery, I think.

BTW, at high end FOFs, you see folks forgetting to breathe and turning blue or having pretty impressive parasympathetic rebounds, taking them down after a run. So that's stress in my book. I recall babbling rather inanely after one.
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Old August 30, 2012, 10:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
On the other hand, I'd worry about acting without thinking.
Blue I don't think you totally understand the idea of mental management.

You just don't put the actual act of aiming and pulling the trigger into muscle memory, you put the whole concept.

You have the presentation (drawing), you you have the trigger finger, as in not putting your finger in the trigger guard until you have the gun lined up toward the target, and you have the target recognition, meaning you look over the gun to see if that's the target (or something else you don't want to shoot), At that instant the front sight comes into view (this should be when the finger goes to the trigger) and then the act of firing a round.

Identifying your target is important in competition as well as self defense. Ask any long range shooter about cross firing.

This all takes an instant and if done promptly, and practice faithfully, its gonna happen every time without a conscience effort on your part. If you stop at any time and concentrate on one aspect, there is going to be a good chance you're gonna screw it up.

Breathing was mentioned. My best rifle shooting is and always has been Setting Rapid fire. You cannot shoot iron sights at 200 yards without proper breath control.

A guy ask me one time how I breathed in a rapid fire string. I couldn't answer the question. Apparently I did breath or I would have noticed holding my breath for 60 seconds while shooting. But I couldn't say for sure.

So I decided to fire a string to see how I breathed or if I did. Shot the worse rapid fire string in years. I was concentrating breathing instead of just letting my muscle memory do its work.

I've done that in other occasions, an example is do I shoot with both eyes open. Didn't know, when i tried to find out, I couldn't shoot. Had to ask bystanders to watch and see. (Turned out I did, but I don't notice while I'm doing).

Whether we shoot for fun, competition, duty, or for self defense we need to study mental management and work on developing muscle memory.

I've always said, all shooting is 95% mental. You need to practice mental management, and all your other fundamentals to the point each aspect is an act we do without thinking. You start thinking of any aspect, you're gonna lose your concentration and blow it.

When I coach rifle teams, I do not let my shooter use scopes and I don't let them know the value of the last shot. That's history, they need to concentrate on the next shot. Trust me, if they screw up I'll tell them.
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Old August 30, 2012, 10:58 AM   #19
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Well, maybe I don't. However, I'm having trouble relating the things you're saying to something that is more likely to happen at, say, room's length. What do you suppose is a typical self-defense shooting distance for a non-law enforcement individual? There's still the shoot-no shoot question the individual has to overcome. Not just whether the target is a justifiable threat but also the great leap of actually shooting another person. But I suppose you could say that's entirely mental.

You have a military background. Do you think the police have any differences in their approaches to what you're saying?
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Old August 30, 2012, 11:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
You have a military background. Do you think the police have any differences in their approaches to what you're saying?
Yes I have a military background, but I also spent 20 years in LE, I'm also a competition shooter, hunter and plinker.

The topic relates to all of the above.

Let take another example, As I said a few times, I pocket carry a J-frame and do quite a bit of practice with it. I can get it out and fire in less then .5 seconds. (assuming my hand is in my pocket which it is 99.99% of the time).

One day a couple summers ago, coming out of my shop I spot a coyote screwing around my chicken pin. I drew and killed the coyote in a spit second, during which time I was able to tell the target in this case was a threat to my chickens and not one of my own dogs. I didn't even realize what I was doing until it was done. I thought about it and realized I did infact see a coyote over my sight and not my dog.

I was able to tell the difference and act without shooting my dog.

I've done that, (reconition) in combat, instantly being able to tell a possible threat was a Vietnamese kid instead of a advesory. Did it in LE also. Do it in competition too, knowing at 1000 yards which is my target and which is the target next to mine. (fun with iron sights).

Target reconition is part of the aspects one learns in developing muscle memory.

Even in peace time, in a safe area where I live, its a good trait to know and practice. I practice shooting shotgun hulls scattered around my range, never know with you are gonna find a rattler in the yard, rattlers and kids don't play well together.

I've killed several in the last 19 years I've lived here.

Target reconition is part of the muscle memory you need to develope as well as other aspects of marksmanship fundamentals. Only way to get that is with tons of good solid practice.
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Old August 30, 2012, 11:30 AM   #21
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Could not agree more. As I say, a bad guy with a Glock would not want to face an angry dedicated SASS competitor with a single action revolver.
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Old August 30, 2012, 03:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Could not agree more. As I say, a bad guy with a Glock would not want to face an angry dedicated SASS competitor with a single action revolver.
Funny you brought up single action revolvers. A few days ago I got a wild bug up my snort hole and decided to see how fast I could shoot and still hit my target with my SA Ruger Blackhawk 44 mag and I consistently shot 7" groups at 25 yards thumb cocking and shooting again as soon as I had the front sight. Then did the same with my 45 ACP and found my pistol shot 2 1/2" rapid or slow fire but my slow fire with the 44 mag was around 3 1/2" half of my rapid fire.

No match winner but I was satisfied at moderate ranges I could put a lot of lead in a target in a short amount of time. Don't know why I decided to do that because the last time I shot a single action revolver rapid fire was in the middle 70's. It's my hunting gun not a competition gun and it just doesn't occur to me to practice that.

As for competition to me it is all about muscle memory. The more you practice good the more good you will shoot under match pressure just because the gun feels right in your hand. In an emergency the competition shooter has the advantage of not having to consciously think about breathing, sights and trigger control, he just does it after evaluating the situation and choosing the target bad guy. This appears to be one time when the old guy has the advantage over the younger, stronger person with the lightning quick reflexes.
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Old August 30, 2012, 08:59 PM   #23
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My CHL instructor and neighbor is pretty experienced. He's worked for DEA in South America 25 years, worked for Blackwater in Iraq, and a bunch of other stuff. One point he hammered home was that in a face to face gunfight situation, you will, as has been repeated here, follow your training.

I've shot in Steel Challenge and IPSC back in the old days, and yes, there's some stress, but it's NOT the same as a real life encounter. Focus here a minute:

You see the bad guy. You see a gun in his hand, the hammer back, his finger on the trigger. He sees you. He raises his gun as he turns in your direction. In the next half-second, you are probably going to die.

Now, in THAT SPECIFIC situation, at THAT specific moment:

Your brain will shut down. You will NOT think.

You will stop breathing.

Your vision will narrow, and it will be difficult to scan your visual field and focus.

You will hear sounds and voices if they are present, but you will not be able to mentally process them.

Your body will stiffen, and your conscious control of your muscles will be dramatically reduced.

Your pulse and blood pressure will instantly skyrocket.

Now... in THAT state... in THAT half-second... what are you going to do?

This is where the "muscle memory" comes in that others have discussed here. You will do whatever you have trained to do. If you have practiced instantly draw-and-firing with an empty gun thousands of times until you can do it without thinking, as an instant, automatic reflex, then that's what you will do here, and you might survive.

If you slowly draw, get in position, use the Double Reverse Jivaro Thumbnail Grip, and line up the front sight with the seventh ring of Saturn, then that's what you will do here, and in half a second you will have a bullet passing through your body.

Sure, all that competition and target shooting gives you good basic skills, but in addition to that, you need to practice your automatic reflex combat response. Over and over and over. I know several instructors who do this; every morning they quickly draw-and-fire 50 to 100 times, every day, without fail. They have it down so instinctively, they can repeatedly draw and fire while reading the newspaper, or discussing the economic impact of the Civil War after 1865.

That's what will save your life if you're ever in a split second scenario like the one described.
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:11 PM   #24
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Competition gives you trigger time and problem solving. That adds up and gives you a certain level of confidence. Add to that training and experience and you have a winning combination. In a gunfight, the one who keeps his head and makes the first decisive hit usually wins, competition gives you that edge.

It certainly beats a sharp stick in the eye.
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Old August 30, 2012, 10:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
From WC145; I've been shooting IDPA and action pistol for a few years now (usually with my duty gun and gear) and that extra trigger time has made a big difference in my overall gun handling skills. I'm faster on the draw, faster on target, more accurate, and more confident, even with my patrol rifle. I gauge myself against other officers that I've trained and qualified with for years, good shooters but none of whom compete, and where we used to be close in time and accuracy, I'm now much faster and more accurate. Also, a lot of guys are good shots but have trouble with their draw, mag changes, and clearing malfunctions, I don't really have to think about those things, the repetitive practice has made them second nature.
^^^This. I had reached a point where I was consistently one of the better shooters in my agency. That motivated me to start shooting some competitions, which is where I learned that I simply had been shooting with decent shooters (at best) for the most part, and I got schooled in my first few comps. That motivated me to get better, polish my manipulations, dry fire, etc. My gun handling and shooting skills probably increased 200-300% after I started competing, and they are still getting better. Repitition, repitition, repitition.
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