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Old June 23, 2013, 08:46 AM   #1
FMJ1911
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Self-Defense Shooting is NOT Bullseye Shooting

When I was a new shooter, I obsessed over putting every round I shot into the bullseye (ok, sure, I still do!), but ... it is very important to understand the difference between self-defense accuracy, or "combat accuracy," if you will, and putting rounds in bullseyes.

The adrenelin is pumping, everything is a blur, you are afraid, shocked and scared for your life....the goal is to get rounds into center mass.

To put it bluntly, putting as many holes in the center mass of an assailant is the BEST WAY to stop a threat. Obsessing over trying to get all the shots into the same hole is actually going to slow you down in a self-defense situation where the goal is always: TO STOP THE THREAT.

Here's a video explanation of the concept. Simply put, if you are getting rounds into a center mass area that is about the size of your open hand, or thereabouts, you are doing just fine.

VIDEO HERE.
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Old June 23, 2013, 10:31 AM   #2
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Agreed.

In a real-life encounter, we're much less likely to be in a classic Weaver or isosceles stance either. We might be firing one-handed, which can cause malfunctions due to limp-wristing. Our gross motor skills will be all over the place. We might be on our back or in another funky position. These factors can greatly reduce traditional accuracy.
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Old June 23, 2013, 11:09 AM   #3
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Which is not to say skip practicing for traditional accuracy.

Physical habits become natural. The more natural the position becomes and the position of your firearm, the more likely you will adopt it in times of stress.

All shooting disiplines benifit you're overall ability.
Should the poop hit the fan and I'm not the one armed, I'd hope whoever I am next to is a bullseye shooter who practices with his CCW for SD sometimes, rather them the guy who does nothing but shoot for "combat accurcy".
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Old June 23, 2013, 11:56 AM   #4
WVsig
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Quote:
Which is not to say skip practicing for traditional accuracy.

Physical habits become natural. The more natural the position becomes and the position of your firearm, the more likely you will adopt it in times of stress.

All shooting disciplines benefit you're overall ability.
Should the poop hit the fan and I'm not the one armed, I'd hope whoever I am next to is a bullseye shooter who practices with his CCW for SD sometimes, rather them the guy who does nothing but shoot for "combat accuracy".
I tend to agree with this line of thinking. You want to practice shooting as accurately as possible under ideal and less than ideal conditions. Your goal should be that under ideal conditions at the range you can keep all of your shots within 2" on a paper target at 7 to 10 yards. IMHO If you are able to do this with proficiency you are developing positive muscle memory that you will be better able to replicate under stress. As the conditions worsen accuracy will logically decrease. To me the goal is to be able to combat shoot effectively in stressful less than ideal conditions. So in some ways I agree with the OP but the video seems to show someone shooting with "combat accuracy" under ideal conditions which IMHO is setting the bar too low.

When faced with a real world self defense situation adrenaline etc... will effect your shooting. If all you have practiced for is to hit a 5" center mass area under ideal conditions the chances of you being able to replicate that under stress goes down considerably.

For example a person who can place all their shots in a 2" target under no stress at 7 yards will have a better chance at scoring real world positive hits in a life threatening situation. One can reasonably expect that 2" group to double if not triple in a self defense situation. The same goes for that a person who shoots 5" groups under ideal conditions. Their groups under pressure become 10" and 15" groups which means missing center mass and maybe even the intended target.

To the OP look at your target at 3:00 in your video. Where did that flyer go? If you are teaching or preaching center mass why the head shots? I think your intentions are sound but the advice and the demonstration seems to miss the mark. IMHO
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Last edited by WVsig; June 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM.
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Old June 23, 2013, 12:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
To put it bluntly, putting as many holes in the center mass of an assailant is the BEST WAY to stop a threat.
"BEST" is quite subjective here. It is one potential way to stop a threat, but it certainly doesn't always work or work fast enough. It is the best way to be able to land shots with the greatest amount of potential error, however.

Quote:
Obsessing over trying to get all the shots into the same hole is actually going to slow you down in a self-defense situation where the goal is always: TO STOP THE THREAT.
I have never heard of anyone obsessing over trying to put shots in the same hole during a self defense situation. In fact, most folks don't even see the holes in the bad guys they shoot and after a shooting often don't know with any confidence or accuracy just how many times they shot the bad guy or where the shots actually landed.

With that said, putting shots into the same hole on a bad guy may actually be less than productive. Damaging tissue already damaged is not as productive as damaging new tissue with subsequent shots. Depending on the ballistic testing you follow, more tissue is damaged by shots at least 3-4"
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Old June 23, 2013, 02:37 PM   #6
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The guys advocating training by focusing on putting all your shots in a 2" area from 10 yards out are giving some really lousy advice which may well cost people their lives in a high stress situation.
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Old June 23, 2013, 02:46 PM   #7
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So the person in the video says something like..."look, only one shot off target"...like that is acceptable "combat accuracy". He's right. If I was in a combat situation, that shot will possibly hit another of the enemy combatants in front of me and that's just fine in a combat situation.

It is, in my own opinion, completely unacceptable in a civilian CCW situation where that round may find a school teacher, an infant in a distant stroller, 9 innocent bystanders on a New York street or the head of my wife or daughter as I tried to recue them from a hostage taker.

There is a time and place for increased speed even at the loss of accuracy...in some back alley or out in the woods where it is just you and the bad guy. But in a populated world where most of us find ourselves, accuracy is not just "nice to have", it is an absolute necessity and you have to be able to perform under stress. So why would we practice an accuracy level that is "just fine" combat accuracy as our standard.

The following is my own opinion: The videographer needs to place non-threats and even hostage set-ups among his "LEO" targets and not stop practicing until he can hit ONLY bad guys with NO misses or hits on non-threats. Center mass doesn't "always" get the job done and isn't even always available. Being able to quickly place accurate shots on small areas of an otherwise large target, while on the move and under some stress is something we should all demand of ourselves. Never accept mediocre as a standard. Under real stress we will likely get mediocre even if our standard is precision. So what will you get if mediocre is the standard in the first place?
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Old June 23, 2013, 02:47 PM   #8
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Are you volunteering??

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Old June 23, 2013, 02:48 PM   #9
WVsig
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Quote:
The following is my own opinion: The videographer needs to place non-threats and even hostage set-ups among his "LEO" targets and not stop practicing until he can hit ONLY bad guys with NO misses or hits on non-threats. Center mass doesn't "always" get the job done and isn't even always available. Being able to quickly place accurate shots on small areas of an otherwise large target, while on the move and under some stress is something we should all demand of ourselves. Never accept mediocre as a standard. Under real stress we will likely get mediocre even if our standard is precision. So what will you get if mediocre is the standard in the first place?
I do not think that is only your opinion!!!

+1
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Old June 23, 2013, 03:24 PM   #10
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Training for self-defense shooting needs to be multilayered.

Basic marksmanship skills remain important, especially trigger control. Among other things, performance deteriorates significantly under stress.

So a training/practice regimen should include shooting quickly at shorter distances and shooting slowly and carefully at greater distances. Also consider that if you you're shooting three to four inch groups at speed in practice that could translate to six to eight inch (or larger) groups in a violent encounter.

Furthermore, in the video the targets are large silhouettes straight up and straight on. This will not necessarily be the case in real life. Because the human body is not flat, and because an assailant might not be facing one directly, one might be confronted by a situation in which he will need to engage a much smaller effective target area. Louis Awerbuck addresses this in his classes by using curved targets in varying orientations.

Self-defense proficiency involves a package of knowledge and skills. Competently carrying a gun for self defense involves more than just marksmanship:
  • You will want to know and understand the legal issues -- when the use of lethal force would be legally justified, when it would not be, and how to tell the difference. You will want to understand how to handle the legal aftermath of a violent encounter and how to articulate why, in a particular situation, you decided to take whatever action you did.

  • You will want to know about levels of alertness and mental preparedness to take action. You will want to understand how to assess situations and make difficult decisions quickly under stress. You will want to know about the various stress induced physiological and psychological effects that you might face during and after a violent encounter.

  • You will want to develop good practical proficiency with your gun. That includes practical marksmanship, i. e., being able to deploy your gun and get good hits quickly at various distances. It also includes skills such as moving and shooting, use of cover and concealment, reloading quickly, clearing malfunctions, and moving safely with a loaded gun.
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Old June 23, 2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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Funny, some of us practice both... almost seems like the OP is saying it's one or the other, except that he noted up front
Quote:
When I was a new shooter, I obsessed over putting every round I shot into the bullseye (ok, sure, I still do!)
As I see it, there is value to being able to land "combat accurate" hits in a rapid manner, from various positions and with either hand. (Every so often I practice shooting left-handed and standing on one leg, from a modified yoga airplane pose... among other awkward looking positions.)

But there is also value to being able to thread a shot around things I'd prefer not to hit, or into whatever unarmored spot should reveal itself.

Also, as Bluestarlizzard suggested would happen, the trigger control, sight picture, etc that I learned from shooting Weaver, Chapman, and Isosceles have carried over quite well to less formal types of shooting.

Then again, I also find that regular martial arts practice informs my shooting habits and practices.

Sometimes black and white is not the way to argue.
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Old June 23, 2013, 04:26 PM   #12
Deaf Smith
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Quote:
Self-Defense Shooting is NOT Bullseye Shooting
It can be. If you have to shoot a hostage taker and NOT the hostage, as an NY cop TRIED to do a few weeks ago, that bullseye training might come in handy.

SD shooting is not just one set of skills. And if you really want to get good at it I strongly suggest you crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.

Learn the basics of shooting then once you understand them branch out.

Two handed sighted SLOW fire can then built upon to one handed fire, rapid snap shooting, left handed shooting, hip shooting, retention shooting, etc....

But you crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.

Deaf
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Old June 23, 2013, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
The guys advocating training by focusing on putting all your shots in a 2" area from 10 yards out are giving some really lousy advice which may well cost people their lives in a high stress situation.
I think you have really missed the point of what they are training to do. They aren't trying to put all their shots in a 2" area but instead training to hit the specific area they are trying to hit. Unlike your assertions above, they are not trying to make all their shots go into one hole, but simply using the same target to make their shots over and over again. They could replace the target after every shot, but that gets rather expensive.

Trainers know full well that shot groups open up, or rather that the general level of consistent accuracy diminishes with stress. Your 2" group shooter becomes a 4-8" group shooter and your 6" shooters may shoot groups larger than a foot at that distance when under stress...which very well may mean completely missing the threat. People who can't shoot well at stationary targets when not under stress tend to shoot really poorly overall at live moving targets when actually under stress.

What you demonstrated was pretty good combat effective shooting...only you weren't in combat. Telling people when they are all "relaxed at the range" (your phrase) that their practice is good enough because it would work in combat is awfully problematic. If they are shooting groups like you did while at the range like you were, then when they go into combat, they are likely going to be all over the paper and certainly not on target with a lot of the shots. That isn't a good thing.
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:23 PM   #14
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Something one might try:

(It helps if you have access to your own range, or a permissive private facility)

Bring some gloves and/or pads, and a training partner.

Spar a few minutes, then take off the gear, put on eye and ear pro, and try shooting the target.

This is more interesting if your partner has landed some good hits on you during the sparring.

If that isn't an option, try running sprints, or doing push-ups, or 100+ jumping jacks, then shoot.

Why fake adrenaline, when you can actually create some?
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:30 PM   #15
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Push ups are my favorite.


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Old June 23, 2013, 05:46 PM   #16
FMJ1911
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Drop and give me 20 Mr.!!

: )


Seriously, this is good advice.
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:51 PM   #17
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I agree, but Bullseye shooting teaches the marksmanship principles that are the basis for SD shooting. Many of the great pistoleros of the past-Charlie Askins, e.g.-were accomplished target shots, I recall an article in one the gun magazines with a top police instructor, he refered to "Ed McGivern experts", though McGivern emphasized that trigger pull, sight alignment, etc. are accomplished in the same way in fast shooting. As Bill Jordan put it "Speed's fine but accuracy is final!"
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Old June 23, 2013, 05:59 PM   #18
FMJ1911
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Yes, of course bullseye shooting teaches you the fundamentals. And if you think SD shooting is anything like the calm, patient, careful bullseye shooting discipline, you won't live long enough to say, "Darn, you were right!"

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Old June 23, 2013, 06:33 PM   #19
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMJ1911
Yes, of course bullseye shooting teaches you the fundamentals. And if you think SD shooting is anything like the calm, patient, careful bullseye shooting discipline, you won't live long enough to say, "Darn, you were right!"
You're not following what some of the others are saying and I doubt that you have the training to really understand why a number of us are critical of your narrow and superficial comments.

Apropos of that, what is your training? If you are going to presume to instruct us on defensive shooting skills, it's not unreasonable to expect you to disclose your qualifications for doing so.
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Old June 23, 2013, 06:46 PM   #20
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Methinks the wanna be cowboy troll doesn't want to accept that we arn't all that impressed by his supposed skills.

Nor does he want to put in the time to produce an effort that would.
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Old June 23, 2013, 06:46 PM   #21
FMJ1911
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Have taken multiple classes, been shooting for nearly 40+ years, have had to defend myself twice with my handgun.

I have just a little experience with real life situations.

And if that is not enough "qualification" to comment on these issues, well....you can kiss my ... Glock.

I know I did after it saved my life.

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Old June 23, 2013, 06:47 PM   #22
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Aquiring the sight picture ASAP is what I am after when shooting the targets. I pull out from holster or from at the ready and try to instantly capture the target so I can get off a round without a bunch of time wasted trying to find the front sight. For that reason I don't feel bad about putting a couple hundred rounds a week at the target from 15 - 25 feet. I do switch from 2 handed to left and right several times.

I don't have a place to practice a lot of combat situations and with my age and mobility restrictions I'm not going to be doing a lot of gyrotations to get the shot off. If the BG comes to me I shoot him/her center mass (not a sexist.I'm not going to leap across an isle, slide into second and do a John Woo firing from both hands. As long as I can capture the sight picture instinctively and instantly I figure muscle memory will do the rest.

We do the best we can with what we have. All correct practice is good practice.
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Old June 23, 2013, 06:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Have taken multiple classes, been shooting for nearly 40+ years, have had to defend myself twice with my handgun.

Beyond that, well, Frank, you can kiss my ***.

Have a good day.
Really you are going to go there...? People are trying to engage you in a meaningful manner offering suggestions and a critique of the info you have posted and this is your reaction?
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Old June 23, 2013, 06:50 PM   #24
FMJ1911
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Hey, WV, if you are going to quote me, at least get it right, ok?

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Old June 23, 2013, 06:54 PM   #25
WVsig
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Quote:
Hey, WV, if you are going to quote me, at least get it right, ok?
My quote is accurate to what you originally posted before you edited your post and you know it.

End of conversation.
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