View Full Version : When Should Training Kick In?

Shadi Khalil
August 4, 2009, 04:53 PM
When your faced with a situation that is dangerous or could be potentially dangerous, when do start contemplating what lethal force measures you might have to take? I'm talking about anything from a hostile dog to a hostile person. Here's one example..I was sitting in my basement the other night and my brother came by at 2:00am. I didn't know he was coming (he sent a text I never got) and when he started jiggling the handle I got real freaked out. I ran into upstairs and saw his car in the drive way, then let him in. He walked in and looked on my pile of books and papers and saw my pistol on top of the pile. "Thank God you didn't shoot me" he said jokingly. Then I realized, it didn't even cross my mind to grab my gun when I went to go check who was here. If someone had broken through the glass on the door they could have easily got in, giving them access to the loaded firearm I left sitting there. This got me thinking to past instances where I was in similar situations and never once thought about the gun on my night stand or even on my hip. So when does it kick in for you guys?

August 4, 2009, 05:04 PM
I've had similar things similar happen to me over the years. If I were in your situation, I would probably start to freak out when you could here the jiggling of the doorhandle.

August 4, 2009, 05:38 PM
Dunno that I could really offer an accurate and specific answer predicated upon any single individual, other than myself.

Having been involved in helping train a number of folks in the martial arts over the years (38), and then a number of folks in the LE field (FTO & firearms instructor), it seems there are as many reactions to training as there are folks who are subjected to it.

Just depends.

Probably on a number of things.

Training is commonly mental and physical, and can even involve an emotional context.

Simple knowledge of tactics & strategy, for example, may be looked upon as something learned and memorized by one person, but embraced and adopted into the lifestyle to the extent necessary of another person.

Then there's the whole training & repetitive practice to reinforce important aspects of the training involved factor to consider.

Physical skills are perishable for any number of reasons. Shooting skills are considered perishable in LE work, for example.

'Perishability', or 'staleness', of some skills, physical and/or mental, can become a reasonable concern when it comes to maintaining skills acquired during training.

Some folks don't seem to focus themselves as much as other folks when it comes to training and learning to apply it in their everyday lives to the extend required or possible.

Some folks seem to relegate it to some back corner of their mind and go on with their normal lives, seemingly not even thinking about it, possibly hoping it will 'kick in' if ever needed.

Some folks look at it as something they've done, and gotten under their belt, but then neglect it and revert to whatever normal habits and actions they spent far more time doing during their lives and normal activities.

Good training, complemented by proper practice done frequently enough to reinforce the training ... combined with appropriate mindset ... combined with successful experience in the application of some aspects of the training ... can still fail to provide the response desired when the unexpected and unwanted moment arrives where the successful application of the involved training might prove to be the difference between life & death or serious bodily injury.

Like I said, I dunno.

I've spent all of my adult life incorporating what I feel to be useful and relevant aspects gained from my involvement in the martial arts into my 'normal life', and then within my LE career, as well. Although I grew up and came to adulthood being an avid firearms owner and shooter, after I entered LE I received a different level of training in firearms usage, later going on to become a firearms instructor of almost 20 years experience.

Personally, I have the opinion that each instance where some situation occurs where some aspect of my training may prove useful is probably so somewhat unique in some ways, and yet also sometimes shares some similarities with other situations.

Will my training prove to be sufficient ... and more importantly, will I have the opportunity to avail myself of it when/if an opportunity arises where it's important to me, for either my own life/safety or for the lives/safety of someone else?

So far so good. Dunno about later today or any of my tomorrows, though.

I certainly hope so.

None of which really answers your question, though, does it?

It's a question I'd think a lot of folks learn to ask themselves, and then continue to ask themselves.

Situational awareness, a sound knowledge base, prudent judgment and the ability to make a sound decision making under variable conditions can be more critical than just having a piece of equipment at hand.

As you apparently realized for yourself, taking the appropriate steps to prevent unauthorized access to a firearm kept for use as a defensive weapon, but which may not be needed at any particular moment, is something worthy of careful consideration.

On a related note, you can sometimes read online (or hear in person) some folks talk about 'instinct'. Occasionally someone will even talk about how they feel 'instinct' is more important to them than training.

Well, I think it might be fair to observe that there's 'instinct' born of nature, nurture and general life experience ... and then there's arguably 'instinct' born of, and honed by, training. I sometimes wonder what 'instinct' some folks are talking about and attributing so much importance to in their discussions.

Like I said before all of my rambling ... I don't have the definitive answer. Sorry. I'm not anybody's expert anything and I have my own concerns about whether my training & experience will continue to serve my needs the rest of my life.

Wish I had the 'answer', though. ;)

Please excuse the wordy, lengthy rambling.

August 4, 2009, 05:47 PM
A gun on your belt will not be left behind.

August 4, 2009, 06:20 PM
So when does it kick in for you guys?

Not to sound like a wise A%#, but "training" doesn't kick in for anyone until they get the training. What training did you have?

Leaving your weapon as you did sounds like a mind set issue. Not to say it isn't training related.

When does Training kick in? :

A friend heard a loud crash in his 5 yr. old daughters' room, ran down the hall, dashed into her room, and found a very scared little girl and an equally scared Brittany Spaniel huddled together (bet that would have been a cute picture:)) A tree branch had fallen thru the window during the windstorm they were experiencing.

The following day he called up a friend who was an experienced PD Officer and SWAT team leader and asked him why an experienced shooter, dealer, competition shooter, like himslef, would run to his daughter's room without a gun when he thought someone had broken in.

His friend explained the rule of 3. It takes the average rookie cop three major incidents before he can handle such matters the way he/she were trained on a regular basis.

That doesn't mean you can't program yourself to have your weapon with you when the door lock starts jiggling.

August 4, 2009, 06:54 PM
Training shouldn't "kick in". It should be an ongoing process. Condition yellow at all times.

In one of the "Spencer" books, there's a scene where Hawk was asked to disarm a guy with a knife as a test. Hawk simply kicked the guy in the crotch and picked the knife up off the ground.
The tester said, "He wasn't ready".
Hawk said, "It's mostly being ready".

You gotta be ready. There's no do-overs in an assault.

As I sit here at the computer, it's 7:53PM. I'm wearing a pair of gym shorts with a P3AT in a leather pocket holster stuck in the waistband. There's a loaded Glock 19 5 seconds away with a spare mag.

Shadi Khalil
August 4, 2009, 06:54 PM
Not to sound like a wise A%#, but "training" doesn't kick in for anyone until they get the training. What training did you have?

Not much, to tell you the truth.

August 4, 2009, 07:20 PM
Let's look at it from a more practical perspective when it comes to something familiar ...

Lots of folks get some rudimentary driver/driving training at some point when they want to become a licensed driver.

They also also get some direct supervision instructor and experience while learning from a parent/family member, too.

Then, they get their license and get out there and drive all the time, getting up to daily experience in the normal tasks involved in driving in real, everyday conditions, right?

They can park, back up, take corners, merge onto and exit from busy roadways, navigate among numerous distractions in traffic conditions ranging from light, to moderate, to heavy, be aware of traffic conditions and traffic controls, etc., etc.

Now, how many of those folks may sometimes find themselves in some unexpected dangerous situation and fail to do the right thing in time to prevent a collision or injury to someone?

And that's with the often daily experience of doing all the tasks related to safely and properly operating a motor vehicle, too.

Take it a step further and consider the problems many folks have when they enter LE (or fire, paramedic, ambulance, etc) and have to learn to safely operate a motor vehicle under stressful and dangerous emergency conditions. It's not uncommon to see folks realize that their everyday 'good driving skills' may not be up to the task in many respects.

Most folks don't 'use' a firearm everyday. Lots of folks may carry them around for lawful purpose (armed profession, CCW, open carry where lawful, etc), but that's not the same thing as actually using them, and the appropriate tactics involved, under unexpected stressful and dangerous conditions which may require much higher skills than normally needed for daily activities.

August 4, 2009, 07:51 PM
training should become passive. like a habit. like you wake up you go pee. you brush your teeth. just like awareness. you look around, you notice things.
few nights ago I couldn't sleep and I was in zombie mode on my comp when my room mate walked up to my door and I didn't realize because it was so dark. door was open. he said something and before I even realized it my hand was on the gun beside me, as an automatic reaction. I didn't pick it up, but point is I got spooked for a second and went for what I needed to. I let go about 1 second later after I wasn't spaced out anymore.

Shadi Khalil
August 4, 2009, 08:23 PM
Fastbolt, I like the driving anlaogy. As for my training, I have about 32 hours of training under my belt. Most of it was actual shooting time and very little classroom, which I think is very important.

August 4, 2009, 08:36 PM
If training includes a higher state of awareness, it shouldn't "kick in" but be a constant state. I had my moment where I was caught "unawares", but I'll do my best to keep it from happening again. I was very lucky I didn't pay a stupid penalty.

August 4, 2009, 09:16 PM
... are hard to maintain, indefinitely. Even active duty military doesn't really do that. Readiness levels tie directly to anticipated threat levels.

For instance, a ship can't maintain "General Quarters" for several days running without breaking down crew health and awareness.

Similarly, we can't all walk around in condition red all the time. However, we should maintain appropriate levels of SA for the areas we are in.

But when our SA picks up a threat, even one we can't define, we should start applying training and increasing our readiness.

August 5, 2009, 12:05 AM
I'm in general agreement with MLeake's comments, except that I've never really been completely comfortable with the whole 'color code' & awareness thing. We're humans. We may employ more conscious thought and utilization of reasoned actions, but we ought to be capable of at least some small amount of the basic constant level of awareness of our background environment of which animals are capable.

We have other filtering processes and levels of thought occurring than animals seem to have intruding upon their conscious awareness of their environment. We're also not burdened (or sometimes blessed) with their heightened senses. We can, however, choose to expand or draw inward, and intensify or relax, our awareness of our surroundings to some extent, as well.

I suspect that training can also be used, perhaps to some extent, to make basic changes to how we perceive the information processed by our conscious and subconscious awareness, as well as how we choose to react to what impinges upon our various levels of awareness. Dunno. Just a thought.

I've certainly had a sudden 'hunch' reveal something which I would rather not have completely surprised me.

I also like to think that 'being relaxed' doesn't have to mean the same thing as being unconscious to developing threats which may occur around me.

It doesn't make me paranoid, though, or make me stop and deliberately check out each and every person and situation around me every moment of every day.

I like to think I can rely on a subliminal level of awareness, training and experience to 'catch my attention' to potential developing threatening situations. "Head in the clouds" as a normal state of being and "distraction" can be different circumstances, I'd think, depending.

Recognition of circumstances which have turned out to be represent a threat can be triggered consciously & subconsciously ... and I'd think that training can help develop the filtering process to enable us to recognize a developing threat, to the degree humanly possible, depending on the circumstances, of course.

Training may help reduce the time involved when dealing with the observational/orientation/decision part of the cycle ... but surprise is still surprise.

I've been surprised. Absolutely. But there's also been any number of times when I've been accused of being clairvoyant, too.

We're human. It's our burden to bear ... and at the same time, one of our greatest strengths.

Training can help.

Training 'junkies' can miss out on life, though.

August 5, 2009, 01:43 PM
teifmen1948, . . . you asked when "training" kicked in.

In a short, and not meant to be smart alek, answer: when you have trained enough on the subject, . . . and have trained for the subject.

The driving analogy was good, . . . but this is a different horse.

Look at military training for example: many, many days in the field looking for the "enemy" and engaging the "enemy", . . . until it no longer becomes an issue of learning, . . . but an issue of reacting. You learn what to do first, . . . (which is to react to the perceived threat/situation/problem), . . . then you tweak the reaction.

Only you know your family, . . . but there is nothing wrong with "intruder" drills where the family reacts to a pre-determined plan, . . . and even the kids do their part by getting where ever you decide they should get.

You should have a pre-determined plan for meeting "strangers" at the door.

You should have a pre-determined plan for "bump in the night" scenarios.

You should have a pre-determined plan for fire situations in your house.

You should have a pre-determined plan "shots fired" (outside your house) if you live in a close urban environment.

Once you have the plans, . . . once you have executed a number of walk throughs, . . . once you have executed several full speed dry runs, . . . then you can expect your "training" to kick in.

The axiom is absolutely, perfectly, and often also, . . . wonderfully true, . . . that when the stuff hits the fan, . . . you will revert to your most well known level of training.

Not meaning to be offensive or degrading, . . . but if your level of training is "squat", . . . then that is about what you will do when the stuff hits the fan.

May God bless,

August 5, 2009, 07:05 PM
Training shouldn't "kick in". It should be an ongoing process. Condition yellow at all times.

Of course training should kick in. Being in condition yellow all day without lapses (a vertual impossibility for most of us) is only one area where you can be trained.

As Robert Boatman (Living With Glocks) points out, when things hit the fan, you'll likely perform to your lowest skill level, your mind won't figure out clever ways to suddenly learn to rise to the occasion where mechanical skills, like shooting are concerned, and figure it out.

The mechanical skills you learned as a result of training had better kick in---real fast in some cases.

Not to confuse mechanical skills with the ability to think quickly, even for unarmed individuatls, in a survival situatioin.

Dr Raoul Duke
August 10, 2009, 06:44 AM
Training and tactical training have their place. Training is necessary for initial weapons skills acquisition and safety. Tactical training is necessary to prepare individuals on what to do when the come into armed encounters, proper deployment, positions, responses, team work etc; and this is what a rookie walks out of the course with and uses so he lives long enough that he gains some practical experience. They say train the way you want to fight, as you are going to fight the way you train, and I think that is true. But, even with training, even the best training, most people will respond poorly the first time out of the chute. I know, as I did, and could have caused harm to friendlies.

I was in patrol boats in the Navy in Viet Nam manning machine guns and using M-16s, shotguns, and 1911A1 pistols on suspect boats while boarding and searching for contraband. I saw a great deal of violence there. My training had been at Great Lakes, then further MG training with the Marines at Camp Pendleton and boat drill at Mare Island. Still, the first time under fire I did the wrong things. My PBR was running abreast of our second, or "mate" boat, which was to starboard and I was at the M-60 MG amidboat. We were in "injun country", where attacks on boats happened regularly, so the weapons were hot. I had let my attention wander, this happens when you spend hours running at a gun station, but that is no excuse. I should have been facing the river bank to port, but had let something on the starboard bank catch my attention and had turned to face it, so my M-60 was pointed at our mate boat. When we ran into the ambush the initiation was mortar rounds. When the first mortar round went off it was behind me, and I triggered off the M-60 and almost cut the radar dome off the mast of our mate boat. Had the muzzle of the M-60 been depressed more my burst would have raked the deck and the sailors of that boat. I would have been very unpopular at the dock that night, but as the fight intensified and we came under gunfire, I partially redeemed myself by taking out a 12.7 Dragunov, or as we called them "Russian 51", that was trying to chew off our mate boat's transom. My Chief had a long talk with me that night, and he could have written me up and had me stand before the Man, but he was pleased with my recovery as the fight continued and decided to cut me some slack. I can't say I never let my attention wander; it's not humanly possible in the ceaseless hours of stifling heat, humidity, or continuous rain. But, for the rest of my time in the Delta I never stood to a weapon with it pointed at a friendly boat.

As to plans, I don't have any set "plan" for occasions when threats become life threatening because each one I have encountered has been unique and convoluted. Back to the Mekong; when we went aboard suspect boats that had holds, or compartments below the weather deck, one sailor would go over with a 1911A1 and a GI anglehead flashlight. I had qualified to wear the expert marksmanship ribbon for both rifle and pistol, and wanted to carry the .45, so the Chief let me take the duty. But, when we got onboard the suspect boats, on many occasions the "crew" either tried to kill me directly, or all of us suddenly. This had become more common as Operation Clearwater continued and we were given patrol duties into narrower waterways where our mate boat could not constantly circle us, or pull along the far side and put more men on deck. I shot seven people on board those boats with the .45, and each time it was a "surprise party" situation, and the only plan that consistently worked was to have the pistol cocked and locked, know where my mates were positioned, and keep that "situational awareness" going. The last was the most surprising. I was below deck with an old woman, somewhere in her '60s to '70s, and had just searched a bunch of 10 pound cans of rice, leaving the lids off the cans. When I came to the end there was a stack of bags of beans then a space before the bow. I had made a mistake in considering Mama San "safe". As I crawled onto the stack of beans I heard this mechanical "crunch, crunch" sound behind me. I turned to look, keeping the .45 ahead of my eyes, and saw the woman with a revolver in her hands, and as she tried to shoot me again I heard the "crunch, crunch" again. I shot her below the left ribs. The shot turned her but she did not go down. She pointed the revolver at me again, and I shot her a second time in the center of the chest. She went down and out. She didn't want me to find the store of US M18A1 Claymore mines hidden behind the bags of beans. Her weapon was an old .38 Special Colt Commando that was clogged up with rice from one of the cans. She was the only person I shot with the .45 that did not go down with one shot, but I did not hit her in the chest. My fire below deck had set off a firefight on the weather deck where the men had pulled hidden weapons and tried to kill my mates. I was almost done when one of my mates stumbled and stitched the deck with an M-16, missing me by inches. Where is any other plan than the one I mentioned going to work in such situations?

Also, in law enforcement, there is seldom any plan that can be followed other than "keep your weapon ready, know where your partner is, pay attention to the situation, be ready for anything". Specialized plans work well for warrant service, but responding to a 415F call at 0200 in the morning with the nearest back up 15 minutes away, there is no set plan other than getting yourself and your partner out alive that really works. "Protect and Serve and CYA".

Dr. Raoul Duke
Forever Gonzo

August 10, 2009, 06:54 AM
When trained to acknowledge threats and be prepared at all times for anything to happen it is an instant reaction you dont even think about. You will know exactly how to asses the situation, where to move for best firing position on the target as well as best protective area for yourself.

But as a poster before me said the training has to be there for it to kick in.

Deaf Smith
August 10, 2009, 05:43 PM
Your training kicks in from the moment you wake up till them instant you fall asleep (and maybe even then your training is still working.)

There is no one moment you decide to let your training take over. Everything you do is a product of training, somewhere, somehow.

It can be a fatal mistake to have to consciously draw a line as to when and where training takes over. It should be seamless. You should be in the 'here-and-now' always and not be shocked or surprised if you see a deadly situation unfolding.