View Full Version : Does experience trump training?

January 21, 2012, 11:15 AM
I was reading an old thread on here about gangbangers that included an FBI report on gang members. The report stated that many of the gang members had been in multiple firefights in the streets starting at a young age.

I think that whether or not they are good shots or well trained with their weapon, that kind of experience under an insanely stressful situation would really help them in later on if they were ever attempting to victimize someone who happened to be a CCW holder.

The victim would have an insane hormone response with fight or flight instincts kicking in and would probably be more prone to fumble and hesitate. The gangbanger on the other hand would be calm and collected having experienced armed conflict before.

So the question is, how do we train to keep our cool and make good decisions in stressful situations?

Old Grump
January 21, 2012, 02:20 PM
Are you the guy who grabs an extinguisher and runs toward the fire or run screaming away from it. Are you one of the crowd on the shore watching a car full of kids sinking into the river while mama screams for help or do you dive in. If you train you will do very well because gang banger is hoping for and expecting a victim not a fighter. It's what is between your ears that will determine how you act and your success will be determined by how prepared you are.

January 21, 2012, 02:32 PM
Well, I'd say all the engine-out training I received as a student naval aviator, and the many hours and hours of emergency drills and simulators in the Navy and in commercial flight training came in very handy in those situations where I've encountered systems failures or indications of a fire in flight.

Jimmy Buffett was invited to fly with the Blue Angels, back in the 90s. As part of that invitation, he had to go to DWEST, and get trained up on ejection systems and emergency egress drills, helicopter dunker, etc.

Not too long afterward, he had a bad water landing in his grumman seaplane, as (IIRC) one of the small wing outriggers caught a wave, and the touchdown ended up with sort of a cartwheel. He was able to get out of the sinking, inverted aircraft, and he attributed his survival entirely to the training the Navy had given him. He said he'd probably have panicked and not had any idea what to do, if not for the dunker training.

I know that being forced to swim a mile in a flight suit, and tread water/drownproof in inert kit taught me that I could stay afloat for quite some time, as long as I did not panic. This came in handy once, when I had to go into a lake after a woman who was in distress a couple hundred yards out, and again when I got ejected from a duckie kayak while on some whitewater.

So, it seems to me that training has definitely mattered in some high-risk scenarios; it also seems to me that it is considerably more practical to get training, than to get experience, when it comes to some things.

January 21, 2012, 02:41 PM
It's what is between your ears

+1 Infinity. And if Ol G' doesn't mind...add "and what's in your heart" to the bottom of his statement.

January 21, 2012, 05:12 PM
In a one word answer: no, . . . experience does not trump training.

Training allows one the "luxury" of having a plan that may work. Ol grump has the first half of that equasion, true, . . . but the second half of being confident in one's training is what makes the difference.

Go from Viet Nam up to the present: in every conflict the USA has been outnumbered in terms of soldier vs soldier numbers, . . . and yet the body count total has always been in our favor, in many cases by 10+ to 1.

In Iraq and Afghanny, . . . I have been led to believe that the numbers are even further apart, . . . and the only thing that makes the difference is that our men have the training, . . . rugheads have weapons, indoctrination, and desire. An M-4, . . . an M14, . . . or a Barrett, . . . trumps desire and indoctrination every time.

May God bless,

January 21, 2012, 09:19 PM
I would have to vote for training over experience if the training is
of a quality kind. Training is what can keep you alive to gain that
experience. In Vietnam it was mostly the new guys that got killed.
So a combination of training and experience is important.

January 22, 2012, 01:19 AM
Experience makes me want to train more.

Deaf Smith
January 22, 2012, 10:58 AM
Does experience trump training?

Experience IS a form of training, and that training was done in the real world. Lots of training is make believe, and hence lacks something.

And that is why it seems experience trumps training.


Glenn E. Meyer
January 22, 2012, 11:00 AM
There's a large literature on this and it's pretty clear that quality training including realistic simulations enhance performance in the emergency domain that others cited above and it firearms related incidents.

I suppose long experience can be training in a sense. Training does aid in controlling automatic panic and freezes.

January 22, 2012, 12:50 PM
The gangbanger on the other hand would be calm and collected having experienced armed conflict before.

I investigated gangs for well over a decade and was involved in numerous arrests and interviews of gang members during that time, many of whom had been involved in shootings. We're not talking combat veterans here. Many of them, especially the ones who had been shot before, or had seen their buddies killed or turned into paraplegics were not real happy about being on the wrong end of the gun. Sure, there some cold, hard individuals out there, but the idea that you have all these street-combat hardened veterans out there is pretty much bunk, in my experience.

Robbers usually get off on the power aspect inherent in the crime, but they are looking for easy money and don't want to get shot. Often, there's some type of wind-up for the crime where the victim gets a bad feeling about the situation before he is approached. At this point, before things really take off, the sight of a gun in the victim's hand, maybe just held at the side pointed at the ground, might be enough to derail things and send them off looking for another victim. Just my 2cents.

January 22, 2012, 01:44 PM
JollyRoger--I'm very interested in modern gang behavior because I live in the middle of an area where they are very active and seemingly "run the town." I've observed robberies and drug-dealing in broad daylight--and so far have luckily evaded any shootings--though a kid was ambushed and shot on a sidewalk two blocks from my house an hour after I had walked my dogs by the exact spot.

They may not be combat hardened per sae (many have actually been shot)--but I've noticed they often use tactics well-adapted to the urban environment and make good use of numerical superiority. I have no proof--but I suspect that they are getting trained by professionals who are more likely connected to national drug syndicates and/or drug cartels as opposed to military/police type tacticians. They know how to do their business fast and get out before law enforcement arrives--and I believe this encourages the use of deadly force. The majority of the shootings I read about generally have no witnesses or leads (partially because of the "don't snitch" and retribution fear that pervades the community).


January 22, 2012, 01:58 PM
Treachery, cunning and skill of the old can over come youth and inexperience. :D

January 22, 2012, 02:03 PM
I've long maintained--and communicated to the police--that I've heard 7.62 high capacity mags being discharged nearby. A local councilman and former detective has recently publicly confirmed that AK 47's have made their way into the hands of gangs. From the TimesFreePress website:

"January 7, 2012, - Demarcus Husband, 23, is found by police lying dead in a yard at 862 N. Orchard Knob Ave. after he was shot in the face at about 7:30 p.m. The residence was riddled with bullets. A near-by residence at 1901 Rawlings St. was also shot up.
862 N. Orchard Knob Ave., Chattanooga, TN."

January 22, 2012, 02:59 PM
Here's a little vid that illustrates the effectiveness of an AK as an urban weapon. Now consider these getting into the hands of gangs versus the common law-abiding CCW. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKhMOfaYwvE

January 22, 2012, 04:05 PM
I will take the training I have had in the last 2 years (4 Gun Fighting Classes including FOF), my shooting IPSC for 20 years, and two weekend sessions at a MOUNT Camp in Florida for house and neighborhood clearing above any gang bangers street issues. I have shot under stress in many situations and have a good control of my facilities when under stress. I also do not walk around in Condition White. I shoot every week at my indoor range using the many drills I have been taught and have developed myself.

January 22, 2012, 04:31 PM
Anyone who has ever been in combat can at least understand my statement,,,
Perhaps not agree completely but I doubt many will say it's false.

All (most) soldiers receive the same training,,,
Some of them perform extremely well in their training,,,
But when it comes down to it, they freeze up completely in action.

I once witnessed a completely untrained man in a hold-up,,,
Pick a pistol up off the floor and perform like "Officer John McClane".

I guess my point is this,,,
Training is something that probably never hurts,,,
But in any combat situation (domestic or warfare) one must be tested.

Personally I would rather go through a door with someone whose experience had proven them,,,
Than to go with a highly trained person with no actual experience.


January 22, 2012, 04:59 PM
I'm at a loss as to what to do to defend against the drive-by AK spray hits. I don't know if city coding allows for sandbags and concertina wire around your house. (only half kidding).

Lost Sheep
January 22, 2012, 07:34 PM
The bad thing about substituting experience for high-quality, well thought out training is the dropout rate. Getting flunked out of the "experience" training academy can be painful, and terminal.

Lost Sheep

old bear
January 22, 2012, 07:56 PM
Some great posts tonight, Old Grump summed it up so well.
I will add though nothing beats training backed up by the experience of using that training for real. Even though most “thugs” are just that; remember that some of the better organized gangs are having members enlist in the Army just to study, learn, then teach proper fighting techniques to other gang members. Kinda scary.

January 23, 2012, 12:56 AM
The soldiers in the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot probably killed more people than any American soldier.

So who do you want at your back a platoon of Khmer Rouge or a platoon from Easy Company 101st June 5th 1944 before they'd heard a shot fired in anger?

Glenn Dee
January 23, 2012, 03:05 AM
IMO... Training is how you survive the experience.

January 23, 2012, 04:06 AM
the other advantage the gangbangers have--they generally have no concern for legal consequences of trigger pulling--which is a huge concern for the law-abiding CCW.

January 23, 2012, 07:40 AM
I would also say that experience is a form of training. I would give a slight edge to experience however, as training is derived from others experiences.

January 23, 2012, 08:34 AM
I suppose long experience can be training in a sense.

What else could it be?

It is considered to be training in every other thing, why would this be any different...

January 23, 2012, 09:26 AM
Go from Viet Nam up to the present: in every conflict the USA has been outnumbered in terms of soldier vs soldier numbers, . . . and yet the body count total has always been in our favor, in many cases by 10+ to 1.

That has as much or more to do with the way the US fights (with complete air superiority, massive artillery support, the most extensive logistical support known to man, and a willingness to spend millions of $$$ on precision guided weapons to kill a couple of guys with $50 AK-47s)....) and who we fight ...... armies/countries/movements with none of those. As in Viet Nam, body count is meaningless, unless you kill ALL of the enemy, before the $$$ and/or the willingness of the American taxpayer to spend it, runs out.

Training is great and trumps experience, but neither will kill an idea, if it has hearts to live in.

January 23, 2012, 09:27 AM
I suppose long experience can be training in a sense.

It is called the School of Hard Knocks, and tuition is very expensive.

January 23, 2012, 09:58 AM
Hangglider, as I read your comments 2 questions come to mind;
#1, why don't you move out of there?
#2 why are you not as well armed as the enemy?
An AK 47 is an excellent weapon and not very expensive. Put a B-square scope mount on it and a low powered scope and it's outstanding as a general purpose military weapon.
YES!!!!!! Get some training. Get training from a MILITARY standpoint! Not a police standpoint. Why?
You can't arrest anyone and you have no jail to take them to.
Secondly, it's got to be admitted that is the gangs have taken over your local government favored them, not you, which is WHY they have been successful in taking over in the first place. I'd have to assume that if you shot and killed a few of them, YOU would be arrested and go to jail. Correct?
That's because of "liberalism" in your government. There is no way around that argument, which leads me back to my 1st question
Why don't you move?
If your government is against you at the foundational level, and for the gangs at a foundational level, you CANNON ever 'win" the war. You may win a fight only to be targeted by both the gangs and the cops later.
Arms yourself and get training Yes yes yes.
But get the heck out of there as soon as you can.

January 23, 2012, 10:35 AM
Excellent questions WyoSmith.

I'm required contractually to remain in my residence for 6 years as a full-time resident--otherwise the city's housing authority will lower the boom on me financially. But that term is up in December. I paid 137 K for the place--in this economy and given the neighborhood, I'll be lucky to walk away with 30 or 40 K. That's a big hunk of money to take a huge loss on--but I will be gone one way or another by this time next year.

I don't need an AK--I already have an AR with M855 if I need it--but that's not the problem. I have to be sure of where each and every round goes when I pull the trigger--not an easy thing to deal with when a car pulls up with thugs who don't give a hoot about the law when they open up on your residence with an AK. I'm surrounded by homes and apartments. If you watch that video I posted above--the 7.62 was the superior penetrating round in an urban construction environment compared to 5.56 from M4/16.

I agree with your conclusions and courses of action otherwise.

January 23, 2012, 11:12 AM
Mindset (for lack of a better term) can offset training and experience.

Lets take paratroopers (which have been mentioned a couple times in this discussion).

During WWII American Paratroopers were involved in some of the most fierce combat in the war, yet, they had a much less rate of PTSD.


The army asked that question. Except for airborne school, airborne infantry go through the same training and any other American infantry troops so what is the difference.

The army went to Benning to study this and concentrated on the 34 ft tower. Any one who's been to jump school can attest that the 34ft tower is more frightening then actual jumping from a plane.

They found those who were slow to jump from the tower were twice as likely to fail or drop out then those who were quick to jump. So what you end up with when you talk about paratroopers is a higher percentages of "fast jumpers".

An example, someone mentioned we, America, fights different, and technology, air power, etc, makes the difference when comparing American Soldiers and others. This is true to a point, but then again the paratrooper example proves that's not always the case.

Look at Bastonge. You had one understrength light infantry division (paratrooper) holding off three heavy armor divisions. Weather prevented air support and re-supply, but paratrooper mentality allowed them to prevail.

Another factor that comes in to play that skips "training and experience" is control. If you feel you are in control of your fate, you are in a much better position to work through the problem, where if you aren't in control, fear interferes.

Take bomber crews in WWII. Percentage wise they had a pretty high causality rate. When under attack pilots faired better then turret gunners. They had the feeling they had control of their destiny where the turret gunner could do nothing but set there, leaving his fate to someone else.

If I may interject a "war story" it would help explain the "control of ones fate" theory.

In March 1968 I was involved in one of the worse firefights of my tour in SE Asia. I did fine, meaning I could set aside fear because at the time I was carrying a M-60, and I had control of what was happening around me. That is until I burned up the gun. Now I'm helpless, I had nothing but a 1911a1 and could Basicly just set there. That's when the worse fear of my life kicked in causing me to sort of freeze up. The only way I could control my fear was when a M16 from a fallen comrade became available and I could get back in the fight, I then felt I was back in control of my fate and again could work through my fears.

Experience may or may not help. I had experience of setting there with the 1911 which would help nothing. I had experience with the '60 and later the M16, which did help.

Where training comes in, is with training you are given the tools where you can gain control of your fate.

Experience is good if you can "after action" your conduct, meaning you have to evaluate your actions. Your failing in your experience means you have to train to prevent the failings in the future. You success in your experience needs to be studied to determine what you did right, and if possible expand on it.

In my "war story" mentioned above, if evaluated correctly I would had determined the time between the M60 and M16 should have been spent in a more aggressive roll. I did the evaluation and I think it helped me a lot in the rest of my tour.

In continuing my military and LE career in my future life I took the lessens learned (good and bad) and incorporated it in my personal training and the training I provided to others.

Double Naught Spy
January 23, 2012, 11:21 AM
In a one word answer: no, . . . experience does not trump training.

Apparently, experience can and often does trump training. Cops get beat with some regularity by untrained but experienced bad guys.

Go from Viet Nam up to the present: in every conflict the USA has been outnumbered in terms of soldier vs soldier numbers, . . . and yet the body count total has always been in our favor, in many cases by 10+ to 1.

In Iraq and Afghanny, . . . I have been led to believe that the numbers are even further apart, . . . and the only thing that makes the difference is that our men have the training, . . . rugheads have weapons, indoctrination, and desire. An M-4, . . . an M14, . . . or a Barrett, . . . trumps desire and indoctrination every time.

The only difference is not that our guys have the training, LOL. It certainly helps, but in each of the conflicts you listd, we have had tremendous superiority in technology, munitions, transportation, and medical care. In the recent engagements, our guys have also had the benefit of wearing very good ballistic armor. We have the ability to strike our opposition from altitudes they can't reach or from locations hundreds or even thousands of miles distant. Injured soldiers can be evacuated extremely quickly from many areas of combat, usually after receiving first aid on the ground, then getting further aid back at base and/or then transported to a hospital. After being stabilized, soldiers can be in Germany or back in the US for additional treatments within a couple of days of being injured.

American soldiers may be better trained than their opposition and that does help, but American soldiers also have many other very significant advantages. If a group gets pinned down, they can call in for and often get air support or artillary support.

Even when not on their home soil, the American military often has numerous advantages over its opposition

January 23, 2012, 01:28 PM
As far as the cops vs bad guys thing goes, bear in mind that the BG often starts the ball rolling, and the aggressor has a certain advantage. Also, cops don't generally shoot people from ambush, or just walk up and start shooting.

Hit percentages tend to be higher before the other guy starts shooting back.

Go figure.

January 23, 2012, 05:06 PM
I'll be honest I didn't read all the responses so someone might have already made this point.

Training without experience teaches the fundamentals but doesn't always help you apply them in a stressful situation, more so if it is time sensitive. Experience without any training will almost always lead to gaps in fundamentals. Experience followed by training usually involves unlearning bad habits. Training followed by experience allows one to put details in their proper context because of the knowledge one can draw upon.

I went to school in the Army for 8 months to become EOD (Navy school though). When I hit the ground in Iraq I was a little behind the curve compared to people who did other jobs but had been in country for the better part of the year. But after I had gotten some experience under my belt those same people often got confused on the way our team did things because they had no deeper understanding of it than pure experience. Don't get me wrong they did their jobs very well but when it came to bombs and bullets it didn't matter how many they had seen they never developed a broader understanding of them.

The concept of Training -> Experience is the best one out there in my mind. So I guess if I had to chose one or the other I would take the training and figure things out after that.

January 23, 2012, 05:21 PM
Well let's face it not all training is equal and not all experience is equal. In a fight I'll take the guy with 100 street fights over someone with 5 years of tae kwon do training. But then I'd more than likely take someone with U.S. military training over any gang banger on the street. It doesn't just apply to fighting either. You can and do learn more from experience than you do from a classroom environment.

Basically though I have little respect for the ability of the average gang banger walking the street. They shoot a lot more than they hit and they run or duck a lot more than they stand up and fight. If they were really very good there'd be a lot more bodies on the street. Not necessarily a bad thing if they're shooting at each other IMO. Maybe we should sign em up for some hardcore training. On second thought, not such a good idea.

No one knows what they're gonna do in a fight. But from all I've seen I'll take my 25 years of shooting over some 1, 2 or 7 day class in a heartbeat.


January 24, 2012, 02:50 AM
It looks like the city may be FINALLY coming to it's senses: http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jan/24/chattanooga-tougher-laws-sought-to-deal-with-gangs/?local It's interesting to see that rural areas are likely to resist law reform regarding gangs.

January 24, 2012, 03:08 AM
In a one word answer: no, . . . experience does not trump training.

Combat experience IS training.

Interesting question, however.

Experienced soldiers who've seen combat vs. a well trained Seal or Delta Force team on their first mission? I'll take the Special Ops, since their training is so extensive, and the quality of the soldier is simply superb.

On the other hand, it takes a lot of training to overcome the experience of soldiers who've seen extensive combat. Some things aren't learned anywhere except the real thing.

Double Naught Spy
January 24, 2012, 06:04 AM
As far as the cops vs bad guys thing goes, bear in mind that the BG often starts the ball rolling, and the aggressor has a certain advantage. Also, cops don't generally shoot people from ambush, or just walk up and start shooting.

Police training is supposed to take into account handling aggressive people including those that start the aggression. Even if you don't consider ambush shootings, cops still have a rough time.

Even when the cops are the aggressors they don't always win despite that advantage and their training advantage.

January 24, 2012, 07:34 AM
As has been stated by others, experience is training. The ideal situation involves the highest level of simulation and then the actual experience which tends to sharpen the skill tremendously. I like to think about our special forces warriors when thinking about the ideal situation. When experience happens under life threatening circumstances, you have stress innoculation which prepares you even more the next time an event happens. You program the "mid-brain" for the next time.

What is interesting about experience is that by winning actual confrontations, you are more likely to continue winning. It is called the "Ace factor." A simple analogy for me is the phenom in which the same NFL quarterbacks tend to lead their teams to championship football games year after year. This year was no exception. These guys are Aces because they've been there and they stay cool under pressure (think Joe Montana). The same thing happens in gunfighting, whether on the ground or in the air.

As far as gangbangers who may have a lot of experience but no training, the continuous quest for survival coupled with their predatory nature, sharpens their abilities. Surviving conflict makes them stronger and harder to defeat. It is the law of nature: only the strongest survive.

January 24, 2012, 07:41 AM
The thing is, once again, that there are some things for which most people cannot reasonably expect to acquire "experience."

Getting into shootouts with handguns is one of those things. Most infantrymen, should they end up in a battle, will use a rifle (or heavy weapon); few will use a pistol; and most infantrymen do not end up in a battle.

Most cops will never fire their gun in the line of duty, outside of training.

And a lot of people who do fire their gun in self-defense, or LE work, won't do it a second time - so it's difficult to say what difference their initial experience made, compared to any effects their training may have had.

In other endeavors, training can trump experience. Flying is a good example. A lot of pilots amass a lot of time flying the line, but don't train for emergencies all that often. They are often very smooth at flying the plane in normal conditions, but may not be as good at handling emergencies in the aircraft as a pilot whose training more intensively and extensively focused on in-flight emergencies.

The more experienced pilot will probably have smoother landings and a better touch on the controls than the pilot with less experience, but more emergency training.

The guy who put in lots of hours and repetitions of training for engine failures or fires during takeoff will probably do better with the emergency in that environment.

January 24, 2012, 09:01 AM
I think the paratrooper off the jump tower points out to an aspect of all this that is neither experience or training--it is the mental mind set (warning, this is all purely my subjective opinions). This is probably the hardest thing to quantify and define. I have a bar buddy who is an ex-Seal, and you wouldn't know it unless you knew him. Despite being older than me and retired, it's a marvel to watch him confidently "wade into battle" when hitting on the women. :D

January 24, 2012, 10:00 AM
I don't think experience trumps training, but it depends on the experience gained and the training recieved.

Take what happened in Mogudishu in '93 between American forces and Somali militias. Throughout the fight, even though they did have air support (especially at night), the Rangers & Delta guys were outshooting their opponents consistently. This is pretty well documented by eyewitnesses from both sides.

However, what is often overlooked is that the Somali militiamen, by and large, would have had much more actual combat experience, or experience with gun violence in general, than any of the American soldiers. They grew up surrounded by etreme violence their whole lives. Gunplay, and gun violence is second nature to them, and still is, yet they recieve no real training and paid for it severely in that encounter.

If you don't train to properly use your weapon, your experience will mean little against someone who is properly trained.

January 24, 2012, 10:22 AM
There are two necessary components to a gunfighter.

1. The willingness to shoot another person full of holes without hesitation or compunction. Your typical gangbanger shoot involves high volumes of typically inaccurate fire, directed into public areas in such a manner that would make most of us cringe. But the banger is driving the OODA loop at that moment because he don't give a damn, so he's filling the air with lead. Occasionally they even hit somebody.

2. The ability to get decisive hits at speed, under varying conditions and stress. This can ruin Mr. Banger's day.

Not everyone has #1 as an ingrained component. Like #2 it can, to a degree, be 'trained around', by teaching conditioned responses. #1 invariably becomes easier for those who have seen a lot of fights- and the determination to keep fighting can make the difference.

January 25, 2012, 06:52 PM
I'm only referring to experience vs. training in re: to a gunfight. Not all the other aspects of training, such as police training with regards to dealing with suspects.

After the training is all done, the mindset and performance under fire is still untested. Not so with those who have experience but It's still a contest between individuals.

Of course, some aspects of training emphasize cover, waiting for back up, and so forth. As far as the individual contest between participants in a gunfight, there's no difinitive answer to the question of which trumps which.

January 26, 2012, 05:06 PM
Not trying to be vague, but I would have to say, "Depends on the training and depends on the experience". Not all training and not all experience is equal.

January 26, 2012, 08:19 PM
I would say experience based on on-going training trumps all. Experience by itself may just count for little to nothing.

I own a weld shop. I've had welders walk in claiming "25 yrs experience". Turns out they have 25 yrs of experience doing it wrong.

January 26, 2012, 08:26 PM

Lee Lapin
January 27, 2012, 06:29 PM
A little insight on experience from Rory Miller - read the whole thing at the link below.

Force professionals have an advantage. A rookie can model veterans. You hang with the guys who have been doing it awhile, hear the stories, get some tips. It settles into your brain that it is ugly but survivable. You can do this. With luck (I don’t think it was conscious, but looking back we tried to do this) with luck, your first Use of Force will be with an experienced partner who can keep his cool and knows what to do.

None of that exists for a civilian self-defense student. There’s no, “The first time you are attacked, you’ll be with Shelly. She’s been being attacked for years and can show you the ropes…”

For most, if they get any serious violence in their lives, it will only be once. There’s no wading pool for assault.

- http://chirontraining.blogspot.com/2012/01/transitions.html

January 27, 2012, 07:20 PM
There really isn't anyway good way to get real fighting with weapons experience, on purpose, unless you are the aggressor.
Realistic practice and training are pretty much all the law abiding person has avalible.

Many people think of themselves as experts in firearms, edged weapons, impact weapons and hand to hand fighting, yet they have never been cut, shot at, or punched full force in the face. Many of those people really are proficent experts, despite not having been in a real fight. Some of them aren't.

Some of those people, if they are unfourtanate enough to get in a real fight, will utilize their practice and training and succeed. Some will, despite being well practiced, fail. There is really no way to know until the moment of truth.

I've been unlucky enough to have been in several life or death and possible great bodily harm situations. My physical and mental reactions have run the gambit between, partially frozen with fear, to calm acceptance that I was going to die. All I can say is, obviously I didn't. So even though I've had real life and death experiences, I'm not 100% certain how I will react if one occurs again. I personally don't see how anyone could be 100% certain.

Avoidance and situational awareness are, in my view, the #1 things to practice on, no matter who you are, or your line of work. Not getting in a fight, or at the least, being prepared before the fight starts will always be the best ways of winning.

Zen hat off/

January 27, 2012, 07:28 PM
A rookie can model veterans.

It would appear to me that that system is used in the gangs, too..... they have a hierarchy .....

January 27, 2012, 08:26 PM
I think a lot of you overthink criminals and firefights as a whole. It's the mindset and a few little things here or there that make the difference. It's not "I shoot 10000 rounds a year with this association or that." I'm not saying that doesn't help, but I honestly relate that to the big mouthy bully who hasn't gotten punched in the mouth. Everyone is saying experience is training, but I think that's a misnomer. Training is CONTROLLED experience. It's the same as the close proximity knife vs gun training. You have someone come at you knowing you're about to get "stabbed" so your ready for it. And if not, who cares? It's training and your not bleeding. Now imagine your thought process..ego aside, if that were to really happen.

As far as experienced gang bangers go, its kind of ridiculous to think they're doing military-esque tactics to any sort of success. They're pretty much the same as the bully I stated above. The principles of their tactics MAY be simil
ar, but the execution...not so much. Its like the Iraq military vs the US military in both wars. To say they didn't use military training would be a lie. But they still got run over as a whole in a matter of weeks. That brings me to my next point. While the individual infantryman may not have the experience, his training is based off of the experience of those who have gone before him. Even in one year I noticed the difference in tactics we used thanks to the experience of the year before. This in my opinion shows that there is no one set of tactics to use as an aggressor or victim. Which leads back to my original opinion of it all being mindset. Ever wonder why after 10 years of fighting a much more"inadequate" enemy were still at war? The two things I always preached were communication and situational awareness with the mindset to react accordingly. If you have no one to communicate with, then you damn well better have number two.

January 27, 2012, 09:05 PM
All of the training you guys and gals take, or will take. Is based on someones past experience. Be it LEO, military, or Self Defense.

January 28, 2012, 04:39 PM
The Afghan soilder has been mentioned. They have had 23 years of continuous battle experience in fighting the world's best and most powerful forces, including the Russians, Americans, French, British, German, and Canadian forces with little more than AK 47s and RGPs. Yet, nobody can beat them!

Proud Poppa
January 30, 2012, 08:39 PM
This is a very interesting question. It's interesting because the answer can be both yes and no.

Experience is on of the greatest teachers bar none. There's an old saying that goes "A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." The lessons learned through experience are invaluable and often are translated into training of others. For example, there used to be a protocol for treating patients with OSA and the same protocol for treatment of patients with COPD. My good friend and Pulmonologist had a patient that needed a particular device for treatment. Normally he would have followed the protocol as with any other physician. His past experience however, had shown him that following this treatment protocol could also have an adverse reaction and spike the patients CO2 levels ultimately leading to death. Today, that protocol has changed nationwide.

However, experience can also lead to bad habits. When I played sports our coach had two sayings. One was "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail", and the other was that you could only play as hard as you train to play. Meaning that if you practice half-assing it, you will only be able to half-ass it! A group of terrorist or bank robbers are less likely to strike with the precision of SEAL TEAM 6. Why? Because of lack of preparation as well as other factors.

In conclusion, I believe that both have their place. The more realistic you make your training, the more successful and efficient you will be when the time comes to perform. Train hard and smart. Think of every possible situation and plan for it. Keep an open mind. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Learn from your experiences and incorporate that into your training.

February 1, 2012, 01:23 PM
Didn't Cooper say something in Principles of Personal Defense,"Short of extensive personal experience which most of us would rather not amass. . . . . . . ." Training will certainly help one stay alive to learn from any experience. My third son has been to the the middle east on 5 tours. He's been in firefights where he went through 3 combat loads. (900 rounds), would I want him on my side? You bet your sweet bippy I would. I am sure his training helped him stay alive along with his equipment and lots of luck.

February 1, 2012, 01:56 PM
Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?

Someone mentioned the Taliban, and that they have generations of experience. True they do, but in a firefight, they stand very little chance against our trained soldiers. (throwing out the air and artty support which rules of engagement limit in Afghan).

Go back to my beloved Paratroopers at Bastogne. The 101st didn't have that much experience, they jumped in June 44, by Christmas they had about 6 months, in and out of combat.

They faced three armored divisions of German soldiers who'd been at it since '39, basicly 5 years vs. 6 months and the paratroopers prevailed.

Nah, experience alone wont cut it.

February 3, 2012, 08:47 AM
Experience, without training, just means that you aren't long for this world!

If you just plopped someone down in the thick of the Vietnam war with no training, gave them an M16 and a 1911, how long do you think they would have lasted.

February 3, 2012, 09:22 AM
Let's forget about the experience vs. training thing for a moment. One aspect I think that is left out here is that the law-abiding citizen is far more constrained than the gangbanger. We have to be careful about each and every time we pull the trigger--the experienced felon on the other hand probably finds this to his advantage since he probably isn't going to care who gets hurt or killed and already has divested themselves of any concern for the law.

February 3, 2012, 10:21 AM
Let's forget about the experience vs. training thing for a moment. One aspect I think that is left out here is that the law-abiding citizen is far more constrained than the gangbanger. We have to be careful about each and every time we pull the trigger--

That does tend to put us at a natural disadvantage when being engaged by a bad guy. However, even a psychopath doesn't kill just to kill. That person wants something and is willing to kill if necessary to get it. Guns are loud, dead people are hard to dispose of and both bring a lot of unwanted attention to most bad guys (unless its a grudge or vengeance killing). So, a reasonable amount of preparedness on our parts can present a formidable opponent to a bad guy. This is why training is important and probably trumps raw experience.

February 3, 2012, 02:02 PM
It was said "Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?"

Depends - If you have run out of men to fight, as was the case with the German army in WW II, you conscript 15 and 16 year old boys with NO experience.

They also lowered (to 16 years old) the age at which a boy could volunteer. Then they "strongly encouraged" boys to volunteer. They seldom checked a boy's claimed age; there were many 14-year-olds fighting in the German army in the Battle of the Bulge.

Source: http://web.mac.com/davedepickere/World_War_II,_analyzed!/Boy_soldiers_in_the_German_Army.html

Frank Ettin
February 3, 2012, 04:01 PM
It was said "Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?"

Depends - If you have run out of men to fight, as was the case with the German army in WW II, you conscript 15 and 16 year old boys with NO experience....Pretty much beside the point. Exigent circumstances often require an extraordinary, and frequently sub-optimal, response.

February 3, 2012, 10:26 PM
I think the key to take out of that example is that they did it once they had to choose between it and certain defeat. I'm no history expert but the smarter place to look would be what were there ideals right before the war when options were abundant.

February 4, 2012, 08:59 AM
I'm not to big on quoting famous people, although some quotes are very profound, especially when one considers the source.

"I was scared before every battle. That old instinct of self-preservation is a pretty basic thing, but while the action was going on some part of my mind shut off and my training and discipline took over. I did what I had to do." - Audie Murphy (http://www.audiemurphy.com/), America's Most Decorated World War II Combat Soldier

My training and discipline took over. Just some food for thought.

Lee Lapin
February 6, 2012, 01:18 AM
More from Rory Miller... worth a read IMHO.

The First 3 to 5

February 7, 2012, 02:38 AM
I think we can all agree that nobody will achieve experience without at least a bit of training. But as I said training is experience. There are however a lot of variables to this question. For example I've seen kids gaff off in training but perform rather well when the real experience happens. And I've also seen the guys who try to train like they're going to WW3 and then be lost in the sauce when the real thing happens. How many with a military background have seen a new lieutenant with more training seem to be lost when compared the 20 year old E1 or E2 with the minimal training but a bit more street smarts? My point of all of this is that anyone can "train," but it takes a mindset to skillfully and successfully apply it. Hopefully, the training will (and typically it should) help mold that, but it's no guarantee.

As far as the Taliban goes, they may have 23 years of continuous combat experience in their corner. They also have 10 years of US politics in their corner. That's a different conversation for a different place though.

Frank Ettin
February 7, 2012, 10:57 AM
Another thing to consider is that in order to learn from experience, one must first survive it.

February 13, 2012, 10:28 PM
Experience Trumps Training or Training Trumps Experience…There is an old saying,,,”You have to Walk the Walk before You can Talk the Talk…This is almost like the old question which came first the chicken or the egg? I for one would not want anyone to go into combat without the best training available,,,but even the best training available will never equal the training of the actual experience of combat.

Viet Nam for instance, the biggest mistake was not sending companies of soldiers who had trained together and were buddies and instead rotating in and out of companies individual new guys,,,FNG’S. Boot camp at Ft. Lewis in 1967 was excellent training,,,scored expert on M14,,,lot of marching and physical training field exercises learning to work as a unit and discipline,,,was it good training for Viet Nam somewhat but not really.

On to Ft. Polk and Tigerland for infantry training,,,scored expert on M16, usage of machine guns,,hand grenades,,mock VC village some tunnel work and clearing hootches,,,escape and evasion etc. was it good training for Viet Nam somewhat but not really.

Paratroop training at Ft. Benning,,,,lots of running and physical training…learning to do a parachute landing fall or roll,,,the 34 foot tower jump out and slide down a steel cable to the end,,,the 250 foot tower hauled up 250 feet with your parachute fully deployed and then dropped and then the actual static line jumps at around 1100 feet all Hollywood except for one equipment jump,,,exit the door twisted around by prop wash,,,falling down and under the tail of the C-119 flying boxcar,,,your T-10 chute opening and jerking you up,,,checking canopy pulling slips and the peaceful glide down until about 100 feet up when the ground starts coming up fast and you land and roll and collect your chute…Lot of fun,,,never did any parachute jumping in Nam. KRAIGWY is right tho it does give you something extra hard to describe.

What we actually needed was a month of training in the mountains,,,carrying packs or rucksacks weighing 100 pounds drinking out of streams,,,carrying our own c rations or lrrps,,,on patrols,,search and destroy missions and ambushes and listening posts and observation posts with blank ammo fighting against our own people dressed as VC or NVA and using their equipment and tactics,,,there is a complete difference in the sound and cyclic rate of a M16 compared to an AK47. The more brutal the conditions the better.

Then we needed a month of training in the swamps doing the same thing for a month but now adding clearing villages to simulate the rice paddies and vills. The more brutal the better.

Fast forward to Jungle School outside of An Khe in Nam sitting in a group about platoon size and told for all of us to look at the guy to the right of us and then to the left of us and told out of the three of us only one would come home not wounded or killed,,,this is where the real training began for a couple of weeks.

Then to the field and actual combat,,,being treated like a pack animal,,,first light the ambushes and listening posts come back into the company perimeter,,a little time for something to eat and maybe clean your rifle,,,fill in the bunkers you dug last night,,,and walk single file with flank and point and rear security over the mountains through awful terrain as you never walk down trails or streambeds…The loads are brutal for everyone but especially for the mortar platoon and the M60 machine gun crew, you are forever shifting your rucksack as it digs into your shoulders and almost wish someone would pop a cap so you could drop your ruck but you pray it will not happen because if it does someone will probably die,,maybe you. If you are on Point there is nothing between you and Death but the end of your rifle barrel. If you are on the gun, M60 machine gun you know if it hits the fan the first call will be Gun up Front. If you are the RTO or Platoon NCO or Officer you know they like to shoot holes in your ability to call in a Fire Mission. If you are on Rear Security you learn to walk forwards looking backwards. You patrol almost all day long, the guys who cant make the hump you tell them that Charlie or the NVA will be along to help them carry their ruck and then you leave them alone in the jungle,,most find the inner strength they did not know they had to catch up,,the ones who dont and are willing to die you go back and carry their ruck or dust off them out. Guys cracked and went nuts. You then stop and set up a logger site or night defensive position with the full size shovels and picks and axes you carry digging a rectangular bunker filling sandbags and cutting down trees for overhead cover which you pile the sandbags on. Then the ambushes go out usually squad size sometimes platoon size and the three man listening posts go out and you finish with the Claymores and Trip Flares around the perimeter and you catch a little sleep before your shift on guard duty in the bunker…You do this for days for weeks, longest we were out was over a month, along with the firefights or combat you get in, before they chopper you in for a week of perimeter duty behind the wire of some firebase or LZ. You drink filthy water eat marginal food and are filthy and smell,,,but you never notice until you get into a rear area around guys who shower and shave and use deodorant and cologne. You have seen guys on both sides shot to hamburger by bullets and blown to pieces by booby traps.

I personally know of no training that adequately prepares you for combat,,,maybe the closest is Navy Seals,,,Marine Recon,,,Army Special Forces and Rangers,,,British SAS,,,French Foreign Legion or Russian Spetnaz.

So if I have a choice between someone with all kinds of training but no combat experience or a private or corporal or sergeant filthy and smelly from head to toe just coming in from weeks outside the wire on combat missions with months or years of experience in combat in a War Zone,,,give me the Combat Vet every time,,,because at the end of the day it does not matter so much who your unit is and it does not matter so much what rifle or high tech equipment you are using,,,and it does not matter so much how much training or even experience you have,,,at the end of each day what really matters is,,,if you still have a pulse or not.