The ebook about Advanced Skills and how to practice them is now available. Recognizing the value of dry practice, the download also includes two MP3 files to easily guide your dry practice sessions.
A commonly heard statement in the firearms training community is “There are no such things as ‘advanced’ tasks, only ‘fundamental’ tasks done at greater speed.” While this statement is true to an extent, there is a broader perspective to be considered.
There are three components of Advanced tasks, all of which have equal importance.
- Performance Measurement
The ability to perform a given task in the same way and achieve the same results each time is a characteristic of advanced shooters. We have all experienced that day when we were ‘on’ and could do everything well. The difference between those days and our worst days is the measure of our consistency and what we are able to produce ‘on demand.’
Measuring our performance regularly and recording our results is the only way to know whether we are being at least consistent and hopefully improving our skill level. Performance measurement has two components: accuracy and time. Our personal perceptions of how competent we are at any given time are often flawed. The target and the timer, not our perceptions, tell us the true story of our competency. The ‘observer effect’ of performance measurement can also change a fundamental task into an advanced task.
The element of ‘context’ is a key component of ‘advanced’ tasks. Any fundamental task has to be applied in a certain way to different situations. Analyzing situations provides us with the context for a task. Studying incidents in detail over time can give us a broader view of the tasks and circumstances involved in using firearms for personal protection. This book had the input of an in-depth analysis of a database of over 5,000 Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) by Armed Citizens. From that analysis, the tasks involved in DGU were broken out along with the context in which the tasks were applied to a situation. Due to significant differences in Mission and Circumstances (METT-TC for Army veterans) between Armed Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers, on-duty law enforcement incidents were not included in the analysis. A few well documented off-duty incidents that paralleled incidents involving Armed Citizens were included
Another aspect of Advanced Practice is that some very common tasks in personal protection either physically cannot be practiced at indoor ranges or outdoor gun clubs, either due to rules or feasibility. Practicing drawing from the holster is the most obvious, because this is prohibited at most indoor ranges.
A less obvious personal protection task is shooting with innocent people downrange or in the midst of innocent people. This situation occurs much more frequently in real life than most gunowners realize. Think of how many times gunowners speak of ‘protecting their family.’ This statement implies that the family may be present during a Defensive Gun Use. However, the family members are often in between the criminal and the gunowner.
While it’s currently fashionable to talk about keeping a gun on one’s person at home, this isn’t the reality for most people. Among those who have Licenses To Carry, actual on-body carry is still rare. More likely, the gun is kept in some (hopefully secure) place of storage, either at home or in a vehicle. At home, this reality creates two implied tasks for personal protection; 1) access the pistol from a place of storage and 2) move safely from place to place with a loaded firearm. Since many people are uncomfortable with having a round in the chamber of an autoloading pistol, yet another implied task is possibly, 3) chamber a round and render the pistol safe for movement.
Note that in this book, the term ‘personal protection’ is used in place of ‘self-defense.’ The reason for this term substitution is that the person being protected is often not ourselves but rather other innocent parties. As an example, Armed Citizens often refer to ‘protecting their families’. We can refer to this relationship as The Myth of the Lone Gunman, which easily distorts the apparent relevance of both tasks and standards. This fact introduces a higher level of complexity into both the psychology and the tactics of the encounter, even when the technical marksmanship problem is the same as in a self-defense (Lone Gunman) situation.