Sunday, March 4, 2012

Commentary – train the way you fight.

It’s almost become a trite saying in the shooting/training community. It makes so much sense, right? Obviously you should train the way you fight. So what does that mean exactly?

My son called this week, his IDPA shoot had been canceled because of mud so we had a few hours on our hands this afternoon – what to do, what to do. So off to the range we went – I with my trusty Ruger .22/45 and Springfield 1911 and he with his Glock 17 -   his IDPA weapon of choice. Of course, shortly after his call indicating he was on his way the snow started. Not a light dusting type, but a “I think I’ll kick your ass” type. Heavy sigh. I’m getting tired of winter range work, I’m really ready for some green, warm and sun.

That said, the range called – we answered. I’ve taken to just using 3x5 cards as my target. I put 6 of them on the range target stand and will go through various drills while rolling through the different cards. Something about “aim small, miss small” comes to mind.

However, for me, my ability to actually focus on the front sight as I work my drills has diminished. Actually, a bit more than that. When my three white dots are aligned, it actually looks a bit more like a wide, blurred white bar. Past a distance of about 5 feet, no problem, less than that – blur city. When I am telling my body “front sight, front sight, front sight” it is responding – “What the hell’s that!!”

The boy looks at me, hears my grumbles and suggests: “Hey pops, how about switching to a fiber optic front sight?” I’ve been tempted to make some equipment adjustments . Of course, if I put on my glasses things are dandy too. These are a couple of solid alternatives. And yet, is this the way I would enter into a gunfight? Would a fiber optic front sight effect my draw, my weapon’s fit in my holster, my ability to see it in different light levels? As for my glasses, I only wear them to read or use the computer. When I am on the street, they are tucked away in a pocket somewhere, certainly not available to quickly throw on as I move off the x, draw my weapon from concealment and engage the threat.

Which brings us back to real life, I will engage my threat sans glasses with a sight picture that appears to be a blurred white bar made up of three separate, very fuzzy dots. And that’s the way I train. As frustrating as it may be, it is the only option that makes sense to me.

I notice that many of the competitive shooters I watch have moved away from training for personal defense to training for their next match. This seems to be most noticeable in follow-through and recovery before the next shot. I see weapons withdrawn to the high-ready very quickly, I see few “scan and assess’ drills and the desire to “unload and show clear” seems to take precedence to insuring their threat is down.

Now, will this have any tragic affect? Probably not. In fact the chance of any one of us actually drawing our weapon to defend ourselves, our family or a friend is very, very slim. Yet, if it happens, if a life is in the balance – are you training the way you would fight for your life . . . . or how you intend to win the next match.

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