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  1. #11
    I don't think law enforcement training has advanced much since those days at an institutional level from the outside looking in, it seems that all LEO I encounter are 20-30 years behind the curve outside of SWAT/SRT types or unless the individual trains on his own. I think Rob Shaw and Hackathorn are responsible for the generation like Defoor, Lamb, and Mcnamara

  2. #12
    There were some small pockets of innovation during WWII. I think it is hard not to acknowledge the contributions of the OSS in advancing more modern training techniques. While William Fairbairn, Eric Sykes and Rex Applegate certainly advocated point shooting (and are most associated with that technique), some OSS training included the isosceles stance in the 1940s.

    OSS Jedburgh training

    But more important than pistol technique (as point shooting clearly fell out of favor) was their overall influence on combatives and combat marksmanship training. One of Fairbairn's innovations was systemically moving marksmanship training from a competition orientation (shooting bullseyes) to preparation for combat.

    I always found this video of the OSS 'House of Horrors' interesting (if dated and more than a bit strange with the 'Lone Ranger' masks). Probably the earliest use of a 'shoot house'. Note the occasional editing where the pistol changes from a 1911 to a revolver. Fairbairn is the instructor behind the mask.

    From the National Park Service website...

    The House of Horrors

    A pistol range was initially constructed at B-2 for firing .45 Colt automatic and other pistols. The range had pop-up targets of enemy soldiers. Students were instructed how to fire a pistol using a special quick firing method from the hip called “Point and Shoot.”

    Another unique OSS training structure at B-2 was the “Pistol House.” It was also known as the “Mystery House,” “House of Horrors,” and the “Haunted House.” At a cost of $6,000 it was the most expensive structure built by the OSS. The house was located where the stable is today in Camp Greentop. It was designed by British Special Operations to teach close shooting practice under realistic conditions. Trainees were sent into the house with an instructor and were armed with a .45 automatic pistol. The house simulated a building that was occupied by Nazis and the interior was kept completely dark. The floors in the house were unstable and included frequent drops. There was a hidden phonograph that played realistic sounds including men speaking German. As they moved through the house they encountered Papier-Mâché Nazis with pistols.
    Last edited by JSGlock34; 06-02-2012 at 05:02 PM.
    Who is Jake Ellis?

  3. #13
    harden the f#ck up
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by GOP View Post
    I don't think law enforcement training has advanced much since those days at an institutional level from the outside looking in, it seems that all LEO I encounter are 20-30 years behind the curve outside of SWAT/SRT types or unless the individual trains on his own. I think Rob Shaw and Hackathorn are responsible for the generation like Defoor, Lamb, and Mcnamara
    Are you talking about L.E. training or shooting technique and style. Very different things. L.E. training made huge advances since I went to the academy in 1988. Shooting styles are cyclic. I started as a competitive shooter and a hard ISO shooter when I started in L/E. I will still use many of these techniques when faced with evil plate racks and fields of steel. I found the shooting techniques I was using were poor for handling people while armed with a pistol. They sucked ass for doing tons of cold searches in both structures and outdoors in low light. They were lacking in threat mangement. Many of those from the military and civilian shooting communities do not understand the threat assessment and evaluation expectations that are unique to the L/E community. The military is just starting to get a taste of this.

    As I tell people in classes, for pure shooting there are better techniques than what I teach and use. For dealing with the dynamics of managing encounters in the L/E world, I am pretty set on what I know works. I just had dinner with Scott Reitz a couple of weeks ago, and much of this was the topic of conversation. Scott often uses the Federal Court standards and standards of expectations placed on LEO's in a world where common sense and reasonable standards are at a higher bar than most realize.

    Cars and guns are a favored analogy. I am sure that I would get my butt kicked on any track by any Indy class driver running a full house modern Indy car. In a fully loaded Crown Vic in a wholly unpredictable and ever changing high speed urban pursuit through alley's and the wrong way on SoCal freeways, I can hold my own with anybody.

    I find that most of the critics of L/E training and procedures have not spent a lot of time in that world. I've trainined with a lot of NSW people and Army Special Operations folks. I enjoy it, like it, learn stuff, and find much of it non-applicable without a lot of modification. Unfortunately, there is a trend that cops are stupid and don't know how to shoot and those with no experience in that world will come in and fix things. Sounds good on paper........
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton"

    Co-Owner-Hardwired Tactical Shooting

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Wow, awesome posts by JSGlock and Nyeti. Great info guys, thanks!

  5. #15
    One thing that I've noticed is how few know any of the history, even instructors. And often those looking to make a name for themselves repeat the (mistakes of?) the past thinking that they're innovating when in fact they are only discovering what others before them discovered, tried, and threw out as ineffective. This is why I think a compendium or comprehensive history of the last 50 years of pistol shooting, maybe even the last 100, might be interesting. The problem is, I don't know of many that have the knowledgebase, time, and literary skills to compile it. and with those such as Cooper who, regardless of what you thought or think of him, did have such a great background and understanding of the history from whence they came, I don't know if it's even possible.

    Then there's the secondary challenge of attempting to separate dogma from reality.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    FL Space Coast
    Based on the history that I know, I give the most credit to Col. Cooper, and more specifically, his concepts.

    He put together a well rounded concept of "gun fightery", which tied in the most cutting edge and effective practical shooting techniques and the best hardware of the time along with embracing the evolution of both.
    He started a school, which brought in all kinds of people from around the world to learn and disseminate material that was orders of magnitude more effective in a practical sense than what was being done anywhere else.
    He created the modern practical shooting competition which allowed the testing and comparison of technique in a more dynamic and stressful environment than the square range.
    He was a prolific and easily read author, which further disseminated the concepts that we take for granted today.

    I definately believe that there were other notable contributors, and I don't agree with all of his opinons, but I cannot think of anyone that has made a geater impact than he has.
    As accurate as needed, as fast as possible, as many times as it takes.
    -F2S Consulting LLC-

  7. #17
    harden the f#ck up
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    If you go in with the idea that not much is new, it becomes easier to separate the marketing b.s. from what actually works (what works will differ from Military use, L/E use, civilian defensive use, and various competitive arenas). I have found one thing in common with the instructors I have learned the most from. They tend to give credit to others. Take a class with Scott Reitz, and will hear a lot of stuff about techniques dating back to the early days of firearms use and throughout the 20th Century, as well as context to why some things worked in certain time frames. Larry Vickers and Ken Hackathorn can keep me entranced with simply great historical information for hours. Pat Rogers fills in many holes about the transitional periods since the mid 60's. Many of these guys are encyclopedia's of great historical info. There are a lot of these guys out there, but the above are more publicly accessible.
    "If I had a grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton"

    Co-Owner-Hardwired Tactical Shooting

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Failure2Stop View Post
    I definately believe that there were other notable contributors, and I don't agree with all of his opinons, but I cannot think of anyone that has made a geater impact than he has.
    I think when evaluating history of anything, it's critical to keep in mind their era. Compared to what else was going on at the time, at least he had thought about things and had answers. Most at the time appeared to have not even asked the questions.

    I think you hit the nail on the head RE: Gunsite. I think of the original Gunsite as a laboratory as much as a school. They had the facility, time, and people to try things and see what worked. I don't think that exists today, and Gunsite today has become too insular and too much of a self-licking icecream cone. It does not appear to be welcoming of new people and new ideas, and appears too stuck in the dogma and history.

  9. #19
    Gunsite means something different depending upon what year we are talking about.

    There is early Gunsite, where it was a labratory for ideas, and the ground zero for instructors.

    There is later Gunsite, still with Jeff, but an older Jeff, where there may have been less development, and more confirmation of ideas Jeff had formed previously.

    There was Gunsite in turmoil during the Rich Jee era.

    There is the latest Gunsite which is stable, more business oriented, and based on a review of courses offered, largely a school of intro handgun, carbine and shotgun classes.

    While it was easier to differ with Jeff, very late in his life, as the Enos/Leatham modern ISO changed pistol competition, all the while Jeff fought stances other than the Weaver, rifles other than the Garand, and bolt guns other than a Scout, I can't imagine a person not respectful and admiring of Jeff during Gunsite's heyday. Interacting with Jeff, in person or by letter, throughout his life was always a thought provoking and exciting experience.

    No matter what differences you might have had with a particular idea of Jeff, so many of us owe so much to a way of living life, inspired by Jeff's ideas.

  10. #20
    Both Greg Hamilton and John Holschen spend a bit of time talking about the history of shooting in Insights Intensive Handgun Skills. Here's my summary of what Greg said when I took the class with him and which I posted in my AAR:
    The first formalized training for handguns was probably the NYPD. They used 6 shot revolvers. This is where things like hammers or double-taps became popular because of training tended to do three two-round repetitions. Later the OSS started developing other techniques during WWII. These included things such as using the muzzle flash to identify targets and had all of four hours of handguns training.

    Greg mentioned that most of what the great shooters did was to ‘figure out a way to get their ammo paid for’. This was what led Jeff Cooper to establish a shooting league. They had competitions of shooting balloons. Because of what had developed with the OSS and influence of Cowboy movies from the 20s and 30s, everyone had forgotten to aim. They all shot from the hip, because everyone knew that “That was what was fastest”. Jack Weaver was one of those who competed and noticed “It seems to be taking a lot of hits to get the balloons.” He spent an entire winter practicing with both hands on the gun. He came back the next year…and did horribly. Plus he got made fun of for having both hands on his gun and “shooting like a girl”. But he persevered and starting thinking “What if I aimed?” With both hands on the gun and using his sights, he “started to kick everyone’s ass”.

    If you actually look at pictures from this time of how Weaver shot, it is remarkably similar to what we now call modern isosceles. The “Weaver Stance” was actually created by Jeff Cooper. “Like any good Marine , he added 90 degree angles to everything”. Weaver did sometimes have his arms slightly bent, but that was because he learned something it took others until the Steel Challenge of the 80s to learn, namely that you can shoot things you’re close to before you reach full extension. In fact, the first time Weaver heard about isometric tension was when he read about it in a magazine. He had to go out and try it to see if he actually did apply it and his answer was “I guess there could be”. Massad Ayoob made this error even worse by increasing the prescribed tension to 45lbs.

    The next evolution in shooting occurred because of Second Chance Body Armor. The owner started to do demonstrations of himself being shot while wearing the armor then shooting bowling pins to prove someone wearing the armor would still be capable of fighting after being shot. He also took out an ad offering a free gun to anyone who was shot while wearing his armor and who managed to kill his assailant afterward. The Federal government did not think offering guns for killing people was okay so this offer was rescinded and he was left with a bunch of guns. He decided to start a competition and offer the guns as prizes. Until this point, most shooting competition had no awards. This was a game changer because people really started to be motivated to win. After all, a competitor could enter several classes of the competition and come away with multiple guns…which he could then trade for more ammo.
    Suddenly, people were designing guns just to win this pin competition. They moved the gas port and created guns with a non-reciprocating sight. This led to the evolution of the isosceles stance because people could watch their front sight.

    Jeff Cooper was watching what was going on and started to make up derogatory terms for the pin guns and say that a shooter could get away with an isosceles stance rather than Weaver, only because they were shooting ‘girly guns’. Cooper created the terminology around shooters, referring to the people who competed as ‘gamesman’ and the real shooters who used Weaver-stance and a .45 ACP as the “martial artists”. The only problem was that by the late 1980’s the “martial artists” started to get upset that they were getting the asses kicked at every competition. At this point, IPSC created the Limited class to try and allow the ‘martial artists’ a chance, whereas the Unlimited class was open to everyone. The only problem was the first winner of the Limited class, Jerry Burkhardt, also won the Unlimited class. This was “proof” to the martial artists that IPSC was “rotten to the core” and they founded IDPA. The first year Rob Laetham won. Coincidentally, he also won the IPSC competition that year. So, IDPA started asking the IPSC winners not to come to their competitions.

    When that didn’t work, they scheduled them the same weekend to make it impossible for someone to attend both.



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