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Thread: Ron Avery on the tactical vs competition false dichotomy.

  1. #121
    In the duh! category, any kind of BJJ/MMA/TMA competition will provide way more stress and pressure testing than any shooting competition. I would guess that it's orders of magnitude more. The difference is, you can be an out of shape slug, or injured, and still go shoot competition. You can even do well. And, since it's the most stress most people can avail themselves of on a regular basis with a gun, it is still worth something. Much harder to attend high level force on force on a monthly basis. Finally, for anyone who hasn't yet competed, and wants to benefit from the stress of it, I personally never found USPSA or IDPA to be stressful. Steel challenge, otoh, gives most people the shakes at one point or another. I hear Bianchi Cup does as well, but I have yet to try it myself.

  2. #122
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    I agree with the assessment of stress, but there isn't much of an alternative. I guess that was my point, you need an activity that you can repeat over and over. I would imagine a gun fight being closer to an MMA fight psycologically. I had twelve and can't remember much of anything from them.. kind of blacked out and my body just did what I drilled 10,000 times.

    It didn't get much easier either, I can't imagine it would be for officers in gun fights. That's my problem with someone dismissing competition vs. a real scenario... You can't do anything but rep the fundamentals and understand strategy. Some people just perform better under stress than others and I'm not sure it's as "train-able" as some think.

  3. #123
    Ron Avery shoots my local USPSA clubs, so it may be useful in the context of his post to know a bit about who shows up to these matches. Ron is among a select few national caliber Grand Masters who frequent these matches, giving the rest of us a chance to see what maximum human performance looks like. Most shooters are not emotionally prepared for the cold hard truth of how bad they suck, so many vanish never to return. Whether you compete or not, it's useful to get a visual of what this level of skill looks like first hand. It's bewildering and demoralizing.

    The shooters near the top of the pecking order at these matches include former SWAT, active LEO instructors, federal agency handgun instructors, some IDPA MA/Ex refugees, and former Military. Many are already combat tested. Almost nobody shoots what they carry, and the strongest active LEO instructor shoots a compensated/red dot/2011 Open race gun, which is nothing like any typical LEO gun. Take it FWIW, but the 'shoot what you carry' theory is lost among this group. An IDPA Master I know from this group hadn't shot his M&p 9c for months, then proceeded to click off FAST in the 4.6 second range with it in a recent practice session. Food for thought.

    Virtually all shooters at these matches have tactical or defensive training, and many are active instructors in these disciplines. Many have shot IDPA, but only the Masters and Experts seem to stick around USPSA for very long. All seem to recognize USPSA is just a game, but the level of skill needed to be even remotely competitive is ego shattering. Most IDPA types try a match or two, but eventually opt to stay home and try to rationalize why their tactical training, mindset and gear make them better prepared for the streets. Ron's point is these folks are delusional.

  4. #124
    Member Cool Breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    I was in the local Barnes & Noble the other day and came across this article that made me think of this thread. Maybe this can be helpful to some. I am not sure the credibility of the article - but if you believe this guy was one of the guys that fought in Benghazi, says that competing in USPSA has "greatly improved my shooting and strategy"
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  5. #125
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    An article I wrote a few years back (circa 2008) for another website that you guys might find entertaining.....

    IDPA - Will It Get You Killed?
    Randy Harris - Suarez International Staff Instructor

    There are many shooters who participate in shooting sports like IPSC or IDPA. In these sports the shooters engage a wide array of targets in little scenarios that often require drawing from a holster, movement, target discrimination, reloading, accurate shooting under time constraint and sometimes malfunction clearance. These are all good skills to work on if we also carry a gun for personal protection. Of course it is not training but it is good practice. But there are those that argue that participating in IDPA or other action shooting sports will build bad habits and can even get you killed. Let's look at that for a minute.

    The issues that people have are typically with use of cover, IDPA style reloads, only allowing 11 rounds in the gun in the "hi cap" categories, and the proactive nature of IDPA. The arguments ostensibly stem from people not wanting to ingrain habits that are not tactically sound. Ok fine. That is a laudable pursuit. The problem is that I think people sometimes do not look at context of the problem or the big picture or understand that there is a way to play the game and still be competitive and still work on skills that are real world useful in a real confrontation. I also honestly think some naysayers run down IDPA because they don't perform well at it. Lets look at some of the arguments.

    USE OF COVER: In IDPA, per the rules, you must use cover if available. And by using cover they want at least 50% of your body behind cover. The "gamesman" side of the equation stretch this to the limit exposing far more of themselves than they probably would want to in a real fight when rounds might be flying in both directions.

    But in IDPA the whole time you are shooting the timer is running and the winner is the one with the lowest time adjusted for score on targets. So the "gamesmen" get just enough of themselves behind cover to not be penalized and then shoot very fast. The "Tactical" side though often hunker down behind cover and engage targets VERY slowly. They argue that they expose much less of themself and thereby are doing it "right". They argue that doing it fast without getting 99% behind cover will get you killed. Maybe they have an argument, but not always a well thought out one....and not one that always applies.

    RELOADS: The reload argument comes from the "IDPA approved " reloads in the rule book. We have a slidelock reload, that is your gun has been shot to slidelock. We have a tactical reload . This is the classic reload during a so-called "lull in the action" where you save the rounds from the partially depleted mag by first inserting the new mag then stowing the old one. And then finally there is the reload with retention. Here you stow the old mag first and then insert the new.

    Any time the gun is reloaded and there are still rounds left in the old mag it must be retained. The logic is that you might need those saved rounds later on. The "gamers" and some "tactical" guys actually have some common ground here. They both disagree with the IDPA approved reloads. They argue that the IPSC style speed load is actually faster and should be encouraged instead of having to retain the partially depleted mag in the middle of a gunfight.

    CAPACITY: One thing I hear a lot of grumbling about is the 10 round limit. The most you can load is 10 in the mag and 1 in the chamber to start. Each subsequent mag can only contain 10.

    When IDPA was started we were in the midst of the ridiculous Omnibus Crime Act of 1994's ten year prohibition on new manufacture of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. We all had mags that held more than 10 but we could only load 10 because that was all that new production pistols came with. But when sanity returned and the "Assault Weapon and Magazine Ban" portions of that law expired in 2004 IDPA kept the 10 round limit in place. The logic was that several states still have state laws limiting the capacity to 10 and to be fair to them the limit would stay at 10. The argument is that those of us who carry pistols that hold more than 10 are penalized because we are forced to reload earlier than we would in real life. And I agree. But frankly I just do not think it is as big a deal as some make it.

    PROACTIVE NATURE: Finally comes the proactive nature of IDPA. During the course of fire you will often move from a known area into an area that may be brimming with bad guys. Generally in real life this would be suicidal by yourself. Military CQB room clearing is rarely done with less than FOUR people for that reason. The "gamers " have no problem with it. It is par for the course in IPSC. But the "tactical " crowd argues that it is not realistic..and I a point.

    About the only reason I could see for ever doing that would be to rescue a loved one. If your child or spouse is screaming downstairs and you hear strange angry voices I doubt that many" type A" meat eater personalities would stay put while who knows what happens to our spouse or child. In that case there is a reason for going into that situation. Otherwise we would be wise to stay put and let them come to us. But sometimes there might be overriding concerns that force us to take action we would not normally take.

    At this point if we decide to go extract our family members from whomever is confronting them then we are essentially in dynamic entry hostage rescue mode. If it is your house you will know the lay out better than the intruder or intruders. Here surprise and violence of action MIGHT help you survive, but any time you are trying to clear a structure , even your own, by yourself you are not on the good side of the odds. But on the positive side the proactive nature of IDPA gives some practice in dynamic movement and target discrimination. There is always a silver lining if you just look for it.

    So where do I (and Suarez International) come down on these arguments?

    On use of cover, there are times when it is just not going to be there to use and there will be times when it is there to use. Saying cover is always available is just as silly as saying it is never available. And proper use of cover does not mean setting up housekeeping behind the little plastic barricade and shooting at a snail's pace. Just because you are behind something now does not mean that the bad guys cannot quickly outmaneuver you and flank your position. So cover needs to be used wisely and then quickly move to a better piece of cover.

    One other thing though that the "tactical" crowd , with all their tip toeing about and bunkering up behind cover seem to not take into account. The first gunshot goes off and the element of surprise is gone. At that point dynamic movement and accurate shooting will be more help that tip toeing up to the next doorway giving them time to get set and get behind cover. After all, they probably got a bit of a clue that you were there when you shot one of them.....

    And I know at least one guy in particular who has been in more than one gunfight and use of cover was not an issue in his fights because they were over very quickly and there was no cover to be used! You might know him too. His name is on the deed here! EDITORIAL NOTE( referring to Gabe Suarez)

    On the reload, this is a bone of contention with some. Some in the tactical community teach an IPSC type speed load as the default reload method for real world tactical problems. They argue that it is hands down the fastest way to get a gun fully loaded again. They say that the reload with retention or tactical reload are both too slow and too cumbersome. But IDPA mandates that any reload not from slidelock must have the mag retained. Some argue this is silly. I think it really depends on the individual circumstances.

    There are some who wear more than one spare magazine on them so if they do lose one it is no big deal- they still have another full one. Hard to argue with that logic when the average gunfight is 3 to 5 rounds anyway.. The only issue is when the problem is not average and there is a limited number of mags and no immediate way of replenishing.

    Think Hurricane Katrina type situations. Or maybe military type clandestine operation in foreign lands.Here if you drop a mag it is likely gone for good. While I doubt many of us reading this fall into the latter category, I know many people went about armed after Hurricane Katrina and if they had been dropping mags in the water their mag supply would soon be depleted.

    Much more likely though is the "normal " guy who carries just one spare mag. If he jettisons his first and ends up having to shoot all of his second he is going to end up out of ammo fast. Especially if that is a single stack gun he carries.While this may be an unlikely scenario for the average citizen it might be a real concern for police or military guys. So I have no issues with the reload with retention. In fact the default proactive mag change that Suarez Int teaches is a reload with retention. While we do our 360 degree after action assessment we stow the mag that was in the gun and reload with a fresh mag. This gets us back up and loaded in case reinforcements for the bad guy are on their way but also retains the extra rounds in case things go from bad to worse.

    So if at the match you are forced to reload with retention and do not like it just imagine the scenarios are operating post Katrina and you are doing it in 2 feet of murky water and are without any support system to replenish lost gear. This might make that reload with retention more palatable.

    Now for the capacity concerns. I carry a hi cap pistol 99% of the time. And when I carry it I never download it to 11 rounds. I came to grips with it by considering it a malfunction and reloading and moving on. No one counts their rounds in real fights. They shoot until it goes click or shoot until there is no one left to shoot at . THEN they do a tac load of some type. But I have heard very few stories of civilian tac loads under fire. So I simply shoot the stage as written and unless there is a mandatory reload required I shoot until it is empty and reload. After it is all over I might tac load before I show "all clear" , but I realize the difference in training and the game so I honestly rarely do that. In fact there is a move in IDPA to get away from tac loads on the clock. I personally think that is a move in the right direction.

    The truth is that like any other shooting competition, IDPA matches are going to be won by those who shoot quickly and accurately. But then again aren't most gunfights also won by those who shoot quickly and accurately? So maybe we should worry less about doctrinal issues like cover and reloads and worry about whether we can hit what we are aiming at quickly. Remember it is a shooting match. A test of marksmanship and gunhandling under time pressure in a setting roughly replicating real world encounters.

    And then there are those that simply argue IDPA is not real. You know what? They are right. The bottom line though I think is not so much that the game is bad for the shooter, it is often that some shooters just do not do well at the game. Some of them argue that it was not real and use that as an excuse for poor grasp of basic defensive marksmanship and gunhandling . I am somewhat tired of hearing all the constant "IDPA is not real" and "if you try to win you'll get killed one day when you don't use cover trying to shoot the BGs fast". Of course it is not real, because the targets don't move and shoot back!!! And I darn sure don't down load my G34 to 10 rounds before I leave the house in the mornings! But I also realize IDPA is just a game. It is a game it has to have rules.

    To them it seems to come down to some kind of choice between being competitive or being "tactical" Look guys, if you work on your gunhandling skills (draw/presentation,trigger control, reloads,shooting from different positions) and on moving your feet rapidly when you need to move, you certainly CAN do well at the sport of IDPA and still be "tactically correct" on the street. The faster you can accurately shoot, the better, whether it is in a game or on the street. I still shoot fast and accurately and I finish high at my local matches most of the time because I don't waste time dithering over what to do, and I shoot and handle the gun QUICKLY.

    I honestly think a lot of people use "IDPA is not real"as an EXCUSE for not doing well or as an EXCUSE for not working harder to improve their skills! It almost becomes a justification for mediocrity.If you can "stink it up" and just throw out the tired old line "well, I did it RIGHT you guys are gaming it!" then there is no incentive to get better! What makes you think that while you barricaded yourself behind cover and took 15 seconds to shoot 6 shots at 3 targets 5 YARDS away,that in the REAL WORLD those bad guys didn't just flank your sorry butt and shoot you in the back of the head while you took FOREVER to shoot them? On the other hand if you can shoot each of them twice in 3 seconds they probably won't have that opportunity! What I was referring to about context. If the bad guys are close then you need to shoot fast, not give them an opportunity to out maneuver you. So hiding behind cover all day long is not always the correct tactical thing to do.

    Again, not directing this at any one individual. This is directed at the "tactical community" in general. I hear these excuses so often I begin to think it is just a crutch or excuse to justify moving and shooting like a lame turtle! Yes it is a game, but so is Ultimate Fighting Championship. Do you really think Chuck Liddell will fight on the street EXACTLY like he does in the octagon? I doubt it.

    If you WORK at your manipulations and gunhandling and shooting to the point it becomes second nature and you can do it "unconsciously" you WILL do well in IDPA. Will you win a National championship? Maybe not. That really depends on your ability. But you will probably do very well at your local matches and as a by product be that far ahead of the curve if it ever happens for real!

    You see IDPA is not real. It is not training. It is time pressured and peer pressured gunhandling and marksmanship practice on a course not of your design, so there is some thinking under pressure involved. You know, those physical and mental skills that help win real fights.

    And one other thing for those who do not participate due to fear of not doing well.

    Growth can only be achieved through risk of failure.

    Many are too ego invested to try new things that they may fail or have to work hard at to attain a high level of ability. If they DO something and fail,that is not a validation of their long practiced (or NOT practiced) training regimen.

    So to keep from damaging their ego they avoid putting themselves in a situation with the chance of failure. But at the same time they avoid the chance to polish their skills and become BETTER. No one becomes a master of anything avoiding hard work and challenges. Some of the best learning experiences are from FAILURE. But some people will never understand that. Get out and give it a try. If you don't like it then you hopefully had an educational experience and can use that to grow your practice regimen.Just don't avoid it because someone somewhere said it was not "real".

  6. #126
    Leopard Printer Mr_White's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Gaming In The Streets
    Quote Originally Posted by voodoo_man View Post
    Yes you did and it was extremely difficult to respond to you when there were three pages generated from the peanut gallery attacking me for not following dogma so forgive me for not wanting to play with the trolls.
    You were able to respond to me just fine. The other posters were not stopping you.

    My question remains:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_White View Post
    Why are training scars potentially formed by competitive shooting an insurmountable problem, but those potentially formed by defensive training and dry fire are not?
    You say you answered with this, but it not responsive to the question:

    Quote Originally Posted by voodoo_man View Post
    As I have stated ad nauseam, "training scars" which are formed in gaming have to countered with correct repetition to counter the learned responses. So the guy who runs a stage and speed unloads, shows clear, clicks the trigger pointlessly and speed reholsters is going to do that in a real life deadly force situation. Because that's all he knows and that's all he will do. There are numerous of examples like this, any one of which may potentially get a person killed.

    Quote Originally Posted by voodoo_man View Post
    To expound on this a little more here are the insurmountable problems associated with gaming as I have seen/in my opinion:

    Unrealistic gear selection, which leads to bad reps with gear that will never be carried in real life - gamer rigs

    Light loads or "powder puff" loads which provide an unrealistic recoil response which is much lighter than any modern defensive ammunition - gaming hand load vs 147gr +P 9mm.

    Walking a stage in an effort maximize points by planning course of fire - this does not exist in real life sets up a false confidence for the shooter

    Specific areas which shooting has to occur from, a box you have to stand inside of, a specific area you have to use, a specific barricade, etc - no such limits in real life

    Round limits per magazine - there is no such thing in reality

    Combat reloads or "forced reloads" - Of all the instructors I've taken classes with, and all the MIL/LEO's I've trained with, I may have heard of one 3rd party story about someone having to perform a reload quickly in order to survive a deadly force confrontation. This is simple something that a lot of time is wasted on and a lot people burn bad reps in this context. People will devote a lot of time to this instead of something else, with a rig they will never carry outside the game and developed a skill they may never need. The only time this becomes a real plus is when you compete as you carry, which most won't because you don't win and no one is going to back pocket reload when others are doing so from a gamer rig, because winning the game is the objective not burning good reps.

    Shoot everyone stages - the likelihood of anyone of us showing up to a situation where every single person there needs to be shot/killed is extremely low it's nearly zero. But yet every single game makes the shooter burn the rep of shooting every single target. Sure there are a few "no shoots" thrown into the mix, but that is still not realistic. Hostage headshot at 25 yards? Even if they are standing still the average shooter won't take that shot, but in a game they will this is burning a bad reps of multiple things.

    Zero considerations for background of targets because of preplanning - none of this exists in real life and over penetration as well as back drop as very real issues during a shooting. To disregard them is to dismiss them entirely, this means, again the average shooter will believe this is how real life will be because they have never once considered it while pulling the trigger.

    Two or three shots to an A-zone / shoot until the metal drops means you "killed" the target - this is not how life works. Show me a stage where the metal target pops back up repeatedly because will do that after being shot and falling. Show me the target with an A-zone being the high thoracic cavity and a C-zone the middle area where the standard A-zone is, not regulation is it? Life is not regulation.

    Throwing of shotguns/rifles at the end of that particular stage sometimes onto tables sometimes into buckets - It's empty so we just throw the gun?

    Slings? None-gaming mags/tubes for rifle/pistol/ No one is going to carry around a rifle with this type of mag attached to it:

    or this tube attached to their shotgun:

    or whatever this is:

    Running unrealistic long guns like this creates an unrealistic consideration for its ability it also does not allow for retention of the rifle. Show me a stage where you shoot a few rounds through a rifle then have to keep it on your person for an entire pistol stage? There may be one or two, but most that I've seen video's of? Throw them into a bucket.

    Muzzle brakes - not applicable for real life and will give away your position instantly in low/no light.

    Gun specifically designed to give the shooter as much of a competitive edge as possible - super light triggers, hi-vis fiberoptic sights (non-night sights), unrealistic open holsters.

    Gaming rigs - LEO's wear duty rigs with less stuff on it sometimes and no one walks around like this.

    Complete lack of target discrimination of any kind with any platform. Is there a stage where the furthest targets require very specific PID and shooting them automatically DQ's the shooter, the caveat is that the shooters aren't told about it and the targets are PID'd through an obscure method? Probably not, but that's reality - this is teaching people to shoot everyone without any consideration for ID, this is very bad.

    Use of buzzers/timers - do not exist in real life, building an unconscious response. This doesn't mean the average gamer will default to shooting people on a buzzer, but there will be bad reps burned because that is the only stimulus presented to start the stage. Why not start with a gun shot at random? Or some mechanical presentation of a threat? Probably because you can't quickly write down a time from that and do some score keeping, both of which don't exist in real life.

    The "always default to gun/shooting" mentality - which will get you in legal issues that you may not be able to overcome - see George Zimmerman

    Orientation of firearm decided by range rules, muzzle down type "no muzzle over berm" rules - do not exist in real life shootings.

    Complete lack of tactical awareness - putting guns and arms through windows, past door ways, or "cover" of some kind. - There are a lot of bad reps but this is really bad.

    Zero pieing of corners or proper clearing of any kind - there is no penalty for doing it wrong, there is a penalty for doing it right. This is unacceptable and a seriously bad rep. I don't remember the name of the video, I think vickers was in it and some Asian guy showing the difference between game clearing and real life clearing. If you mute it and watch it for what they do, not say you will quickly see the competitive shooter doing things that is completely unrealistic and will most definitely get someone killed if they ever did it that way in real life - which by the way no one does or ever trains to.

    Speed unload, speed reholstering - every shooter does this on every single stage. That is burning a lot of bad reps.

    [B]To contrast here are some things which I believe can be beneficial:

    Random start positions - as in stances or orientation of the shooter to the target.

    Tac reloads, reloading when the shooter has time and opportunity to have a fresh mag for new threats - this burdened, however, by pre-planning of the stages.

    Repetitive manipulation of a firearm system in a context the shooter may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

    Repetitive accuracy standards (for points) which require the shooter to be accurate and precise in their application of a firearm and the skill sets which develop to facilitate that end.

    Improved firearm awareness - condition, status, etc

    Recording of shooting to go over mistakes and try to learn.

    Classifiers - I like this because its just a pure skill based setup in some instances, there are a few which I do not like because they violate basic common sense - this one for example there is a no shoot but the rules clearly say you can engage the first target or the third target? That means if you engage the first target you are potentially shooting the no shoot? How about we don't shoot no shoots in any capacity even if a shoot target is in front of them? Because in real life that's not going to happen and training for this is setting yourself up for failure. Otherwise there are a lot of good qualifiers that incorporate movement and accuracy.

    Other things to consider:

    There are lots of good things that have come from gaming into the LE/MIL/CCW world. Extended magazines have been worked out well, like the TTI and ETS 22rnd magazines. The proliferation of variable magnified optics, which has become a standard. "Match" grade barrels.

    The is, however, a complete breakdown in the mindset developed that is required to overcome a deadly force confrontation, most of which has very little to do with shooting.

    **The above items/lists are not inclusive and I will add to them as I have time**
    This newer post is going backwards in the discussion pretty far. Go back and re-read this thread because this has all been addressed. Pretty directly applicable are posts 35 and 36, but we do continue discussing it from there.

    Then answer my question:

    Why are training scars potentially formed by competitive shooting an insurmountable problem, but those potentially formed by defensive training and dry fire are not?
    Technical excellence supports tactical preparedness
    Lord of the Food Court

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