(originally posted here: https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....l=1#post490523)

Regarding the original post. As many have pointed out, that's some good shooting. Regarding the time needed for a hostage taker shot, there have been studies done to determine the optimal time frame needed to make that shot. Some guys in this forum will know what I'm referring to as they have been through the course hosted by a Federal agency. It's a hostage rescue course, and the times involved for every iteration are based on the study of 1,000s of iterations in training as well as actual incidents. The parameters for the study to establish times needed to make a shot once the element enters the room were simple, the hostage takers, armed with FX marking cartridges, were directed to start shooting hostages as soon as they saw or heard the door open. One room. One door. Pretty simple... as simple as one can make the problem for the purposes of gathering data. There were obvious things that played a role in giving the element entering the room an advantage, and just as obviously I can't post that info here. (The easiest way to get the info is to be selected by a team that meets the criteria to receive the training. ).

So here is what we know regarding time needed, and what can be shared in an open forum. You have human reaction time, (your's and their's), to make the most important shot of your life on a, (possibly), moving target. Human reaction time is 1/4 second? Maybe. With other variables imposed, we can delay their reaction time but those variables also affect us to some degree so there some cost to benefit math that has to be done. Speaking of human reaction, the vertical fetal element might come into play causing a full size target to become a not so full sized target as well as the use of hostages as shields reducing that target further. All of these factors call for a high degree of skill, understanding some very important fundamentals such as knowing your zero/holdovers, knowing how much of a sight picture is a good-to-go sight picture given the problem you are trying to solve.

Keeping those factors in mind, I want to structure my training in such a way that my weapon manipulation skills are reactive. I need as much space available in the analytical side of my brain as this is one of the ultimate puzzles to solve, there isn't time to wonder if this is a good enough sight picture, should I refine it more, I don't know if I can take this shot... Those questions needed to be answered in training long before this moment. So weapon handling at a reactive level, so the analytical mind can actively engage in the Read/React cycle tactical side of things. There really is no room for error, and if errors are made the win goes to the one that can diagnose and correct the fastest, again this is only possible if the mind doesn't need to concern itself with weapon manipulation. This goes back to something I wrote on TPI a long time ago about Depth versus Breadth. I need to have a seriously deep understanding of the fundamentals and how to apply them at speed.

So... what's the point? I like to repeat a quote on of my coaches, Chris Haueter, says which is; "think street, train sport, practice the art".

I can think street based on situations I've been in with a hostage taker, (2, one with a knife to a kids throat, one with a revolver to a kids head), as well as conversations I've had with friends that have been in those situations, as well as debriefs I've attended of incidents, AAR's on incidents, as well as a lot of training in the subject over the years with my first hostage rescue class being one of the first classes Paul Howe taught back in the early 2001. So again, the street side of the problem is contextualized for me by training and experience. If training and experience drive the practice train then I know that applying the fundamentals at a high level of skill in adverse circumstances is exactly what I need to structure my practice around.

Enter the "train sport" element of the equation. The only place I can really apply this stuff, gain the understanding of my weapons i.e. acceptable sight picture, holdovers, reactive weapons manipulation, at the level I need it to be at to solve that problem is in sport. Let's look at if from a private citizens point of view. As a private citizen at a public range there is no ammo locker, I can't shoot and move, I can't shoot on the move, I might not be able to draw from the holster and there are even some ranges that won't allow "rapid fire". So now where exactly am I going to learn what my acceptable sight picture is on a mover? Or while I'm moving from point A to point B? How will I ever get the opportunity to deal with targets through a port, from odd positions, around structures, or after having just hauled ass from point A to point B? And get to do this on a regular basis, enough so that I have confidence in my ability to handle my weapon? Most folks can't afford to take classes as often as they can shoot a match. A guy or gal could shoot a match almost every weekend in a month and still not spend as much as they would spend on one class. Of course the class/course work is necessary, that's not my point. My point is, for the private citizen on a private range the opportunity to do all that stuff might only come in the form of class/courses or a match. Classes are expensive, matches for the most part are not. So train sport to build and maintain reactive shooting skills.

In summary here is how I do it and how I advise others if they ask me; Think street. Take classes/courses, read the NRA Armed Citizen column, watch CCTV footage, talk to guys and gals that have been involved in incidents to deepen our understanding of the street side of things as well as embed sound tactics. Practice those tactics everyday as we go about our day. As one of my favorite dudes on the planet, Ed Bugarin, said to me when I first got on the job, "every time you walk down a hallway, a stairwell, through a room you should have mentally cleared it, every time you walk up to your car or past a car in a parking lot you should have mentally cleared it. Don't lose the opportunity to get your reps in. After a few years of that it becomes what you do, it's just your natural state and you won't have to think about it when you do it while shit is hitting the fan."

Train sport aka USPSA or 3 gun. Similar to BJJ, MMA, or boxing it's realistically the only place you can practice all the weapons manipulation stuff without getting thrown off the range or going to jail. I've already covered all the elements you'll get to practice, and how it pertains to the street side of things. One of the aspects of participating in a sport that hasn't been discussed is the deadline aspect. With a match you have a date, you now know there is a day coming where you are going to step in front of your squad mates and get it on. It's motivation to practice, which increases your skill, and deepens your understanding of the fundamentals. What's the difference between a guy like Les Pepperoni or Gabe and me? They can read their sights, know it's good enough to make that shot, and do it light years faster and more consistent than I can. Simply put, they can execute the fundamentals under stress with greater efficiency than I. I don't see that being a detriment in a street situation, based on the situations I've been in. With a date/deadline out in front of me, my practice becomes more structured, intense, and focused. If an incident were to arise between now and the match, the increase in skill from those amped up practice sessions can only be to my benefit.

Last is practice the art. This is where we become dangerous old men and women. We can't compete any longer, (maybe), with the younger eyes and reflexes but we're still way ahead of where we would have been without the focused effort we put in. I talked about this with Larry Lindenman, Cecil Burch, and Craig Douglas recently. Although I don't compete in MMA or BJJ any longer, (for now), the time period when I did put my skill set into warp drive. Guys that started training at the same time as me, but never did a fight prep, never experienced the intensity of preparing for a competition let alone the actual competition, didn't progress at the rate I did and others I know that have competed. It's hard to explain, and unless you've done it most won't get it but the intense mental focus of a prep period never really goes away. You tap into something that is alway available once you access it, you know how to drive yourself, you know what failure is now and you also know that most folks never even come close to true exhaustion. Mike Brown told me that when he wanted to learn the new way of gripping the pistol, (canted support hand), he decided to do 300 perfect presentations to build that in. Right then. Right there. So he did it, even though it shredded his hands. He had blood and blisters everywhere but he did it. I'm not sure how many reps he actually did, but I know he did 300 perfect reps. The reason he could bring that focus to bear is because he was a collegiate wrestler, now a competitive BJJ athlete, and knew what it takes to bring focused competition prep level intensity to an endeavor.

Can you learn to do that through other means, maybe more tactical means? Maybe but we know for sure it can be learned through sport and then applied to street.