I wonder how many of us are truly prepared to draw and use a firearm in an emergency situation. Here are my questions: 1) What training have you had? 2) Do you compete in a defensive skills and drills competion, such as I.D.P.A.?
I have never taken a defensive course, but I have used guns for my whole life (since I was about eight) and I shoot as often as I can. My friends and I pratice with eachother out at our gravel pit, we shoot a variety of guns and practice drawing at close, mid, and long distance with our pistols. I may have never taken a "real" course but my speed and accuarcy improves every time we go out. I hope that in an event where I need my gun I will be ready for the situation with a calm and cool head but its hard to say. I think those of us who have never had to pull our weapons would like to be able to answer your question, and anyone can say "Yeah I could do it with no problem" but when the time comes it may not go down like in the movies. Bad guys don't miss with a whole magazine of Ak-47 when you are out in the open like in the movies and tv, and I don't think most people realize this. This is a good post to get people that are new to guns to think about what might be in store for them in the future, I know it has me thinking I may kick it up a notch out at the gravel pit next time
I've never taken a defensive pistol course but I have read many books and paid attention on forums when people who have been there and done that have attempted to share the wisdom that they gained.
What worries me is knowing when to really start the fight. If you are aware of your surroundings you will likely (remember that nothing is certain) spot the trouble before it gets to you. I know that this will likely put me at more of a disadvantage but I feel that it is easier to live with afterwards knowing that I'm not feeling trigger happy.
But practicing a good draw does increase your confidence and lets you know how long it take YOU to pull it off. I know that using a tucked holster (Comptac CTAC) adds a second or so to my draw time. The simple act of untucking my shirt removes that additional penalty and appears innocent.
I did spend a few years in the Army National Guard which did give me some combat training, just not with a pistol. Another confidence builder though. ;D
Nice topic. Let's remember a few things. The action sports are just that. Sports. They are not training for the street and the by-laws and info from IPSC and IDPA stress this rather well.
Now that that is out of the way there is an up side. Competition is an an excellent way to get used to shooting under pressure.
There are similarities to real world versus competition in having to shoot fast, think, and do it all well. Some of the thinking is tactical. But a lot of what IPSC and IDPA have you do in competition will not work in real defense showdown. While IDPA has some tactical format it is still a sport. IDPA was started to get the "practical " back in shooting with regular sidearms. Not as a training tool to better one's skills for the street.
IDPA follows basic tactical concepts that can change over time and then makes adjustments to keep updated. One has to shoot targets in tactical order or in certain number of shots. Gunfights are messy and will not happen the way they do in competition.
For instance. In one scenario last year, there were a number (more than 3) of pit bull targets to overcome. My daughter hit it on the head. She had made the observation that one could have shot a couple of dogs at most. Maybe. Hitting and stopping a vicious animal that is out to kill you and on the move, bobbing and weaving, makes a hard target to hit and neutralize. They feel no pain and are"on a mission". They do not care about being hurt or injured. Frenzied activity such as that is hard to overcome. Throw in more and a pack would have the person attacked down and killed in seconds. The pit bull targets were sitting still. Animating them to real life standards would be near impossible.
There were also armed drug dealers to deal with at the same time. I am not stating that this was totally ludicrous. Just that it does not mirror reality at times and should not be taken as such all the time. The scenario had to be shot and the targets taken in a certain order. Two shots per animal and bad guy targets as well.
The thinking it out, drawing and shooting in order, and using cover if necessary, if available,and doing it accurately and beating other's time runs are hard things to accomplish. But, oh, so much fun.Some of same pressures and shooting abilities that are needed, out on the street, can be seen on the competition field.
Some of the best shooters in competition, also had real life gunfights. They won the real deal because of mindset and ability to do well under stress. IDPA and IPSC provided that impetus. Even bowling pin shooting and SASS can offer this to a limited degree. All of these are also just for fun and what one wants to take away with them from all this. Just kind of giving out the basics to consider. Nothing more.
JTFs got a point. The bullets will hit if Allah's will sends it there. Our ground troops have had a hard time, but it was worth it, to get the Iraqi police and military recruits to go to aimed fire do to this. The recruits and military are now better than average and hit the bad guys more than not. Cultural boundries can be crossed under some circumstances.
my 2 cents, most of the research i have seen is you either have plenty of time to present your weapon because of situational awareness, or it is already to late. just being familiar w/ your gun and accessing it is most of the battle, which most of use get just by arming and unarming ourselves everyday. w/ that said there is certainly nothing wrong w/ practicing everything. i need the most help w/ clicking of the safety by feel alone, and in abnormal positions. like others i had some basic stuff in the military, and in the few scuffles i have ever been in, i found that my wrestling experience in high school gave me a serious upper hand. hopefully i'll never have to find out.
Like you mention, safeties can add complexities where you really don't want them. I stopped carrying any gun with a safety that I have to use (due to weapon design like a 1911) so I could simplify things. But all dealing with the safety requires is lots of practice. Many people have daily carried a 1911 so I know that it can be done. I just don't want to put in the time when there are other designs out there that will work for me.
I've shot a few IDPA matches. I'm not much for the "gamey" aspect, but the pressure isn't a bad thing, either. I've attended 2 training courses and learned some things at each. Wish I could swing a trip to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch, but I work for a living.
I've taken the NRA Defensive Pistol course offered at our Pistol Club. It was good realistic training.
I have also shot a lot of IPSC courses and hope to get back into it. I fully realize that IPSC is not "Combat Training" but it does prepare you to shoot under stress (time) in mock combat scenarios and of course your targets are not shooting back at you. When I shoot IPSC courses, I generally try to keep my tactics realistic instead of trying to game the course.
Otherwise one might consider Paintball, as well, and some in our Club do both.
I'm with Mr Peepers, have been shooting all my life. I've done quite a bit of competition locally and shot for several years with an IDPA club. Fun stuff, good for gun handling skills, perhaps can get you in the habit of shooting tactical order, but it's just a game. A real shoot out isn't a game. I don't know how you'd really prepare for that. Those classes are expensive and some are better than others and none of 'em is the real thing, so I'll just use my steady mind set and the skills I've honed over 48 years of shooting if and when the time comes.
By all means, shoot IDPA, it's a fun sport. Just bare in mine, it's a game. While you may have a little adrenalin goin' shooting under the clock, you ain't got those cardboard targets shooting back at you. I can't say how I'll handle it under fire if it ever happens, just that I do have the gun handling skills and I'll be diving for cover, that's for sure. LOL Number one thing, find cover.
Done extensive Defensive and Offensive training, including training others. Quantico has one of the best offensive courses I have seen. Then of course there are radical freelance trainers like Ken Hackathorn and his snake drill, what a character he is to be around (LOL).
I'm like a lot of you, haven't been able to take any formal classes but been shooting since I was 12, I'm 59 now. Have read years worth of books and articles, practiced my draw, and am accurate enough at speed for self defense. I was into cowboy action shooting for 6 years and got used to shooting under pressure. It also taught me to use my sights under pressure, very important. You can't shoot fast enough to make up for a miss!!!!!