Training for competition and safety

Published August 15, 2012 by
Filed under Carry, CCW, Competition, Mindset, Practice, Self Defense, Training

Continuing on from my earlier post, one of the pitfalls of competitive practical shooting is that it’s, well a competition, and not the real world. To quote from the article I linked previously,

“Many of these issues can be brought together under the single heading of stage strategy. To be good at the games, you need to understand their scoring systems and their rules. Sometimes things that make perfectly good sense ‘” like dropping an empty magazine on the ground ‘” could be illegal. Some things that make no sense whatsoever ‘” like exposing yourself to half a dozen targets at once instead of using available cover ‘” might be key to getting the best score. Most stages at most matches actually give you a chance to walk through and possibly even pantomime your plan in advance. Taking those opportunities and using them properly is important for the game, but obviously antithetical to preparing to respond to a sudden attack.”

If you’re going to need to defend your life with a firearm, the chances are pretty good you won’t have a chance to map out where you’re  going to reload your gun and where’s the best spot to shoot three targets without moving. Chances are it’ll be dark, chaotic and over quickly.

How do you train for that? How do you train to expect the unexpected and then react quickly enough to save your life?

“Blind” stages in competition are one way. Those are portions of a match where you aren’t allowed to walk through a stage, where you can’t figure out ahead of time where you’ll move and what you’ll be shooting when you get there. It’s just “Make ready, are you ready, standby, BEEEP!” and away you go.

This is a gamer’s worst nightmare, because all the little tweaks that you can do like figuring out angles of attack and optimal reloads don’t matter. What matters in a stage like this are the observation and orientation parts of the OODA loop, something that is off-loaded into “stage strategy” in a match but will be right up front in our face in the real world.


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