Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

I just completed a team tactics class out in California which was a huge success. One of the successes in my opinion was creating a faster processing time for common tactical problems or what I like to call split second decision making. You can pull the trigger lighting fast, but that doesn’t mean you are doing it right. Same goes for decision making, you can make a quick decision, but it doesn’t always have to be the right one. Then on the flip side, you can take forever and a day to make the right decision, but the solution comes too late. The situation has changed or you are dead.

When Too Much is a Bad Thing

So, how do you get to the split second decision making, the first thing you have to do is limit your options. When there are so many options to choose from, the simple aspect of processing through all of them will take time and introduce the other pitfall, which is second guessing. Instead, you have to be able to take a step back and look at common problems, then identify common solutions. Solutions that can transcend or be applied to still create a winnable outcome.

We are gearing up for a Shoothouse Instructor Class at the end of the month and students are going to learn how to take a simple task and dissect it down to the maximum number of variables or at a minimum three. Then they have to come up with contingencies for each. The drill helps the would be instructors start to predict behavior as a means to reducing risk.

The Look

The same theory can be applied to tactics, whether directed internally or externally the principle is the same. What we are trying to do is create as many “looks” at the problem as we can. These looks help the individual familiarize themselves so that when they come across them in the real world, it has reduced the processing time. The key is to get as many looks as possible, the more looks at the same problem from different angles helps the individual by not only decreasing the processing speed, but gaining in confidence. Having seen the problem before lowers the stress somewhat or at the least removes the newness.


A mistake I see often in shoothouse is the indecision or hesitation. That does tie into the problem with multiple options, but it also has to do with taking in information for the first time. That can be a little overwhelming and as the individual is attempting to process, time is ticking away. Once the individual is able to recognize the situation, then they have to select their response. Another way to help is the type of training apparatus you use. For most of our CQB type classes we love the Hell Box, a collaboration between us and Action Target. While simple in concept, a single room. It allows us to run a multitude of scenarios so that students can achieve the highest level of looks.

While you may not see exactly the same scenario in real life, you will more than likely see something familiar or at least not new. In the end, our goal is to remove hesitation and increase correct decision making in the quickest way possible.

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