How different is training on the range from real life? The answer is in some cases significant and you better be aware of the pitfalls.

The voter base

Take for instance dealing with multiple threats. There is the idea of quickly delivering one round to each target then returning to deliver additional rounds as necessary. While this seems like a good tactic, all it takes is for you to come to face to face with a bad guy who gets a vote. How dare them not stand still or allow you to engage them easily, what gives them the right to move and seek cover when they feel their life is in danger. Apparently these bad guys suck at playing by the rules.

Linear progressions

The reality is if you develop your tactics in a vacuum (flat range training) don’t be surprised when you see something “real” because it looks so different from your training. I read all these comments about how “this is real”. Hello, if you are just now figuring that out then welcome to the party pal. I often wonder how training in other organizations is developed because I have to wonder if they are just now figuring this out what else have they overlooked. Granted a lot of training has restrictions when we work on a flat range. There is safety we must abide by, but the solution to this obstacle is progressions.

Top down development

Folks need to first recognize training built from the top down, from the actually gunfight and work backwards to allow progressions towards the final outcome. What I see lacking in this industry is curriculum development and management, seriously lacking. Just because you have a flashing website or youtube channel does not make for an instructor. An instructor understands linear progressive training along with saturation training methodology and how best to apply them. Not all subjects need extensive progressions, those with a high risk factor or increased complexity need them.

Those pesky details

The key is in establishing standards; standards that are observable, measurable and repeatable. When you work with a subject as complex as multiple threats it has to be progressive. You start with basic drills on the flat range specifically designed to be used in more advanced problem. They are introduced then practiced to a recognizable and repeatable standard. From there, as the student progresses they have a solid base to work from. Optimally they should not advance until they have meet a minimum standard; which would fulfill the saturation training requirement.

Resiliency reigns in chaos

When you work backwards you end up with a better product. The product will be more resilient and what I have learned all these years is it far better to build a resilient student than a flashy one.. It is not easy and requires a lot of work from the instructors, but that is why we get paid the big bucks. Continuing from the flat range, movement would be added from the shooter’s perspective. They now have to perform the drill while exercising some sort of movement. Initially, it would be laterally only, but work towards improving one’s position or seeking to escape/exit. Ultimately culminating in force on force; where drills have similar progressions. You work from simple to complex problems with what I call the human factor. The big challenge here is guiding the student to not only make the right decisions, but to literally see them as they are occurring. This is where the progressions come into their own because there is a degree of familiarity, what we call the “look” they have seen before. Maybe not exact, but close enough they can bridge the gap and be successful; or resilient.

Real life is more complex than a flat range can offer. If all your work was preformed in a training vacuum then it is no surprise you see these current problems so challenging and real.

"I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine." Neil Armstrong, Naval aviator, test pilot, astronaut and American hero.

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