EPISODE 17 – JEFF GONZALES (U.S. NAVY SEALS) – The Veterans Project

Getting some ProDev on…

Host Tim K. sits down in Austin, Texas with fellow San Antonio native, Jeff Gonzales. Jeff enjoyed a prestigious career as a U.S. Navy SEAL where he served around the world as both an operator and instructor. The two talk about Jeff’s time on the teams, his experiences in South America combating the cartels (some of those stories are harrowing and some humorous) and his present position as a world-renowned weapons/tactics instructor for Trident Concepts, which he founded. Gonzales proudly served his nation as one of our most elite war-fighters and has since taken that top-tier knowledge to the private sector. His techniques are known for being highly-innovative, and his teaching methodologies are considered by many to be ground-breaking.

To learn more about Jeff’s company, Trident Concepts, visit the website at tridentconcepts.com.

You can also find Jeff on Instagram: @jl_gonzales and Trident Concepts’ Instagram: @tridentconcepts.

Froglogic Podcast EP #59 Jeff Gonzales – 2nd Amendment Advocate – Master Firearms Instructor

Froglogic Podcast

Since the beginning of the Pandemic over 17 million guns have been sold throughout America. In addition to this staggering number, another 5 million NEW gun owners have been added to the rosters of legal gun owners. Rough estimates suggest that there are anywhere from 350 to 420 million guns now existing in American houses, automobiles, apartments, concealed underneath clothing, and in the hands of criminals. The Froglogic Podcast is honored to welcome CEO of Trident Concepts and director or training at the Range in Austin, Jeff Gonzales to this week’s show. Jeff is a former Navy SEAL and Government contractor who’s been teaching tactical firearms training for the past 25 years. Rut and Jeff are long time friends and teammates. In this episode these two frogmen explore the importance of the 2nd Amendment, quality firearms training, increasing crime rates, and the future of guns in America.  Don’t miss this insightful and educational show. HOOYAH

Award-winning Podcast Host, David Rutherford ignites his Froglogic Podcast by answering life’s greatest questions regarding the human condition. Listen to this former Navy SEAL Medic, CIA Contractor, best-selling author, and World Series Champion motivational performance coach, give his unique and profound insight about the world as he sees it. For more information about David please visit www.teamfroglogic.com or to seek out your truth please visit his online training company at www.froglogicinstitute.com

Please follow Jeff on Social Media

Check out his website at www.tridentconcepts.com

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/froglogic-podcast/support 

Testing Defensive Ammunition

Defensive Ammunition 2

Learn More About Your Defensive Ammunition

There are so many things we need to be thinking about when it comes to self defense. Have I trained enough, is my gear ready am I paying attention to my surroundings so testing defensive ammunition is easily lost in the commotion.

The Nuts & Bolts Of Performance

Over the years I have fired thousands of rounds testing defensive ammunition. These typically are of the hollow point design. The idea behind their design is pretty simple, the hollow point cavity expands through soft tissue. This expansion serves two purposes; creating a larger surface area for more damage as well as helping to slow down and limit penetration. When watching the various defeinsive ammunition review videos this will always be a metric that is collected and evaluated. The other metric commonly collected and of greater importance is the depth to which the projectile will penetrate. While the general understanding is a minimum of 12″ to a maximum of 18″ where did these figures come from.

The Ballistic Testing Origins

The FBI has long been the custodian of all things terminal performance. Dating back to shootout involving some harden suspects it was believed their ammunition failed them and thus began the caliber wars. Truthfully, ever since there has been mulitple calibers, there have been caliber wars. However, this was a watershed moment since it started to standarized how the industry develops and tests the terminal performance of projectiles. Decades ago, this information wasn’t as readily available as it is today so many were left to fend for themselves. There were a variety of test mediums that were believed could replicate or at least provide good feedback. Sadly, they were less than ideal. I used some of these tests myself, the half gallon milk carton test. My family would be forced feed milk and orange juice so I could collect enough cartons to conduct multiple tests. Believe me, you have no idea how good you got these days.

The Dreaded Curve Ball

Testing AmmunitionAs a consumer, I want a quality product for self defense. As a professional, I want to squeeze every ouce of performance I can from the available options. Everything was going well until the subcompact pistols with 3″ barrels or less entered the market. While I was quickly enamored with these little pocket rockets the problem wasn’t well known. These micro, short barrel pistols had a difficult time meeting typical ballistic performance standars we have all come to accept. Penetration and expansion were all suspect or at best inconsistent. As the popularity of these subcompact pistols grew so to did the available self defensive ammunition options. Now, the consumer and professional have some great choies to consider. Many well known ammunition brands have started producing “micro” or “short barrel” choices. After such a positive experience with a particular brand, I decided testing defensive ammunition to update my current subcompact ammunition choice.

Streamlinging To A Couple Choices

Like many others, I can be lazy or maybe I’m too busy to really put the time into research. Plus, with so many different carry pistols it was a pain to have a specific load for this pistol and a different load for that pistol. It would be nice if I could find one that does it all. At the very least for all my 4″ barrel or shoorter the Federal Personal Defense HST Micro 150gr JHP is a great choice. The real question is how does one go about “testing” this load for themselves. You start by reviewing all available resources online when it comes to terminal performance in gelatin. Ballistic gelatin has become the standards for penetration and expansion purposes. But, do you need the projectile to meet all the FBI standards? In my opinion, you do not. Bare and demin covered are more than adequate for the average consumer. Once you have watched several videos and reviewed the data you probably will come up with a couple of loads you might want to try. These loads have at least been through independent testing to meet the minimum requirements for penetration and expansion. Now what?

The Two Tests You Should Use

Testing defensive ammunition is pretty simple. I want to see how well they will perform at close range under rapid fire conditions. Then I want to see how well they will perform at extended ranges under slow fire conditions. The two tests I use are pretty simple and total 20 rounds, the typical single box quantity. Both of these tests are shot in our pistol classes so I have plenty of big picture data for comparison. The first test, the “TC Test”  is a modified version of the excellent “Test” from my good friend Larry Vickers. You will need a magazine of 9 rounds with a reload magazine of 1 round. Starting from the ready position at the 10 yard line at the signal the shooter will fire all 9 rounds, reload and fire the last round. The target to be used is the excellent TCT MK4 or NRA B8 target. The par time is 12 seconds; which is pretty generous and just enough to push the envelope. If you are scoring 80 points or above the take away is the recoil control with this load in a subcompact pistol is managable and appropiate for self defensive situation. The second test, is the “TC Bullseye Qual”. You will need two magazines of 5 rounds and repeat the drill twice. Starting from the holster at the 25 yard line at the signal the shooter will fire all 5 rounds. The target to be used is the TCT MK4 or NRA B8 target. The par time is 10 seconds; which again is generous. If you are scoring 40 points or above the take away is your ability to be accurate enough within a modest time constraint using a subcompact pistol with a short barrel for the extreme range of self defense use.

These two test are great not just for evaluating self defense ammunition, but your skill. While there are many others out there, these two are almost always shot during my own professional development and so should you.

Rifle Weight & Performance

Lightweight Rifle

A Heavy Rifle Gets Old Fast

Fatigue is a result of mental and physical exertion. It affects us in a variety of ways, but a lightweight rifle will lead to better shooting performance in the long run.

Performance On Demand No Matter How Fatigued

Any type of psychical activity or sport will be taxing on your body. As a culture, we reward those who are better equipped to perform. Being better equipped usually comes in the form of strength, fitness and power. If these traits are in abundance they usually result in a positive outcome. No matter how fit or strong, we are all subject to fatigue. The funny thing about fatigue is how difficult it is to combat. Once you enter that zone, very few remedies outside of rest will truly overcome the negative results. We cannot always stop what we are doing to grab a quick power nap, though naps are great when we can. What we have to do is learn coping strategies that help us perform to standard regardless of our mental or physical state.

When Cognitive Functions Goes

Porting a rifle for two days is fatiguing. There is no way to get around the fact carrying and shouldering a ten pound plus weight takes it’s toll when immersed in a class format. Most students want to do the very best they can in class, learn as much as they can. When fatigue sets in, it will require more effort to fight the negative effects. I find before the body goes, the mind and in this case the cognitive function starts waning. You can stay hydrated, eat well and even rest before the class all of which are proven strategies. They still cannot do much when you are in such a high deficit because you are physically exerting yourself.

Streamline Down To The Lightest Possible

Lifestyle choices and genetics play a big role in fatigue. When we are operating at peak conditions we are able to stave off the effects somewhat. So, what can you do to mitigate the effects when you’ve done all you can do or are limited in what you can do. The single greatest suggestion is to come to class with the lightest rifle possible. Streamline it down to what you absolutely need for the class. While it might seem like a good idea to “train like you fight”. If the weight of the extra gear causes you to fatigue sooner or quicker then it is less than ideal. Instead, consider the objective of the class. In this case, to improve your shooting performance with a rifle from zero to fifty yards in day time hours from a static position. If I were new to the art of rifle shooting, I’d get the lightest rifle that meets those objectives.

Lightweight rifle for better performanceLight Is Right

Nothing is free. There is always a cost associated with our choices. I talk about pro’s & con’s a lot in our classes. Yes, you may get some perceived advantage by selecting a certain piece of gear, but at what cost. If I had to detail the ideal rifle for a basic or intermediate class, I would start with a lightweight rifle below 8.5 pound for better shooting performance. Obviously, lighter would be better, but again nothing is free. The lighter rifle will produce more pronounced recoil impulse. You have to work harder for your shot to shot recovery time. Again, you will pay the man in some way. If you can keep your rifle to below 8.5 pounds and still have all the equipment you need for the class then you are stacking the deck in your favor. You may not appreciate your decision early in the morning on day one, but I promise you when it comes time to perform at the end of the class you will have the best chance for success.

It has always been my goal to use the lightest gear possible to complete the mission. Whether you like to admit it or not, it does make a difference.

The Ultimate Rifle Is Simple

Lightweight rifle for better performance

Keeping Your Rifle Simple Is The Goal

The hardest thing anyone can do is separate their wants from their needs. You may want a general purpose rifle with all the latest technology, but do you need the gear more than the skill.

Skill Trumps Gear

Don’t get me wrong, if your are reaching the upper limits of your skill development and looking to squeeze out the tiniest advantage you are probably well ahead of the pack. But there is no replacing skill with a piece of equipment. You may want that pretty, shiny or new thing, but need is probably not accurate. At some point you will have to define the mission, what is the purpose of the rifle. For the vast majority of utility, a general purpose rifle is hands down going to meet your mission needs. The problem is how do we define a general purpose rifle, how does it look. You can start by laying out some generalities. Such as you want your rifle to be accurate, reliable, modular, ergonomic and light weight. From there, we get into the weeds.

Offensive Or Defensive Roles for the Rifle

Shooting a general purpose rifle

In the past, we use to define the rifle into offense or defensive roles. Offense was typically reserved for law enforcement and military personnel. That left defense for the every day citizen. I still believe this is true, the rifle will more than likely be used in a defensive nature, not offensive. A general purpose rifle is one that could perform in either of those roles and the biggest characteristic would be barrel length. I could talk about barrels all day long. To me, they are the heart of the rifle. I break rifle barrels into three lengths, short barrel, general purpose and long range. Long range will typically be 18″ or greater to squeeze out as much performance. Not ideal for close quarters movement. Short barrel will be anything under the legal length. While ideal for close quarters, they are difficult and expensive to obtain. Just remember the rifle does you no good while it sits waiting for the government’s permission. That leaves us with the general purpose barrels; which are 14.5″ with permanently attached flash hider to 16″. Short enough to do work, easy to obtain.

The Barrel Is The Heart Of The Rifle

My recommendation is to go with a 1:7 twist rate and a 5.56mm chamber. There is a lot of details in those characteristics so I will leave them for another time. Suffice it to say, they will provide you with the best all around performance. As for a flash hider, the standard A2 bird cage is more than adequate. The recoil impulse for a 5.56mm round is negligible. It is there, but technique and strength are your friends. Nothing will make up for poor technique and if you cannot hold the rifle steady for the time required you might have bigger issues.

Accuracy Is An Advantage

After the barrel we talk about the ability to accept modern day optics. With just about everyone producing a flat top receiver there really isn’t reason you can’t use some form of optic. The question is what kind. Do you go with a red dot or a low powered variable optic. Again, what is the rifle’s mission. Yes, I might want to be able to hit at extended ranges. Is it justified, legally and morally. About the only time I can get on board is if you intend on using the rifle for hunting purposes. If so, you will probably want a magnified optic of some kind, but more importantly is the caliber. You will probably not be using 5.56mm so that opens up another can of worms. The use of red dots is by far the most popular and also a low barrier to entry price point wise.

Know The Law

Adjustable stock and modularity are often overlooked characteristics. Like the flat top receiver taking advantage of the various attachment systems allow me to utilize other accessories such as lights. I believe a good general purpose rifle will need a light weight white light. No matter the lighting conditions, you are responsible for the terminal resting place of every round fired. Being able to identify a threat is your first order of business. Does a variable optic help with this…it depends. If you mount the rifle to utilize the optic to identify a threat whether near or far how is that different than using a weapon mounted light on a pistol to direct traffic. Not to mention the legalities of pointing a firearm whether loaded or not. Brandishing can ride a thin line of deadly conduct. If the victim feels you intended to cause fear or alarm you have a problem. Since we all come in different sizes, the ability to adjust my length of pull to my body type is a great advantage.

Keep Your Rifle Light

Of all the characteristics one of the often overlooked is lightweight. This rifle should remain as light as possible to increase shooter performance. You decrease shooter performance when fatigue interferes with your ability to stabilize for the shot required. The longer I have to support the rifle with my muscles, the faster fatigue becomes a factor. The greater the fatigue greater the wobble zone. When your wobble zone becomes so great the results is a decrease in accuracy. The rifle weighs around seven pounds with no accessories and the goal is to keep it below ten pounds, nine pounds is better. Where we see a conflict is when the shooter wants to add every piece of equipment under the sun. Anything you add to the rifle must be weighed, literally and theoretically to see if the juice is worth the squeeze. This is a game of ounces so know exactly what your rifle weights out of the box and each piece of gear you add.

The idea of a general purpose rifle is not new. What is new is technology and accessories that allow me to exploit every advantage I can out of a general purpose rifle.

Diagnosing Common Shooting Errors

Identifying And Correcting Shooter Errors

It is one of my favorite evolutions in our intermediate classes, when we work at identifying and then correcting shooter errors. Applying corrective strategies is not as mysterious or complicated as it may seem nor is it easy, but it does produce results.

Don’t Chase The Bull To Correct

One of the greatest challenges students face is being consistent. This becomes particularly difficult when the student continues to adjust their hold or point of aim to improve their accuracy. One of the biggest mistakes I see made in our classes is when a student chases the bullseye. Instead of shooting with the same hold or point of aim, they continually guess at where they should aim to produce a hit in the scoring ring or target. I can appreciate how frustrating not hitting the target can be, believe me I can really appreciate. However, it does not help your situation if you do nothing to actually fix the problem. In a sense, all you are doing is treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

Being Precise Is The First Corrective Step

Precision and accuracyThe other problem created when the student chases the bull is how they loose their ability to be precise. Without precision, accuracy will be an unknown. Precision is more about the shooters ability to be consistent. This will be reflected in the size of the shot group and not in its location. Before I can start applying corrective strategies, the student must demonstrate precision. No matter how much the student wants to improve, if they do not have the intrinsic repeatability of the marksmanship principles then accuracy to any degree will be difficult. The purpose of corrective strategies is to marry precision with accuracy, all else is wasteful.

Look For Patterns To See Errors

There is little point in trying to guess at what the student is doing wrong without repeatability. It puts too much burden on the student. Instead, I look to develop individual baselines with each student during the class. I typically leave diagnostics for the end of the day so I can achieve a better understanding of the students current skill and ability. There are many drills I use to observe the student’s performance. All I’m looking for are patterns. Anything they do over and over again that can illustrate a shooter error. Over the years I have discovered about a dozen unique shooting errors along with the corrective strategies needed to improve. Some are glaring and easy to fix, while others are deceptively difficult and require herculean effort.

Types of Shooter Errors

I break the shooting errors into windage, elevation and compounding. Compounding is the hardest because it combines two or more errors intensifying their negative aspects. Whatever corrective strategy I offer it is designed to target only one shooting error and usually the easier of them all. This is where discipline must be the student’s ally. They have to trust the process and apply the corrective strategies as prescribed. If they can do this consistently over time, they begin to results. No matter how clever my skill at unearthing a shooter’s error, if they cannot see progress within a short period they will loose interest and investment. However, if they can see the positive results quickly they develop an unquenchable thirst to improve. I also find many of the lesser errors correct themselves when we have reached this point.

I thoroughly enjoy the art of diagnosing shooting errors. If the student can improve their marksmanship skills quickly, they become hugely invested in further improving their shooting skills.

Deliberate Practice

Practice As Your Daily Goal

There is a thought, to be the best at something requires hard work. The reality is it requires deliberate practice in the form of consistency and effort every day.

Control Your Practice

Take shooting and in specific shooting fast. When a new shooter comes into the world, they are bombarded by so much information it is hard to imagine how they select and process. Between social media and internet videos it has to be overwhelming. A common thread through it all is outcome. What is the outcome or the prize. The majority of the time it is speed. Accuracy is seldom as sexy as speed so it makes sense most new comers are focused on trying to be fast.

Excellence In Technique Through Practice

Trying to refocus their goals on accuracy is not an easy task. It takes some persuasion on my part and humility on theirs. I typically give my deliberate practice speech at some point in our intermediate class and lead off with it in our advanced classes. It goes something like this, perfection is not the goal. Mastery is the goal, but mastery of oneself. To achieve mastery of oneself it begins with consistency. You have to do the right things on a daily basis. Whatever the right thing is, you have to do so often it becomes a habit. Then, through consistency you develop excellence in your technique. Through countless repetitions you discover subtle even minuscule cues that further refine your technique nearing perfection.

Practice Takes Effort

Consistency alone is not the solution, you must apply effort. You must expend conscious exertion of power. Working on accuracy is not always fun, it can be a toil. Meaning, the effort you must put in daily can seem tedious or laborious, but more importantly unrewarding. It is hard to see the tree within the forest for some. They don’t want to put in the hard work, they want to be good right now. Never mind the hard work put in by many others before them to achieve greatness. It is tedious and lacking in glamour.

When Practice Becomes Failure

When you combine consistency with effort it typically equals diligence. One of the reasons we see so many student mentally smoked at the end of a hard training day. They were diligently putting in the hard work to achieve greatness. They may not have been successful, but that is okay because they were putting in their best effort. It is an acknowledgement that despite everything they do, they may still fail. The thought of failing for some can be too much emotionally and they opt to avoid the hard work, to avoid the failure.

Daily Deliberate Practice

When you break technique down to its itemized parts it is the attention to detail on those isolated movements that makes the difference. Speed was never the goal, excellent in technique was the desired outcome. Moving with such grace it becomes a thing of beauty. After all, this what we love to watch, the beauty of our art. Putting in the hard work through consistency and effort is what I believe makes deliberate practice.

Through this approach you discover one day you have arrived at your destination. You don’t recognize the length or duration, you just realize you have achieved your goal.

In Defense Of Self-Defense

A common question I get asked has to do with defensive ammunition. These days my answer is pretty simple, get whatever is available because anything is better than nothing.

Understanding The How

There is of course more to the story. Defensive ammunition is in short supply and usually more expensive. While all ammunition is becoming more difficult to purchase, defensive ammunition is proving even more challenging. Let’s get one thing clear, you don’t need premium self-defense ammunition to defend yourself or your family. It does help improve the chances of stopping the threat faster. A couple of well placed rounds with ball ammunition can do just as good a job in some cases. To understand the “how” means you need to understand a little about terminal ballistics. I love talking about ballistics. Over the years I have tried to improve my delivery and keep people engaged. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it can get a little dry.

We Are A Very Durable Species

When it comes to stopping a deadly force threat with a firearm, the stop generally occurs because you have delivered a projectile to the vital life processes. As a result, the threat either stops fighting on their own accord, or they are no longer capable of fighting mechanically. This represents the conundrum of terminal ballistics. The difference between the bad guy choosing to stop fighting or not being able to continue to fight. Humans are very resilient and capable of sustaining a terrible amount of damage. To mechanically stop the threat, you need to disrupt or destroy the body’s vital life processes. That is the body’s ability to produce oxygenated blood, to transport oxygenated blood and the central nervous system.

Its Not Science

To that end, you are looking for a couple of characteristics, four to be exact. The first is reliability. I need the chosen round to go bang every time I pull the trigger. To make sure, you will have to function test a sampling of the ammunition using my intended firearm and magazine. The second is accuracy and probably the most important in my opinion. You must strike the vital anatomy, meaning shot placement is king. If you don’t hit what you are aiming at, then everything else is academics. Third is penetration, the ability for your projectile to penetrate to the vitals. Every human is different so at a minimum 12 inches to a maximum of 18 inches will ensure I penetrate deep enough. Lastly and probably the lowest of these characteristics is expansion. It is ideal if the bullet can expand to create a greater surface area. The larger the surface area will create more damage and has the potential to stop the threat faster.

What’s The Difference

The important take away is premium self defense ammunition differs mainly in the last category. Reliability, accuracy and penetration are all achieveable regardless of the type of round. Expansion is limited to only hollow point designed rounds. If you are using full metal jacketed rounds they should achieve the first three characteristics. They will not achieve the last, however. This is not to say you should forgo premium hollow point ammunition. Merely you can still achieve peak terminal performance with a well placed round that penetrates deep enough. I remind folks as they search for the “best” self defense round, they will all do a better job than you.

You do not have to dive into the weeds about which one is the best. Best is going to be the one you have when you need it most, the rest is going to be on you and your shot placement.

The Power of Sight

All too often I have conversations with folks who comment how difficult it is to see their sights so why bother. That is a lazy approach towards managing a life saving skill.

Three Degrees of Acquisition

As I see it, there are three degrees of sight acquisition. There is look at, look at intentely and look through. All three of these have one thing in common regardless of the situation. The sight system is located in your sight box. What is a sight box? It is a box at full arms extension that is about 4″x4″ in measurement. Your sight system must be in this box in order to generate a hit on target. The more precision required, the more centered the sight system needs to be in the box. Your sight box is part of the neural pathway you are developing with each repetition. You are in a sense driving the gun subconsciously to this box no matter what. This basically describes the position or location of the gun once it reaches full extension and sometimes as the gun is being extended.

Poor Sight Alignment Life

The simple part to sight management is consistently getting the gun up into the sight box. From there we break down each of the different degrees of sight acquisition. Looking at is the most common form of sight alignment. The time, distance and exposure of the target are such the degree of acuity is on the low end. I see my sight, but with minimal detail. It is enough to know the sight is lined up for windage and elevation. I typically use this degree the majority of the time when I’m shooting. Not because the target meets the requirement of time, distance and exposure, but because I’m lazy at times and can get away with some poor sight alignment. Not the best example I know, but it is the truth. If I have a large target zone, such as the chest cavity and I’m inside the 10 yard line I pretty much default to this method.

The Old Gnats Ass Hair

Then, there is the look at intently. What do we mean by intently? This means I’m looking at my sights with earnest attention. I can see the fine details of the front sight post, like down a gnats ass hair. This method of sight acquisition is reserved for targets that require a high level of precision.  I’m primarily using this method when the target is further out, generally past the 15 yard line or when the target gets small or is partially obstructed/obscured. This produces the tightest groups I’m capable of shooting, but it costs me in my attention. It requires I divert an extreme amount of brain power. However, I spend a lot of time with this method and for good reason. It is generally agreed this level of precision will have far reaching positive effects on your shooting in general.

Pushing The Speed Limits

This brings us to look through. Truthfully, this is my favorite. This method is all about speed. Generally this is driven by the time factor mentioned above and is supported by having a large target that is pretty much fully exposed. When I talk about this method I reference a flickering flame. You become somewhat mesmerized by the sight dancing in the sight box it is almost hard to miss. Another way of thinking about this while the sight is in the sight box you are technically looking through towards the target. I know I’m in the zone when I can see the rounds impacting, but vaguely make out the sights just prior to the shot breaking. I’m capable of shooting at breakneck speeds where my precision is not nearly as important.

What Is The Center Of Your Attention

The first two degrees are sight focused and the third is target focused so this is another way of considering sight acquisition. The difference to me is the degree of visual acuity on my sight. Another problem is when you practice almost exclusively with sight focus. While accuracy can end gunfights, you still have to delivery the shots hastily. Depending on the time, distance and exposure you may have to adjust the degree of sight acquisition you can generate. It’s okay to only look at your sights if you are confident in your skills. Or, you know you need to ramp up your focus because of the reduced size of the target. Then you have no time to confirm the precision of your sights only they are acceptable for the shot required.

I find it fun and challenging to put myself in these three different situations so I practice these three different degrees of sight acquisition. There is no one size fit all solution.

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. Aristotle

The Need For Speed

Speed is a goal, speed is a necessity. Speed is not the priority.

Guarantee Your Hits

That might seem contradictory, but it is the truth. Speed is a critical piece of our defensive shooting puzzle. You want to be fast, as fast as you can guarantee the hits. You do not want that speed to be your sole goal. Speed without accuracy is recklessness and potentially criminal. You are responsible for the final resting location of every projectile you fire in a deadly force encounter. Don’t put the cart before the horse when it comes to your training goals. Remember, if you had to choose between drawing faster and drawing sooner always choose sooner. For you to draw sooner means you have to pay attention, recognize danger and then deliver effective fire in the most precise manner possible. Not an easy task to say the least.

Attention To Details Is A Thing

When starting your journey towards preparedness you must learn the skills technically correct. Your first objective is to learn how to precisely deliver an accurate shot. This gets into marksmanship principles, but in the early stages of your development you will want to go slow. We teach three speeds in our classes; slow, half and full speed. In the beginning we want students to move at slow speed. The obvious reason is learning a new skill requires you to pay attention. You need to move at a speed you can think your way through the series of tasks. A skill is made up of tasks. Each task has a series of sub-tasks and each sub-task is made up of micro-tasks. For you to get it technically correct, you need to be performing down in the micro-task level. About the only way to see the skills at this level is in slow speed.

Pressure Testing In Real Time

At a certain point you have combined the various tasks to create your skill set and now we want to pressure test your work. This is the domain of half speed; where you are moving at the upper limits of your skill. We define the upper limits as the minimal amount of time required to perform technically correct. Speed can be many things, but at this level speed is defined as using the minimal amount of movements applied in the most precise manner. You start merging all the micro tasks together in a seamless manner. As your skill level takes over the gaps slowly are removed until you look as if you are performing a single action/task.

The Wheels Come Flying Off

At a certain point, when safe to do so we need to hit the gas. We want to be working at full speed, but you have to put the work in advanced to see the benefits. Full speed is defined as the thin line between technically correct and incorrect. You are moving at the upper limits of your capability, but within safe margins. This is where we typically see the wheels come off. They may wobble at half speed, but they can go flying off at full speed. When looking at metrics to help define these esoteric ideas think of them in these terms.

Push to Failure

Slow speed will generate 100% hit ratio. You are moving with control to the point you have eliminated or corrected in real time any errors and produce the hit. At half speed your hit ratio drops to about 80%. As you start to increase the speed you will make mistakes, but you are not able to correct them in real time at this higher speed. At full speed you will generally start at about a 50% hit ratio. As you begin to push the boundaries you will see more misses. This is okay, this is necessary to growth. As you continue to push the envelope you will eventually increase your hit ratio to 70-80% and with practice even more.

The point, speed is not the priority in the beginning. It will become a priority when you are ready and not sooner.

Trident Concepts
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