Friday, February 23, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up Friday!

You know what today is, don't you? Of course you do... it's Friday! That blessed day that all of us Monday through Friday-type people truly love!

Friday! We go through the week longing for this day and the promise that it holds: Happy Hour, fun with friends, the knowledge that you can sleep-in tomorrow morning, and a weekend full of televised Rugby!

Well, here it is, friends, Friday! In all it's glory, which can only mean that while most of you were still abed, I was shooting things!

Today, we are leaving the spectacular behind in order to talk a little bit more about what I do. You see, when I told you that I train people to fight with guns and shoot effectively I spoke about psychological issues, but didn't delve to deeply into practical applications. Let's see if I can bring a little more clarity into the discussion.

"Effective shooting" means causing a person, no matter their age, gender, size, or level of intoxication, enough trauma to make them stop doing whatever it is that caused you to have to shoot them. To do this, you need to perforate vital organs... most importantly the heart and lungs.

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One of the disconnects in police training for many years, has been that departments failed to teach their officers to effectively shoot a person. Instead they spent all of their time teaching officers to shoot bulls eye-type targets, like this popular type...

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...which might be fine for marksmanship, but has nothing to do with fighting with a gun. All this sort of target will do is help a new shooter learn how to properly manipulate the sights on a particular weapon.

In recent years, there has been a movement in combat firearms training circles to "train like you plan to fight". In other words, to train to "shoot people, not paper"

This has translated, in practical terms, into using better paper targets. Targets like these...

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...that have faces. Targets that remind the shooter, on some level, that he or she may have to use their firearm on a breathing subject. These targets also emphasize the importance of shot placement.

Another training tool that I employ is to put shirts, jackets or sweaters on the targets... because bad guys seldom wear a bulls eye on their clothing. A shooter has to get used to the idea of seeing different things through his or her sights in a combat engagement, because a gunfight isn't like just showing up for a day at the range.

Here are some targets that I shot this morning:

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On the first two targets you will see upper chest shots, which, in a perfect world, would perforate the breastbone and enter the lungs and heart. The head shots should be enough to cause near-instant cessation of motor function (but who knows... people can be hard to kill).

The last target, wearing a sweater, was shot while I was moving diagonally to the target at a fast walk. Please note that shooting on the move (at speed) may slightly change the strike of your rounds. Also note that in this instance, more is better, meaning that in order to win your fight as quickly as possible, it may be necessary to shoot someone many times in order to get the desired effect. This particular fact is most important when you consider that most police-involved shootings take place at a distance of less than 20 feet.

Have a nice day!



Lloyd said...

How can somebody be so nice, and so frightening all at once?

super des said...

You're so informative!

Another thing I thought of is that the old targets convey the impression that people will stand perfectly still with their arms at their sides. The new ones at least show a variety of positions. And a gangster woman.

Tasha said...

This is so interesting. I've always wondered if there were other types of targets used--like ones with faces, etc. Thanks for the insight!

Gunfighter said...


You don't mean me do you?


Unfortunately a lot of people still train that way. The class I taught this morning was about shooting-on-the-move.


I'll dig up some pics of some really good targets.

The Thinking Black Man said...

insert music...

Did you ever know - that you're - my heeeeero???

Man! Shoot'em up FRIDAY! Now THAT IS what I'm talkin' about!

Lookin' at you pics GUNFIGHTER... makes me think about taking the Walther P22 and the .380 Makarov to the range this weekend.

Ahhhh, the smell of gunpowder in the morning!

Terri said...

Looks a little familiar!