Letter Re: A Well-Rounded Skillset Requires Both Range-Based and Force-on-Force Training

I agree with a recent post, Front Sight offers excellent training, and will get the beginning shooter to feel comfortable with their weapon and build in quick and automatic malfunction clearances, but it has shortcomings that all range based training classes share. By default, range based handgun training teaches us:
1) Stand still while you shoot
2) Use two hands when you shoot
3) Focus on the front sight

This type of shooting is a very specialized form of shooting. It is perfect when you are:
1) Target/competition shooting
2) Shooting at the edge of your accuracy range from cover

It is terrible when you are:
1) Dealing with someone shooting back
2) Dealing with potential multiple aggressors
3) Dealing with close range shooters

Why is this? Force on force teaches us that we need to move when we shoot. If you stand and take a traditional weaver stance, you will get a great shot off… and so will your opponent. Of course, neither Front Sight nor any other traditional range will allow you to shoot while you are running, but this is exactly what you need to be able to do.

Force on force teaches us that when we explosively move off the X, we will typically have only one hand on the gun. Why? It’s easier to run that way. It’s instinctual. In a class with Gabe Suarez, after a group Airsoft scenario, he asked the students, “who took a traditional stance?” This was a seasoned class and we all looked around sheepishly. None of us had done it.

I had this assumption that since I had trigger control and sight picture and training, I would be able to outshoot any gang member with his one-handed running shooting. Yes, this is true for distances past 15 yards. Within that distance, (the distance most gunfights take place in) the street style was better. At distances of three yards, a sight picture will just slow you down. Even an untrained gangster at 10 feet shooting as fast as he can pull the trigger will likely put hits on you at the distance despite his lack of professional training and sight picture.

Finally, the traditional sight picture of looking hard at the front sight creates tunnel vision. This is perfect for a sniper shot and stupid for a close range gunfight. You have just traded your peripheral vision for tunnel vision. In one scenario, I was able to put six rounds into my opponent: four body shots and two head shots in under two seconds before he got a shot off at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t even see the second bad guy at my 3 o’clock only 5 feet away as he shot me two times in the side of my torso. Tunnel vision does that. Game over.

You should seriously consider taking a force on force training, not just to learn the skill set, but also to unlearn some range-based behavior that will get you shot in an gunfight. If you can’t get to a class, then buy some Airsoft pistols, [wrap-around] eye protection and a DVD from Suarez International on the subject. – SF in Hawaii