RF and I recently attended the SIG SAUER Active Shooter Response Instructor Class. As a law enforcement officer in The Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) I wanted to see how SIG approached active shooter scenarios. I learned a great deal about active shooter response teamwork and tactics. As usually happens at any top-rank firearms instruction class, the course also reinforced an important lesson. Once again I learned the truth of the philosophy espoused by that great American philosopher Clint Eastwood: a man has to know his limitations. SIG SAUER made the point on day one using paper targets . . .
Class members started by shooting their pistol at targets from a static position from the three, seven, 10, 15, 25 and 35 yard lines. We repeated the drill taking a single-step forwards, sideways and backwards. We also did shooting-while-walking drills, forward and backwards, from each line marker to the next.
We fired chest and head shots, concentrating on keeping the rounds between the eyes and nostrils (where rounds could penetrate unencumbered by the cranial vault protecting the upper head). The instructor varied the maximum time on target, testing the shooter’s ability to aim efficiently on a smaller and smaller target.
The walking drills required extreme softening of the steps. Shooters had to time the motion of the firearm’s sights in relation to their trigger pull. Head shots on the move proved to be impossible in all but the closest distances.
I tell my students that shots that fail to hit the target zone are not a “miss.” They’re a dead bystander. SIG emphasized the point by replacing generic blank targets with photographic targets depicting an active shooter surrounded by school children.
After finishing the handgun drills, SIG students repeated the process with rifles. In his previous post, RF remarked how the comparison highlighted the obvious accuracy advantages of a long gun vs. a pistol.
While using a rifle improved results dramatically during the shooting-while-walking drills, accuracy and the speed of shooting were still a major issue. The last rifle drill—where we ran towards the target and stopped dead in our tracks to shoot—suggested the optimal solution.
The bottom line: anyone who wants to use a firearm for self-defense needs to know what they can and cannot do with their gun. They must have a working knowledge of those limits and how those limits define their options. Or else.