For some self-defense shooters finding time to train is the hardest part of training. Maybe that’s just as well. I’m not sure what’s worse: not training at all or training yourself to do something stupid. For example, the vast majority of shooters at a gun range shoot their gun dry, reload and shoot again. Wash, rinse, repeat, pack-up, go-home. If you train yourself to empty your gun once a month for five years or more what do you think’s going to happen when you start shooting in a defensive gun use (DGU)? Strange but true: someone who doesn’t train at all, ever, may be better able to avoid shooting the wrong person better than a “highly trained” shooter . . .
It’s easy enough to train yourself to add that “should I or shouldn’t I” moment to your self-defense training. Just bring your gun to the target don’t shoot. Ah, but you need to do it intermittently. Sometimes aim your gun, shoot one round and assess. Sometimes aim and shoot multiple rounds, assess then shoot more rounds. Sometimes just aim and not shoot, period.
Not so easy now, eh Mr. Bond? You must constantly fight the lure of routine. While it’s true that repetition is the key to creating and maintaining shooting skills, mindless repetition creates bad habits. Habits that become strategically inadvisable automatic responses in a DGU. Training scars.
Training scars can get you killed. Or wound or kill someone who didn’t need wounding or killing.
In the video above, trainer Mark McGregor correctly emphasizes the importance of movement during a gunfight. He draws, moves laterally, shoots and checks for other bad guys. He repeats the exercise incorporating a reload and a malfunction. Clearly, he’s doing it from “muscle memory.”
See the problem?
McGregor is in the open. He’s only moving one step in any direction. If you practice McGregor’s technique as displayed in the video exactly as directed, you’ll create a new natural instinct: one-step it and stop.
[If McGregor was facing an actual bad guy at the wide-open SIG range he'd need to either run-up to the bad guy or zig-zag for a door ASAP, shooting as he ran.]
A better training regimen: practice drawing your weapon and high-tailing it for cover. Run like hell. Then move from that cover to other cover. As I learned during force-on-force training, you need to KEEP moving, scanning, assessing, fighting.
If you can find a range where you can shoot before, during and/or after this mad scramble for cover so much the better. More likely McGregor’s right: home is the best place to practice this kind of armed self-defense movement. (LaserLyte makes an excellent dry-fire targeting system; review to follow. And don’t forget to draw the blinds.)
It is absolutely critical to “train as you fight.” It is equally critical that you don’t train as you won’t fight. In other words, you don’t want training scars that will limit your options.
Designing a training regimen that improves your gunfighting skill set—without creating potentially fatal “muscle memory” responses—is a bitch. But anything less could be worse than simply winging it.
Bottom line: do it right or don’t do it.