Question of the Day: What Will You Do Under Stress?

In the video above, Dutch cops “storm” a man who’d taken over Dutch broadcaster NOS’ news studio. The lead cop has his finger planted firmly on the trigger. The other has considerable difficulty holstering his standard-issue Walter P99 Q NL (that recently replaced the old Walter P5). Was it stress that caused the cops to fail to be operators operating operationally? In fact, stress degrade firearms self-defense skills like searching for a suitable link for an Israeli supermodel degrades my ability to finish this sentence in a timely manner. How well do you perform under pressure? Have you ever done force-on-force training? If so, what did you learn there?

comments

  1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    I’ll puke and piss myself… Best defense out there, or so I’ve heard.

  2. avatar IdahoPete says:

    The larger question is how the perp could have a firearm in a European country with wonderful gun control laws such as Holland. Where has Michael Bloomberg been? Is he neglecting the Dutch Concerned Mommies Newscaster Talking Heads? And why didn’t he stop the Charlie Hebdo killings?

    1. avatar Dev says:

      It was a fake gun, according to the BBC. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31051114

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        There are two reasons why I think it was fake. First, the “criminal” was incredibly relaxed and polite to the television studio staff off camera. Second, the “police” looked like they had no idea what they were doing — especially the bumping into each other. And if you knew that an armed man had just taken control of a television studio by force, would you respond with long guns instead of handguns?

  3. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I learned in my last force on force class. I might have some problems myself.
    Drawing wasn’t an issue but firing on a given target on command was for me.
    At the 1st try I had a lot of trouble hearing what I was being told to shoot at.
    You can, I did at least develop some tunnel vision. I wanted to shoot the target in front of me most of the time.
    To stress us a bit we had to run in place for about five minutes and then the instructor would yell at what shape target we were to shoot at. We had to draw and fire from 7 yards. I didn’t do to well at that part of the class.

    1. avatar steve says:

      I participated in a simulator used to train cops. I was either killed in every scenario or shot an innocent person.
      I have a whole new appreciation for those that maintain control in force on force situations!

      1. avatar 'liljoe says:

        You didn’t learn the inherent lesson, nobody is innocent, the DA will clear you… just fire away

        1. avatar Fanfare Ends says:

          Sharpton called, said you missed a spot with your tongue.

  4. avatar Tile floor says:

    I’ve actually performed pretty calmly in real world application, but tunnel vision definitely happens and the first thing to go was my hearing. I also have no recollection of what came out of my mouth during those events.
    To me, some of the most nerve wracking experiences were actually performing first aid on someone near death, and doing every thing you can and having them die anyway is kind of a bummer to say the least.

    Train train train, I can attest to the fact you definitely revert to your training in stressful situations.

    1. avatar Jay in Florida says:

      Did we take the same class??
      Tunnel vision and hearing the 1st to go for sure.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Sim training is good, but it’s still basically just paintball. I’m not trying to say I performed perfectly, by no means was I flawless. but after the first or second scenario my nerves calmed down and and it was fun. My force on force classes were traffic stops, active shooter class, and room clearing. All of them were useful in that they give you an idea of what could happen certain situations and what you should do. With that said, if lead is flying in stead of paint you bet your ass I’m going to stressing out. Probably would need a new pair of underwear after.

        Durring a traffic stop scenario I once held onto the guys driver license through the whole shootout, it was kinda funny. So yeah, some tunnel vision, but nothing like the real thing(I suspect, as I have never been in a shootout, thank God). In post interviews with officer involved shootings they will say “I only shot three or four times” when dash cam shows he emptyed a mag a reloaded. Now THAT is stress.

    2. avatar JWM says:

      Yep, vision and hearing. I actually hold up well while the event is happening. It’s after when I get the shakes.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        That’s my experience. During the event, very tight eye and ear focus, no fear, no lockup, did the right things. After the event, extraordinarily ravenous hunger, probably caused by blood sugar crash due to over-secretion of adrenaline and insulin. One time, it took me two fully-loaded pizzas the size of manhole covers and half a case of beer to calm down.

        1. avatar JWM says:

          I get the shakes real bad. Couldn’t work a zippo afterwards. Giving up smoking was a good thing…….I guess.

        2. avatar Tile floor says:

          Exactly, I was cool as can be but when it was all said and done I felt like I got hit by a bus and was just completely exhausted… All I wanted to do was sleep

  5. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

    It is training, repetitive training, to the point of what coming is easy and automatic. If I have to think alot about it, I am not very capable. But, if the training steps in, the rest is automatic. The older you get the more important that training is, and the less you want to do it. But do it, you must.

    I would prefer to be an “operator operating operationally.” Thanks Robert!

  6. avatar 0351 says:

    Hearing? What’s that?! Clearly *some* people don’t shoot often enough….

  7. avatar Taylor TX says:

    From the Hebdo sim, I learned that both my mask and glasses will fog up causing me not to be able to even see the front sights 🙂 Also that I REALLY need to work on trigger control and point shooting, when I get excited I get way too much booger hook on the bang switch and finally, that I also need to find a buddy with some land to be able to go train on vs going to the square range. Really hoping to hit up some defensive pistol classes or some IDPA in 2015.

    1. avatar LKB says:

      Check with Steve Smith (www.asgardtraining.org) — he now lives in Taylor. Former British Army / special forces guy; teaches LE and National Guard units, and has great tactical/practical training for the rest of us (Austin, Tx area). Highly recommended.

    2. avatar MurrDog says:

      First thing that happens when I took contact in afghan…the eye pro came off.

  8. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I have trouble grasping what is going on – trouble keeping track of the big picture. Tunnel everything maybe.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    I’ve done a good bit of force on force training and as far as weapon manipulation and decision making I perform EXCELENT under stress…….. In force on force training.

    The fact of the matter is that nobody knows how they are going to perform under stress in a life threatening situation until it happens to them. Anyone who touts their expert skills in force on force training to me is dangerous. Likewise, anyone who monday morning quarterbacks every situation telling me “how they would have done it” makes me weary.

    On a lighter note: one time in force on force with sim guns my team entered into a hostage situation where somehow I ended up as the hostage negotiator. After it was all over everybody swore that I promised the guy a helicopter… I don’t reme this at all, so maybe I’m not good under stress after all haha!

  10. avatar SC0utdoors says:

    In the words of Adam Sandler…..

    “That’s a fine looking jew”

    Robert I submit for your review the spectacular Liraz Dror.

    http://heavy.com/action/girls/2012/11/the-20-hottest-israeli-girls/10/

  11. avatar Scrubula says:

    Airsoft is good force on force training for those of us not in the LE or military scene…

    Your heart rate will rise, and you will be under some level of stress. It’s not as much as a real firefight but no one wants to get shot at with live ammunition.

  12. avatar ghost says:

    As if the super model was not stressful enough.

  13. avatar Lt Dave says:

    The most dangerous drug in the world ….. adrenalin in the veins of an excited cop.

    Trust me. It takes time, effort and training to overcome the dump of this substance in your system after a critical event comes to a conclusion.

  14. avatar LarryinTX says:

    That nut had a suppressed Sig? Cool!

  15. avatar tom w a glock says:

    Training is wonderful but… despite training I also tend towards tunnel vision, wouldn’t hear much because as it gets freaky, I get loud. Not knowing what you’re supposed to do, who to shoot defines the description for “fog of war” – but I still get rounds downrange plus sometimes I “get it right”! We all have days when the stupid kicks in – in training, I annihilated our entire leadership cadre from a planned ambush that was supposed to protect/rescue them. I blame it on fire ants.

  16. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Oy vey! I clicked on the gals…makes me want to convert, I am very good under stress, Lots of experience but no actual gunfights. I t also seems to me all these pathetic cops are trained and a bunch of “em fail miserably under duress…

  17. avatar Andy says:

    It’s my understanding from various news sources that the pistol used by Mr. Whackadoodle was a toy.

  18. avatar Rikoshay says:

    This has become such a jacked up website. Every time I come here I end up having to reboot my computer and sometimes go to recovery mode. Have enjoyed but sorry I won’t be back

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Adblockerplus is your friend.

  19. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    I do very well helping others in their stressful situations but don’t always do well in my own. I plan on doing additional training to help with this. Have done a lot of none square shooting, but no matter what paper never shoots back.

  20. avatar Spaceman Brown says:

    Under stress, I’m going to do the same thing everyone else will. We’re all going to fall to our level of mastered training.

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Does paintball count if you really, really really do NOT want to be shot? If so, I had no trouble at all with the stress. My problem was NOT being able to see/track multiple attackers coming fast from 360 degrees — which I attribute to the fact that no person under any circumstances can evaluate multiple targets simultaneously from every possible direction. (We don’t have eyes on all sides of our head.)

    I witnessed a major accident once where I was convinced there would be both injured and dead bodies and I was first on the scene. For whatever reason, I was calm and able to think/analyze better than normal. I immediately grabbed equipment from my car to assist with first aid and extraction and to search for ejected bodies (it was night) while directing the second person to arrive to summon fire and paramedics and the third person to arrive to position cars to protect the accident victims and unwitting motorists. By the time paramedics arrived, I already had the most seriously injured victim calm and had a complete description of his injuries (including his ability to feel and move extremities). I don’t know if that translates to ability to operate under stress in a fight for survival.

    I am also able to function really well when hunting. I am calm enough that my gunshots are piercing to the point that I HAVE to wear hearing protection. Many people have told me that you won’t hear your gunshot and it won’t impair your hearing for the short term … not so in my case. In fact I was focusing intently on a deer 30 yards to my left waiting for a shot when a I heard a twig snap to my right — I immediately began the slow turn of my head to see another deer approaching from the right. I don’t know if this ports over to self-defense events. I am hopeful that I would keep my wits about myself based on these indicators.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Well the events you describe will hopefully be as close as you ever come to finding out, huh?

  22. avatar Hannibal says:

    I have seen an officer in training who was supposed to handcuff a threat (who had dropped a gun upon command) fail multiple times to reholster his own weapon so as to go hands-on. Not good, and one of those skills that is easily forgotten about.

    When you take your gun out of your holster, don’t do so thoughtlessly. Try to build a habit of taking it out correctly and in such a way that you could bring it up to a target quickly. Things like that can really help if you ever have to do it unexpectedly.

  23. avatar Gearmoe says:

    My own function under stress is mixed. Sometimes not surprised at my reaction, other times I’m surprised at what I did or how I did it. Depends how much time is available. Split second or three seconds makes a big difference.

  24. avatar Shootin4Jesus says:

    Long story short, I defended myself at my home with a Mossberg 835. Hearing was acute, adrenaline rush like I had never experienced, reloads on the move without dropping a single shell. Afterward, extreme hunger and exhaustion, chest pain, shaking, inability to think or express myself. My nerves were frayed for about an hour.

    It’s an experience that I hope I never have to endure again.

  25. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    In high stress situations, the intricate sights go out the window and I just sight down the barrel. Adrenaline dump is really steep. Think and try to keep your mind alive and your wits about you, do not go dumb. Concentrate on the task at hand. Actually, I have had Vietnam combat Sergeants say the same thing.

  26. avatar IAB2 says:

    Without training you default to your fight or flight options, which may not be effective if what you learned, or didnt learn isnt a good solution for that particular situation.
    Some in very extreme stress freeze.

    Thats why pilots, leos, military and others who need to do something complicated, and make decisions, that will work in predefined emergency scenarios, will practice that, over and over, periodically to refresh those routines, in order to be able to almost reflexively execute that set of steps, while your monkey brain is screaming $HIT I AM GONNA DIE.

    If you can practice scaring yourself, without killing yourself, you learn to ignore the monkey and carry on.
    Remember, training is perishable. What you learned four years ago at some defensive shotgun class is not going to work if you dont practice (thats me lecturing myself, for the record…;)

  27. avatar preston says:

    no one knows what they are going to do in a situation like presented. that is why articles like the one you wrote with Jon saying hesitation is weakness makes him sound like a douche, “if you dont do what i say then your weak” total dipshittery.

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