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In the video below, actor Garret Dillahunt shoots targets, targets and more targets. And why not? There are dozens of em! My problem . . .

Where are the “no shoot” targets?

It’s all well and good to be able to hit targets quickly and efficiently and move from target to target and shoot from behind cover and concealment and move and shoot and stuff. Especially if you’re an actor trying to out-badass Keanu Reeves.

Here in the real world, armed self-defense requires judgement.

You need to know when to shoot and when (and who) NOT to shoot. Do you practice that kind of shooting/not shooting? Or is it all about speed, watching eyes and ringing steel?

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  1. I don’t really bother. Good practice for certain competitions but I don’t clear rooms in hostage situations so it’s not really a useful thing for me to spend a lot of time on.

    • None of us want to be responsible for clearing a room in a hostage situation – the point is: we may not have that choice.
      I can think of several perfectly plausible situations I may find myself in where there may be a few “no shoots” between me and an aggressive threat – restaurants, parks, grocery stores, etc.
      Never a bad idea to practice for what might occur, however unlikely.

      • I didn’t say I don’t do it. I said I don’t spend a lot of time on it.

        I don’t spend a lot of time on it because the likelihood I’d ever do it is slim. The same way I spend next to no time practicing “combatives” with a rifle.

        I’d be a terrible firearms trainer, business wise, because I wouldn’t upsell people on the 5% or less of skills-you’ll-probably-never-use-mall-ninja-bullshit, which as far as I can tell, is most of what a lot of trainers do.

        I’d rather spend time on fundamentals, situational awareness, familiarizing with the legal issues and learning other skills. Want to take a “tactical response” class? Go for it. I think you’ll get more usable skills out of an hour a month split 75/25 square range/non-square range (basic movement) a medical class and joining a martial arts gym of your choice. In fact, if all you do is square range and get in shape you’ll be better off IMHO than 99% of the mall ninjas who are relying on skills with tools they don’t actually have at their fingertips.

        • For the non tacticool everyday citizen type safe gun handling classes and legal ramifications have a much larger importance than all the shooting drills.

          Getting in some kind of shape is good for our all around health. Especially as we get older.

        • JWM, I agree with your comment but I feel the need to clarify that getting into the round or pear shape is bad for your health.

        • This! We’ve covered that particular point before but it bears repeating: if the gun is our last resort and avoiding trouble is our first, how many Americans can honestly say they can do a 100 yard sprint to get out of the immediate danger zone? Frankly, as I walk around Houston I see very few people who could avoid becoming zombie snacks for more than a few steps.

        • Dan in CO’s comment made me laugh pretty damn hard. Well played Sir.

          I’m simply of the opinion that rather than any of this fancy training we, as a country, would be better off if people knew CPR and basic First Aid (POTG or not) or even went further. Stats suggest that 70% or more of Americans don’t know or are not up to date on CPR. That’s pretty damn basic if you ask me. This is yet another darn useful set of skills that “health class” should be teaching in schools IMHO. (Of course if we went the fitness route we just might have a few less “cardiac events” in this country… just sayin’.)

          If people want to take tactical/3-gun simulation classes I have no problem with that but I feel focusing on such things is kind of silly in terms of resource allocation.

          I mean, which is more likely? That you’re at the mall or out to eat when someone has a heart attack or starts choking, or that while you’re at the mall or out to eat you get into a gun fight where shoot/no shoot-cover-me-I’m-reloading (tactically of course)-don’t-worry-the-armor-caught-it-I’m-good-oh-fuck-pop-smoke training applies?

          How many people are even carrying a store bought First Aid kit in their car and know how to use it if they come across the scene of an accident or there’s a ramming attack like today in Charlottesville?

    • Garret Dillahunt has had acting roles in a surprising number of movies and television. You can reference his Bio on wikipedia if you wish to see more details.

  2. Great observation Robert. This has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now and while I shoot USPSA and IDPA and some 3 gun, I don’t like that there are no (or very few) no shoot targets; simply run and gun. Such things as threat assessment, scanning to break tunnel vision and shoot/no shoot decision making are nowhere to be found.
    One cannot turn these skills on and off; they must be practiced. Sure, its fun to shoot steel as fast as you possibly can all the while looking cool and tactical, but is it real world? Not so much IMHO.

    • “… are nowhere to be found.”

      Make a day trip to a safe/remote location in your nearest State or National forest and set up your own shoot/no-shoot course.

      Disclaimer: verify whether target practice is legal in the Sate or National Forest that you desire to visit.

    • Not sure where you shoot USPSA, but the two clubs I shoot with have tons of NO Shoot targets mixed in with the shoots; it seems to be a favorite of whoever designs our stages. They have a tendency to put a half “shoot” behind a “no shoot”, as if there is a person being held hostage. Today they had several where only the head of the “shoot” was visable over the top of the no shoot, as if someone was being held hostage by someone taller. I don’t know who designs the stages for a USPSA match, but perhaps you should have a word with whoever designs the stages for your club.

  3. I agree with Strych9, as I too, am going to wait for Law Enforcement to arrive if rooms in my home or other situation need to be cleared.

    However, there’s no doubt that friendly competitions like those offered by IDPA can really help develop situational awareness, well beyond shooting static paper targets at any range.

  4. No shoot targets tend to get in the way.

    In a defensive situation you first yell out ‘don’t be a no shoot target’. To clear the field. Sometimes you gotta shoot the hostage.


    I do like using those kind of training options, it just doesn’t encompass all my shooting, and I’ve been known to plink sometimes.

  5. If they’re running they’re VC. If they’re not running they’re well disciplined VC.

    How can you shoot women and children?

    Easy, you don’t lead them as much….

  6. Yes, I have practiced moving and shooting on my own shoot/no-shoot course.

    My hit rates were phenomenal:
    — at worst 13 out of 15 hits on pretend attackers
    — only 1 shot grazed a “friendly” out of something like 90 total shots that I fired at pretend attackers.

    While practice is always a good thing, I do not see a pressing need for more of this type of practice at the present time (for myself).

  7. Butler trains actors to look better in front of Hollywood’s cameras. The use of steel rewards shooting fast Ds, in contradistinction to the use of cardboard metric targets.

    Butler is a real GM. But, his gig doesn’t seem to be moving A class shooters to Master, if you know what I mean. Nor is it teaching CCW or hostage rescue classes. It’s more about making Keanu a bit more realistic in the next John Wick.

  8. If it wasn’t an added hassle, I might be inclined. Not being law enforcement, active duty (anymore) or even tacticool, I’ll just rely on these discussions to raise my awareness of innocents.

    Lucky for me, I’ve never needed to draw my firearm. Sure, there’s always a chance but I balance risk vs. hassle.

  9. “No shoot target” is an oxymoron. Targets exist to be shot at.

    How about “No shoot civilian” instead?

  10. Zed: May I ask why you felt little Tiffany deserved to die?
    James Edwards: Well, she was the only one that actually seemed dangerous at the time, sir.
    Zed: How’d you come to that conclusion?
    James Edwards: Well, first I was gonna pop this guy hanging from the street light, and I realized, y’know, he’s just working out. I mean, how would I feel if somebody come runnin’ in the gym and bust me in my ass while I’m on the treadmill? Then I saw this snarling beast guy, and I noticed he had a tissue in his hand, and I’m realizing, y’know, he’s not snarling, he’s sneezing. Y’know, ain’t no real threat there. Then I saw little Tiffany. I’m thinking, y’know, eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters, this time of night with quantum physics books? She about to start some shit, Zed. She’s about eight years old, those books are WAY too advanced for her. If you ask me, I’d say she’s up to something. And to be honest, I’d appreciate it if you eased up off my back about it.
    James Edwards: Or do I owe her an apology?
    James Edwards: That’s a good shot though…

  11. Actually, there were “no-shoot” targets in the video. In the second array of pistol targets there was a dark colored (purple??) target mixed in. If you watch other TT videos you’ll see them liberally spread about. Having said that, no one in real life could make the distinction as quickly as one does in the 3-gun game. And that’s what that is. A game. I’ve no doubt that such shooting hones shooting skills but otherwise does nothing to enhance one’s ability to do it real life. Unless you know exactly who the good/bad guys are and where they are in relation to each other, someone who goes into a real situation shooting like that will certainly be questioned as to why they thought it was a good idea to shoot the minister and some of his congregation who were being held hostage by the active shooters.

    • When Dirty Harry was qualifying on the SFPD range, weren’t the no-shoots something like a lady with a bag of groceries? These days, that’s officially a shoot target, you don’t know if she’s hiding a gun behind those groceries, so you shoot her 5-10 times to make sure. (kids, don’t try this without a badge)

  12. FFS you new people on this planet need to get a grip, y;all have lost all sense of reality.

  13. When Dirty Harry was running the SFPD range, weren’t the no-shoots something like a lady with a bag of groceries? These days, that’s officially a shoot target, you don’t know if she’s hiding a gun behind those groceries, so you shoot her 5-10 times to make sure. (kids, don’t try this without a badge)

    • Seems to be the Russian response. When everything in the school/theater, regardless of good or bad guy, regardless of age needs to be killed send in Spetznatz.

      • AK-47, the very best there is. When you absolutely, positively, got to kill every motherf-cker in the room; accept no substitutes.

  14. Pro tip: Shoot the guy who’s trying to kill you; don’t shoot anyone else. If you don’t know which guy is trying to kill you, you’re probably dead already.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  15. Why practice no-shoot? Because if you shoot an innocent in real life, you can probably kiss your sweet ass goodbye. If you shoot someone for almost any reason, you start from the position that you have potentially committed a violent felony, whether it be 2nd degree murder to merely armed assault, with probably some form of manslaughter the most likely if you kill someone. Legal self-defense, as a legal defense, is what should keep you out of prison. But it is very hard to legally show self-defense when you gun down innocents. How did they provide the basis for a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury to you? They most likely didn’t.

    Note – LEOs have different rules. This is because we want them running to the sound of gunfire. While they can be acquitted through self-defense, they have other protections available that the general public does not. Which means that they don’t face almost strict liability for shooting innocent bystanders, like the rest of us do.

  16. Gun games are for speed/marksmanship. Don’t Shoots in front of targets just make the poor marksmanship penalty higher. The decision making is all done before the shooter steps up. The course is set, and the competitors get a walk through and decide the order they’re going to shoot the targets, where they’ll stand, when they’ll reload, etc. I’d like to see a competition where the shooter don’t know what to expect and can’t see others run the course.

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