Porta’s Cat made an excellent response with his thoughts on this subject. My response was a little large so I decided to make another post to continue the discussion.
P.C., Very glad you put your thoughts in on this subject. No beatings here, just more thoughts and thought provoking questions. Thank you.
First – Let’s set up the fact that you are NOT one of the people I speak of in my post. We all check in regularly on your site and know you spend considerable time at the range. I’m speaking about the person that doesn’t.
Now we all must understand that if any of us were up against 16 other shooters, we would all die. Period. But what about one? That’s what we’re really talking about. In the vast majority of self defense encounters, it’s 1 vs. 1. On the outside, 1 vs. 2, but even then the odds are dropping fast.
But how will YOU handle that 1? How will the stress of that encounter diminish your skills? Will the remaining skill level be enough to survive?
This is where competitive shooting has a distinct advantage over only training on your own. It’s the unexpected, the unknown and the out of normal routine that forces the shooters to adapt and build new skills.
We have all seen them. The shooters that can’t shoot without a right foot forward stance, or someone that has to first check their grip before firing, and the list goes on and on. But can you realistically see doing that in a gunfight? “Oh my gosh, I’m about to get shot, but wait let me adjust me feet.” I don’t think so.
And that’s the match director’s job, to mess with your shooting norm, get inside your head. Put you in positions, stances, situations that you wouldn’t normally think of. How do we know this? Because most of us here are match directors or have been. And we still walk up to stages and say, how did they think of that?
If you train alone, you are trapped in your own version of what you think will happen and how you will handle the situation. You rarely will force yourself to do things you don’t like to do. That’s what each stage brings to the shooter and his/her skills. Those really big stages you speak of put the shooter into overload, makes you think fast and deal with the stress.
And again, because someone posted a video of a stage with a whole bunch of targets doesn’t mean that if that same shooter had to deal with 1 threat target he would freeze. He wouldn’t suddenly forget how to grip the gun, align the sights and pull the trigger. It just doesn’t make good video and that’s why you don’t see it on the net.
Did they have a stage that required you to shoot on one knee, under a car, inside a car, while moving laterally, prone, or weak hand? Didn’t do very well on those stages? Maybe you should practice them. You may need that skill in the future. So why not take that information, use it and benefit from it? That is what started this all. Examine your skills and make improvements to them. Don’t train in a vacuum.
I tell new shooters all the time, I know if we all lined up on the range and no one cared we could shoot perfect center hits all day and night. But for some reason, if I put a no-shoot target next to a threat target, it will get shot. Standing still, moving, whatever, it will get shot. Put a pepper popper in front of a no-shoot at 10 yards and you would think the bullet has a mind of its own. It’s called stress. Whether it’s me trying to keep up with Catfish or someone not wanting to look bad in front of the other shooters, you have to deal with the stress of the situation.
Do you need to be out there 5 times a week and attend every match in the land? Hell no! I’m just suggesting that you get to a few matches a year, more would be better but a few will do to let you know how you’re doing. Also, look around at who’s there. Are they all local shooters just out to have a good time and joke with their buddies or is it the week before Nationals and some guys are really bringing their A-game? How you compare at each match will also help you assess how you’re doing.
Bottom line, you can’t think of, or prepare for every scenario you may encounter or be forced to deal with. Don’t think because you go to the range and shoot holes in paper that you are developing a complete set of skills.