Tag: drills

What Makes a Professional Firearms Instructor?

By Dave Staskievicz

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

LETC 2013 - 073There are so many different types of “firearms instructors” that it’s virtually impossible to give a standardized answer to this question. In no way do I think I have all the answers to this question. The purpose of this article is to simply get instructors thinking about possible answers.

Depending on the type of firearms instructor you are, your answers might be a little different. Just so we are all on the same page, a few examples of different types of instructors I’m referring to are hunter safety, trap, range safety, NRA, competition, defensive shooting, and tactical (law enforcement / military – life and death).

There are a wide variety of training doctrines and techniques to choose from – I won’t talk about any of them. This article will focus on the different attributes that make up a professional firearms instructor.

12-2 LETC 2013 - 174As I look at it, there are levels and stepping stones in your instructing career. Generally speaking, I would venture to say some of the best instructors have law enforcement (LE) and/or military backgrounds. However, I’m sure there are exceptions out there.

The majority of my experience as a firearms instructor comes from the LE / military arenas. However, I do occasionally help out with hunter safety and even coach some trap. Over the years, I have tried to listen and learn from many colleagues and instructors. One of the first lessons I learned was that I don’t know everything.

The first thing is to remember you can always learn something new. Never rest on your laurels, and always try to learn something that will make you a better instructor. Find a mentor or mentors and work on how you instruct. Every time I watch someone else teach, I’m trying to learn another way to communicate or relay information to the student. You can never stop learning and improving. I would never claim to be the best instructor, but looking back, I wasn’t a very strong instructor when I first started.

In my opinion, there are a few areas that make or break you as a good, professional instructor. I’m going to break down and discuss a few of these.

Professionalism

Standing barricadeSince we are trying to define what a professional firearms instructor is, it seems the first place to start would be to discuss professionalism. As I said earlier, there are many types of instructors which will alter some of the requirements. To begin with, we owe it to our students and our industry to have a clean professional appearance and attire. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s hard to disagree with the idea of showing a professional appearance. It’s not difficult to wear a polo or other collared shirt. Wearing some sort of T-shirt or an untucked shirt just tells your students you’re sloppy and unprofessional.

Professionalism also includes your documentation for the class. Every class needs a lesson plan and supporting documentation. Did you make a range safety plan and safety brief for your students and instructors? We can never afford to take safety for granted. Don’t cut corners or fall back on the “do what I say, not what I do” motto. Always set the example for your students.

Be courteous and respectful to your students and other instructors. Never bash another instructor or their techniques – that just shows that you are unprofessional. Never contradict another instructor in front of students unless it deals with an immediate safety issue. During a break, take the instructor aside and privately discuss any difference or suggestions.

Evaluate Yourself – Keep an Open Mind

IMG_0758I have already mentioned that you can always learn something new. To do that, you need to continually reevaluate yourself as a firearms instructor. I put a date on all of my police recruit / instructor manuals to require myself to reevaluate the techniques, tactics, and gear every two years. If you haven’t changed any of your curriculum in more than two years, you have most likely rested on your laurels and are now becoming a liability. Be open to evaluating different techniques.

Just because an instructor has the most years of service behind his name, it doesn’t mean he is the best firearms instructor. This is especially true if there isn’t an open mind to progress and change.

Evaluate Techniques, Tactics, and Gear

This area is critically important, especially for defensive and tactical firearms instructors. Realizing we need to keep an open mind about ourselves, we also need to keep an open mind about our techniques, tactics, and gear. As we look at new tactics, we always have to remember that some look really cool on a flat, sterile range when the students’ heart rates are low. Always evaluate the validity of a new tactic or piece of gear before you introduce it into the classroom. Will the technique work when the student performs it with an elevated heart rate? Far too often, I’ve seen an instructor show students a “cool” technique that doesn’t pass the common sense test.

Position #2 shooting _ Cover BlockThe worst thing a professional firearms instructor can do is to fail to vet a new technique, tactic, or piece of gear. Many times, I’ve watched an instructor go to a school or seminar, learn some new tactic, and come back to start teaching it as the “new coolest thing” in the world of shooting. Usually, within a few weeks or months, the instructor realizes the technique isn’t sound and may only work on flat, sterile ranges as opposed to real world situations. The problem is that the damage is already done. Every instructor is liable for what they have taught the students that have already completed the class. Good, professional instructors will vet any new technique before they go out and teach it to students. Consequently, they need to incorporate any changes into their lesson plans and stay consistent.

Think about this: if you’re with a group of instructors evaluating different techniques or gear and you’re always the one talking or you’re never wrong, you just figured out the issue – it’s YOU! If you run the training, you have to remember a good leader always depends on others to make you look good. Once you think you know everything, you are doomed. It’s impossible for one person to know everything, and if you think you do and you’re always right, you are the liability for your training program. Most of this comes down to leaving your ego at home. Remember, story time reduces training time.

As you update your curriculum, remember to have integrity. don’t take credit for other people’s work. Simply changing the name of a technique doesn’t make it yours, so don’t try to make a name for yourself that way. If you change the name of a technique, you will typically end up confusing your students anyway. This comes back to the ego again. The more you have to tell people how great you are, the more you are covering up your inabilities as an instructor or person.

Learning Environment

The most important thing a good firearms instructor can do is to help a student learn. Always remember, we must walk before we run. Breaking everything down into small tasks (modules) will go a long way to accomplish this goal.

  1. Explain what you are going to do
  2. Show them what you want them to do
  3. Demonstrate what you want them to do
  4. Have the student replicate what you want them to do in small parts (modules)

IMG_1040I still live by the old military adage we learned: KISS (Keep It Simple). We can drop off the last S. Trying to impress your students with big words only confuses the students and makes learning harder. There is no need to carry a dictionary on the range. It comes right back to the ego again.

Students always need to have a positive learning experience. For example, when teaching some of the basic fundamentals of firearms, we need to understand why a student’s rounds are going to a certain location. A good instructor has learned how to break down the drills to help students learn why their rounds are always going to a certain place. Until a new instructor understands this, a simple shot analysis card can be an easy first step for learning.

Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not. If I ever thought I did, I would be a liability to myself and others around me. Remember, the purpose of this article is simply to get instructors to think about what a professional firearms instructor is and then take the time to evaluate themselves and their curriculum.

As for the idea of coming up with standards for firearms instructors, I don’t think it’s a very easy or feasible task. The biggest problem with this would be that there doesn’t seem to be a good clearinghouse to standardize a professional firearms instructor.

Remember, as firearms instructors, our goals need to revolve around providing the best possible real world learning environment for our students. Teaching a student to shoot a firearm has a great deal of liability surrounding it. Having students use what they have learned from you in defense of their lives or another person’s life is forever rewarding.

StaskiewiczAbout Dave Staskiewicz

Officer Dave Staskiewicz is Range Master of the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department. He serves as the lead firearms instructor as well as the lead Taser instructor. Dave can be reached at dstaskiewicz@ci.omaha.ne.us.

Rob Leatham Training with the Action Target Torso

World champion Rob Leatham shows how to train on a static torso target.

As a 24-time USPSA national champion and 5-time IPSC World Champion, Rob Leatham knows it takes dedicated training and quality equipment to be a good shooter. To build the speed and accuracy he needs to stay on top of his game, Rob uses Action Target steel targets to train. In this video, he explains how he use the PT Torso  in several training drills. Check it out to see how you can improve your skills!

New Video: Rob Leatham Training with the Action Target Dueling Tree

World champion shooter Rob Leatham knows that stress induced training is absolutely critical to competitive shooting as well as law enforcement. In an actual shooting situation, your heart is going to be pounding and your hand isn’t going to be steady. Shooting on the Action Target Dueling Tree (a dueling tree target) puts you in a position where you have to make hard shots under stress while reacting to changes in the environment, which allows you to better prepare for real life situations.

 

Click the video player to watch the video

Action Target LETC 2012 a Great Success

Action Target’s annual Law Enforcement Training Camp ended Friday as instructors and trainees parted ways after another year of advanced law enforcement training.

This year’s LETC was attended by 147 law enforcement officers and firearms instructors from across the country and the world. More than 20 states were represented with officers from California and Oregon to Florida and New York. While LETC is traditionally a domestic law enforcement camp, as its fame has spread throughout the world, we’ve increasingly received requests to attend from foreign law enforcement agencies. As in years past, we were pleased to welcome officers from Canada, but this year was especially unique with the addition of participants from Brazil and China.

On Monday, Sept. 10, officers arrived at Action Target’s headquarters to sign in and pick up their gear which included personalized water bottles and dog tags. They were also able to tour the facilities where all of Action Target’s products are designed, engineered, and manufactured.

Classes started Tuesday morning at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range. New to this year’s training classes were George Harris’ Combat Skill Drills for Firearms Instructors, Bob Schneider’s Shoot House Training, James Washington’s Training for the Fight with the Pistol, and Brian Hoffner’s Extreme Close Quarter Battle Tactics with Hands, Knife, and Pistol. A total of 12 instructors participated from a variety of organizations including Spartan Tactical Training Group, Safariland Shooting School, Hoffners Training Academy, Glock Training Division, Police Training Division, JDS Tactical, and Fusion Tactical and Combatives.

On the first day of class, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office explosives department set up a demonstration to kick things off with a bang. A charge was placed on the hill next to the uppermost firing range and was connected to several additional charges that ran down the hill and along the periphery of the range. To demonstrate the delay mechanism’s non-electric shock tube technology, a sniper shot the main charge from atop a storage container setting off a series of explosions down the hill. The explosives department also demonstrated several forced entry explosive mechanisms as well as a unique steel puncturing technology consisting of a coil of explosives wrapped around a beer can.

Wednesday night, more than 50 officers at the camp put their skills to the test in the Dirty Harry shooting competition as they vied for free tuition at next year’s LETC. Participants were required to shoot 21 colored knock down targets from three corresponding colored boxes. Shooting the wrong color or shooting one of the six no-shoot targets meant instant disqualification. Law enforcement officers from Utah crushed the competition taking first, second, and third places. Officer Rob Wilkenson of the Utah Highway Patrol took the grand prize winning by more than five seconds with a time of 23:19.

A banquet was held Thursday evening to honor the dedication and sacrifices of law enforcement officers throughout the nation and the world. McKenzie Matthews began the banquet by singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and was followed by Provo Mayor John Curtis who gave the welcome speech. The night’s program centered around the memory of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the protection of our freedoms. The Payson High School Pipe Band performed ‘Amazing Grace’ as photos of law enforcement officers who died by gunfire this year were shown on a projector screen during a special memorial for fallen officers. A memorial was also held for law enforcement who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack. Deputy Chief Steven J. Silks of the New York Police Department, a participant in this year’s camp, spoke of his experiences that day and shared a firsthand account of the bravery exhibited by the brave men and women he served with during that catastrophe.

The camp ended Friday afternoon with a few final classes before attendees began their long journeys home to locations across the nation and the world.

We at Action Target were honored to have so many exceptional officers at this year’s camp, and we hope that each one took home something new that they can share with the men and women they serve with. Superior law enforcement training has always been one of our corporate missions, but we couldn’t make that happen without the continued assistance of our instructors and the participation of the world’s finest. To everyone that attended, instructed, or helped, we thank you and hope you enjoyed your time with us.

Additional Images

New Product: Action Target Introduces New 45 Degree Static Target

Action Target is pleased to announce the release of the new 45 Degree Static. Now you can shoot on steel with high-powered rifles at close range!

The 45 Degree Static is the newest member of the AT Static family. With an AR 550 armor steel head plate slanted at 45 degrees, this static target is specifically designed for shooting high-powered rifles* at close distances. Most steel targets, even those made of AR550 armor steel, don’t stand up well to the power of rifle ammunition when shot from distances closer than 100 yards, but the 45 Degree Static’s unique design allows it to absorb the impact of high-powered ammunition from as close as 50 yards.

The 45 Degree Static uses a high angle of deflection to force bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Because the steep angle of the target spreads bullet impact over a larger surface area, the 45 Degree Static is perfectly capable of handling .223, .308, and even slugs from only 50 yards, giving you greater training freedom in a smaller area. The head plate is 14” tall and 12” wide making it elliptical in shape, but the steep slant makes it appear perfectly round to a shooter standing 50 yards away.

Just like our standard AT Static targets, the head plate of the 45 Degree Static is mounted to the stand so it bounces when hit, giving you immediate visual feedback and positive reinforcement for accurate shots. The head plate of the target is completely flat with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets to cause unpredictable splatter when inevitably hit, and the low profile bullet-shedding stand helps make this one of the most durable targets on the market.

*The 45 Degree Static is made of 3/8” thick AR550 armor steel and is designed for use with ammunitions that have a muzzle velocity less than 3,000 fps. Using ammunition that exceeds this limit may result in damage to the target.

Action Target’s Law Enforcement Training Camp is Just Around the Corner!

For more than 20 years, Action Target has held the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help police departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. With this year’s training camp starting in just a few days, we’re excited to get things rolling. For those of you who will be attending, here’s what you can look forward to (and for those of you who didn’t register in time, this is what you’ll be missing!).

The training camp officially begins Monday, September 10 with registration starting 2 p.m. at the Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT. Since participants will be arriving from all over the nation and a few from across the world, Monday is considered a travel day, and no classes will be held. After registration, participants will be allowed to tour the Action Target facilities where we manufacture the target systems and shoot houses trainees will be using throughout the week.

Classes start Tuesday morning and will be held every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday the 14th. Lunch will be provided at the range as well as a BBQ dinner Tuesday night and a catered banquet Thursday night. Thursday night’s festivities also include the “Dirty Harry” shooting competition and a raffle for Action Target gear and other prizes.

The greatest prize you’ll receive at LETC, however, is invaluable experience and training. All courses offered at LETC are taught by highly qualified professional instructors, many of whom have decades of experience in firearms training.

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced practical handgun
  • Combat skill drills for firearms instructors
  • Ultimate shotgun
  • Extreme close quarter battle tactics with hands, knife, and pistol
  • Rapid deployment patrol rifle operator
  • Training for the fight with the pistol
  • Emergency medical response for firearms instructors
  • Shoot, move, communicate
  • Glock armorer’s course
  • Reactive shooting
  • Shoot house training
  • Ground combatives and weapons retention training

If you are already signed up for this year’s training camp, we look forward to seeing you in just a few days. We guarantee this will be one of the greatest training experiences you will ever have. If you somehow missed the deadline, don’t worry. There’s always next year.

Accuracy After Injury: How Will You React in a Firefight When Suffering from the Symptoms of Shock?

By: Brian C. Smith

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Approximately 16 years ago, I had a conversation with an old “salty” veteran police officer over lunch. He was sent by his police agency to attend a firearms class that I was teaching as a way of punishment for his actions that were defined as unsafe firearms tactics by his police agency’s administration. The class I was teaching was titled “Survival Shooting Tactics for Armed Confrontations,” which was a one-day, eight-hour course at the time. The course has undergone many revisions and updates since then. In our conversation, I soon realized that this officer has probably forgotten more than I will ever know or experience in my police career. I found myself taking mental notes while conversing about details he had mentioned on how he survived in a few of his encounters with close call situations.

The officer then hit me with a question, “How would being injured in a fire fight encounter affect your firearm accuracy?” Being young and cocky, my response was, “That should not matter, sight alignment and sight picture would be the same. I still should be able to hit the threat no matter what.” The old salty police officer looked at me as he leaned back in his chair and just smiled. After a few moments of both of us just staring at each other, the old guy said, “I will give you credit for being a good firearms instructor, but I can see that there are some things you have yet to experience in this life as a police officer.” After that brief lunch, it was as if I had just been educated by one of the three wise men.

I then researched how the human body is affected by blunt trauma and what physical symptoms that person will experience as well as how these symptoms would affect a shooter’s accuracy in a fire fight. In my research, I discovered the medical condition that may apply is referred to as “neurogenic shock.” This is a condition where the human body suffers a minor injury or traumatic experience. In the condition of neurogenic shock, the most common symptoms include:

  • A fast, weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling faint, weak, or nauseous
  • Dizziness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Blue lips

The symptoms start developing approximately 90 seconds after the incident occurs. This time span can vary due to age, physical condition, or pre-existing health problems.

I have personally suffered from this condition many times when I have sustained a minor injury while playing sports or engaging in other physical activities. I have witnessed the common treatments of this condition as having the person lie on their back with feet slightly elevated to raise their blood pressure, keep them warm by covering the person’s torso with a blanket or garment, and administer fluid. A person can develop this condition by suffering a dislocated finger, sprained ankle, brachial stun to the torso, or the unthinkable – a gunshot wound.

From this research, I developed a shooting drill that we have included in the “Injured Officer” segment of our firearms training curriculum named as the “Equilibrium Drill.” This helps our training staff to illustrate two different concepts on how your condition may affect your firearms accuracy.

1. Physical reactions that may compromise your firearm proficiency due to an injury

2. Diminished firearms accuracy due to inebriation

Also, while serving in my former position as Director of Training with the Chicago Heights Police Department, one of my duties was to orientate and prepare the new recruits graduating from the academy for their new assignments. This included an orientation class that consisted of about 16-18 hours (two consecutive days) of training that was to be completed just prior to being assigned to an FTO (Field Training Officer). This Pre-Field Training Officer’s course curriculum consisted of topics such as handcuffing, expandable baton, OC pepper spray, and an eight hour handgun course on survival tactics at the range. My prior experience and perils as a young officer qualified me when I recited the common cliché, “Been there and done that.” I have an understanding of young male police officers, full of testosterone, and how they are capable of making many mistakes in the infant stages of their careers. We found it necessary to always discuss with the recruits the topic of off-duty encounters, which is included among a variety of topics on consuming alcoholic beverages and developing “beer muscles” while patronizing a liquor-serving establishment. Therefore, this shooting exercise also emphasized the outcome if a police officer were to be engaged in a firefight while intoxicated.

The “Equilibrium Drill”

(Simulating shooter intoxication or neurogenic shock as a result of an injury)

Target: 3 metal pepper popper plates or 3 large round balloons – I suggest you use 12-16 inch diameter balloons.

Distance: 40 feet (from the target to the established firing line)

Ammo: 5 rounds, no magazine exchange or reloads required

Weapon: Pistol or revolver

Shooting Position: Kneeling, sitting, or prone

Exercise

A. Shooter loads and makes ready, then places the weapon on the ground with muzzle pointed double down range.

B. Shooter steps back approximately 15 feet away from the weapon.

C. Shooter stands in the center circle of 2-3 range officers with his arms folded across his chest.

D. The range officers spin the shooter around in a circle for approximately one minute to create the dizziness effect.

E. After the one minute, the range officer will give the command “Go,” at which point the spinning will stop and the shooter must attempt to get to his weapon while dizzy and dazed.

F. Upon reaching his weapon, the shooter will take a shooting position on his knees or prone and engage the targets in a rapid fire manner.

Results

It is rare that a shooter in the class has been able to hit all his targets while dizzy, although there have been some exceptions. This exercise involves a great deal of humor, along with a certain reality among the class in witnessing each other’s reactions while dizzy.

This exercise has proven to be a positive illustration for the recruits, teaching them the risks of carrying a firearm while consuming alcoholic beverages in a social setting with other officers or their families. It also allows them to experience the symptoms of suffering a bullet wound so they can be aware of how it will affect their accuracy. Once recruits are aware, they can learn how combat those symptoms and regain a measure of accuracy when shooting. I encourage officers to assume a shooting position low to the ground such as kneeling, sitting, or prone. Experience has revealed that the longer you attempt to stand while suffering from shock the more likely you are to faint.

I also encourage recruits and veteran officers to remain in the fight until the threat is down or stopped. Fainting during the fight is not an option. The officer is expected to give 100% to the end and hope for a positive outcome.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

New Product: Action Target Introduces New Sport Plate Rack

Action Target is pleased to announce the release of the Sport Plate Rack. Now you can train like the pros without spending a fortune!

The Sport Plate Rack gives you all the training benefits of our full-size Plate Rack for only a fraction of the price. With six 4” armor steel plates that fall when hit, shooting on the Sport Plate Rack provides instant visual feedback and reinforces accurate shots. And after the targets have all been knocked down, they can be easily reset by pulling the cable attached to the reset lever.

The Sport Plate Rack’s no-weld design and reactive knock down action are ideal for serious target training, but the price makes it affordable for just about anyone. Because it is designed for .22 rimfire ammunition*, this target is also great for family outings, camping trips, or teaching children how to shoot.

The Sport Plate Rack comes with a 30′ reset cable, your choice of a 1′, 2′, 3′, or 4′ stand, and six 4” target plates made of AR500 armor steel that can be easily reversed and interchanged without tools.

*The Sport Plate Rack is made of 1/4” thick AR500 armor steel and is designed for use with .22 rimfire ammunition only. Using ammunition other than .22 rimfire may result in damage to the target.

Order your Sport Plate Rack today!

More Photos

 

New Video: Rob Leatham Trains with the AT Static

World champion shooter Rob Leatham knows being a well-rounded competitor takes a lot more than just speed. Accuracy is essential because it doesn’t matter how many shots you fire, it’s how many times you hit the target. In this video Rob shows how to increase accuracy while shooting fast with the AT Static Target .

 

Click the video player to watch the video

Understanding Sight Gears

By John Krupa III of Spartan Tactical Training Group and Action Target Academy

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

As a professional trainer, my research and experience have brought me to the conclusion that shooters use sights three different ways when responding to deadly force situations. I call them Sight Gears, as the shooter switches or changes “gears” in how they use their sights based on reaction to existing threats.

  • Sight Gear #1 = Perfect Sight Alignment – Is typically used under controlled conditions where the shooter is not subject to stress related factors that are conducive with the physiological response of the body under stress. The heart rate is under 140 BPM and the shooter minimizes movement, seeking the “perfect” shot. This gear is most commonly used during shots involving distance (usually 25 yards and beyond) or surgical shot placement where the shooter needs to make a partial body shot or head shot on a threat up close.
  • Sight Gear #2 = The Flash Sight Picture – This gear rules the world of gun fighting, especially with handguns! It is considered a complex motor skill where the shooter still has the ability to see/use their sights and is not affected by vasoconstriction. The heart rate is around 140 to 160 BPM and combat breathing is required to control the heart rate and flood the body with oxygenated blood to keep vasoconstriction at a minimum. The sight picture is no longer perfectly still during execution of the shot (usually due to dynamic action) and the front sight “wobbles” in the rear sight box, independently from the overall movement of the sight picture. Combat hits come quicker using this method; however, shot placement is managed by selecting an area to hit on the threat vs. a precise point of impact. We call this application Tactical Speed Shooting. This sight gear is most commonly used with handguns from 15 yards to as close as two yards.
  • Sight Gear #3 = Front Sight Proximity Shooting – This gear is used when the shooters heart rate is roaring at about 165 to 180 BPM. The shooter is limited to gross motor skills and vasoconstriction has temporarily impaired the ability to focus on the front sight. Binocular vision and focus will remain on the threat until combat breathing reduces the heart rate and oxygenated blood is restored back to the eyes. We call this Front Sight Proximity Shooting, as the top of the handgun and front sight area are visible to the shooter in the peripheral, but completely out of focus (when the pistol is at full extension and indexed on target). Using this technique, the shooter is conditioned to be aware of the handguns proximity in relation to the threat and is able to get multi-shot, devastating hits on the threat quickly by indexing the pistol to where the shooter is looking. When we run the 6-shot drills in our pistol courses using this sight gear, we are seeing shooters get six hits on target, in about a 4” to 6” group on the threats center mass in an average of 1.00 to 1.25 seconds! Conditioned shooters are applying six rounds in sub .90 seconds! This gear is most commonly used by shooters during spontaneous deadly-force confrontations at three yards and in.

While this is a general summary of what we teach in our training courses, the goal of this article is to encourage instructors to prepare students to learn how to use their sights other than just perfect sight alignment!

For more information about our training courses, visit our website www.TeamSpartan.com

As always, stay safe and Fight to Win!

John Krupa III
Master Firearms Instructor
President / Director of Training
Spartan Tactical Training Group, LLC

About John Krupa III

John is an active duty police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL.) and has more than 21 years of experience in LE. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, FTO, and firearms instructor with Chicago PD. He is a graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA, and FLETC. John is founder and president of Spartan Tactical Training Group, Director of Training for the DS Arms LE Training Division and has previously presented at training conferences across the country with the AFTE, ASLET, GTOA, IALEFI, ILEETA, ISOA, LETC, MidTOA, NTOA, and TTPOA.

10 Ways to Prevent Wildfires While Target Shooting

More than 20 wildfires have been started by target shooting this year in Utah alone with dozens more started in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. Many of those fires could have been prevented or stopped had the shooters been prepared. Here is a list of 10 things shooters can do to prevent wildfires while target shooting:

  1. Bring a bucket of water – This may seem obvious, but often, shooters fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water at the ready while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start. We recommend placing the bucket near the targets you’ll be shooting. That way, if a fire starts, you won’t have to waste precious time carrying a heavy bucket all the way to where your targets are set up.
  2. Shoot on quality steel targets – Action Target’s steel targets are designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. The flat target surface with no exposed clamps or brackets allows for a predictable bullet splatter, and the 30 degree angle of the target plate forces bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Uneven shooting surfaces produce unpredictable splatter and ricochet which increases the surface area exposed to sparks and hot bullet fragments.
  3. Place your targets on dirt or gravel – Make sure your target is placed on a level, unvegetated surface of dirt or small grained gravel. Placing a target in tall grass increases the risk of fire.
  4. Don’t shoot trash – Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found on public land but are dangerous fire hazards when shot. Because there is no hard surface to cause the bullet to break up, hot rounds can build up inside and create enough heat to cause a fire.
  5. Don’t shoot with steel core ammo – Ammo that contains a steel core will spark when it hits a rock or a steel target. To avoid any chance of sparking, do not use steel ammunition and avoid shooting in rocky areas.
  6. Bring a shovel and an old blanket – Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained. Place the blanket near the targets you’ll be shooting so it’s easily available if needed. A blanket is one of the best ways to smother a fire and can be even more effective than water.
  7. Never shoot exploding targets – Binary exploding targets made of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder (commonly known as Tannerite when combined) are popular among recreational shooters, but can be highly destructive. Never use exploding targets in flammable areas. Exploding targets (listed as “other pyrotechnic devices”) are outlawed on public lands by the Bureau of Land Management’s Fire Prevention Order.
  8. Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are also outlawed on public lands by the BLM’s Fire Prevention Order. Any ammo that “burns” can easily ignite grass and brush and should not be used in flammable areas.
  9. Don’t smoke – Even if you’re following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, you can still easily start a wildfire by smoking. If you’re shooting in a dry location, make sure that all cigarette butts are properly extinguished or avoid smoking at all.
  10. Park your vehicle away from dry grass – Several fires this year have been started by vehicles parked over grass. Many people don’t think about it, but the hot undercarriage of a car or truck can easily create enough heat to ignite dry grass.

About Action Target, Inc.

Action Target, Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store .

Action Target’s Tactical Torso

Action Target is pleased to announce its newest target – the AT Tactical Torso. The AT Tactical Torso is the upgraded version of the popular AT Torso. With two swinging plates to simulate the lethal head and center mass zones, you get instant visual feedback from hitting the right spot. Unlike similar targets, you do not have to shoot the swinging plates back into place. The two plates swing vertically from hinges above the shoot zones allowing them to fall back into place after each hit.

The AT Tactical Torso’s target-within-a-target design is perfect for realistic tactical training situations. Instead of just firing at a large torso target where anything that hits counts, the AT Tactical Torso forces shooters to focus their aim on the small lethal areas of the torso increasing accuracy and precision.

The torso and swinging plates are made of through hardened AR550 armor steel with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets allowing you to shoot safely without fear of ricochet or splatter. The rear hinge brackets are also made of armor steel (AR500) to minimize wear and tear from daily use and provide you with a lifetime of tactical training.

Get your AT Torso today!

More Photos

 

Rob Leatham Trains with the Action Target Hostage

24-time national champion and 5-time world champion Rob Leatham didn’t get to where he is today by luck. In order to be the best, you have to train better than anyone else and that requires daily focused training and superior equipment. In this video, Rob shows how to get the most out of your Action Target Hostage with shooting drills and tips from the pro.

Click the video player to watch the video

Team Building Concepts: Training Exercises That Will Bring Your Team Together

BY SGT. BRIAN C. SMITH

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in S.W.A.T. magazine in September 1999. The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Over the years, I have trained many police and private security officers in tactical-team operations. I find that the most difficult phase of the training class is the beginning, where I stress teamwork to a group of individuals who are reluctant to cooperate during the first phase of training. This can be due to a lack of familiarity with the other participants in the class, a lack of experience with team concepts, or individual ego problems.

When the topic of teamwork comes up, my first thought, like that of most other people, is of athletic teams, such as basketball and football. My conceptualization of exactly what a team is became somewhat more enlightened when, recently, I watched a team of fire department paramedics work frantically to treat a gunshot victim on a police call that I responded to. The medical jargon, coordination, and smooth choreography of their actions while using their emergency equipment, were a strong indication that they had practiced this scenario before. This incident prompted me to inquire about how often firefighters from several different fire departments trained together to prepare for a crisis. To my surprise, they trained as a team more often than the patrol division of the police department in my area. At the police agency where I’m employed, a five-minute roll call is not sufficient time to discuss topics of survival or practice a tactical scenario that the officer might encounter during his tour.

I also recently attended a circus with my two-year old daughter and watched the high-wire event, where an acrobatic team of four balanced themselves on one bicycle and rode on a tightrope from one platform to another without a mishap. This feat could not have been accomplished without many hours of practicing together as a team, bringing all the principles of teamwork into play. These principles are referred to as The Three C’s: Communication, Coordination, and Cooperation.

Our team’s philosophy of team-building, attempts to phase out the individual mind-set and bring all the members of the team together as one to complete a difficult task. The team members must have confidence that each member will do his part in any given assignment. Each member must know his individual responsibility and what is expected of him in order to perform the task successfully.

Communication is extremely important; a team, organization, or group cannot operate efficiently without communication. This can take the form of verbal or written communication, hand signals, or facial expressions, and must be comprehended by everyone involved to be effective. Coordination follows when each person is assigned a responsibility and performs when expected to. Cooperation is the final step in this team-concept triad. Here, everyone involved is willing to perform and participate.

Discipline is another concept that helps develop team camaraderie during the introduction of the class. A series of guidelines is presented to the group, along with the degree of discipline the group will endure as a whole. In our tactical-team training class, violation of any stipulation in the guidelines would result in a maximum of five push-ups, depending on the severity of the violation.

It’s inevitable that, at some point, someone in the group will commit an infraction for any number of reasons, and, as the group is subject to serving its punishment, one can see the camaraderie developing and the group coming together as a team.

Provided in this article is a low-cost program of team-building events that has proved effective and beneficial in our tactical-team training. It has also been helpful for other types of groups that aim to create a team mind-set among their members, and can, likewise, do the same for your team. The objective of these exercises is to enhance planning, coordination, and communication. This will also create confidence and trust among team members and is what makes the difference between a mere group of individuals and a real team.

LIVE-WIRE EVENT

  • Details: Must get the entire team inside the three-sided structure without touching the ropes or poles. Once inside the structure, the entire team must exit again without touching the structure.
  • Penalty: If any team member touches any part of the structure, the team must start the entire exercise from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Rope, dowel rods, and tent stakes. Structure is in a triangular formation.

CONFIDENCE FALL

  • Details: A member stands on a ladder or platform at an estimated height of four feet. The remaining members must form a human net to catch the person falling backward. Note: the faller must put his hands in his trouser pickets, as a safety precaution, to prevent members of the human net from being struck in the face during the fall. The faller must alert the human net when he is ready to start so that they are prepared to catch him. The participants should be advised not to make jokes about not catching the faller due to the anxiety this creates. Such negative comments could prove to be counterproductive.
  • Penalty: If the faller bends at the waist as he falls, this reflects a lack of confidence and trust in the team, they must repeat the exercise.
  • Equipment: Stepladder or stationary platform.

BLINDMAN’S SOCCER

  • Details: The group is divided into two teams, which are distinguished by colored bandannas; these are also used as blindfolds. One member is selected from each of the two teams to post as the blindfolded player, and one member from the same team is designated to give voice commands for the player to follow on where to kick the ball.
  • Penalty: Player must remain blindfolded while the exercise is in session or forfeits the game.
  • Equipment: Soccer ball or equivalent and bandannas of two different colors to blindfold the players.

LOG MOVEMENT

  • Details: With a regimented effort, the team must move an eight-foot, 4″x 4″ wood beam with 16 feet of heavy rope that is tied at both ends of the beam. This exercise cannot be completed until the team comes together as one, which sometimes takes a while. You will witness frustration at the start of this event. The maximum number of members on a beam is ten; the minimum is four. Each member faces the same direction with the same foot resting on the beam, and the rope must rest over the same shoulder. The members must move the beam a distance of 75 feet without their hands, then, on command of the instructor, switch positions, facing the opposite direction with the opposite foot on the beam and the rope resting on the opposite shoulder. The team then proceeds back to the starting point.
  • Penalty: Should any member’s foot come off the beam or the rope come off the shoulder, the team must return to the starting point.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot 4″ x 4″ wood beam per ten people and one 16 foot rope per team.

BALANCE-BEAM SHUFFLE

  • Details: Six to eight members line up randomly on a eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or railroad tie. Each person faces in the opposite direction of the person beside him. Without verbal communication or stepping off the beam, the members are to determine who’s the oldest and youngest, then maneuver their positions so that the oldest person is at a designated end of the beam, with the younger members following in sequence to the opposite end.
  • Penalty: If any member’s foot touches the ground or if he makes any verbal sounds, all team members must stop and return to their original positions.
  • Equipment: One eight-foot, 6″x 6″ wood beam or a railroad tie per six to eight team members.

BLINDMAN’S FORMATION LINE

  • Details: The team is instructed to line up and sound off in numerical order. An area, such as a wall or fences, is designated as the starting point, where the team is to line up in sequence perpendicular to the starting point in the same numerical order. The members are blindfolded and spread out, then given the command to start. Without verbal communication, the members are to find the starting point and then line up in order. The first attempt will appear chaotic, but if the team is allowed to orchestrate a plan just prior to the second attempt, this exercise will appear a lot less complicated.
  • Penalty: If any verbal comments are made or if anyone removes his blindfold, the exercise is stopped and resumed from the beginning.
  • Equipment: Cloth bandannas to use as blindfolds.

BLINDMAN’S CONFIDENCE RUN

  • Details: One member is blindfolded and positioned to run toward a fixed structure (such as a wall or fence) from a distance of approximately 50 feet. The remaining team members are to line up in front of the structure to catch the runner and prevent the runner from colliding with the structure. No verbal sounds are to be made by the team so that the runner isn’t able to judge distance when approaching the structure.
  • Penalty: If the runner slows down prior to approaching the structure, this indicates a lack of trust or confidence in the team, and the exercise must be repeated.
  • Equipment: One bandanna to blindfold the runner.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

—————-

LETC 2012

For over 20 years, Action Target has been holding the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help law enforcement departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. This year’s LETC will be held September 10-14 in Utah County.

The registration form for LETC can be found at https://www.actiontarget.com/calendar under the “More Info” column for Sept. 10-14. Instructions on how to submit your registration can be found at the bottom of page.

Registration will be reserved for the first 160 applicants, so apply today!

 

Click to watch highlights from LETC 2011.

Action Target Reveals First Reactive Steel Target Under $50: The Spinning Jack

You asked for it, so we’re giving it to you: our first reactive steel target under $50. The Spinning Jack is the perfect target for recreational shooters and families, and at the super low price of $35, it’s affordable on almost any budget.

A great portable steel target for shooting with the whole family! The Spinning Jack combines the simplicity of a static target with the excitement of a reactive target and is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.

The Spinning Jack is a safe way to enjoy shooting with the family without having to go down range to reset or replace your target. With alternating circle and square plates, the jack spins in its stand when shot so there is always an exposed paddle to engage. Made of 1/4″ AR500 armor steel, the Spinning Jack can be shot with anything from .22 rimfire to .44 magnum.

The Spinning Jack comes in three pieces with no assembly needed. Using the provided foot step, pushing the frame into the ground is easy and doesn’t require the use of a hammer. Once in the ground, all that’s left to do is place the jack in the hole at the top of the stand and watch it spin with each hit.

Get your Spinning Jack now!

Action Target at the 2012 Bianchi Cup

Action Target recently completed one more year as the official target sponsor of the Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup. The National Action Pistol Championship, now in its 33rd year, was held in Columbia, MO, and featured many of the world’s top shooters competing for the prestigious cup. Action Target provided products and services again this year to ensure the range was in top operating condition.

“The Bianchi Cup is unique from other shooting competitions because it uses turning targets and other target systems a bit more advanced than you would normally see at a competition,” said David Mathis, Director of Marketing for Action Target. “Those systems are what we specialize in at Action Target, so working with the NRA to support this match is something we are proud to do each year.”

The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (formerly the Chapman Academy) has hosted the Bianchi Cup every year since its inception and has used Action Target products and systems for nearly 20 years. This year, Action Target added new target clamps to speed up changing targets and provided maintenance for all of the range’s target systems. The Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club also offered a practice range, separate from the main range, where competitors could arrive early to check their equipment and practice for the match. Action Target provided plate racks and paint for competitors to use as they warmed up on the practice range.

Founded in 1979 by law enforcement veteran and holster innovator John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup began as a shooting competition designed to test law enforcement officers’ skill with a pistol. The competition challenged shooters’ speed and accuracy using barricades, alternative positions, and timed events. It did not take long for the match to gain popularity among the shooting community with many top shooters attending from all over the world.

The Midway USA & NRA Bianchi Cup features four different matches shooters can compete in: The Practical, The Barricade, The Moving Target, and The Falling Plate events. Shots are fired from 10 yards up to 50 yards with the shooters’ scores determined by their accuracy on each target. The shooters’ final scores are the sum of their scores for all four matches. This year 237 shooters competed for the national title with the Bianchi Cup going to Doug Koenig, who has won it a record 14 times.

In addition to being the official target sponsor, Action Target is also the sponsor for the women’s championship, won this year by Julie Golob for the third time.

Three of Action Target’s staff also participated by shooting in the competition. David Mathis, Mike Stilwell, and Chris Hart competed more for bragging rights around the office than to win a national title with Mathis coming out ahead.

These Girls Wanted a Fighting Chance

By Captain Brian C. Smith

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Chief of Police, Volume XIX. The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

A good friend, Deputy Gloria Anderson of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, who is aware of my background in firearms training, expressed on several occasions about several of her female co-workers who were experiencing difficulties in passing their departmental service weapon range qualification. During one of these conversations, when the topic arose, I began to pry into some of the problems the female co-workers were experiencing with their weapons and departmental qualifications. I later determined that it appears the problem of the ladies in mention, may be a fear of their weapon due to lack of familiarization.

I extended an offer for the female deputies to attend a class that was designed and developed for shooters to become more familiar with their weapons, whether it’s their duty or off-duty weapon. This course was developed for the Chicago Heights Police Department, during that period of time in the mid 1990’s, when former United States President William Clinton signed the bill that proposed to increase the population of police officers nationwide by 100,000. On a local level, our agency’s sworn personnel had increased by 25 percent with a constant flow of turnover of police officers leaving other police agencies to join our agency and vice-versa. Our police personnel were leaving this department to seek better job opportunities and all the police agencies in our area were experiencing the same problem.

Our agency’s rules and regulations specified what weapons were approved for duty and off duty carry. Therefore, police officers from other agencies that were seeking employment with the Chicago Heights Police Department that were sworn in to serve on this police department must adhere to the current weapons policy and could only carry the two weapon manufacturers that we’re specified.

That’s why this eight-hour course was designed to familiarize the newly appointed police officer with the operations of his/her weapon, if they had to trade or purchase a weapon that would meet department specification. This course would allow a newly appointed police officer transitioning from another police agency to participate with their new firearm and challenge the many scenarios that the course had to offer and to familiarize themselves with their weapon.

Deputy Anderson organized a group of female police officers to participate in the class with hopes that the females would be more familiar with their firearm and overcome their fears. The class was scheduled for October 15, 2005, at the Harvey Police Department outdoor range. The women who reported to the range were all seasoned veterans and displayed an attitude, a degree of cockiness, and at the same time somewhat apprehensive because of not knowing what to expect. The female officers were from Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Markham Police, and the Federal Reserve’s Bank Police. The class was briefed of the overall class itinerary, along with range rules and expectations.

These expectations included our philosophy on a military style of regiment discipline in the class where any infractions that occurred on the range will result in penalties and the shooters as a class must suffer the punishment of three push-ups per penalty. Once the logistics were covered and the shooters’ equipment was inspected, the class proceeded to the firing line. The class is titled SURVIVAL SHOOTING TACTICS FOR ARMED CONFRONTATIONS, where each shooter is expected to bring approximately 300 rounds and anticipate getting dirty by shooting in a variety of shooting positions.

The class started by practicing reloading drills with dummy rounds and later progressed to live fire. Then after a series of live fire exercises, where the shooters were directed to reload quickly, some shooters were still reloading with nonchalant attitudes. The class then progressed to the next stage of a dueling drill where each shooter stood ten feet apart and was armed with “Simunitions”—converted semi-auto pistols with empty magazines in the weapons with one magazine loaded with one “Simunition” round and placed in the shooter’s mag pouch. The shooters were wearing paintball masks for safety, when on the command; the shooters faced each other, reloaded quickly to shoot their opponent before being shot.

During this drill, the feedback from the class was they now understood the importance of the quick reload and this drill began the humbling process among the women and the attitudes and their resistance began to diminish. We estimated that by the conclusion of the class, the group must have performed approximately 60 pushup for the penalties committed by the class members. Also at the conclusion of the class, the female officers openly admitted that prior to attending this class, that they thought they were familiar with their weapons. They also expressed that they now realized that their departmental qualification is only to test their accuracy in achieving a qualifying score for department records, which does not prepare them to shoot under stress or manipulate the weapon under stress or challenge themselves in job related scenarios.

The female officers were very appreciative and expressed a desire to establish an advanced class to further challenge and enhance their skills. It was a fulfilling moment to witness the women during the pushups and challenges that we put forth to members of this class, that this training may save their lives. They left the class enlightened, humbled, and confident in what they had achieved this date.

About the Author

Captain Brian C. Smith is a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Heights Police Department and is currently serving as Commander of Training and Special Operations. He has 21 instructor certifications and four armorer certifications. Captain Smith has an associate degree in law enforcement from Thornton Community College and graduated from tile 184th session of the FBI National Academy. He is member of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, National Tactical Officer Association, ASLET, IALEF, and the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, where he serves as Chairman of the Survival Tactics Committee.

 

LETC 2012: Advanced Firearms Training for Professionals

For over 20 years, Action Target has been holding the Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) to help law enforcement departments across the nation get the quality firearms training they need and deserve. LETC is designed to give department firearms instructors the knowledge and tools necessary to increase their deputies’ skill level in tactical situations. While the classes are specifically designed to be highly advanced courses for firearms instructors, all law enforcement is welcome to participate in the training camp.

This year’s LETC will be held September 10-14, 2012 in Utah County, UT. Classes and activities will be split between Action Target headquarters in Provo, UT, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Thistle Firing Range which is located a short drive up the canyon in Thistle, UT.

“This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream,” says Juan Lopez, a detective from Commerce City, CO, of LETC 2011. “My only question to you is when and how early can I register for attending the 2012 LETC?”

Early registration is now available with a discounted tuition price of $450. Tuition goes to up to $495 for those that register after the July 31st deadline. Payment must be arranged at least 30 days before the start of class (Aug. 11) to avoid being dropped from the camp.

All courses offered at LETC are taught by highly qualified professional instructors, many of whom have decades of experience in firearms training. The instructors are chosen by Action Target from among leaders in the industry and include trusted partners from Safariland Shooting School, Hoffner’s Training Academy, Spartan Tactical Training Group, and others.

“LETC was one of the top training experiences I’ve ever had,” said S/Sgt. Mark Horsley of Vancouver, Canada. “The quality of instructors was outstanding.”

This year’s classes include:

  • Advanced practical handgun
  • Combat skill drills for firearms instructors
  • Ultimate shotgun
  • Extreme close quarter battle tactics with hands, knife and pistol
  • Rapid deployment patrol rifle operator
  • Training for the fight with the pistol
  • Emergency medical response for firearms instructors
  • Shoot, move, communicate
  • Glock armorer’s course
  • Reactive shooting
  • Shoot house training
  • Ground combatives and weapons retention training

All classes are designed to force participants out of their comfort zone and into situations where they have to rely on their instincts and prior training. Even experienced professionals find they are pushed to perform at a higher level than ever before.

J. C. Boylan, a range master from Mesa Community College who has been a firearms instructor for 28 years said, “I can say that because of Action Target’s LETC, I am a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor.”

Applicants are asked to list their top eight class choices from which four will be assigned based on class size and availability. Early registration increases the chance that applicants will be placed in the classes they want.

Monday, September 10th is considered a travel day with registration starting 2 p.m. at the Action Target headquarters. After registration, participants will be allowed to tour the Action Target facilities.

Classes start Tuesday morning and will be held every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided as well as a BBQ dinner Tuesday night and a catered banquet Thursday night which includes a raffle.

The registration form for LETC can be found at https://www.actiontarget.com/calendar under the “More Info” column for Sept. 10-14. Instructions on how to submit your registration can be found at the bottom of page. Registration will be reserved for the first 160 applicants, so apply today!

We hope to see you there!

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 2)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation from last weeks article titled, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

The Action Target Dueling Tree is comprised of six individual 6” swinger plates that slam from one side to the other with each individual bullet strike. Of course one can use these targets in the conventional way of swinging the plates back and forth. Yawn! Why, for goodness sakes, would you squander your range time by just shooting when you could be training? If you spend a little time thinking about it, you can really ramp up the training regimen with these things. Here are just a few of the drills that I’ve come up with so far with just two dueling trees.

First. You have a total of 12 swinging plates; those 12 plates give you a total of 24 individual, customizable targets to work with. And yes, you really should spend the money and get two of these—two is one, one is none. I’ll tell you why later on. By employing various color combinations you can take what is normally a simple target shooting session and turn it into a neuron-scathing race that usually leaves shooters out of breath and laughing pretty hard at the end. However, more than that, they will have made multiple Positive Instant Recognition (PIR) pathways that will stick in their minds. The most basic drill that can be done with this sort of thing is actually with just the factory flat black color that these come with. Once you have both trees set up, which only takes about ten minutes with a socket wrench, you can get started with the fun stuff. You stand the trees side by side then swing all of the plates to the inside of both trees. Next, you want to choose your comfort level as to just how close you want to stand when shooting on steel. Here’s my input on the subject: I have been shooting on steel for several years and have only been hit once when I was standing too far to the side of a student. Understand that when I say “hit,” it was more like being popped by a piece of flying gravel from a mower. Trust me, Airsoft pellets hurt far worse than this.

If you are shooting steel you should know that the mechanics of how the bullet dumps its energy is always going to be in a radial pattern. What this means is if you’re the shooter you’re fine, you will not get hit due to simple physics. However, if you’re the instructor, try standing behind the shooter and giving verbal commands from about a foot back, otherwise you might get stung. Most of the plates that Action Target makes have a slight downward face that deflects the impact energy down towards the ground. This allows you to shoot pistols very close and rifles from moderate distance. Please refer to the instructions that come with your targets and follow what they say as not doing so could result in harm to yourself and damage to your plates.

As you begin shooting the first drill with your dueling trees, you start at the lower left then move to the upper right, then upper left, then lower right, and so on until you have all of the plates turned to the outside. Essentially you’re making an “X” pattern over and over. Twelve shots later you are good and warmed up and you have just completed a more dynamic training exercise than any static paper target session could have ever afforded you. In doing this drill you have engaged multiple targets that required a large amount of swinging of your weapon so as to acquire sight picture for each. The idea here is to engage your target with follow through but not to dwell on it. In a very short time frame you will find that you will be hitting a target while your eyes are already locking onto the next plate. You want to keep moving one to the other as rapidly as possible. Because the dueling trees are so tall I like to do this drill from the 5-yard line with my pistol and from about the 10-yard line with my rifle. I’m 6’4” and I find these trees to be high enough that I’m not shooting down all the time. By staying in close, it forces me to have to really move my sights and body around for each shot.

If you really want to pour on the pressure you can do things like painting each plate a different color on either side. You can repeat colors if need be, just don’t repeat them in the same 12 plate set/side. Next you need to make small discs of wood (available at hobby stores) that have the same exact color combinations as your plates. For example, if you paint a plate blue on one side and green on the other you will need to have a disk with the same color scheme. Do this for all 12 plates then have your range buddy (never shoot alone) set the row of 12 discs out in front of you on your range table with a towel covering them. When your buddy says, “go” they start a timer, you then uncover the discs and whatever color combo is in front of you dictates the order you must shoot in, (from left to right). The problem is that the dueling trees are not left to right, or horizontal to put it simply. They are vertical, and to add insult to injury, your “buddy” has done a superb job of making sure that the discs are staggered so that no two colors are beside the other on the actual dueling tree…don’t you just love it? But wait, there’s more!

While you’re busy taking out plates, you’re uncovering even more colors which are muddying up your concentration so not only do you have to pay attention to the color orders, you also have to pay attention that you’re not re-shooting the same color that is on the other side of a plate. So, now you have to not only look for colors but you have to make sure that they don’t already have a bullet hit on them. Oh trust me, this game gets worse! Now that you have all of your plates flipped over, you holster your pistol, reach down and flip all of the color plates over and, that’s right, you do it all over again.

Meanwhile it is your buddy’s job to be trash talking you the whole time and vice-versa. And yes this is a requirement on my range. I want my shooters talking because I want to split their attention as much as possible so that their brains learn how to run their guns on autopilot. I don’t want rounds being counted because I want you to have to reload at least once, hence the need for two dueling trees. At a total of 24 plates in this drill even an FN 5-Seven will need a reload. If you’re doing this with a rifle it is your buddy’s sworn duty to download your magazines to only about 15 rounds each. Twelve rounds would be too obvious, now wouldn’t it? No, boys and girls, I want you well into your next course of 12 plates when your gun runs dry. I love it!

At the end of this drill you will be wasted, and remember, the clock is running so no dawdling. The time element is crucial because without it you won’t feel the urgency of performance that is so needed to properly motivate you to perform at your best. To not run a timer would be like basketball not having a shot clock…sacrilege!

This write up is just the tip of the iceberg for what I have in store for you. In upcoming issues I’m going to show you some truly creative ways to rethink the use of your steel targets. There are so many more drills that are possible with these highly versatile reactive targets that there isn’t room in this review to show them all to you. Besides, I need to keep you hooked. Until then, practice hard.

About the Author

Abner Miranda is a patrol officer at Signal Mountain (Tenn.) Police Department. He is an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, a tactical rifle instructor and an AR-15 armorer.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 1)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

Last year I attended a shortened version of the world famous Rogers Range Course (RRC). It was put on by High Caliber Training in Crittenden County, AR. In law enforcement, pistol craft is your bread and butter and reactive shooting is a must-have for the modern officer. Reactive shooting is the condition in which you cease to think about engaging the target and just do it. The course of fire at the RRC is comprised of seven, pneumatically operated targets across five shooting stands that are staggered from seven to 20 yards. The shooter stands inside a framed doorway inset in a wall that runs the length of the multi-bay RRC. From this position, you fire nine challenging courses of fire, during which 8″ steel targets are only exposed from .5 to .75 seconds each. Those times are tough considering that a precision shooter’s reaction time to hit a target, from a security holster, is about 1.5 seconds. Upon leaving the course with a final score of around 70%, if memory serves, I was stunned that “a top notch shooter who is accustomed to scoring no less than in the high 90’s would score so poorly.” OK, all drama set aside, the fact is that at the RRC a 70% is pretty darn good considering just how hard this kind of training is. I spoke with Bill Rogers at SHOT Show 2012 and he told me that it was a respectable score. So there you go. Now I feel better.

Upon returning home from the RRC I knew that I had to incorporate those things that I’d learned into my weekly training time on my home range. It was then that I reached out to Action Target and requested to borrow some of their steel targets. I have, since then, cast off all of my paper targets, except for zeroing purposes and have gone to all steel. Why you may ask? Once you transition to steel you will NEVER go back to shooting paper…ever! Nothing is better at giving the shooter instant feedback than hitting a reactive steel target.

Practice Makes Permanent

After a solid year of looking for a piece of property that would allow me to shoot unfettered, I found a 3.5 acre piece of land in southeastern Tennessee that fit the bill. Since moving in I have set out to create a range that allows me to do all of the things that I could never get away with at my LE range. Cars, house doors, cinder blocks, watermelons, body armor, and armored glass—you name it, we shoot it. With multiple barriers and about 17 reactive steel targets, I have the range that I’ve always wanted. By incorporating the training that Bill Rogers has laid out in his courses, I have started honing my shooting skills and am now passing these skills onto my friends and family.

There is a saying in shooting that goes “perfect practice makes perfect.” Most of us are accustomed to hearing “practice makes perfect.” However, time has shown us that practice only makes permanent. In other words, repetition makes something permanent—it doesn’t make it right. When you were a kid learning to play baseball, how many times did you hear your coach yell “keep your eye on the ball!”? Through devotion and arduous repetition, the moment finally arrives when the young athlete hears the crack of the bat and sends the ball sailing over the outfield. Within 300 milliseconds of the success, the mind forms a positive neural pathway and stores the muscle memory labeling it “success!” Bill refers to this similar phenomenon in shooting as Positive Instant Recognition (PIR). PIR in shooting, just as in sports, must be recognized immediately or else the mind won’t record the success as such. This is easy in sports because you can see, feel, and hear the contact with the ball. In shooting, PIR is almost impossible to achieve because a fired shot that misses a paper target sounds and feels exactly like one that pierces the 10 ring. So how does one achieve PIR in shooting? Ditch the paper targets and go to all steel. With the instant feedback of ringing steel, the shooter gets the PIR that’s desperately needed to form a positive neural pathway.

Dueling Tree (front) [web]No one makes steel targets better than Action Target. I have been using their target systems for several years now and have grown accustomed to the sound of steel registering a hit from hundreds of yards away. Of all of the products that Action Target makes, I find the Dueling Tree the most versatile. Not only does it offer an exhilarating speed challenge while shooting up close, it also offers a positive swinging action that can be easily seen from far away. Available in AR550 through-hardened steel capable of absorbing rifle fire, the Dueling Tree offers years of training in an affordable target. Refacing these five-foot tall targets is as easy as spray-painting the bullet hits away.

To read the rest of the article and to hear more about Abner Miranda’s innovative use of Action Target’s Dueling Tree Targets, please refer to next week’s Action Target Journal article.

About the Author

Abner Miranda is a patrol officer at Signal Mountain (TN) Police Department. He is an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, a tactical rifle instructor, and an AR-15 armorer.

Action Target Produces Portable Target Course Book

Firearms instructors and administrators have an obligation to officers and to the public they serve, to do everything possible to ensure their firearms training and qualification programs are all they can be. However, many programs around the country struggle to provide realistic and quality training for their officers and there is often a lack of resources to help remedy such problems. That is why Action Target has developed a course book for their Portable Targets.

The specific purpose of the Portable Target Course Book is to “ensure trainees a program that is designed to develop trainings that are safe, test fundamental skills, increase and enhance movement, improve the target selection thought processes, and enhance overall tactical awareness.” Action Target’s Portable Targets have become an industry standard and leader and the course book allows for a better overall training experience.

Trainings must be expansive enough to test the trainees in as many ways as possible. Using the course book, trainings intentionally provide a more difficult setting than the typical experience might call for. In order to truly help an officer through training, the training must incorporate more movement, more rounds fired, greater difficulty of targets, multiple target acquisition, and more reloading situations. They must also include low-light shooting and one-handed operation of the gun to truly prepare an officer. Remember, the more difficult the training program is, the better prepared the officers will be to survive a lethal force encounter without injury to innocent parties.

The Portable Target Course Book is made available to anyone for any training purposes. People are welcome to use, copy, and modify the courses offered in the course book in order to help their trainings become top-notch. The courses are most effective when they are used as a foundation for more specialized exercises that will reflect individual training needs. After all, these courses should not be seen as an end, but as a beginning.

To download your free copy of the Action Target Portable Target Course Book, visit https://www.actiontarget.com/portable-targets and use the link at the bottom of the page in the “Related Pages” section.

The Head-Shot Cadence Drill

By Richard Mann

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Gunsite Instructor Il Ling New believes one of the best ways to train with a defensive handgun is to practice head shots at moderate to extended ranges; meaning as far out as 20 yards. At first glance this may seem a bit extreme but consider that if you can consistently and quickly get heads shots at these distances, center punching a troll at between three and five yards should be easy.

The most common way to practice head shots is to draw from the holster and fire a single shot at the head of a target. Action Target’s Steel Hostage Target works great for this because you can use either the square head of the silhouette or the flapper head that will swing from side to side when hit. This flapper target actually adds a new dimension to head shot training that is impossible to achieve just about any other way.

Regardless of the defensive handgun training that you conduct, training to only deliver one round is not tactically sound and does little to advance your skills, especially when working at varying distances. One question firearms instructors often get asked is, “How soon after my first shot should my next shot be?” In other words, students want to know what their shot cadence should be. The answer is, of course, as fast as you can get hits, and this will vary as your ability increases.

With the Action Target Steel Hostage Target you don’t need a shot timer or an instructor telling you you’re shooting too slowly. Since the flapper target swings from side to side based on energy imparted to it by the bullet, the further away the target is, the slower it will flop over to the other side. The time it takes the target to flop lets the shooter recover from recoil and reengage the target at a new location.

This is realistic because it’s doubtful a bad guy will stand still while you are shooting at him and the greater the distance to the target, the more time it will take you to recover and align your sights. This time is matched very well by the flapper target. If you are ready to shoot as soon as it reappears, you’re shooting fast enough and not too fast, if you get a hit.

Here is a simple drill you can use to practice head-shots at varying ranges while fine tuning your shot cadence:

  • Set Action Target Hostage Targets at 5, 15, and 20 yards
  • Start by practicing at each individual distance, engaging the flapper target only
  • After you are consistent at each range, engage all the flapper targets starting with the closest and moving to the furthest, with at least two shots each (more shots at each range are even better if your handgun has a higher capacity).
  • If you only have two Action Target Hostage Targets or limited ammo capacity, place one at 5 yards and the other at 20.

You don’t need a shot timer. Your goal is to engage each flapper target as soon as it reappears. Do this often and you’ll become at-one with your proper shot cadence at near and far ranges. This drill, coupled with the Action Target Steel Hostage Targets, offers a simple mechanical solution to a complex firearms training problem for shooters of all abilities.

To read more from Richard Mann check out his blog Empty Cases, www.empty-cases.com.

Action Target Renovates Ohio Indoor Range

Action Target first worked with Ohio State Highway Patrol back in 1999 when we installed our “state of the art” Total Containment Trap. When it was determined the Highway Patrol would renovate the rest of their existing facility in 2011, we were contacted directly by the architect for specifications on the new equipment that would be provided. Because of the quality, performance, and robust nature of our Total Containment Trap, it was the only piece of equipment not removed and replaced in the 2011 renovation. Due to the heavy use of the range, the project was to be completed on an extremely tight time-line with only six weeks of manufacturing time. Action Target acted as a sub-contractor to Williamson Builders Inc. and together completed the tremendous facility in the time required.

This 24 lane, 25 yard indoor range now provides officers a variety of training options, including timed training qualification courses and decision making drills. In addition, the total containment trap system, and tactical baffle layout allow for dynamic cross lane firing and moving and shooting drills, accomplished under the watchful eye of the RSO through our clear ballistic glass stalls. Such dependability, quality, and versatility are completely unique to Action Target’s design. We thank Ohio State Highway Patrol for their continued business and support!

Tactical Training Tips: Key Points for Instructors & Shooters

By Jeffrey Denning

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

Action Target hosted their 20th Law Enforcement Training Camp earlier this year. While pondering some of the unfortunate recent tragedies that have struck the law enforcement community nationwide — including a higher percentage of lethal attacks against police officers as well as the accidental shooting death of a 24-year-old corrections officer — I thought I’d offer some tactical tips to law enforcement training instructors.

Now, although this piece mentions officers and may be geared towards law enforcement in general, all the points can most definitely apply to the tactical shooting community as a whole. Here’s my advice:

Repetition is the law of learning. The more students accurately perform a variety of techniques, the more comfortable they will become. Tactical training drills allow officers to develop individual skill and assist in building muscle memory.

Muscle memory is a kinesthetic phenomenon whereby specific muscular patterns and movements become ingrained. When movements are repeated over and over, eventually these movements can be performed without conscious effort.

Under such extreme stress, cognitive ability is diminished and thought process is narrowed acutely. When facing the stress of lethal confrontation, officers should not have to think about basic weapons manipulation or marksmanship fundamentals; if they have to think about these basic fundamentals under stress, their chances for losing increase.

On the other hand, regular practice and difficult, realistic, and challenging drills will increase survivability. Repetitive training, therefore, is vitally important when considering survival and life-saving tactical techniques.

As with any type of improvement, officers can never increase their ability unless they fail on occasion. No person can develop unless they try something new and push themselves to the limits. Failure or imperfection on a specific technique or drill is likely to occur. The idea is to have officers meet successes. Small improvements provide satisfaction which, in turn, buoys individual esteem and maintains interest and encourages persistence.

As a training instructor, here are some of the key points to remember during every range training opportunity or any tactical firearms training period.

1) Individuals that are considered “experts” in their chosen field are extremely good at the fundamentals. Focusing on the basics is a positive thing. On occasion, give students something fun too. No one wants to be bored at the range.

2) When training, it is important to remember the end goal: preparing for lethal confrontations. In order to maximize training, (a) the individual shooter should envision that each and every shot during the tactical evolution is, in reality, a lethal force situation; and (b) trainers should mimic real world events. For instance, in my last custom tailored Patrol Rifle Course, I had police officers wear the same Active Shooter go-bag that they carry in their squad cars. I had them reload from that pouch. The feedback was positive, mostly because the training mimicked real circumstances. In short, train as you fight. Don’t say, “In reality we’d do this but we’re not going to train like that.” That’s cheating yourself and your team of valuable training! Cheating or foregoing reality will get someone hurt or killed in the long run.

3) Give students several tools to fill up their tactical toolbox, but focus on what will work best. Remember, it’s not a good tactic if it doesn’t work well (a) on the move, (b) in low-light, or (c) under stress.

4) Start out slowly. Speed will come in time. Or, perhaps once you’ve done some drills at full speed, slow down to quarter or half speed until techniques are perfected, then speed back up.

5) Weapons handling skills can increase dramatically without ever shooting a single round. Dry and/or dummy round training periods are extremely helpful and are all too often overlooked. The nice thing about that is the price is right. With the budget crunch, remember, weapons handling skills doesn’t mean you have to shoot a lot of rounds. In fact, dummy rounds work wonders.

6) Firearms are inherently dangerous. Safety briefings and safety are occasionally thought of as the same thing; we’ve said it and we’ve heard it said a thousand times. Unfortunately, it’s under that premise when accidents happen. Don’t think it will never happen here. Creating an atmosphere where everyone’s comfortable enough to say, “Watch your muzzle” or “Get your finger off the trigger,” is essential. No egos among the instructors or the students. Remember, always keep safety first.

Use these tips for a safer, and more effective, training environment and continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

About Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey Denning is a former SWAT team leader, security contractor, undercover Federal Air Marshal, and Iraqi War Vet. He is the founder of Warrior SOS and writes tactical articles for Guns.com.

Action Target Holds Successful LETC 2011

Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC) 2011 was a recent success for Action Target and we’d like to thank all who helped and attended this unique training experience. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about it:

Dear Rick,

Please accept this letter of appreciation to all of the Action Target staff and instructors for their efforts in making LETC 2011 a huge success. This was the second LETC that I have attended and I was equally impressed with this one as much as I was with the first one I attended in 2010. The professionalism of the instructors, the level of instruction, the use of state of the art target systems, the coordination of training, and events made for a superior training and networking environment. I highly recommend LETC for a unique and truly outstanding training experience.

Sincerely,

Robert Kelly Wells
Training Sergeant
Teton County Sheriff’s Office, WY

Dear Action Target,

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the best firearms training of my Law Enforcement career. I participated in the 2011 Law Enforcement Training Camp at Action Target in Provo, Utah. I found the entire process, from registration to range time, was put together by a very professionally run organization. Each and every time I sent an email or made a phone call, I received a quick and informative answer. If the person I needed to contact was not available, I was put in touch with another person who was ready and able to answer my questions.

I was provided with all the maps and directions I needed to find my way to Action Target, the hotel, and the range. I called Action Target to advise them I was running late for registration and was told not to worry—someone would be there. I can say I was truly impressed with the high level of professionalism exhibited by all of the Action Target staff I encountered. Your company is an organization which treats its customers like family. I will never forget the warm, friendly service I received from Action Target.

The firearms training and range were excellent. I have been a firearms instructor since 1984 and trained with some outstanding trainers. I felt that we as shooters were treated as equals to the instructors and not as trainees. I can say because of Action Target’s LETC, I became a better and more confident shooter as well as a better firearms instructor. In less than a month I was back on the range with my officers teaching them some of the skills I learned at LETC. Overall their scores came up and I could see a difference between this shoot and their last shoot. I will continue to use the skills I learned from LETC to bring up the skill level of those I instruct. I recommend LETC to all of the shooters in my Department. I am already making plans to attend LETC 2012. I am in the process of getting approval for the purchase of Action Target steel targets to improve the firearms instruction I provide to my Department.

In closing, I would like to thank the Action Target family for all of the things you do to assist our Nation’s Police and Military in their chosen profession. The training and equipment you provide us is first rate. You may never know, but I can tell you that your training and equipment will and has saved the lives of our American heroes. In doing so, you have made yourselves heroes as well. Thank you again for your products and training; you help keep us safe.

Respectfully Submitted,

J. C. Boylan #26
Range Master
Maricopa County Community College District, AZ

Dear Mr. Matthews,

My name is Juan Lopez and I have been a law enforcement officer for 15 years. During my tenure as a police officer, I have carried the position of range instructor and department armorer. I recently had the pleasure of attending the September 2011 LETC Conference in Provo, Utah. I would like to take a moment to personally thank you and the Action Target staff for hosting such a phenomenal conference. This was my first time to your facility and I commend your staff for their dedication and passion. One of the things that impressed me was how your staff’s operating skills added to their expertise. Their commitment was very visible. The intensity of the conference was welcomed and it was a true privilege to be amongst the world’s best instructors in the business. I can see why your reputation of being one of very few companies out there to teach one of the most comprehensive training camps in the United States holds to be very true. The training was beyond thorough, your staff’s hospitality was over the top, and this training was hands down the most bang for your buck! The detailed lesson plans helped me to document and remember what I learned at the conference so I can continue to develop my skills as well as pass this training on to our officers who were unable to go. This was nothing less than the ultimate training experience and every range instructor’s dream. My only question to you is when and how early can I register for attending the 2012 LETC?

Sincerely,

Juan Lopez
Detective
Commerce City, CO

Rick Matthews,

I’m writing to commend Action Target on the outstanding experience provided at the 2011 LETC.

Action Target has created an outstanding training environment supported by the commitment, energy, and skills of both the instructors and students. As a student and instructor in 2011, LETC is the training highlight of my 26-year policing career.

Congratulations and well done.

S/Sgt. Mark Horsley
Patrol District 2

Vancouver, WA

911 Commemorative Logo for LETCThanks again to everyone who participated in and helped make LETC 2011 a success! It is sincerely our privilege and honor to be able to work with the most dedicated, selfless, and hard-working members of the law enforcement community each year.

LETC 2012 will be held again in Provo, UT from September 10-14, 2012. Visit our Action Target Academy Calendar page to learn more about next year’s event, download our information brochure with more information, and read about the other types of trainings and seminars that the Action Target Academy will be holding throughout the country in 2012.

Controlled Pairs, Double Taps, or 6-Shot Rhythm?

by Jeffrey Denning

Editor’s Note: The views in this article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily represent those of Action Target, Inc.

The phrase “The shot heard around the world” refers to the single gunshot that began the battle of Lexington and Concord of the American Revolutionary War. In historic times, rifles could only shoot one round at a time. As time progressed, John Moses Browning and other inspired gunsmiths drastically changed the weapons in modern gun fighting by designing firearms capable of semi- and fully-automatic shooting. Today however, most shooters and firearms trainers continue shooting only two rounds at a time.

This type of culture asks the questions: Why and how did this phenomenon occur, and secondly, why pause in the middle of a gun fight? How is it that we’ve arrived at this point? Does it matter? This two-shot-only practice has been around for decades.

We’ve programmed ourselves to let the majority of our multiple shot drills be only controlled pairs or double taps-hammers accelerated pairs. Why? Examining the history of this trend is not as important as outlining the pros and cons and what we should do to improve, right?

So here it goes.

The usual tactical axiom states, “One hit is better than ten misses.” Which means, two shots are better than one, but why not three, four, or five shots?

Innovative Training Solution AutoPopperMany people have survived getting shot multiple times. The cliché “one shot, one kill” should be discarded from the war-fighter lexicon. This is especially the case for gun rounds, but also true with most every caliber of long gun used for close-quarters engagements.

So, how can we change our thinking and training?

Utilizing Action Target’s innovative Pepper Popper target is a great place to start. This target allows a shooter to shoot three, four, or even five shots as quickly as possible before the target falls. Adjusting the tension allows you to make the most of every shot as you train. Since most engagements are close in range, place this target within the distance Action Target recommends to ensure a realistic handgun training scenario.

For long guns training, try the new RTS Self-Healing Reactive Target . It is important to keep your shots fast, your groups tight, and have good balance with an aggressive stance as you fire three, four, or more shots at a time. Training with the RTS Self-Healing Reactive Target is a fun experience that mimics how many rounds you should take in real-world lethal encounters.

Action Target Hold PlusOne of the most enjoyable drills for me personally is a six-shot rhythm drill with my handgun. I use paper targets on my AT Hold target stands, and attempt really tight shot groups as rapidly as I can. Usually, I practice from 5-7 yards.

When using iron sights, try to get a flash-sight picture—where the front sight isn’t in perfect alignment, but slightly bobbles around in the rear sight. If you’re close enough to the target and have a smooth trigger, you’ll hit your target. Also, when you’re doing these drills, shoot as fast as you can.

We have come a long way since the ancient wars of the past. We must remember that if we want to win—keep shooting. The briefest remedy to survive and win any gunfight is to shoot faster and more accurately than the threat(s).

Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

About Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey Denning is a former SWAT team leader, security contractor, undercover Federal Air Marshal, and Iraqi War Vet. He is the founder of Warrior SOS and writes tactical articles for Guns.com.