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.
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
Cold, clammy skin
Rapid, shallow breathing
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 – Isuggest 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
In 650 B.C., Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” Although this saying is thousands of years old, it still holds true today. In a way, it governs Action Target in its training development.
Action Target developed the Action Target Academy (ATA) to provide world-class firearms and range development training to agencies and individuals throughout the country who have not had the opportunity to train with Action Target Portable Targets. The entire foundation of Action Target’s approach to firearms is embodied in the Action Target Academy. In today’s industry, there are many roadblocks to having successful firearms trainings, but ATA courses examine the challenges facing today’s firearms training requirements, shooting range management issues, and also demonstrates how using modern shooting range equipment helps alleviate roadblocks, creating safe and efficient firearm programs.
Action Target found recent success through their academy. Both the Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County in Arizona invited Action Target to come and teach some of their firearms instructors. The course gave both law enforcement departments a chance to experience a full line of portable targets under various scenarios that tested and evaluated their combat shooting skills. In addition to learning how Action Target Portable Targets can be used in everything, from basic marksmanship to advance combat tactics, both groups participated in live fire drills, creating a more realistic approach to training. More importantly, they learned how easy designing an effective job-related firearms training scenario can be. ATA realistic training scenarios prepares shooters for the real thing and also allows participants to mirror the psychological response of combat stress, helping them to define how they would engage in real life combat.
Host an Action Target Academy event and learn more about topics such as: the realities of today’s gunfight, qualifications versus training, legal and financial consequences of inadequate training, shooting range design, and equipment. To find out more about removing the obstacles keeping your agency from training as you would fight, please visit: https://www.actiontarget.com/shooting-academy or contact Richard Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.