Decision Skills


Consider this – in training, how often do we actually decide to pull the trigger on our firearm?

Or to go “hands on” with a person?

For the vast majority of it, we don’t decide at all – someone else does:

“Shooter Ready??”

“Stand By…”


And we press the trigger.  Someone else decided we would do so. They decided when our finger would be placed on the trigger, how many times we’d press it, where we would point the gun when pressing, and when we  would stop – none of these things (usually) having anything to do with what the target is doing or where it’s at. And always toward a safe “down range.”

In our hand-to-hand training, the laying on of hands is always a foregone conclusion. In some practice, it means one person stands there doing nothing while another “does combatives” to him or her. In others, we mutually agree to bang, wrassle, or roll, and after a fist bump its off to the races.

We know what we are going to do, and have a pretty good idea of what the other person will do.

Perusing blogs and vlogs and articles and websites out there in the training community, there is all sorts of information about standards, performance measures, pressure testing, contextual markers (always in terms of tools and tactics), etc. etc.

But little about decisions: yes, shoot/no shoot decisions – but it goes way beyond that: reasonable force decisions, tactical decisions, even plain old common sense decisions. When we claim “multi-disciplinarity” why do the component disciplines seem to stop at attributes, skills and tactics across given domains?

It’s more than just workouts and shootouts. Composure under duress, common sense, and sound problem solving through an inter-connected web of decision trees are disciplines too. The very ones that will keep us from going off a “performance based” cliff.

These are what will be measured by police, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, and the public? Not that slick draw stroke, trigger press, or our split times. But rather whether we kept our cool, made sound tactical moves, reasonably perceived threat, selected an appropriate level of force, and used it judiciously.

And if we aren’t practicing deciding,  why think we’ll be able  to do so smoothly in a real situation?


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