Done a lot of firearms training the last few weeks that got me to thinking about….firearms training.
One thing that came up in a Vehicle CQB class modeled on the work of Will Petty at Centrifuge Training (and put on by one of his certified instructors) was making our training “Behaviorally Compliant.”
As I understand this, it means to seek convergence between our training and what humans tend to actually do under the stress of an actual close quarters armed engagement – which are generally extremely dynamic in terms of movement, happen very rapidly, and at very close range.
In vehicle work, for instance, we tend to migrate towards the backs of our cars (a good thing when done correctly), or inside the vehicle (a bad thing), and tend to take much lower and compressed positions when trying to conform to cover, sometimes perhaps not even realizing we haven’t conformed enough.
And then needing to do all the slick gunfighter stuff – including seeing what you need to see of your sights for good hits – from those positions. This really challenges the shooting ability, flexibility, mobility, and gear placement of shooters not used to such dynamics.
This is rarely trained, sadly even in law enforcement, which will engage around vehicles, in low light, and at close quarters more often than not.
Next, in a state handgun course just completed, we did a lot of moving off-line with one handed shooting. The Force Science Research Center has found that suspects in particular are quite effective at doing so. Officers, being accountable for every round they fire, perhaps not so much, though repeated tests in force on force and in other studies has found that officers may be safer doing so during high speed close quarters encounters.
There is the issue of losing the protection of your vest – recent deaths of officers have confirmed that turning side on to a shooting threat is NOT that great of an idea. But are there other methods we can use moving and shooting one handed?
Gabe White does it, at greater speed and with a high degree of accuracy and round accountability, offering some of the best of this type work I’ve seen.
None of this is what I would call “instinctive” shooting or tactics. The best quote I’ve heard on that idea was from Craig Douglas of ShivWorks:
“Instinctive? Hell, drowning is instinctive. I’d rather learn to swim.”
Combative Shooting does have an instinctive element – and yes, in the same way that we know how to point our fingers at things with a decent amount of accuracy. But this is not shooting accurately. It does “work” under certain conditions (ambush/surprise attack at very close range), but it is something that training must refine and not mimic.
Very much in the same way that simple brute strength or a raging blitz attack or tackle can be effective – until you find out the guy you just grabbed is a wrestler or judo/jiujitsuka…
To achieve a Behaviorally Compliant Convergence we do have to break free from square range and square mat training, without forgetting the valid lessons those environments offer. But then its in streamlining and optimizing behaviors we are likely to have for what we know will happen after that initial “BANG” of the event. After the bang, our behavioral instincts could get us killed if they have not been supported by trained responses