Force on force training has brought the defensive shooting world, kicking and screaming, into a modern age. This renaissance of training development has never been seen before and I attribute it to several things. One is the proliferation of Concealed Carry around the world, and second is the willingness of some instructors to step away from the traditional world of the shooting range and involve themselves in force on force training.
The same thing happened about a decade ago with the martial arts world when the Gracie family challenged any and all martial artists to a no-holds barred match that morphed into what we now know as UFC. All manner of sacred cows died in that cage-like ring, as fighting notions held
to be true for centuries and never challenged were quickly proven false, as their proponents lapsed into unconsciousness on the ground with a tight Brazilian arm around their necks.
Force on force has done something the very same thing in the world of defensive shooting. Once the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, no one who experienced it would ever look at training the same way again.
Yet every few years the lessons of the past begin to be forgotten anew. You can see it in the discussions on the various internet forums. It begins as a more pronounced focus on the minutia of range drills and of shooting groups, as well as discussions of mechanical points of which trigger works best at this game or that game with regards to the use of the pistol. That would be fine if everyone simply admitted that they had no interest in defensive shooting and rather, that their
focus was on winning gun games. Or on using firearms training to feel good about themselves. But that is not the case. This type of thinking is put forth as the way to win a street fight.
I see this phenomena every few years because American shooters are two things: Exclusively hardware focused instead of software focused, and they are also lazy and soft and would rather marvel at a tight group from a new gun than on a stellar performance against an uncooperative
opponent in a force on force session. If that is you, you can get upset with me and complain to the editor, or you can read further and see how you can not only change that, but become a better “gun” fighter as well.
It is very empowering to go to the range with special “shooting clothes”, special hat and sunglasses, and practice the "hammers" taught at that seminar you attended...just like your favorite gun guru does everyday of his life. It makes you feel good about yourself, and that is the object of the exercise after all, no?
But that will not help you one bit in a gunfight. If you haven't done force on force, or you don't train the lessons of force of force, going to the range, and going through these shooting rituals is like sitting in your AMC Pacer with a copy of Ferrari Annual and pretending you are driving the
real thing. Silly at best and tragic at worst.
But what if I told you that you could have that Ferrari and all it would cost you was a different outlook, an open mind, and a little time?
Primarily, your focus has to change from seeking empowerment, to seeking true fighting skill. That and an open mind to accept that maybe what you have been training is not the be-all, end-all of
gunfighting skills. And finally a little time to unlearn and relearn. Relearn skills for reality.
Training for reality is not like a "martial artist" showing up to "demonstrate" in a splendidly pressed
uniform and doing some classical ancient sword kata against unseen enemies with technical perfection. Nor is it the expert hitting the bag with gymnastic like precision while wearing the
fashionable “fighting clothes”.
Most gun school training is exactly like that isn’t it. Totally ego-focused and designed to make the participant feel good about himself. You can train for ego (to feel good about how good you are), or you can train to win the fight (by training to really fight well) - but you can't do both. Schools seem not to be in the business of teaching anyone to really fight, they are in the business of “empowering” people or teaching people to "feel good" about themselves.
The main reason why more gun guys don't actually train to win the fight, by fighting, is the same reason so many martial arts schools don't do any actual full contact fighting in order to train their students to win hand to hand fights. After a full-contact fight, both sides look like they were mugged. Training like this is humbling, because everyone gets hit, but it will get you far more ready for the real thing on the street, than hours of empowerment by hitting a heavy bag.
All these guys really know how to do is to shoot well against a piece of cardboard in an artificial time limit. One might ask if those skills do not offer some benefit on the street, and therefore are worth pursuing? I say a definite negative. When guys that have spend extensive time training for the range (not to mention extensive amounts of money and ammunition) come to our "training
venue", they suddenly realize that a gunfight is not like the shooting range. As a result many of them do worse than a novice there for the first time since they are so married to their range
protocols that it takes them much more time to unlearn and finally let go of "the useless" and accept what they actually need to do to prevail.
Shocking isn’t it?
In the old world of the sword, there was a saying - In Ferro Veritas, or In Steel We Learn the Truth. Meaning that when it counts, all the theory and bluster is irrelevant. It will come down to whether you can show it or you cannot.
The results, the “Truth” if you will of what we see in the force on force crucible is that the majority of shooting training, done with the idea of “self defense” is virtually worthless in a real street fight. In Steel We Learn The Truth.