An earlier blog raised the question about those who will shoot a specific drill over and over relentlessly. They do so with the understanding that if they just make “par” they will be a killer commando.
It really doesn’t work that way, but don’t tell them that. The reality is that a true gunfighter is well rounded, you are good at it all. I wasn’t the fastest runner in my BUD’s class, I wasn’t the fastest swimmer and I wasn’t the fastest guy on the O’course. There were days when I might be, not many, but I was at the top of class on all of them. That meant more to me than being the best at one, it meant I was well rounded.
On command performance
The same thing can be said about shooting, if all you do is practice shooting a test, you get really good at that test and if you just so happen to run into a bad guy who is going to play his part in order for your to shoot the “test” on him then you might have some unique bragging rights there. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t shoot these drills. Just keep it all in context, you need to have solid fundamentals on what we call the “core skills”. I have spoken about these in the past, but these are a series of skill sets indicative to a weapon platform. Think of it as your very own “PQS” or personal qualification standards. If you can meet these standards across the board on command, then chances are you will be best equipped to handle highly unpredictable situations.
This sounds good
With regards to some of these “tests” we are seeing these days. I find it a bit odd when I ask some questions like what is the terminal objective for this drill. Why am I doing it, how does it replicate reality or more important is it relative. We don’t just pull things out of our ass, we first have to define the objective of the drill. Why are we performing the actions and tasks. Then you have to define the conditions to which you must perform the tasks. These need to be somewhat narrow so as to keep everything on track. Then there is the standard, that is the part I think many have a difficult time coming up. The most common standard generally is based around a single individual. My recommendation is to take a cross section of various individuals of similar skill, that will provide the truest standard. Here’s the other thing, they are not always set in stone. As techniques get better, folks get stronger, gear gets better the standards will more than likely have to evolve with them as well.
The bottom line is if all you do is practice a test, you get good at that test. Just don’t mistake that for being a good gunfighter. I think we should all have fun, but don’t paint yourself into a corner. Get out there and practice as many different drills and “tests” as possible. It’s a great way to push yourself and a great way to learn. There are certainly bench marks out there, for instance a 4-mile timed run. Back in the day they were ran at about a 7:00 pace. That is a great benchmark, but it didn’t really measure my ability to sprint 400m, which was far more applicable. So, I got really good at running distance, but my sprints took major hits.
There is certainly something to be said about being really good at a benchmark, but being well rounded is far more beneficial when you don’t know the “test” you face on the streets.