Why would a police officer, who believes in the 2nd Amendment and believes that most law abiding citizens should be armed, make such a statement?
The reason stems from my weekly experience at the local indoor firing range. Given the typical array of guns and gear, the average clientele of the range I frequent caters to middle to upper middle income folks who are likely to, on average, have at least an undergraduate degree (based on socioeconomic research). So, these are reasonably intelligent folks with good equipment. The problem is, many of them are dangerous with their firearms and after watching thousands of rounds fired over the years, I am convinced that most could not use their firearms to save their lives or the lives of their loved ones in a situation of violent attack.
Why do I say this? Well, if standing still, you can’t hit a stationary paper target kill-zone at least 75% of the time, there is little chance you are going to hit something that is moving while under stress.
100% of violent encounters create extremely high stress. The vast majority of these encounters are not stationary and the targets always shoot back. In fact, violent offenders usually make the first move putting you at a significant disadvantage.
Lets assume you practice using your weapon regularly, when should you begin to feel like you can handle a tough situation?
The picture on the left is a target from range training today with one of my students. They were using the smallest Glock made, a model 42, chambered in .380 caliber. Most of their magazines had a plus-two extension providing them with nine rounds with one in the chamber. Most notable is that these guns are very small and thus far more difficult to shoot accurately than my duty weapon; which has a much longer barrel and a lot more to hold on to with respect to grip etc.
The first photo reveals the results of 100 rounds of fire with movement under stress. The stress induced in this exercise was the requirement of movement before each shot. Each shot had to be taken within either three or five second intervals, magazine changes were required without allowance for extra time between shots, and commands to hit the various areas on the target were random.
The target areas were head, chest/center mass, hips (requiring a specific rapid firing sequence), and four 3” precision targets outside of the body. The distance was within the range that most gun related self-defense scenarios take pace based on FBI statistics. Here’s what you should notice:
- 100% of their kill/zone shots were on target and would have resulted in disabling the attacker.
- 100% of their precision shots were on target. This means that they would likely be able to make difficult shots, as with a hostage situation, under stress.
The second photo at the bottom of this post that reveals the same target after about 250 rounds. In this exercise I had the student focus on trigger reset for repeat fire requirements and magazine changes while moving. I also had them speed up their center-mass and shots to the hips. I spray painted the backboard green so you can better see the shot patterns. Here's what you should notice:
- Just short of 100% of their kill/zone shots were on target and would have resulted in disabling the attacker. One miss would have destroyed the attacker's collar bone. The other miss (lower right) would have passed through without any organ damage.
- Just one short of 100% of their precision shots were on target. This means that they would likely be able to make difficult shots, as with a hostage situation, under stress. Even the one miss would have been in the kill-zone of a hostage taker.
Now, you might wonder how much training and practice was required for this level of accuracy? This student has been seriously engaged with Cognitive Combat Shooting for a little more than one year. They are a very busy business executive with a mostly sedentary job. They exercise daily at home but are not any more than average athletically.
The bottom line? This level of shooting proficiency can be achieved by almost anyone in a relatively short period of time and is really the beginning of someone who is able to safely use a gun in high-stress self-defense scenario. They still have a lot more to learn with respect to drawing and shooting from concealment, moving while shooting, target selection while under high stress, etc. But, they are, at this point, responsible, safe gun owners who have good reason to be confident in their abilities.
If you would like to gain this level of proficiency and confidence through one-on-one Cognitive Combat Range Training, I charge $75 per hour for individual students and per-person rates go down with larger groups. Each student is required to have passed or demonstrate proficiency that covered in my Combat Safety and Functional Foundations course.
For more information, check out our training page HERE
Be prepared, stay vigilant, and remember that you are your first line of defense.