My friend Marcus Wynne had a blog post recently about accelerated training (his area of expertise) in which he quotes this exchange:
I had a discussion with a friend in a Tier One Unit. We were discussing my experiments in accelerating the training of technical skill sets (weapons manipulation, marksmanship, short range tactical engagements) to a level of performance under stress that began to approach that of experienced Tier One operators. His counter point (a very good one) is that “Tier One operators are the result of a long selection and training process; just because someone can manipulate the weapon as fast or engage targets as fast in a training environment doesn’t mean they have the judgment forged in experience during deployments and continual training and operations to employ that weapon successfully in the real world.”
Exactly. Just because you can do fancy skills at a high level, even under stress, does not mean that you can do all the other stuff that using those skills effectively requires. (Marcus and I both saw this phenomenon in the martial arts: there are any number of impressive, athletic, empty-air punchers and kickers out there. But they ain’t fighters.). Marcus’ post goes on to discuss one of those skills: the ability to “improvise, adapt and overcome” when everything you had planned on goes to shit. Civilians, including most cops, and also including most SWAT cops, do not train in that very often. I’d also add things like awareness, de-escalation, avoidance, and escape as other necessary, non-running-and-gunning skills that a competent defender should hone. There are others.
Like I say so often: there’s more to self-defense than shooting. When I want to be clever I express it as: there’s more to shooting than shooting.
I’ll never be a Tier 1 operator or anything in the same universe as it. I tend to work the plodding, slow, stupid, but fundamental and relevant, stuff when I practice. This afternoon I spent an hour firing 100 rounds, working on keeping a pair in an 8-inch circle. Boomboom at 5 yards. Boom boom at 10 yards. Boom…boom at 15 yards. I also worked the most fundamental drill. I worked with my tricked-out optically-corrected shooting glasses and with plain eye pro (with which I could not see the sights worth a damn).
Capusta-head stuff. I hope that’s smart.