“I proved it works in a shoot house!” Ehhhh…not so fast, Skippy.

My post below stating, essentially, that handguns are the preferred defensive weapon for moving about an interior structure like your house (I did say that long guns have their place in a fixed location) drew sarcastic responses, and not one, I believe, made any kind of reference to actual experience. Mostly the arguments were either 1) “you know, stopping power”, or 2) “I know how to move around a house with a long gun”.   Well, 1) isn’t worth responding to and I’ll respond to 2) by paraphrasing Sean Connery’ character in Rising Sun: “Don’t we all, dear?” (See video here at the 2:00 mark.)

But here’s the thing. just because you can move about a house with a rifle, compensating for its length with several well-known techniques, and “engage” paper targets in the same, does not mean that you can do so effectively for real, when a BG is waiting beyond the corner and is all too happy to shoot you.

In other words, one-way shoot houses don’t prove squat.

Actually, they can prove that a tactic or technique won’t work, but not that they likely will. To do that, you have to engage in two-way shoot house scenarios with sims or airsoft, with — and this is critical – a coach or trainer enforcing real-world-rules. By that I mean, to take one example, that if the BG “shoots you” through a wall, you lose. Very few shoot house exercises that I’ve been through enforced that real-world rule that has, unfortunately, resulted in cops killed. Drywall and wood walls don’t stop bullets and a BG has no ethical compunctions about shooting through them, while you mostly can’t.

Another thing that few shoot house trainings require is real-world movement. Try hitting the deck as fast as you can and getting off an accurate shot around a tight corner in a tight hallway filled with furniture, with a rifle…while you are being targeted. Try, with a shotgun, inching your way silently around a sofa to get the advantage on a BG. Techniques or tactics that don’t account for these sorts of real-world problems are worse than useless because they give you a false sense of competence.

Just to drive this nail home, here’s an article by Dave Spaulding saying pretty much the same thing WRT long guns in interior environments.  Dave once told me, if I recall correctly, that during the years he commanded a multi-jurisdictional drug task force in a big city on a major drug corridor, that he has participated in over 300 high-risk dynamic raids.  With only three dozen under my belt I’m a piker compared to Dave, but our conclusions are similar.



3 thoughts on ““I proved it works in a shoot house!” Ehhhh…not so fast, Skippy.

  1. I once read of the following incident. Don’t know how true it is.
    Officers responding to a call of screams inside a house entered a residence. In the living room was a stereo going full blast (turned up to 11). The officers turned the stereo down, at which point they were shot through a wall. By turning down the stereo, they told the offender exactly where they were.
    All criminals aren’t stupid.


  2. I believe that’s true…or at least I heard the same story.

    “Turned up to 11”! Wonder how many readers get that?

    And no, criminals aren’t stupid. The major gangs have former SF personnel — from various 1st world countries — training them. And the ATF equipping them.


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