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I've noticed repeatedly through not only this fourm, but several others, that many shooters tend to belive that certain things that I've seen done or can do with a handgun are either impossible, or can not be learned by a shooter of average skill level. Shooting on the move is one example, and possibly rapid fire and longer distance(35-50 yds) shooting. I can not consider myself an experinced shooter. I've only been shooting 8 months, and usually fire around a 1000 rounds a month when it's warm enough to shoot outdoors. Yet, I can shoot .2 splits at 7yds(A zone hits) with full power 45 ammo, draw in around a 1.2-.3 from a paddle holster at the same distance, and shoot on the move with resonable confidence. None of these were very hard to learn, it took diligent dryfiring and practice. So what's ya'lls take? Are people really underestimating themselves?
 

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I think that some of the "ASP" (attainable skill pessimism...we can always use another acronym
)comes from folks who are tasked with bringing a group of unmotivated recruits up to some modicum of skill with too little time, too little ammo, and too little authority to wash out the unsuitable.

You, on the other hand, are clearly motivated and focused on building your skill level. Given that you've only been at it for 8 months, it also would seem that you got grounded in the correct basics early on. That's great. You can't build without a foundation.

There are also subtle little things that can make performance comparisons a bit skewed. Are we drawing from concealment? Are we considering the day's first "cold" performance, or are we taking our "warmed up, grooved in" performance as par? Are we shooting on big, squared-up-to-the-shooter IPSC targets or smaller and/or angled ones? These are the sort of things that must be considered. All of us who have shot for any length of time can recall some pretty amazing performances. However, it is what we can do "on demand" that matters and, as a result, many folks are quite modest about their abilities.

Louis Awerbuck examined these issues (and more) in his excellent book HIT OR MYTH. I recommend it highly.

Rosco
 

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While I think some people may be underestimating their skills and may be therefore limiting their own abilities to attain those skills (mental blocks or mental hurdles), I think the issue goes beyond that.

On this board, there are two types of shooting conditions most talked about: Range shooting and Real life shooting. Most of the people who do timed shooting either want to compete, do compete, or try to develop their skills for the time when they may need them in the real world. My response to your underestimating question will be from the idea of people shooting in the real world, in defense, and not sterile/safe range conditions.

I estimate that for a real world confrontation, I cannot count on shooting any better than my average worst day. In other words, I may do much better, but I should not count on it becuase the question comes up as to how do you know if you are having a bad day or good day shooting until you have shot a few (or many) rounds? My worst day these days is comparable to my best days of a year ago, so there is improvement. That is a good thing and helps provide a little more confidence, which is something else a shooter should have, but not over confidence.

The other very significant factor is the issue of innocent bystanders. In an open field, I might be able to keep up with you PK, or give you a good run for your money, however, I would not try many things I can do on a firing range with no innocent bystanders than I would be willing to try on a crowded city street.

You mention being able to shoot on the move with reasonable confidence. I feel the same way. However, that means that you and I are not hitting 100% and that means you and I may be responsible for casualties that we did not intend. That would be bad.

I agree with Rosco that shooting on demand creates a little different type of situation. How quickly can you draw from concealment, fire a full magazine with no more than .25 gaps between shots (rapid fire) and hit a silhouette target @ 35 yards every time from a situation when you did not know you were going to be drawing and firing your gun? These are skills you mentioned, so I am recapitulating them here. Think of every miss being some kid on a bicycle that you precluded from finishing 2nd grade.

It is one thing to know you are about to do a timed shoot and be mentally ready for it. It is another to all of a sudden realize that you need to be returning fire or finding a hiding spot for safety.

In a real life situation, you are going to have to decide when to draw and whether or not you are willing to fire. Those factors are going to slow down your actual response time as you try to quickly assess the situation. You may need to shoot at someone on a crowded street or risk certain death. If you do and you hit the wrong person (even if you hit your intended target), then you get to deal with those horrors and legal issues, but you will likely still be alive - something that might not be too appealing when you meet 6'5" 300 lb Bubba, your new cell mate for the next 3-5 years (with good behavior).

It sounds like your skills development are coming along great and should you need your skills in the real world, I have no doubt that you will respond efficiently. Of all of the live footage I have seen of peace officers responding in a surprise attack, aside from the Secret Service who train specifically unexpected attacks on the President, none of those people responded as well as hoped. In some of the footage I have seen, you can see the looks of fear and confusion as they are drawing their weapon, trying to determine the source of the gun fire, whether the threat was to them or someone else or the location of the threat, and assess what people are innocent bystanders and what people are part of the threat group if there is a threat group, and what the officers can do about the situation. That is a lot of thinking where absolutely correct decisions, life and death decisions, need to be made before the gun of the responding officer can be brought on target. That makes the situation almost overwelming for someone who has not trained to do that. The delay it causes has costs people their lives.
 

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What Double Naught Spy said. Well put.

Also, of lesser significance is the fact that I truly believe that some people are "natural" shooters, and others have to work (a lot) harder at it. My wife is the first kind, I'm the second type
.
 

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I'll second shanes post, on all counts.

Some people see guys like Leatahm, Barnhardt, etc. shooting in competition and say "wow". Like who can play ball like Jordan, Elway, or Jeter. Who can handle the puck like Sakic or drive like the late great Earnhardt. They fall victim to the entertainment aspect of "you must worship these guys because they are great".

I have similar times to the first poster with my G27 from concealment, under the best conditions, but also realize that I will most likely be a loser if I try to draw on a drawn gun at close range. And I must practice enough so that my worst day is better than average, at least!

When I prepared my CCW course for CO, I interviewed 44 people, cops (not on duty), civilians, etc. who had survived a gunbattle. Almost every one of them had a drawn weapon when they had to fire. Only 3 drew and fired as fast as they could. All except 2 who were involved in close (under 10 yards) situations attributed their success to moving or shooting while moving. I think it comes down to a few things, the poor perception mentioned above, and poor training. Even some of the top schools do not stress, or sufficiently teach students to shoot on the move and impress HOW important it is. That is one reason I started teaching courses in CO. The quality of the instruction was pretty poor.

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Good Shooting, MarkCO http://www.angelfire.com/co3/markcolo/

[This message has been edited by MarkCO (edited 03-14-2001).]
 

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Originally posted by PK:
So what's ya'lls take? Are people really underestimating themselves?
Absolutely! Do not be impressed by competitors who use practice ammo by the case for a single match (I think someone mentioned practicing 80,000 round on the exact layout for the Steel Challenge). BTW, I am not running these folks down, they are professional atheletes and deserve our respect for that but their accoplishments are to be expected. What is impressive is those who can "almost" match them with little practice.

Sure there are some folks gifted with supernatural reflexes and coordination but the difference is not all that great. Determination and practice are what makes the differnece. I must add, not just any practice, only *perfect* practice makes perfect


Onward,
Jim Higginbotham
 

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I think DoubleNaught has an excellent point. It's one thing to quickly draw, move, and shoot at a target when the range officers says "shooter ready?" and then you hear the electronic beep. You know what you're going to do. You already have a plan.

It's a whole lot harder when you have to observe, decide, and then act.

Forgive me if I'm repeating something I posted here previously....

Last year a local club was doing an IDPA-like match. Except that there were no points counted, no stopwatch running. The point of the exercise was simply to survive. In some scenarios, you might be able to talk your way out without shooting.

The targets were dressed in clothes, had wigs, and could be moved by the range officers using fishing wire. The range safety officers were behind you, but they spoke the parts of the targets in front of you. They also had starter pistols. You're not allowed to see the stages before you go through them, and the competitors who went through before you wouldn't tell you what happens. One of the safety officers had a video camera so you get to see what you did right and what you did wrong.

You go into this "competition" knowing that you will almost certainly have to draw your gun and fire. So you are much further down the curve than you might be in real life. And, of course, there's no concern about possible post-shooting consequences. You know these are just paper targets you're dealing with.

And yet, when I watched the videotape, the time lag between when it was clearly time to draw and fire and when the competitors actually did draw and fire was quite long.

I watched myself on the videotape and it seemed to take an agonizingly long time for me to draw and fire. I think a lot of the time was simply the observe-decide process. When the "perpetrators" are yelling at you, you're yelling back, starter pistols are going off in your ears, your heart rate goes up in a hurry...

I'm not saying that training or IDPA are bad. Far from it. All I'm saying is that under stress, we're probably not going to perform at our peak.

M1911
 

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I've tried to improve my shooting on the move, but I don't really have anything to benchmark against except myself.

What ranges and at what speed are you folks shooting while moving? I was pretty intimidated by reading Gabe Suarez' book on shooting on the move until he said to practice at 5-10 yards (IIRC)!

Geez, that's easy for me. I thought we were talking about grouping in the 10-ring while moving at 25 yards. That I'm nowhere near.
 

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I'd like to think that I get better with experiance. I've started shooting with a semi-idpa group at a local range. It's three 10 second periods of excitement in three hours of chatting with friends, picking up brass, setting up senerios... all-in-all I like it but I'd really like to shoot more than 54 rounds per night.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I am sure I would get much more profecient if there was a place I could go to practice drawing from concealment AND moving AND firing AND tactical reloads all at the same time. The ranges I go to are great but you cannot move, draw, or reload at the line; it wouldn't be safe and even if I were perfect they would have to let everyone else do it to and I don't think that would be safe at all. For safetys sake ther frown on excessive gun handeling and I tend to agree.

I practice mag changes and weapons handling at home but it's not the same. You can't learn to draw, take the saftey off, engage the target (site picture, triger-control, reaquire...) mag change, clear the weapon, holster in my neighborhood or at the local ranges. (Picture this - 5'9" 220, street cloths, leather jacket conceals Kimber in Yakki slide with matching mag holder on oppisite side. I look in the mirror, sneer, and draw, beating my reflection.... reminecient of Dustin Hoffman in Litle Big Man)

It's like golf, it comes down to the quality and fit of the tools, quantity and quality of practice, the knowledge and wisdom of the teacher, and the dedication of the student.

My .02, Webb
 

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For vandal, from all the information I have been able to digest and speaking with cop friends, most civilian shootings are close range (less than 7 yards), very close (less than 2 yards) for a lot of them, and then there are the few that are in excess of 10 yards. Most civilians who are involved with shootings are often indoors (which limits space) such as in a bar or at home, or they are being accosted on the street. Most bad guys won't rob/rape/hurt you at 10+ yards. It is a logistical issue. They tend to rob/rape/hurt you at more personal distances. Practicing long distance shooting is a good idea to refine skills such as getting a proper sight picture and squeezing the trigger - things that at longer distances make a shot look good or look miserable depending on how well you do. It is also important to practice shooting targets at 1, 2, 3, and 4 yards, drawing from the holster and shooting from the hip. It may be that if you try to get both hands togehter on the gun, that the subject will also have his hands on the gun and so that won't work well. It may be that your left hand is busy fending off the guy or fending thrown projectiles, fending off a knife attack, or pulling your child, drunken buddy, or wounded buddy out of the line of fire - so you don't get to use your off hand for shooting. You should be able to draw and fire multiple shots (at least double taps) into center mass from the hip out to 4 yards. As the distance increases beyond that you are more likely to get to use the off hand or to bring your gun arm up to proper aiming.

Personal shooting (up close and personal that is) sounds easy and at one yard it should be, but I have seen people miss. I saw one bailiff do the drill where her shot was at such a high angle as to go over the target in front of her and hit the metal door just visible over the backstop. So you have to practice. As easy as it is to be on target, you can be off target. Find a range that will let you practice that sort of shooting. You may get ribbed for the drill when you are shooting a target you could punch out, but that is more likely than you trying to shoot a target at 25 yards as a civilian in a defensive shoot.
 

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Then there are those of us who are just realistic. I have been shooting in competitions of one type or another for over 30 years. Made Master in PPC, Master in NMSS/PMA, top of the heap in my state in NRA Action Pistol, and so on. Less than a year ago I started shooting IPSC and IDPA. I am very confident that I can make Master in IDPA via the classifier and I know I can go from a "new shooter" to B class in IPSC in 10 months. But I gotta admit, at my age, with my vision and reflexes, making Master in IPSC is gonna be a bitch. Is that underestimating my ability? Nope, just being in touch with reality. BTW, I'll let you know when I make Master.
 

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Well, I guess I'll put my $5.00 in, gotta cover inflation:)

I have taught Combative Martial Art's / Defensive Tactics / and various firearms training for more than 20 odd years. Have got to travel all over the world and work /
learn / teach / operate with some serious folks.

Bottom line; Mindset. I have seen excellent
"Dojo Master's" get an asswhippin' because the guy whippin their ass did'nt know to be scared of the "Grand Master Martial Artist"
If the fella would have known how "ranked"
this guy was, he would not have "mindset" to whip his ass :)

James Keating ( COMTECH ) said it best " Learn to be a Counter-Preditor"

I used to teach "draw & drop", draw as you get small, seek a stable platform to return fire from. After 18 months in Cambodia, I quit IPSC. Standing straight up, like John Wayne at the O.K. Corral was not the "muscle memory" I wanted.

Most of us are nice, law abiding people.Criminal's have a whole diff mind set.
You will likely be attacked by multiple's.
Like a "dog pack" mentallity,ain't gonna do it one on one. Learn to draw on the move,
constantly checking your 360, rapid eye movement, perifrial vision use,sweep your AO,
learn to shoot in low to no light. I used to do demo's with a Brn HP & 1911 with no sites.
Still do. Practice,practice,practice.

I have had students pass up other's in less than a year.Why ? They work on what I am teaching every day they are not with me.Training on their own. I have a SOCOM brother who can employ his HP from condition 3 faster than most folks can a 1911.Why?
Every morning, he pratices for 1/2 drawing it that way:) After his "new" wife of 6yrs
finally got used to,she quit nagging about the noise:)
It's your life, take a little time to keep it


Sincerely, George L. Gouger
Life Member NRA Since 1969
www.doubleggunsmithing.com

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Life Member NRA Since 1969
www.doubleggunsmithing.com
 

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I'll add a couple of more items to Rosco'sfine post.

First age, those without the fountain of youth owned by my friend Ken Tapp, suffer from age related problems. Eyesight and arthritis are two of my afflections. Some days I can carry right hand, other days left hand is better. Eyesight is another story.

Yes, I know special glasses can allow one to see one's front sight, but who is going to wear special glasses on the street? IMOH, all training MUST relate directly to the street where I carry a gun on a daily basis.

Someone some years ago suggested a drill that was to be run as soon as the person or persons reached the range. No gun manipulations took place until on the line and exercise was run. No adjustments to gear, just stand up and shoot the drill. Might go a step futher and do a short sprint before hand.

As all of my carry is concealed, all of my practice is concealed, from Sparks IWB holsters. My daily dry fire practice alternates right and left side, and I use vests, jackets, and sweat shirts for cover clothing. After the first 1/2 day at Gunsite, Ed Stock let me put my vest back on. I used a P-7, left hand in an IWB behind the hip carry.

Speed, I am not fast, 1.75 to 1.95 for a 10 on an action pistol target at 7 yards. Splits at 7 yards run .35 or maybe a little less when warmed up. I really do not push second shots on same targets, and my practice is much more aimed at 1 hit and movement, shooting on the move, and multiple targets.

I use lots of steel targets, of the type used by Farnam. Reactive targets make me concentrate more, and sometimes fight back.
Any who has shot with Farnam, knows how one of his targets looks when your first hit has caused the target to blade! GLV
 

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For our Thursday night group, I range mastered most of the evening. I got there early and 'warmed up.' When the others arrived, I allowed no warm up for them and had the shoot a couple different combinations at 7 yards, drawn from the holster, from standing position. Later in the evening, after everyone was warm, I had them do shooting on the move. Surprisingly, two of them did noticably better shooting on the move after warming up than they did cold, from a stationary position. This was not a scientific test by any means and none of the participants were told that I was trying to address the issue.

Unless I end up in a fight at the range, chances are I will be shooting cold. I think one of the things I will be working on in the future will be keeping a record of my first 10 shots or so, doing the same drill each week. Since I don't think I can count on shooting better in a crisis than my average bad day, based on what I saw, I may have to revise my average bad day abilities downward some if I only consider cold shooting.
 

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Double Naught Spy:

The way I live fire practice is to attempt to shoot like "this is my only chance to make this hit"

So I try to practice only doing each drill with half a magazine at the most. I find if I shoot the same drill, controlled pairs for example, several times, I get sloppy. If I shoot only 3 sets of controlled pairs at x range and I try for PERFECTION then I shoot much better in all circumstances. Part of this practice routine is only shooting about 100 rounds per practice session as frequency seems more important than volume. Also regular dry firing is a must for good shooting, at least to me.

Edmund
 
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