Rapid FireSteven Lieberman
“Two rounds center mass!”
“On the command of THREAT!”
A series of hammered pairs cracks through the air as each trainee fires. After everyone has holstered a single trainee at the end continues to fire round after round until his firearm runs dry and goes to slide lock.
“Nice shooting Tex!”
“How many shots did the range master call for?”
“The range master… how many shots did he call for?”
“Ugh… two I think… I got a little carried away.”
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There is a difference between recreational shooting and defensive shooting. We’ve talked about that before… one of the benefits of practicing defensive shooting is the cognitive training that comes with it.
We use formalized training drills to drive home a couple of things.
First, we want to make sure that the training objective for that exercise has the best chance of happening…. we create the course of fire to highlight that specific training objective. If the trainee goes off the rails and becomes focused on their own objectives they are missing the point.
Second, we use the collective nature of group training to assist coaches and instructors, by looking for specific problems that directed shooting strings can highlight.
A few months back David, who usually runs our Club 2A shoot had instructed his students to do a “dot” drill. This particular drill was designed to have the student focus their energy on firing five shots on a green sticky dot he had affixed to their target. Their goal: to obliterate the dot with specific attention being on a smooth crisp trigger press.
One of the students, upon seeing that his five shots had failed to hit the dot, (he had created a grouping low left of the target) began firing multiple shots after the five initial rounds, in an attempt to hit the sticker. Each shot became more and more erratic then the last. Fortunately Katie, one of our other instructors had seen where the original shots had landed before she “gently” instructed the student to stop firing.
Had she not been able to see the original hits, the diagnostic value in the exercise… the real purpose of the string in the first place… would have been completely lost.
I get that there is a time when we want to just pour rounds down range…. we usually offer that component at the end of a training evolution for really no other purpose than just pure entertainment.
We understand the trainees desire,… sometimes out of exuberance… sometimes because they are flat out pissed off after their last couple of strings…. to just burn some ammo.
We all do it.
Some of us more often out of anger than others.
When we are training though….seriously training, not messing around… we need to do so with serious objectives in mind.
One of the benefits of training with a group is that RSO’s, instructors, and even fellow shooters are focused on solving singular problems.
When we deviate from the established course of action we might find a temporary solace in the empowerment that comes from self direction, but we loose the benefits that comes from collective training.
There is a time for structured, methodical, even institutionalized training protocols. There is also a time for going out to the desert and blowing the crap out of pumpkins and old refrigerators.
We simply need to remember why we are where we are, and how to benefit the most from the experience.