In the next few posts we will explore some of the myths of gunfighting that drive inappropriate training.
How can you train to protect yourself from the most likely threat you might face? If you are an average citizen FBI crime statistics show that you are most likely to need your pistol to protect yourself in a robbery or carjacking if outside your home. And inside your home it would be a burglary or home invasion robbery. So don’t train for a more complicated scenario like an armed invasion of terrorist. Simple first then build up to complicated later.
Today we will talk about what a typical robbery looks like. There are a lot of statistics thrown around about this topic. Unfortunately many of the stats are skewed due to how they are collected and who they are collect for. They are collected about police officer shootings mostly. As a police officer I got very close to people. I also tackled them, wrestled them and forced them into handcuffs. I’ve never had a person initiate a wrestling match with me as a police officer. Every time they fought it was because I went to put my hands on them. Otherwise they didn’t want to get close to me. I know there are exceptions.
It turns out that bad guys don’t want to get too close to you either. Video footage, victim reports and police reports show that the vast majority of robbers stay about two or three steps back from the victim. There are a lot of theories as to why this is. Some think it is because the bad guy is having tunnel vision due to the excitement of conducting the robbery, so he thinks he is closer than he actually is. Others think it is just good practice to stay away from victims while you rob them. They are using caution so you can’t grab their weapon of choice. Whatever the reason is the majority of robbers stay back. It’s not like in the movies where they put the pistol to your head. That is very rare and different training is required to deal with it. Play the odds first. If the pistol is to your head, give them the money. Odds are they won’t shoot you. As you improve in your abilities you can change your mind as to how you will deal with this. You don’t have to be superman or woman from day one. What you decide to do depends on your abilities right now.
So how might this effect your training as a new shooter? For self defense your target is going to be no larger than a human body and perhaps smaller if it is obscured. I always thought that under stress I might shoot faster than I do in training and maybe not as accurate. A former Delta Force soldier told me that they track every training round and try to track as many real rounds as possible that they shoot into people. He said they shoot 30% less accurate under real life shootings. He even talked about getting rid of the HEAD shot due to this. I’m certainly no special force soldier so I assume I will shoot 50% worse in real life if I’m lucky. Therefore I shoot slow enough to keep all my rounds in a six inch circle on the body and a three inch circle on the head. Hopefully this will equate to hitting a twelve inch circle on the body and a six inch circle on the head in real life. That is how I came up with my Wal-Mart target from an earlier post.
A new shooter would have problems starting their shooting at fifty yards in order to engage terrorist in the mall. Common sense says that you should start closer and move back as you improve. If the normal range of a robber is two to seven yards then why not start there? I suggest starting at five yards and slowly shooting circles no larger than six inches. As you improve your fundamentals and accuracy improves then shoot more quickly at the same distance and/or move farther back and shoot slowly again. If you keep doing this all the way back to twenty-five yards and then add in retention shooting at contact distance you will have trained for real life distances. You might eventually shoot from farther but let’s keep it simple for awhile. Learning to shoot a six inch circle at twenty-five yards is the foundation for shooting at fifty yards just like shooting accurately and quickly at five yards is the foundation to shooting the same at fifteen yards.
We will break these ideas down into more detail in future posts. Keep it simple for now and learn to shoot slow and accurate at first. Then over time shooting quickly and accurately.