TRAIN FOR RE­AL­ITY, NOT FAN­TASY.

TO GET THE MOST OUT OF TRAIN­ING TIME AND RE­SOURCES, FO­CUS ON CONTINGENCIES THAT CAN RE­ALLY HAP­PEN.

Gun World - - Cleared Hot -

Ire­tired from the Army Spe­cial Forces more than three years ago; rarely a day goes by that I don’t miss some facet of that job. When I re­tired, I heard plenty of peo­ple tell me I would miss the peo­ple and not the job.

While I do miss the amaz­ing peo­ple with whom I had the honor of serv­ing, I also miss the job. As with any job, there are things that you don’t miss: long de­ploy­ments, miss­ing im­por­tant hol­i­days or the late-night phone call that drags you away from your fam­ily.

SPE­CIAL FORCES FOR LIFE

How­ever, what I should clear up is that I don’t think I should re­fer to it as a “job.” The men­tal pic­ture of that word sug­gests some­thing that might not be en­joy­able. For me, the Army was en­joy­able—and even more so once I en­tered Spe­cial Forces. It was ev­ery­thing I thought it would be—and more. If not, I had plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties over that 20-year pe­riod to leave. But I just kept on.

Army Spe­cial Forces is unique when com­pared with the rest of the Army: While I was in, my co-work­ers were older than the av­er­age sol­dier, more ex­pe­ri­enced and ex­tremely ded­i­cated to their work. Ded­i­ca­tion is not unique to Spe­cial Forces, but the level and intensity are, from my ex­pe­ri­ence. I had spent time in the air­borne in­fantry, and it did not com­pare to the sheer intensity of ded­i­ca­tion I felt in Spe­cial Forces. The bond be­tween and among team mem­bers is one that will last a life­time.

TRAIN FOR RE­AL­ITY

Of the many things that Spe­cial Forces taught me, how to de­fend my­self and oth­ers is one that sticks with me the most. Even af­ter years of re­tire­ment and as age creeps up on me, I still find time to train … just in case. When I train, I do so realistically: I’m not train­ing for the zom­bie horde, waves of ISIS or the apoc­a­lypse. I train for what could ac­tu­ally hap­pen—in­trud­ers in my home, thugs on the street or an ac­tive-shooter sit­u­a­tion wher­ever I might be. Some of the same drills I used to prac­tice while still on ac­tive duty are rel­e­vant for every­day life, so I use those to main­tain a level of skill I could need in an emer­gency.

CON­TROLLED PAIRS

My first train­ing drill is with an AR car­bine or other MSR—no “as­sault ri­fles” here, as the anti-gun­ners call them; those are for the mil­i­tary. Many peo­ple opt for an AR car­bine for home de­fense. I can’t blame them. In 5.56, the re­coil is light enough for even the small­est adult, and most chil­dren can be taught to shoot one very well with su­per­vi­sion and pa­tience. With a 16inch bar­rel, it is easy to ma­neu­ver through your home with­out much trou­ble, and it can be out­fit­ted with lights, red-dot scopes and lasers with­out much added weight.

In this drill, you will start from low-ready with a sin­gle sil­hou­ette tar­get 15 to 20 feet away. Rais­ing the weapon, you will fire two shots—a con­trolled pair—cen­ter mass at the tar­get. Then, scan for additional tar­gets. When clear, re­turn to low-ready.

Ide­ally, what you are work­ing on is de­vel­op­ing an in­stinc­tive point of aim. Should you have to bring your weapon up to de­fend your­self in real life, you will in­stinc­tively point and shoot the weapon into your as­sailant with­out hav­ing to take the time to pick up a good sight pic­ture us­ing iron sights or op­tics.

Look at an ob­ject and point to it with your fin­ger. As you point to the ob­ject, your mind in­stinc­tively looks at the cen­ter mass, and your fin­ger fol­lows to the same point. This is what you want to hone, ex­cept with a weapon in­stead of your fin­ger. In a shootout, time is crit­i­cal, but so is hit­ting the tar­get. The goal here is for all shots to hit the A zone on a stan­dard USPSA tar­get.

If you have op­tics on your gun, no prob­lem. Use it un­til you be­gin to get com­fort­able with your in­stinc­tive point of aim. I have op­tics on all my ri­fles and will use them when I can.

From ex­pe­ri­ence, I know that op­tics are me­chan­i­cal and sub­ject to fail­ure at the worst times. I have had bat­ter­ies die on me at the very worst times. There is a host of things that could hap­pen to your op­tics—from break­age to be­ing mis­aligned af­ter an im­pact. In that in­stance, in­stinc­tive shoot­ing might very well be the dif­fer­ence in a gun fight.

MUL­TI­PLE-TAR­GET DRILL

In this drill, you will tran­si­tion from one tar­get to an­other when pre­sented with mul­ti­ple threats. En­gage threats as they present them­selves or which­ever tar­get presents the great­est threat. Also, when en­gag­ing mul­ti­ple threats, you will de­ter­mine how to quickly give the first pre­sented tar­get a con­trolled pair with only two sight pic­tures (not a third, which is the fol­low-through sight pic­ture).

You will then quickly tran­si­tion to the next ac­quired threat and en­gage that threat with a con­trolled pair. As you en­gage the last pre­sented threat, you will gain the third (fol­low-through) sight pic­ture on that threat to en­sure it is neu­tral­ized. Then, re-scan the pre­vi­ous threats to en­sure they do not pose a fur­ther threat. In a real gun­fight, it is easy to get tun­nel vi­sion, so try to keep both eyes open to main­tain a good field of view.

TRAN­SI­TION DRILLS

The last drill is ex­e­cuted with an AR car­bine as your pri­mary weapon and a pis­tol as your se­condary (backup) weapon. In this drill, you will have mul­ti­ple tar­gets. It is best to use three tar­gets at vary­ing dis­tances to sim­u­late mul­ti­ple at­tack­ers.

Ide­ally, you will have some­one else load your mag­a­zines. Place a dummy round in your M4 mag­a­zine as one of six rounds. As with the two pre­vi­ous drills, you will fire two rounds cen­ter mass of the tar­get. In ad­di­tion, you will fire an additional round into the head of the tar­get to sim­u­late the at­tacker wear­ing body ar­mor.

WHEN I TRAIN, I DO SO REALISTICALLY: I’M NOT TRAIN­ING FOR THE ZOM­BIE HORDE, WAVES OF ISIS OR THE APOC­A­LYPSE. I TRAIN FOR WHAT COULD AC­TU­ALLY HAP­PEN …

You will en­gage the most dan­ger­ous tar­get first and then the additional tar­gets, ac­cord­ing to the threat posed. As you encounter the mal­func­tion in your pri­mary sys­tem, you will ro­tate it out of the way with your non­fir­ing hand as you tran­si­tion your fir­ing hand to re­trieve your se­condary weapon. You will then con­tinue to en­gage the re­main­der of the tar­gets un­til com­plete; scan for any additional threats; seek cover; and fix the mal­func­tion in your pri­mary sys­tem. Once it is fixed, you can con­tinue the fight.

It is im­por­tant in this drill to have a good sling sys­tem for your pri­mary weapon and a good hol­ster for your se­condary. When the weapon is re­leased, the sling should be able to keep the pri­mary weapon close to your body to pre­vent it from drag­ging on the ground, get­ting caught up in some­thing or in the way of your se­condary weapon en­gage­ment.

TOO EASY? ADD SOME DIF­FI­CULTY

To add dif­fi­culty to any of th­ese drills, change the dis­tance to the tar­get, the dis­tance be­tween the tar­gets or the height of each tar­get. You can also use ob­jects to par­tially cover tar­gets to sim­u­late an as­sailant seek­ing cover. You should also prac­tice in low light, if pos­si­ble. To add stress, con­duct some ex­er­cise such as a sprint or pushups be­fore you start the ex­er­cise. Run­ning against the clock can also in­crease the stress level.

Be­com­ing pro­fi­cient takes time, pa­tience and a lot of ammo. By “a lot,” I mean thou­sands of rounds. Dur­ing my Spe­cial Forces train­ing, it was of­ten nor­mal to shoot any­where from 500 to 1,500 rounds in a sin­gle day—and most likely for sev­eral days in a row.

It is more dif­fi­cult to main­tain that level now, be­cause I have to pay for my ammo. I make up for some of that through dry-fire train­ing and the use of lasers and com­puter pro­grams. Those help, but they are still a sec­ond­place sub­sti­tute for the real thing. You still must fire real am­mu­ni­tion.

I’m lucky enough to live in an area that is full of both ac­tive duty and re­tired Green Berets, so I am rarely with­out a train­ing part­ner. They never let you off easy, but they are al­ways there to of­fer some help­ful ad­vice.

And on oc­ca­sion, I can re­live my days as a war­rior sur­rounded by oth­ers who would have done any­thing for a com­rade in arms. De Op­presso Li­bre! GW

FROM EX­PE­RI­ENCE, I KNOW THAT OP­TICS ARE ME­CHAN­I­CAL AND SUB­JECT TO FAIL­URE AT THE WORST TIMES.

Bot­tom left: While low­er­ing the pri­mary with the non-fir­ing

hand, the fir­ing hand moves to the se­condary weapon. Bot­tom right: Upon

re­triev­ing the se­condary weapon, bring it on tar­get

to elim­i­nate the re­main­ing threats.

I

Top left: For car­bine drills, start from lowready. Top right: The au­thor be­gins the tran­si­tion

from pri­mary to se­condary weapon by low­er­ing the pri­mary in a con­trolled man­ner.

Two of the pri­mary types of mod­ern car­bine slings: sin­gle­point sling (top), and two-point sling (bot­tom)

Mak­ing the tran­si­tion from the pri­mary to the se­condary weapon

Shoot­ing the pri­mary weapon dur­ing tran­si­tion drills

En­gag­ing the re­main­ing tar­gets with the se­condary weapon

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