YOU CAN’T STAY SHARP MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY IF YOU DO NOT TRAIN
There is a dangerous misconception out there. It affects law enforcement, and it very likely affects others, too. It is the misaligned perception of one’s own abilities.
I recently met a young officer, “Tony,” from a small agency in Southern California. He had come through my training school I run on the weekends. His future father-in-law, who is a civilian and an avid shooter, brought him by because he wanted to see and evaluate how his future son-in-law shoots.
I found Tony to be a very confident young man, and he carried himself well. He seemed relaxed and got along with other students well, too. In fact, he appeared as if he was ready to smoke everyone there.
Someone told me later that Tony believed that he was one of the better shooters there—if not the best. Otherwise, why would he be there in the first place with bunch of civilian shooters? Why would he want to embarrass himself in front of everyone, including his future father-in-law, as the only LEO in the class? The next six hours were truly an excruciating experience for Tony.
Of course, all eyes were on Tony, early on, to see what he could do as an officer. Tony shot his issued SIG P220 in .45. Sadly, Tony got smoked by everyone in the class and came in dead last out of 15-or-so students. Tony shot poorly, with rounds going all over the place, with absolutely no grouping. Many of the students were regular shooters and train regularly with me. Many shoot competitions. Unbeknownst to Tony, we even had a USPSA GM shooting among them.
During the class, I had set up the range to simulate a recent scenario in which an innocent female was taken hostage by a knife-wielding suspect. Several officers shot multiple rounds from many angles, despite the difficulty associated with such a hostage situation, killing the hostage and the hostage-taker. The video caused an uproar among both the public and the law enforcement community.
During the exercise, Tony failed to neutralize the threat, and he was the only one in the class who shot the hostage from mere 5 to 6 yards away.
Tony’s performance was so bad that many of the students came up to me in private and asked if Tony saw his own deficiencies. I replied, “He is bleeding inside. Trust me.”
7 Days Later
About a week after the class, I was told that Tony was in deep, deep depression after the class and even contemplated quitting the police force. Tony could not believe how insufficient he was as a shooter and was truly embarrassed that the civilians out shot him by a great margin.
To me, the greatest folly was the fact that he believed he was good enough just going to the police academy for a few months and shoot qualification three times a year. I asked Tony during the class how often he shot. He said aside from department qualifications, he felt no need to shoot otherwise.
Good & Bad
All too often people treat their carry firearm, or in the case of an officer, their badge and their pistol, as if they are magical talismans that will ward off evil. You may have heard the saying, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This is a misconception.
It is more correct to say that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a well-trained good guy with a gun.
In a gunfight, training, or software, will always trump hardware. TW
Many have a misaligned perception of their abilities, says the author ( not shown). Thus, get out and train.