Thursday, April 23, 2009

Definitions...

Brillianter has a post up on the definitions of "Training", "Practice", and "Testing". Some good points are raised, such as the fact that watching a video or reading a book is not really training, because there's no instructor to provide corrections and feedback. A book or a video is better than nothing, but how do you know if you're doing it right?

I also like the bit referring to competition as "Testing". The only way you're really going to get to use skills under pressure and in a measurable environment is competition. In the May '09 issue of SWAT magazine, there was a writeup of a three-day Carbine/Pistol Course from TigerSwan by Victor Wong. In the closing paragraphs of the piece, they had some interesting comments from TigerSwan's head honcho, a former senior NCO in a very high-speed, low-drag unit. According to the writer
"Having shot almost every type of competetive [sic] sport from skeet to bull's-eye to Service Rifle and IPSC, Searcy believes it is impossible to improve without shooting in competition, as you will inevitably plateau if shooting only on a square range by yourself. The stress of being against the clock, against other shooters and having an audience watch you forces you to develop the mental management necessary to execute the correct subconscious weapons handling skills under pressure."
When your gun pukes, do you just stand there staring at it like a duck in thunder, or do you reduce the malf without pausing and drive on? (If your gun doesn't puke, you're not shooting enough. Go shoot more.) A ticking clock and heckling onlookers may not be the same thing as a two-way pistol range, but it's a whole lot more stress and pressure than a quiet day at the gravel pit or the public range.

10 comments:

The Duck said...

So very very true

Laughingdog said...

When your gun pukes, do you just stand there staring at it like a duck in thunder, or do you reduce the malf without pausing and drive on? (If your gun doesn't puke, you're not shooting enough. Go shoot more.) I have about 5000 rounds through my Glock 26 and about 2500 through my Springfield Operator, with only one malfunction in either. Neither of them were things you could clear without pausing. Both were ammo malfunctions (Winchester White Box stuff both times) that completely seized the guns.

With the Glock, the primer fired, but the primer pocket hole must have been obstructed, because primer pushed itself out of the back of the round. The chamber couldn't be cleared without pressing against the front of the round with a cleaning rod.

With the 1911, a round was a little thick around the crimp, and jammed into the barrel. In this case, the slide could be locked back, but the round was jammed in too hard to remove.

I do use snap caps at home to practice clearing misfires. But I'm not really sure instinct would win out in a self-defense situation. Despite practicing clearing the gun, if I get a misfire in the range, I know I'm supposed to wait a little before actually clearing the round in case it's a hangfire.

I'm sure you have an answer to this question in here somewhere already. But, as my ex-wife loved to point out, my Google-fu is weak. Do you have any recommendations for what kinds of malfunction training I should be doing, and how to reconcile the differences between how to handle them in a range versus in self-defense/competitive shooting?

Laughingdog said...

Damn, I thought I had a page break in there between your text and what I wrote.

pdb said...

Laughingdog:

I'm partial to the Glock and have trouble affording enough ammo to shoot it enough to make it jam. Instead, I randomly load a piece of empty brass into the magazines. Or have your shootin' buddy do it behind your back so you're surprised. This is a cheap and safe and diabolical malfunction! Remember to keep moving!

There exists some awesomely hilarious video of my brother and I practising this. If he'd get off his lazy ass and send it to me, I'd put it up.

Tam said...

"I'm partial to the Glock and have trouble affording enough ammo to shoot it enough to make it jam."

I, too, used staged malfs in my four G23s, two G33s, my G29, and my G30. Back when I owned them, that is.

Of course, they'd also malf on the range, but I blamed the ammo or the mags or the operator. (This is true: I have embarrassing old posts at TFL and GT where I claimed sick round counts in my Glocks with zero malfs, because, you know, bad mags or bad ammo or limp-wristing aren't the gun's fault!)

Remember: A blown primer in your Glock is because WWB sux. A blown primer in your Springfield is because it's an unreliable antique POS...

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Umm, does it MATTER why a gun stops that beloved cycle of fire-eject-feed-repeat cycle?

As someone wise once said, "The operative part of gunfight is fight, not gun."

You can shortstroke the trigger on a double action revolver, not let it come all the way forward to reset the marvelously Victorian mechanism.

You can limpwrist a self shucker.

You can have bad ammo.

You can have a magazine spring go all dangly on you.

You can have spat 'baccy juice into some important workings.

Maybe Odin just wants to test your warrior spirit, and decides to take away your play toy.

The only thing that matters is, you have gone from having a long distance drill to having a very, very short range impact weapon. (And a poor one at that.)

The basic ideas haven't changed since Ugg fought Thugg with a rock, or a club, or his hands. We human beans is most resilient, and simultaneously most destructible.

Quick side reference about technology: I have a friend and pal who, for quite some many years, could not afford a modern centerfire handgun. His circumstances allowed him to pack a 1860 Colt, with which he practiced daily. I would not want to be the M4 equipped LEO who executed a "wrong number" search warrant against my friend's house.

For some reason, I keep remembering the Chief (CPO) from "Apocalypse Now" ending up with a spear in his guts. Obsolescent don't mean obsolete.

Tam said...

"Umm, does it MATTER why a gun stops that beloved cycle of fire-eject-feed-repeat cycle?"

No it does not.

Reduce the malf (or transition to your secondary, if appropriate,) and drive on.

staghounds said...

Empty cases?

I am in the habit now when loading to make up a handful of failure rounds- both dead primers and 3/4 charges. They look just like the good ones, and I mix them all up before boxing.

So I'll get plenty of failures to do right in a semiautomatic. No partner necessary, no predictability.

Laughingdog said...

I just wanted to make sure no one here interpreted my original comment as a "OMG, Glocks and 1911s never ever fail!!!" post. I just haven't had any failures that didn't require some external tool to correct.

So what are realistic failures to train for, and what type of training is just a bit over the top? Practicing for misfires with snapcaps or dead rounds is pretty obvious. But do some of you set up things like stovepipes?

Tam said...

"But do some of you set up things like stovepipes?"

Shootin' Buddy does; I should. He also does drills with partially-seated mags...