|"Well, that'll certainly teach Muffy not to get kidnapped by her skeezy dope dealer boyfriend and his buddies."|
"More importantly, don’t be deluded into thinking the gun is a magical talisman of protection. Your CCW certification class is NOT a defensive handgun course. Take a practical shooting course with pistols. Here’s the catch though, not all defensive handgun courses are created equal.
It’s cool to take a course that focuses on shooting fast, accurately. In fact, that’s probably the first pistol course you should take. It helps start developing the fundamental skill sets. In the real world though, it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up shooting TOO fast, and TOO accurately.
Too many shooting courses focus any “decision-making” on simple, binary decisions. “Gun or no gun?” is NOT a valid decision-making matrix for shoot-or-no shoot in the real world. It’s more complicated than that. Hell, even “that dude is pointing a gun at me” may not be adequate grounds to drop the hammer.
A solid, practical, real-world shooting course MUST include practical, complex decision-making processes in the course work. You’ve got to learn to SEE and PROCESS information FASTER, so you can shoot SOONER. A sub-one second shot is great…right up until it takes you two seconds to determine that the apparent target is your wife/best friend/father-in-law, coming to help."
Muffy, in the photo above, was a no-shoot* target slightly occluded by the bad guy, in front of and overlapping her. The pair were situated such that you came upon them pretty abruptly on rolling through a doorway, and you can see the result of poor trigger control under surprise. I think only two teams did not put any holes in Muffy, and I'm kinda happy that none of those bullet holes are mine. I almost tried a body shot on the bad guy by reflex, and only a last-second realization of what that meant made me shoot him in the grape instead.
However, that's just basic marksmanship under pressure, which is not the same as target discrimination and decision-making in the same circumstances.
One early run we went into the shoot house with a briefing that the guy who'd called 911 was in there with his cell phone. A couple of people shot him.
Our most frequent antagonists in these shoot house runs were the hardened terrorists of the Mongolian-Irish Liberation Front. One late-night run had you exit the first room and into a hallway and there, right in front of you, was a guy in a red MILF t-shirt. He got tagged by a couple people, too, despite being unarmed, and despite the briefing mentioning that the MILF leader was in there, probably not packing heat himself, and should be taken into custody if possible.
These were obviously artificial scenarios, structured to induce thinking on your feet, and everybody improved in that respect over the course of the weekend. But...
* I clarified that from "hostage", which is too often used as slang for a no-shoot target placed near a shoot target. I just casually used it that way myself, and it really wasn't correct. In the shoot house we had good guys (yourself and your partner), threats (which you shoot until they stop being threats), and "unknowns", which is everybody else.