Well, I’m back from the Summit now and what a great time it was. Here’s a wrap up of what day 2 included, you can read day 1 here:
The first block of the day was all morning. An intensive 4 hour block from Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, yes that’s TV’s Rob Pincus. Rob’s program is called Combat Focus Shooting program. He spent quite a bit of time talking in the beginning about the program and how it developed as well as some specific thoughts equipment and safety. One point that was highlighted again was how congruent all the programs of the summit were. While there were some subtle differences, they could be attributed to a couple of things. As Rob pointed out, context is important, in day 1′s “Confined Space Shooting” block we did things a certain way because of the specific context, that is, dealing with threats at less than 2 arms reach when we are in a limited space. In Rob’s block we were dealing with a bit more distance and therefore some slight changes are warranted. The other factor is that there simply isn’t always one best way to do something in every situation. The differences are very subtle and there is a consistent training imprint from all the blocks during the summit. I was very impressed by Rob’s teaching style, he was very clear and articulate and injected humor to maintain engagement. It’s obvious that his courses are highly developed.
Once we were done with the talking, we started with the shooting. A key aspect of Combat Focus Shooting is to not use the sights unless you need to. At very close range it’s important to get combat accurate hits on the threat very quickly. It’s not very important if your shot grouping is 1″ or 6″. At longer ranges, or with smaller targets, precision becomes more important. The fact that we aren’t using the sights does not mean that we aren’t aligning the gun with the target, it’s just that it’s a coarser grain of alignment based on the gun and our body positioning. We repeated several drills to practice this concept, fast shots on a large target, and slower, precise shots on smaller targets. The basic “Balance of Speed and Precision” drill was expanded over the course of the morning by adding additional actions such as the draw, off axis movement and after action checks.
One thing that Rob stressed during this, and all the drills, do not establish a training pattern. If you constantly train that your response to a threat should be 2 shots to the high center chest, then you are conditioning yourself to do that and only that. As we know, fights are chaotic and unpredictable, so when that response you’ve drilled into your head doesn’t work, you’re going to have a problem. We practiced shooting a self selected number of rounds for each command and actually visualized the threat stopping before we would stop shooting. This same concept applies to common gun handling. Every reload should be done as a combat reload, every time your gun goes dry you should initiate a reload, even if you’re out of magazines, every time the gun goes “click” instead of “bang”, initiate immediate action. Don’t let your brain be trained that “click” means anything other than “fix that gun NOW!”. This is a common theme I’ve seen with the quality instructors I’ve trained with.
After lunch, we were in the classroom for the rest of the day. The first block was Managing Unknown Contacts from Southnarc. This described and demonstrated how to effectively handle an unknown person approaching you. Obviously, everyone that might approach us is not a threat, so the response needs to be appropriate without compromising your own safety. Southnarc laid out a series of progressive responses that escalate as the probability of a threat escalates. This includes verbal commands from a simple, “stop right there, please” all the way up to something like “BACK UP RIGHT NOW!”. He also adds movement in a specific manner to maintain distance, and to help you identify additional threats. Remember, bad guys often work in pairs or groups. This module strictly covered the initial response, not what to do when the threat isn’t diffused by that. So there’s a future training opportunity. He also described some of the signs that may indicate that someone intends to do you harm. We concluded this block by pairing up and role playing these responses.
Lastly, William Aprill gave a presentation on the psychology of “Violent Criminal Actors”. There was a lot of information here that I had never considered and understanding how a violent criminal will respond to something that seems like “no big deal” to me was enlightening. It’s good to understand how the built up context of different lives can affect what one might consider a reasonable response to a given situation.
This summit was a great opportunity to sample a variety of instructors at a very reasonable expense and travel. Thanks to Mike & Jim of NE Shooters for organizing, all the folks that helped execute, the instructors, and Pelham Fish & Game for hosting it. I look forward to doing it again next year.