We just finished another team tactics class at Gunsite Academy and the class always ends with some force-on-force scenarios using Simunitions. The eye opener is that the best shot in the class does not necessarily do the best in the force-on-force, even though these scenarios are nearly always close-range problems. Simply put, being a good shot does not make one a gunfighter.
The readers of Shooting Illustrated might be a good example of what I am talking about. Putting the members with law enforcement and/or combat military experience aside, our membership is made up of some relatively peaceful, harmless people. Most don’t have a criminal record or, if they do, it was for minor traffic infractions. They don’t hang out with street gangs and probably don’t even know anyone in a street gang. In short, they don’t know much more about criminals than they do about the people of Lower Slobovia.
Being a hard target when it comes to personal defense requires an education. And being a good marksman is just the beginning of that education. One must learn to identify crooks and then learn what to expect from them. Only then can one begin to formulate a plan for dealing with them.
One might begin by listening to veteran law enforcement officers when they talk about their experiences on the street. One might be selective about which shooting schools are attended based upon the number of instructors who have actually had to fight for their lives. We can learn from others who have been in harm's way.
We can also learn by studying the experiences of other armed citizens who have had to deal with violence. We find their stories in the NRA’s "Armed Citizen" column, news accounts, and the various books written on the subject.
In our team tactics class, two partners have to deal with an unknown criminal situation. I could quickly spot the survivors because, as their partner began to deal with a potential crook, they were already looking around for the crook’s partner. As they trusted their partner to deal with the known crook, they were positioned slightly apart, scanning the area for the surprise, if there was one.
Keep in mind that Col. Cooper always said that marksmanship and gun handling were important. But, of equal importance was mindset, of which tactics is a major part. We try to identify the criminal as quickly as possible and have a tactical solution for dealing with his threat.
So, for those of you who have made an effort to live a clean life, I commend you. Keep it up. But you would be smart to learn as much as you can about the ugly side of life. It is the trash that populate the ugly side of life who will try to rob you and kill you. By all means, learn to shoot but spend an equal amount of time learning what your potential target looks and acts like. It’s the tactical thing to do.