Shooting vs. Gunfighting - by Cope Reynolds


OK, I told you I had more thoughts on this active shooter business and I want to

share them with you today. This is a follow-up article to THIS one.

Sadly, few people really have even the remotest concept of just how critical proper

defensive training is in a fluid, dynamic situation like an active shooter scenario. I

don't care how well you can shoot. I don't care if you're an NRA instructor. It

doesn't matter that you used to be in the military or were the captain of your

college pistol team (yeah, they used to do that!) or even if you were a police

officer. What matters is how well you can address a violent threat in the midst of a

mass of screaming, hysterical people.

Now, I don't mean to be disrespectful to NRA instructors, cops or soldiers. I would

never try to take anything away from them. They are each well trained and

qualified to do specific things for specific reasons while working with specific people.

It's just that defensive shooting, especially when it involves active shooters, is not

the same as combat in the jungles and deserts, shooting on a range or walking the

streets of the city. The majority of your rank and file police officers qualify maybe

twice a year at a stationary target under very strict supervision and very, very few

of them had even the smallest modicum of active shooter training outside of

classroom discussion. That is the one thing, one of the biggest myths in the

firearms world, that just because someone spent years in any of the above

professions that they are automatically, uniquely qualified in defensive shooting

instruction or active shooter interdiction (I'm going to call it ASI for the remainder

of this article). Experience is a great teacher but that doesn't always mean that the

experienced are great teachers.

Good accurate shooting is a very small part of this equation. Virtually anyone can

shoot reasonably accurately in a matter of just a few hours with good, patient

instruction. However, standing on a level range with the sun shining and the birds

singing, shooting at a paper target that is not particularly angry with you hardly

prepares you for neutralizing one or more religious zealots or drug-crazed fanatics

in a crowd of people who are desperately trying to get out of the building and make

it home safely. Target shooting does NOT prepare you for this! There are just way

too many things that can go horribly wrong in a heartbeat. Think about this, can

you reliably make a head shot on a person from a standing position at 15 or 20

yards, or even more, in a room full of terrified people? Can you do it when you can


only see half of the head in a hostage situation? Can you reliably engage multiple

moving targets while you are also moving? In all honesty, no one can 100% of the

time but I think I make my point. Without competent training, practice and the

proper mindset, there is literally no possibility of accomplishing any of these feats

outside of that “one-in-a-million” lucky shot.

The tactics employed in defensive shooting, especially ASI, are best described as an

art, not a science. In saying that, it means that sound tactical decisions are for the

thinking person. One can study tactics to help in making those sound decisions but

there may be 100 ways to accomplish the same goal correctly. You will rarely, if

ever, do the exact same thing in any 2 scenarios and it would be impossible to plan

or study for everything that you may run into. If it WERE possible, it would mean

that, theoretically, everyone could have read the same book, including the bad guy,

thereby making the possibility of ever achieving a tactical advantage very difficult.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at what Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says are the

2 definitions of tactics:

1: a device for accomplishing an end

2: a method of employing forces in combat

Both of these definitions apply to some degree to defensive handgunning in that

when our assailant made the decision to cause us or someone else harm, the

confrontation has turned into a combat situation and whatever strategy that we

employ will be the tactics that we hope will be accomplishing an end... an end to

the threat.

Why do I share all this with you? Because if you carry a gun for self-defense (which

I strongly advocate) and have not had some degree of training outside of

recreational shooting, you are more likely to be a liability (read danger) to yourself

and everyone around you if you try to be a hero in one if these crucial, dynamic

situations. Personal defense is one thing, but ASI is quite another. For your own

safety and everyone around you, you may find that retreating to a room or safe

area away from the shooter and using your weapon only for the defense of yourself

and others in your area, may not only be the safest thing to do but would make it

less likely that you would interfere with those that are more qualified to deal with

this event.

It doesn't make you a coward, it makes you smart and responsible!



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