Why Mainstream Firearms Training Will Get You Killed
Thoughts for Prepared Citizens
We've all read articles with titles like this, and invariably we feel a little cheated by the time we finish. Sure, we might have learned a minor flaw or area of caution with the status quo, but the article clearly had more bark than bite. Well settle in, because we are going to discuss why mainstream firearms training actually will get you killed.
I've been involved in firearms and tactics training for over a decade both as a student and as an instructor. Much of my experience comes from private sector, and I picked up some good stuff from my time on a law enforcement tactical team. I have trained, and been trained by, private sector,law enforcement agencies, S.W.A.T., Navy SEALS, and more.
After all that training, I had a realization. All the good schools teach the same stuff. Sure, one school has their own twist on how to clear a type 3 malfunction, one school thinks we shouldn't call it a type 3 malfunction, one school wants you to reload your handgun first, while others want you to reload your rifle first. All these things matter, and I have an opinion for each of them, but in the grand scheme of marksmanship and tactics, these are small and almost irrelevant differences.
Why do all the good schools teach the same stuff? Because it works, and it works well. Decades of documented gunfights (much of it caught on camera), both stateside and overseas, have made it clear what works and what doesn't. Countless men died because of what didn't work, and the training industry responded well, weeding out the junk and improving what already works to make it work even better. Now you can go to almost any big name school in the country and receive solid instruction in methods that are proven to work.
You might be a bit confused right now. First I said the training would get you killed and now I'm telling you how great it is!
Here's why: Most schools teach the same methods and tactics that our armed forces are using. These methods work well for our troops because they integrate with, and rely on, supply convoys,heavily armored vehicles, air support, artillery, large teams of fellow soldiers, and more. Those methods work for S.W.A.T. Teams for similar reasons.When SHTF will you or your group of prepared friends have those things? Are the threats you expect to face the same as our military faces? Will your missions be the same? Will you be operating under the same set of rules?
The answer of course is, "No". You have entirely different abilities, equipment, rules, enemy, and mission, but you train the same. That's a bit like taking hunter education to learn how to drive. Mainstream training is good for cops and soldiers, but it is entirely out of touch with the needs of prepared citizens.
So how is "prepper" oriented training different? Without getting into the details, here are a few examples.
Engage vs. Evade: The common idea today is to dominate the enemy (shock and awe). Modern firearms training says you engage the enemy when you see him (if you have a target, shoot). This is ingrained in our soldiers for some very good reasons, but if one or two people encounter ten and try to "dominate" them or overwhelm them with "shock and awe" they will fight bravely and die quickly. As a prepper, your training should be a little more realistic to the fact that you will often be alone or in a very small group. Your tactics should reflect that with an emphasis on stealth, evasion, and other guerrilla tactics.
Stealth: Prepper oriented training should place an emphasis on suppressed (silenced) weapons. The goal here is not to get shot back at (the five thugs don't realize they are missing one until the second or third one drops). We aren't talking $10,000 Special Forces weapons here. A good accurate 22 with a commercial or makeshift suppressor (legal in most states) is absolutely devastating in trained hands.
Distance: Magnified optics can be a game changer. Most of the shooting schools today never have their carbine students shoot past 100 yards,placing a heavy emphasis on spraying lead at close range. Some don't shoot past 50 yards! With a magnified scope on a hunting rifle it takes very little training to hit targets in the 300-400 yard range. To your enemy with their red dot sights and modern training, you will seem a mile away as you methodically engage them. Of course, if you can afford decent equipment and a little training you can stretch this advantage by several hundred yards more. Fighting like this may not be sexy, but it sure beats your odds of surviving a close range encounter... especially if you are out numbered.
Same Equipment, Different Use: As night vision gets cheaper, many civilians are taking night fighting courses where they learn to mount their night vision on their helmet and aim their weapon with an infrared laser. Infrared lasers draw a line from the shooter to the target that is visible to anyone with night vision.This is fine for our troops because their enemy rarely has night vision and if an enemy happens to have it and shoots at them, it's a great excuse to call in an airstrike on their head. As a civilian post SHTF, drawing a line to your hiding spot might just be the last thing you do. Night vision is still useful, just put it behind an Aimpoint and don't use the laser.
These are just a few examples of training that works great for its original audience, but will get youkilled.
If we dropped a fully armed and well trained soldier alone in the heart of Afghanistan, how long would he survive? A few hours? A few days? A month would be a miracle. On the other hand, we've had CIA operatives living in Afghanistan since before the war and they are still there today. One is not trained better than the other, they are each trained for their specific mission. If either was asked to do the other person's job the results would be fatal.
Don't train for someone else's mission. It will get you killed.