When we talk about training with firearms aimed at carrying and applying the firearm in the real context and therefore outside the shooting range, we will necessarily find ourselves having to climb two very high and impervious mountains and it will not be at all easy.
This, however, is not even the biggest problem, because the paradox is that despite being in front of everyone and despite being huge mountains, they seem to be invisible to most people, including most of professionals.
This happens for various reasons, which however I will not discuss in this writing but in a dedicated article that I am already writing.
Returning to the core of the technical topic we are dealing with, we begin to outline the first mountain and try to understand its difficulties.
– THE FIRST MOUNTAIN : The Redundancy of the Environments
The first mountain is made up of what I define as the Redundancy of Environments, that is, the relevance and correspondence that exists between the two fundamental environments: the Training Environment and the Application Environment.
In every field, discipline or subject in which there is a phase of training, study, theoretical preparation through which specific knowledge and skills are formed, necessary to then reach the practical phase and subsequently the applicative phase or the carrying out of the profession, work, of the activity in which the two previous phases (theory and practice) are combined, there will be two environments, the training one and the application one.
Logically, in all disciplines we try to create and recreate a training environment that is as similar and relevant as possible to the application one. This massively reduces the possibility of the learner being faced with a new condition never faced before in the training environment and therefore reduces the risk of having to face new and unevaluated dynamics and critical issues during the study and training, which may require skills not previously trained. Not only that, the greater the relevance of the two environments, the greater the accuracy in assessing the candidate’s aptitude, competence and abilities
(student) by the who has to evaluate him.
Now, translating this general concept to the world of training with firearms, we begin to outline and define the two fundamental environments: the training one and the application one.
Let’s start with the training one that is common to anyone who uses a firearm for training, i.e. the shooting range. Shooting ranges are structures created specifically to allow the safe use of firearms. Nonetheless, within the range there are safety rules for the handling of firearms, necessary to maintain and preserve the safety level of the structure, imagine for example the safety angles in swinging the firearm, essential to prevent a shot fired above or outside the ballistic containment ( backstop/side walls )
The configuration, the structural morphology and the presence of these rules make the shooting range a controlled environment by definition.
– The Sport Shooter
Well, now let’s look at the example of the sports shooter. The sports shooter, like anyone else who uses a firearm in training, trains inside the shooting range, which will therefore be in all respects his training environment. At the range he will train and work to create, implement and improve his skills, finalizing this work towards carrying out competitions and possibly winning them.
But where are the competitions held, which represent the application phase of him?
Inside a shooting range, therefore in an environment identical to the one in which he trained, we can therefore say that the sport shooter has 100% relevance between the training environment and the application environment.
Not only that, the sports shooter will have full efficiency in the application of the loop: Training – Application – Problem – Training – Searching a Solution – Application (problem solved).
-Everyone who carries a firearm for defence.
Now let’s instead take as an example a police officer or a civilian who carries a firearm for defence. Both will train inside a shooting range exactly like the sports shooter, so all three will have the shooting range as a common training environment, but where will they then go to apply the last two with their firearm? In real context.
The next question is obvious and is: what do the two environments have in common, i.e. the shooting range and the real context? The answer is even easier : absolutely nothing.
– The shooting range and the real environment
The shooting range is an environment built for the use of firearms, the real context is not.
The shooting range is a two-dimensional environment, the real context is three-dimensional.
The shooting range is usually morphologically homogeneous and flat, the real environment is morphologically heterogeneous and made up of natural and artificial levels and differences in height.
If I move using a firearm inside at the range, the ballistic environment around me will be homogeneous, I will not have anyone in front of my muzzle except the target and the risk of collateral will be minimal or zero if I respect the safety rules.
If I move using the firearm in a real context, I will have a heterogeneous ballistic environment around me, I could have other people in front of me and the risk of collateral will be very high.
At the range, 98% of my training time will be during daylight hours, but in the real world I carry a firearm day and night, over 80% of violent crimes are committed during dark hours, and if I find myself using my firearm in a low light environment, I will be projected into a further new condition never faced before and significantly more complex.
At the range I use the firearm 97% from an upright, vertical position, perpendicular to the ground, parallel to the target which is also perpendicular to the horizontal plane, without obstacles or direct impediments, i.e. we are talking about the best, easiest and simplest condition in terms of biomechanics. In the real context I may find myself having to use my firearm starting from what are considered unconventional positions inside the shooting range environment, but absolutely natural and ordinary in everyday life in the real context, such as being sitting at a table in a restaurant or inside a vehicle or at the subway station, being lying down, having your hands full, climbing a flight of stairs, all conditions that I don’t find on the range or that I don’t train in any case. So I wonder that the cool sentence “train as you fight” which has become the creed of the tactical community, is it only valid when it’s convenient for us or just for the most superfluous things?
The shooting range is a predominantly static environment in which I can have semi-dynamic conditions, in which at most I have static or semi-static targets (bobber or mover) and the shooter is the dynamic element.
The real context is an absolutely dynamic environment in which I have a number N of dynamic elements at 360° around me in which any targets (threats) will also probably be dynamic and in which we will be just one of the many dynamic elements around me.
In the shooting range I am obliged (and it is absolutely correct) to use acoustic protective devices, which protect me from the noise of the shot. In the real context I will not have any protective device and in the best case scenario I will go into acoustic shock or in the worst case scenario I could suffer injuries to the eardrums, in any case I will find myself having to manage a new and very complex psychophysical and physiological condition, especially if added to the stress phase generated by the critical event in which I am forced to use a firearm to defend my life.
So, to summarize, I will find myself applying in a completely new environment compared to the one in which I trained and train, an unknown environment for that type of application, an environment that will require me to have skills that I probably won’t have, an environment in which I will find myself facing critical dynamics, never faced before in training.
An environment that is extremely more complex than my training environment in which I will be forced to make irreversible decisions that they could change the course of my life forever, in times that can be compressed to a few tenths of a second.
There would be much more to say, but I’ll stop here because perhaps one in 1000 of you will have read this far, because learning is often boring, because tackling the subject seriously isn’t tactical and isn’t cool, it’s better to keep making noise on the range pretending nothing happened, deluding oneself that this mountain doesn’t exist.
Better to simplify everything to the level of “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and everyone is happy and well trained .
To all those who don’t see this mountain or who have no intention of trying to climb it, I say them : “Good luck out there”, because that’s the only thing you can count on.
To those few who want to try to climb it, I tell them: “see you on the wall ” but will be hard !!!