Thoughts on Movement and Not Being Shot
I remember back during the Bush Presidency, post 911. The FBI published on its web site, provocative articles on crime, enforcement and training. One article that was lost when I abandoned paper documents and went electronic was related to the ratio of hits to misses in law enforcement shootings.
This article was based on reported statistics from law enforcement agencies that recorded officer involved shootings, only 19-42% of shots fired from officers hit their mark. For documentation purposes, any hit was recorded as a hit. A left ankle, a wrist or center mass, it didn’t matter, each was considered a hit, equal to the other. One out of five was probable, but not more than half of shots fired hit their mark. To me, this was stunning.
The author’s conclusion was that in a critical threat environment, marksmanship based training fell apart. Fell apart to the extent that there was no discernable difference between sighted fire and panicked trigger manipulation. The law enforcement training bureaus howled back in response, declaring “More Training is Needed! This is a training issue!” But, the FBI knew even back then after the Miami shoot out that more of the same won’t solve this problem, an alternative system of targeting threats that was fight based was needed.
- Most of the fights were over within a few seconds.
- The distances were very short, plus or minus three yards.
- Almost all of the shootings occurred under circumstances where the bad guy had the initiative and the officer was so far behind the loop that trying to catch up led to failure.
An Informal Training Group Study of a 19-42% Successful Hit Ratio
I found a marginal shooter (representing my “bad guy”), one who could safely, rapidly fire a pistol one handed “gangster style”. The pistols were of reputable manufacture, but simple in design (common to police seizure guns).
I loaded five rounds into each pistol. instructed the shooter to fire as quickly, but as safely as possible into a standard IPCS target from a distance of 4 yards. To put it simply, milk the trigger, “spray and pray”. The results were:
- With the smaller .25 auto, the shooter hit an average of 3 out of 5 rounds in just under 4 seconds (60% hit ratio).
- With the larger, but somewhat easier to control .380 auto, the shooter hit four out of five rounds on the target in just a bit over three seconds (80% ratio).
- The shots were spread all over the target as expected, but every target had at least one hit in a lethal zone.
The same experiment with the shooter moving back to the 7 yards, which resulted in shot patterns that were all over the place, but contained in a pattern the size of what I saw as “the double doors” (The side by side entrance and exit doors you would see in a typical convenience store). An area approximately eight foot by eight foot. Half of the shots struck below below the waist area, but at least one would hit somewhere center mass. My untrained, entry level shooter under these circumstances, was able to deliver at least one lethal hit. If you compared her performance with the actual “real world” FBI statistics, it’s sad to say but, she exceeded the national statistical average in this study.
- Almost all lethal events were spontaneous and unforeseen. Situations where the bad guy has the initiative and their intended victim is behind the loop. This is very important for those outside law enforcement. Because for members of the general public, it should be assumed that all armed encounters will be spontaneous unforeseen events.
- Almost all gun encounters will be within extreme close quarters distance. Military/police may have a different view of Close Quarters Battle than ours. In their world CQB is across the room, down the hall, up the stairway or down the stairway distances. For the civilian, CQB is more like within arms reach, a skin on skin bad breath struggle (When has a rape ever occurred at the 15 yard line).
- If you’re not exploding off his line of fire(attack), you’ll be shot or stabbed. As we saw in the experiment, it doesn’t matter how skilled he is, or how crappy his equipment is, an unskilled shooter with marginal equipment is lethal out to a distance of about 7 yards. Within that distance, he doesn’t even need luck.
- Target Shooting based skills fall apart when in an adrenalized state. Sorry guys, the FBI report is clear… A system of delivering sustained combat hits when the human survival responses kicks in is needed.
A system of proven fight based firearm handling skills that don’t fall apart and crash in an adrenalized survival response was needed.
- You must get off the line of fire (attack) and do so explosively.
- You must do so while returning fire, thus seizing the initiative.
- You must be able to target and deliver onto your threat, sustained hits without the use of traditional sights.