A few years ago, I
was teaching a law enforcement class in Pennsylvania and I was amazed at how
these SWAT cops were struggling to make split second decisions during
scenarios. On the other end of the
spectrum, I have seen a lot of competitive shooters struggle when they don’t
get to see the layout of a stage before shooting it. Decision making seems to be a skill we aren’t
teaching well, but I do have a suggestion.
out the ego in us all. Naturally, we all
want to do better than our competitors.
We want to shoot faster, more accurately and be the best. But, what if we used competitive shooting as
a decision making tool?
How many of you have
shown up to an IDPA match with a holster you only use for IDPA matches and a
gun that is your “competition gun”? How
many of us, whether it’s USPSA or IDPA do a walk through of each stage? We listen to the course of fire instructions
and then we look at how to approach the stage with the fastest time? What if we only listened to the course of
For law enforcement
officers, we never know what situations we are going to find ourselves in when
we begin each shift. We could be
searching for a fleeing subject in a wooded area or looking for a burglar in a
warehouse. We may be looking for a
domestic violence suspect in the attic of their house or attempting to subdue a
subject in a crowded area like a bar. So
why would we WANT to know where the targets are located in a stage? Why would we want to know where cover
is? Why would we want to know how fast
the swinger is?
competition as a training tool for marksmanship, use of cover, gun handling,
and decision making. Listen to the
course of fire but don’t do a walk through.
Put your ego aside and let someone else win so you can learn from
this. Approach this stage as a building
you’ve never been in before where you’re searching for armed assailants. See your safest paths, look for cover and
engage targets quickly and efficiently and learn to make those quick
The same can be said
for CCW holders and homeowners. Just
because you’re familiar with your home, doesn’t mean you won’t be surprised
when you hear something go bump in the night.
Exercise your mind and approach a stage blindly. If you’re clearing your own home at night
because you think you hear an intruder, you may have to make a split second
decision whether to shoot or not shoot.
That noise could be a burglar or it could be one of your kids.
Don’t plan out all
of your competitive shoots. The next
time you’re at a match, allow yourself to take your time and work the
problem. Examine what you see and learn
to process the information quicker. The
faster you can process the information and make a decision in a match, the
faster you’ll be able to do that when you truly need it.