"Acceptable combat accuracy"

From my archives, a quote from a post I wrote making fun of all the “Extreme” Tactical schools.

Get ready for the next revolution in tactical advanced training! We’ll teach you how to wring acceptable combat accuracy out of your Hi-Point at EXTREME CQB distances, with hot contacts all the way out to battle tested ranges of 5 yards! STATISTICS have proven that gunfights are dynamic encounters between two or more people…WITH GUNS. Only STOGBHSY gives you the secret skills necessary to not just win, but DOMINATE your enemies in all gunfight battles.

Now, as a general rule I loathe the phrase “acceptable combat accuracy” because it’s completely meaningless.  It’s without definition, as what is and what isn’t “acceptable” changes based on the nature of the gunfight that you’re actually in.  To illustrate, let’s look at the world of IDPA shooting, as it provides insight into what is and isn’t acceptable.  For example, say you’re shooting a wide open array of targets at oh, 5 yards.  In that case “acceptable” accuracy for a six shot string would probably be 4 hits in the “-0” and 2 hits in the “-1” zone.  That’s because at 5 yards, the speed you can shoot that with is probably going to be worth taking the time penalties for the bad hits.

Contrast that situation with shooting at a mini-popper that’s partially obscured by a no-shoot – your definition of “acceptable” accuracy has just changed significantly, because the 5 second penalty for hitting a no-shoot is a stage killer in most cases.

The exact same logic applies to a dynamic critical incident, and a lot of schools don’t teach that distinction.  “Acceptable” accuracy with a single assailant at bad-breath distance is a lot different from acceptable accuracy at 5 yards, or 7 yards, or if they have a hostage, etc.  It’s important to remember that in your practice for a self defense situation that you may not always be shooting at a wide open target that’s facing you chest on.  I had this reinforced to me recently while watching SWAT TV – Louis Awerbuck was using his 3-d curved targets to demonstrate that with real people, target presentation won’t always be a straight on chest shot.  It’s a good lesson to remember and something to incorporate in to your practice.  Practice hitting tight shots on a time limit, push your skills.  One of my favorite things to do is practice hitting the head box of an IDPA target at 20 yards with a single shot from the holster.  My best time ever is 2.3 seconds.  Much faster than that and I throw a lot of misses.

That’s a good drill to try, actually.  Set up an IDPA target at 20 yards.  On the buzzer, draw from the holster and fire 1 shot in the head box of the IDPA target.  If you can consistently get hits in under 3 seconds, you’re in pretty good shape!  Also, this is why I’m not a fan of the “Big Dot” type sights for pistols.  At 20 yards, they’re markedly slower than a standard notch-and-post sight, and at close distances don’t offer an increase in speed over the flash sight picture.  The benefit to the 20 yard head shot drill?  If you can make a head box hit at 20 yards in under 3 seconds, you can hit the A-zone of a target at 7 yards in about 1.3 seconds.  Trust me.