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Are You A COMBAT SHOOTER or TARGET SHOOTER ???

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by David, Jul 20, 2005.

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  1. David

    David Member

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    Except for shooting a .22 rifle as a member of my high school shooting club, virtually all my formal firearms training has been from Law Enforcement instructors.

    For example, a few years ago, a LEO firearms instructor had us do this exercise:

    He told us to fire our semi-auto handguns AS FAST AS WE CAN PULL THE TRIGGER and empty the mag at a target 7 yards away.

    Those of us who had a randomly spaced hit pattern in the center of the target got an "ataboy" from the instructior.

    Those who had a "perfect" target (i.e. almost all the hits in the exact same area) got a "no good."

    Why?

    He explained to us the difference between being a COMBAT SHOOTER and a TARGET SHOOTER -- he wanted us NOT to shoot "perfect" targets, but to rather shoot a random "center target" area pattern that would likely incapacitate a threat.

    This is, of course, just one example that he gave us in reference to the difference of being a Combat Shooter vs. a Target Shooter.

    What type of firearms training do you prefer -- combat shooting or target shooting?

    Do you think you can "mix and match" difference styles of shooting, or should you train in only one method (i.e. for "muscle memory" purposes, etc.)?

    :what: :confused: :what:
     
  2. esldude

    esldude Member

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    All you need is new instructor. I you can put all your shots into a small area as fast as the trigger can be pulled you simply are more accurate than those who don't. Heck if you want a pattern get a shotgun. What a crock.
     
  3. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Yeah, except that approach was first innovated by Col Fairbairn in Shooting To Live. I wouldnt be too quick to dismiss it.
     
  4. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    With practice, and lots of it I might add you can sucessfully "mix and
    match" styles of shooting. Take for instance, someone who grows up
    (non LEO at the moment) being a "target shooter"; can train his/her
    self too be "combat effective". Grant it, it does takes lots of patience
    and practice to get good at it; but it can be done. :D
     
  5. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    i'm a target shooter and hunter.
    i don't do the combat training because i have zero expectations of going into combat - been outta the military for 10 years now, so i'm sure i won't be getting called back.

    also, to me, banging away as fast as possible is no fun, and i see zero point in having a gun like an ar-15 and blasting targets at 20 or 25 yards... to me the fun is in seeing how small of a target i can hit from as far away as possible. even the ar. i love touching the go button on a rifle and hearing the bullet whistle across the landscape, and then a little bit later hearing the 'thwack' of the target board.

    as far as handguns go, even my j-frame revolvers never get closer than 20 yards from a target. the 480 ruger is never closer than 100, and the 40's and 45's are never closer than 25...

    so, i guess i'm a target shooter is all...
     
  6. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    I'm a target shooter. Every range session I focus on shooting the tightest groups possible. One well placed shot is more likely to incapacitate a threat than several randomly placed shots. Besides, the more shots that are fired the more likely there will be misses and unintended targets will be hit.

    my .02
     
  7. pax

    pax Member

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    A nice, tidy hole placed quickly in the center mass of a cardboard target probably equals a random pattern in the middle of a moving target, because every round fired was under the shooter's conscious control and because moving targets are harder to hit than stationary ones.

    A random pattern on an immobile target simply means that every round is not under the shooter's conscious control. Rounds that aren't under the shooter's control are dangerous in the real world, and should be avoided if possible.

    Heard one dangfool opine that a ragged hole center mass wasn't a good thing because "you want to make new wound channels."

    Oh, fer cryin' out loud!

    I don't know where this nonsense comes from, but lemme point out something kind of ... well, kind of obvious, to anyone who lives in the real world:

    cardboard targets don't move, but human beings do. You aren't going to make one ragged hole on a moving human being in any case.

    [/rant]

    pax

    I've interviewed a lot of people after gunfights, both police and private citizens. Not one has ever said to me, "You know, I wish I hadn't shot quite so well." -- Tom Givens
     
  8. JeepDriver

    JeepDriver Member

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    Combat.

    I practice getting the rounds on target (w/in the "A" zone of an IPSC target) as fast as possible. That includes all my center fire pistols and rifles.

    The rifles are my newest challange, I'm trying to tighten up my groups with the 308's.

    With the exception of my 10/22 & 22/45. Those things just love to tear out bulls eyes!
     
  9. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    The instructor was probably a poor shot, and wanted to cover up his lack of skill with some cockamamie theory he invented.
     
  10. boing

    boing Member

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    "Action Pistol" :)
     
  11. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Most of my "shots fired in anger" have been at paper or pop cans, :uhoh: :neener: so I guess I like to shoot good groups rather than riddle a target with shotgun patterns. Believe me if I'm scared I will probably do just that but if I'm paying for the ammo I like to improve my skill as much as possible. YMMV
     
  12. Greg L

    Greg L Member

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    Combat

    I figure if I can keep my shots to within a "minute of pie plate" at 200 yards, if nothing else I've scared him enough to give me time to throw another MOPP shot in his direction.

    Bullseyes are (very) good, however I would rather have a magazine full of fairly well placed ammo dumped rapidly into a target area than one perfectly placed shot (under perfect conditions) every couple of minutes.
     
  13. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I guess instructions like that are the reason we hear stories in the news about police officers shooting 100 times at a suspect and getting no hits.
     
  14. 444

    444 Member

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    " Heck if you want a pattern get a shotgun. What a crock."

    Actually, you are wrong. And any firearms instructor I have ever been taught by would disagree with you.
    The idea is to have a balance of speed and accuracy. What the instructor was trying to get across is that if you have a one hole group in the target, you probably arn't shooting fast enough (unless you are one of the top shooters in the world). So, when you start shooting tight groups, you speed up. As you speed up, the group will open up. As long as you are putting all your shots COM, the accuracy is good enough. With practice, you will be shooting at that speed and your accuracy will again start to improve. When the target again has a fairly tight group on it, it is time to increase your speed again.
    As they said at one of the shooting classes I took, you want a handspan sized group COM. Any tighter than that and you need to be shooting faster.
    When shooting humans, or animals, you don't get extra credit for shooting a one hole group. The target isn't graded for score. Putting all your shots in a group the size of a saucer or even a little bigger is plenty good. Shooting a tighter group than that isn't going to make anything better.
    Another point this puts across is that you want to aim all your shots, but you don't need perfect sight alignment, perfect trigger break etc. all the time. You need to know just how carefully you have to shoot to put that handspan group COM. The farther away you are, the more careful you have to become. At 3-5 yards, you might only have to concentrate on the front sight with no conscious thought of your rear sight and the alignment of the two sights. Why, because we arn't trying to shoot a one hole group. We are just trying to put all our shots COM: that is good enough. When you get out to 15-20 yards, you are probably going to need to slow down and pay attention to the fundamentals of marksmanship to put all those shots in a handspan sized group: but you still need to do it as fast as possible. This isn't a bullseye match.
    Firing the whole magazine as fast as you can is a shooting drill. I believe it is called a "Bill Drill" It teaches you many things about shooting. It isn't nessessarily what you plan on doing if you are involved in a shooting: it is a drill. One of the biggest thing it teaches you is to track your front sight during recoil. It also teaches you whether or not your are using a good stance which is indicated by whether or not the muzzle is rising straight up and down in recoil or is it moving off to one side or the other.
     
  15. LHB1

    LHB1 Member

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    Quote: "one perfectly placed shot (under perfect conditions) every couple of minutes"

    Greg,
    I have no quarrel with the point you were making but think it worthwile to point out that target shooters also can shoot rapidly. One third of Bullseye pistol competition is rapid fire stage which requires firing 5 shots per string in 10 seconds at 25 yds using only one hand to hold the gun. A good competitor will put most of the shots into the 10 ring at that speed and distance. Top competitors will keep ALL their shots in the 10 ring during rapid fire. (Slow fire at 50 yds is what separates the men from the boys.)

    Good shooting and be safe.
    LB
     
  16. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    I'll try this again.

    In Shooting To Live Fairbairn offers that target shooting, while a worthy endeavor, not only does not help with combat but actually detracts from it. He maintains that speed is the greatest factor in surviving a shooting. His method stresses instinctive shooting with one hand on close targets, with maximum number of shots fired. He admits the method does not produce nail driving marksmanship but that is not the point. A better than 50% hit ratio on man sized targets at 7 yards or less is the standard. There is no gradation above that: one either achieves that standard or he doesnt.
    Fairbairn was chief of police (or somesuch) in Shanghai in the 1920s and '30s. His department was involved in like 600+ shootings and he himself was probably a part of many of them. I would not be so quick to dismiss his comments.
     
  17. 444

    444 Member

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    Rabbi, Fairbain may have been the first to say this, but he was far from the last. Go to any legitimate shooting school in the country and you will hear the same thing.
     
  18. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    444,
    I wish that were true. Plenty of people here have been to legitimate shooting schools and I havent heard too many support Fairbairn's view. Ayoob specifically takes issue with it. Further, the competitions and gradings that go on (I dont know to what extent in schools but for sure in the sports area) are antithetical to Fairbairn's ideas.
     
  19. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Rapid shooting is all well and good, and I understand and support the rationale behind it - but there are a couple of factors which are very important to keep in mind.

    1. As private citizens, we're accountable (more so than LEO's) for each and every shot we fire. If I empty a cylinder or magazine at a BG, no matter how justified I might be in shooting, and one or more of my rounds goes downrange and hits an innocent person, I'm responsible - at least in civil law, and probably in criminal law as well. Aiming helps.

    2. Having been in rather more armed encounters than you can shake several sticks at, I have learned the hard way that wasting ammo is another good way to get yourself injured or killed. If you're facing only one assailant, who's timid and will run away, it might not hurt to fire rapidly: but against multiple assailants, who are determined, a hit is a heck of a lot more useful than a fast miss!

    So, speed has its disadvantages too...
     
  20. David

    David Member

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    444 -- You are correct.

    That was the EXACT point he was trying to get across to us:

    "The idea is to have a balance of speed and accuracy. What the instructor was trying to get across is that if you have a one hole group in the target, you probably arn't shooting fast enough (unless you are one of the top shooters in the world)."

    :D :eek: :D
     
  21. flip180

    flip180 Member

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    Why do I want to hit the same lung twice? How about putting the next bullet in the liver. I'm not saying to spray and pray to the point of hitting bystandards but let's do some multi system trauma to the bad guy here.

    Flip.
     
  22. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greeting's Again All-

    Um, some mighty interesting and very valid points I'm afraid. In a real life
    and death scenario, I believe speed does play an important factor starting
    with the presentation of the firearm. And as I've been taught, once this
    has been accomplished "its too late to turn back now"! So your actions*
    to deliver the most efficent shot(s) possible to center mass of the target
    is crucial.

    *FootNote: elasped time
     
  23. Lee F

    Lee F Member

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    If I want my shots to hit in multiple spots in the torso I will aim at multiple spots in the torso.

    If your first shots to the heart or lungs fail to stop the aggressor do you really believe follow up shots to the intestines and groin will help?
     
  24. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    I'd class myself as a target shooter. Why? Odds are I'll never be carrying any of what I own in any sort of combat situation, or SD situation (why? Mostly I have rifles, which I doubt I'll be packin if something comes up). Though, I think that if you could concentrate your shots into a vital area, you have a better chance of taking something down when compared to frightened, random shots that might only hit extremeties. YMMV.
     
  25. esldude

    esldude Member

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    Fairbairn wasn't mentioned. We were told people with a tight group were told that it wasn't as good. We weren't told those people shot slower. And like was mentioned, people aren't standing still.

    Better accuracy even at speed is possible. Speed is important, but the old saw, " you can't miss fast enough to win also applies".

    I still stand by the what a crock comment with the situation as described.

    Remember the son of an Olympic target shooter a few years back. On the way home from practice, was the intended victim of a car jacking by three assailants. He used his target pistol to head shoot all three I think. I bet he was pretty darn quick. More importantly every one of his meager subsonic 22rounds found the mark. Bad guys zero good guy 3.

    You should shoot as fast as you can keep on the target. Again, maybe the instructor meant more, if he didn't explain, he was a poor instructor.
     
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