How many times have you found yourself shooting a course of fire and suddenly in the middle of a timed event, realize you have a slide locked to the rear and only a second or two left to get the remaining couple of rounds off? Or how about working on handcuffing drills with your partner and you find yourself wrestling with the handcuffs and trying to properly place them on when they aren’t cooperating? Or working with anything so intently you suddenly realize your weapon is exposed to someone whom could have easily grabbed it if they were a bad guy intent on doing you harm?
We have all made tactical mistakes that could have cost us dearly. Mechanical issues can cause us to focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time, and if the situation is simple or low risk, it might not be a big deal. If the situation is high risk, it could be extremely costly on our part. Making these tactical errors when we are not in a bad situation can often teach our subconscious to make those same errors when we cannot afford to.
Current firearms training will always incorporate malfunction clearance drills, (train somewhere else if it doesn’t). These drills train us to reload our weapons at appropriate times to help prepare us to be effective in the gunfight. Tactical reloads are often scheduled during the course of fire to remind us to think about re-loading when there is an opportunity during the situation.
Combat or emergency re-loads drills are designed to teach us the critical task of re-loading our weapon under stress so we have that skill when we are faced with a real life shooting situation when our fine motor skills are greatly diminished. These dri
lls are consistent with our loading protocol when we are training, competing, or simply preparing our weapon to go to work. By performing re-load drills, we are preparing ourselves to stay fight- focused instead of task-focused.
We have all placed handcuffs on people. I understand that the principle of placing handcuffs on an arrested person is simply getting them into handcuffs. The techniques might not be so simple if we haven’t practiced it or if we haven’t learned it properly. When we arrest someone and go to place them in handcuffs, it becomes a dangerous and volatile time because we have to get close to the subject. If we haven’t practiced this seemingly easy task and suddenly the cuffs aren’t going on correctly, we can become task-focused instead of fight-focused when we are too close to a dangerous person in a bad situation. This can happen to us anytime we have an equipment malfunction of any kind during a high-stress event.
Training is the key to good tactics, and practice helps commit these tasks to our subconscious. When all of the physiological issues begin to happen to us under stress, we are better prepared to work through the process without having to focus on our equipment or try to figure out a malfunction on our weapon. Training can’t stop after we leave a structured 8-hour training session with multiple people and an instructor.
This is really when training should begin. Dry fire and home so we learn our trigger and sight system, work through malfunction drills with dummy rounds, practice presentation drills to become proficient at getting your weapon out of the holster, get on the mats with a partner and practice weapon retention and ground control, work on handcuffing each other and any tactical skill you can think of to make yourself safer doing our jobs.
Training any tactical skill properly makes us better and safer. We have a lot a stake when we get into a physical or dynamic and explosive situation. Training takes dedication and dedicated training gives us confidence in dangerous times when we need to be on our game. Be committed to training to a level that prepares us for “WHEN” the battle happens. Don’t plan to “Train Until You Get It Right!” Plan to “Train Until You Can’t Get it Wrong!”