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Home  >  Topics  >  Police Trainers

February 28, 2011
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Ron Avery The PoliceOne Firearms Corner
with Ron Avery

Gunfight training: Hype, myth, and BS (part four)

What separates world-class performers from everyone else is what they think, believe, and program into their minds and are able to access under stress

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past two months, looking at all sorts of hype, myth, and pure, plain, BS. But we’ve still got a lot of mountain left to climb, so let’s get climbing!

Myth: “I will win because I am ‘more tactical’ or ‘more experienced’ than the other guy.”
Reality — Don’t confuse your status or knowledge with your performance. What you may know may not change the outcome if your experience, training or knowledge doesn’t lead to a higher level of proven performance over your opponent.

Thoughts — Thinking you are superior in terms of tactical performance because you have been a cop or military person for X amount of years is one of the classic mistakes in belief systems that negatively affect performance. If you haven’t been training at a high level for those years and have been going through in-service and qualifications only, the chances are that you aren’t significantly better than the guy on the street. Especially if he trains on his own.

Hype and BS: “My technique is tactical, not competition-shooting technique.”
This is a big one! It is a fact that 99 percent of all tactical shooting techniques are derived from competitive shooters. Many of these shooters, me included, also have a lot of street and training experience to go along with skill at arms. We went in and taught all of the military special ops and law enforcement trainers at the high end of the spectrum. I had verbal agreements of non-disclosure at the time that prevented me from talking about it.

However, now that some of the Delta force guys, Navy Seals, and law enforcement types as well as others are now coming out with their own training shingles and trying to brand their “tactical” shooting methods as their own, the non-disclosure agreements are null and void as they are actively promoting themselves in the free market and secrecy is no long an issue.

Thoughts — Trying to brand a technique as “tactical this and tactical that” or changing the name of the technique to try to make it unique etc. is a marketing strategy that sucks in the gullible. The most common way is to call it “tactical or combat” as the first word of the technique or to say that it is “combat proven” or “street proven.”

99 percent of all shooting technique is derived from competition shooting, whether the trainer understands the history of the technique or chooses to ignore history for the sake of building his credibility with his students

After more than 30 years of professional shooting, teaching and law enforcement training I have come to the conclusion that there are too many people who talk about gunfighting and peak performance and really don’t have any idea what gunfight peak performance is all about.

They collect information, trade drills, tactics and other techniques like they are some sort of cooking recipes and steal information from others that they really don’t know how to use properly.

You may know a lot, but if you can’t perform at a very high level with that information, you really don’t know it well enough. It’s time to get real and really assess where you truly are right now in terms of performance. I don’t care what your resume says; I will know in five minutes or less just by watching you what your performance level is with a firearm.

It’s easy to fall prey to your own hype if you only shoot by yourself or within your agency or a small circle of agencies. If you are afraid of letting people see you shoot, you show your weakness immediately.

Getting Performance: Getting Out of Your Own Way!
Performance has a character all its own and needs no introduction or explanation. Hype, myth and BS fall by the wayside when you see someone really perform well; both on the street and in a competitive or training environment. You don’t need a fancy range or excess amounts of equipment or ammo either. You need a burning desire to excel and then the discipline and perseverance to make it happen.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something as well as you thought you did. Don’t be afraid to get tested and find out where you really are in terms of performance. Learn and give credit to who you learned it from. Honor your teachers and your mentors and they will give credit back to you as well.

Cops are getting killed out there because they believe and are told they are better, without the training, testing and validation to back it up. They are being told myths, hype and just plain BS when it comes to training and gunfighting by people who keep repeating what they have heard without ever testing and validating the information. Further, they don’t train often enough or long enough to truly get a meaningful and lasting increase in performance.

My job as a professional training is to make you a better performer so you can protect yourself and those you serve; whatever it takes to accomplish that mission. I’ll say it like it is and I refuse to sugar coat it. When you start getting good, you will know and I won’t need to affirm it. My job is to validate that it is indeed happening and you can do it under duress. Then it is time for congratulations and praise.

I won’t separate you by gender, by age or by size when it comes to testing and your true skill level. You will compete in the arena with everyone else and you will be measured against the best. You just have to perform as best you can. Later on, we can compare you with people of similar age or gender for comparison purposes and goal setting. It really doesn’t matter to me what agency or unit you come from. Experience is nice but performance is better. You may have even won a gunfight or two. It’s pretty common to have those folks come to me.

I only have one agenda: My job is to make you better. Your job is to get better. You will be tested on the street by someone who is not your size or your age or possibly the opposite gender. He thinks he can take you. He doesn’t care one little damn about your gender or age or any other perceived handicap you think you have going for you. He doesn’t care that you haven’t been training that much either or that you have been told that you are better than the guy on the street. All he thinks is that he can take you and that is what he intends to do; given the right circumstances.

I just don’t believe in hype, myth, or BS. I’m not a camp follower or groupie. I don’t follow the latest trend or the latest darlings of the training world, or TV shows. We all (or most of us) have two arms, two legs, a head and a brain. Beyond that, it is up to you to learn to maximize your potential.

I believe in science, hard work, mental and physical discipline and control, creative thinking, relevant experience, a thorough review of history and uncompromising commitment to excellence; whatever it takes.

The climb up the mountain of peak performance is long and arduous. But the view from the top is well worth the effort expended.

Get climbing!


About the author

Ron Avery is President and Director of Training for The Practical Shooting Academy, Inc. and Executive Director of the non-profit, Rocky Mountain Tactical Institute - both training institutions dedicated to professional firearms and tactics courses, higher police standards and training and use of force research. Train with Ron Avery. Visit his Course Calendar. Ron is a former police officer with many years of street experience, which he brings into the training environment. He is internationally recognized as a researcher, firearms trainer and world class shooter. His training methodology is currently being used by hundreds of agencies and thousands of individuals across the US and internationally. Ron has worked as a consultant and trainer for top level federal agencies, special operations military from all branches of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies across the US. He is a weapons and tactics trainer for handgun, carbine, select fire, precision rifle and shotgun, as well as advanced instructor schools, defensive tactics, team skills and tactics, low light tactics, arrest and control and officer survival. Contact Ron Avery





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