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Head Games

Head Games

My friend Peter had a very insightful post on Facebook about the (partially successful) mass shooting in Indiana this week, which I will shamelessly copy here.

So every gun toober and their monkey are posting videos of the Eli Dicken challenge (8/10 shots on a man sized target at 40 yards in 15 seconds from concealment), which is great.
What’s not great is the follow on chorus of self-styled blowhard iconoclasts in comments criticizing this drill, saying “Paper doesn’t shoot back!” “This wasn’t under combat conditions!” or similar useless crap.
My brothers in Christ, the purpose of the drill is not to replicate the situation exactly, but to CONVINCE YOUR BRAIN THAT IT IS POSSIBLE.
If you pull your piece and your head is full of thoughts like “I’ve only ever magdumped into dirt at ten yards, I’m not sure where my sights are at this distance, I don’t think I can do it,”, well, you’ll be right.
Eli didn’t doubt. He knew he could make that shot. And he was right.

There are two parts to this story, and they both happen inside your head. The first is avoiding the mental roadblock of increased distance is automatically a tougher shot, and it is, as long as your target size remains the same. Most pistol shooters never see a target beyond 25 yards. Indoor ranges tap out that distance, as do the majority of pistol bays. Even things like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement pistol qualification maxes out at 15 yards, and the Marine Corps qual tops out at 25. This means that unless you shoot sports like Bullseye, Bianchi Cup or ICORE, you probably won’t ever see people shooting past 25 yards, much less do it yourself.

However, accuracy is a cone. If you can get 8 out of 10 shots into a 3 inch circle at 10 yards, you can get 8 out of 10 into a 12 inch circle (more or less upper chest) at 40 yards. To quote somebody shorter and greener than me, the only difference is in your mind.  Practice on dots rather than the A-Zone at 5 yards, and see what the does to your hits at 25 yards.

The second part to this sort was what Eli, the hero who took down the gunman, did before pulling the trigger on his first shot. Lots of my friends are posting videos of themselves getting 8 hits out of 10 at a target 40 yards away in less than 15 seconds, and that’s fine, it shows that level of shooting is indeed possible. However, literally everybody is lining up in front of just one target at 40 yards (with nary a no-shoot in sight), then they get their zen on and hit the start button on the timer. What they don’t show is the 2-5 seconds of time Eli needed  to identify the target, then identify the most-optimal firing spot, make his way to that spot (while telling people to get down) and then and only then start to put rounds on-target.

Eli set himself to win that fight by creating a plan on the spur of the moment that was more effective than his opponent’s plan of “Shoot everybody in sight.” He didn’t just draw and start blasting away at the bad guy. Rather, he moved to cover/concealment (not sure what the support he used is made of) and used that support to steady himself, and THEN returned fire. This wasn’t just “spray and pray.” He saw the problem, developed a plan on the spot and then executed it perfectly.

Or to put it another way, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu.