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Skills Vs. Application

Skills vs. Application

Do you need to have been in a gunfight in order to teach defensive tactics? For the armed civilian, I think the answer to that question is “No.” Skills are universal. For instance, I had the chance last year to train with Matt Pranka from X Ray Alpha. Matt is a Delta Force vet, a unit that is constantly bringing in competition shooters to help them hone their shooting skill. THey rely on competition shooters to help them get better at the actual act of pulling the trigger and getting hits in stressful conditions, and then turn on other instructors to teach them how to apply those skills in a given situation. 

And it’s those situations that matter. Can someone who’s been in a two-way gunfight help me understand “the combat mindset?” Of course. Are the skills of a soldier or law enforcement officer applicable to my life? Not really. 

An example of this would be shooting on the move, where we hunker down and do a duck walk towards the target, trying to keep our sights on-target as we bobble up and down. Is that a good thing to know if you’re a competition shooter? Yes. Is it a good thing to know if you’re military? Yes, same with law enforcement. 

However when, if ever, would an armed citizen advance TOWARDS the target? Maybe (and I do mean maybe) in an active shooter situation. For transactional violence, though, we need to either deselect ourselves via our appearance and actions, or put a lot of rounds on the target really quickly, and worry about cover and concealment after the shooting stops. The “putting rounds on-target” portion of that statement is best done under stress, and short of doing force on force, competition is the best way to learn such things. 

The tactics used by an armed citizen vary widely from the tactics used by a soldier or a cop. We don’t go looking for trouble, we avoid it, so if anything, someone who is prepared to deal with violence but has never had to do so is the ideal trainer for us. Do law enforcement and military personnel have things to teach the armed civilian? Absolutely, but you’d be surprised how often the reverse is also true.