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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 04:12 PM
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Default The Journey

Several of these recent discussions pertaining to training have been both informative and fatiguing depending on your perspective. So to has the thread in the “support and suggestions” forum requesting the creation of a training forum.

What I’d like to address in this thread are some peripheral issues from several recent threads, including whether or not a training forum is indicated, but primarily training in general as it relates to a “journey”.

For example, forum member dgg9 raised a good point in Post #176 in response to a criticism of the “round chambering technique” thread when another member mentioned “… 18 pages of bickering”. He replied with “BTW, there's a lot of interesting stuff on this thread, and it's NOT about what specifically to do. It's about how to decide what to train to do. That's really the high level debate happening here, and is IMO very worthwhile to air out”. That is an outstanding point to consider in ANY thread dealing with ANY technique or TTP.

Another “back-and-forth / tit-for-tat” issue centered around Tactical Response and James Yeager in particular. The events surrounding Operation Apollo made their way around the internet several years ago and the basic facts are well known. I have never trained with TR and I have never met James so I have no personal or commercial interest linking myself to them with what I am about to convey.

Can one question whether he is qualified to teach a HRCC course? Probably but debatable. Having had the opportunity to talk to a few of his students about his course content, I have a few issues with his philosophy. However, James and crew have been teaching general firearms training for 10+ years and I have no doubt that they are probably quite adept at teaching the fundamental skill sets of basic marksmanship and gun handling. Of late they seem to have been pushing the margins of what are widely accepted safety protocols but all I know is what I’ve read on various forums. I’m still not quite sure of the context.

When starting on the path to formal training, one does need to be careful where (which schools) and on whom (which trainers) they spend their training dollars because frankly, training isn’t cheap. But at the beginning of the journey, we are learning the basic skill sets of marksmanship, gun handling, safety protocol and more often than not, perhaps a sprinkling of mindset and possibly a simulator exercise.

What I’m getting at is that initially it doesn’t really matter who you go to for the basic skill sets so long as they have a bit of history (how long they have been instructing) and can at least provide you with their pedigree (from whom did they learn) so you can get a rough idea of what to expect in terms of content.

But specifically, Weaver vs Iso, SS vs HOT, diagnostic vs non-diagnostic, or bladed stance vs squared off, etc. doesn’t really matter at this early stage because you have just begun the transition from “unconscious incompetent” to “conscious incompetent” and then hopefully to some degree of “conscious competent” by the end of your first two day or three day course. At this point you are still struggling somewhat with the basics but have no “database” (so to speak) with which to compare trainers or specific techniques. Eventually there will come a time when you can begin to decide for yourself what works and what doesn’t work FOR YOU.

On a more personal issue, I vehemently curse the GWOT for the impact it has had on the private sector training industry. I may ruffle a few feathers with what I am about to state but I think it needs to be stated. For one thing, the sheer volume of “nylon accoutrements” (MOLLE gear) and hard armor being purchased by so many in the civilian sector alarms me. Not because I don’t think civilians should be able to purchase all that stuff but because it is skewing the student’s reality. I fully acknowledge that there are professional “door-kickers” who should wear their combat gear in training and that in some high round count classes, some form of carriage system could be justified.

And long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we always encouraged police and .mil types to wear their gear in training PRECISELY BECAUSE that was most likely what they’d be wearing if they ever found themselves in a lethal threat encounter. However, we now have scores of civilians wearing combat gear that they will not even have time to don let alone take advantage of if they ever hear a bump in the night. And whether or not there IS an advantage to any of that stuff is debatable. My impression is that it is driven mostly by what they “want”, based on some unfounded perception, rather than what they “need”. That I find disturbing because it is not rational.

I also believe the GWOT is the reason many are seeking training from the HSLD .mil “rock stars” who have recently begun to offer classes to the private sector. I’m certainly not suggesting that you won’t come away with a solid grounding in the basics from those guys because you certainly will. But I find the “cult like” following that flourishes around some of them disconcerting because it can become a source of closed-mindedness.

If I told you the reason the Weaver Stance utilizes such a deep bend at the support arm elbow you laugh yourself to tears. If I told you the genesis of the VFG as used on the AR15 platform you’d piss yourself laughing. Many have heard Pat Rogers say “don’t get married to your magazines”. I say don’t get married to your instructor’s TTP’s.

And just what is HSLD? Louis Awerbuck once wrote there is no such thing as an advanced gunfight. The context IIRC, is that everyone wants to attend “advanced classes” when in reality it is simply application of the basics under stress.

This is where there needs to be careful consideration as to whether or not a training forum is indicated on this board. The issues can become quite contentious but as lycan mentioned, we did a fair job at policing ourselves in synergy’s “round chambering technique” thread. I’m just not sure there is enough interest here because of the 20,000+ members, training issues don’t seem to be a popular topic.

Finally, embarking on the path to formal training is a journey. Your first class is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. The strange thing is I don’t care who you are, you’ll never stop learning.

Col. Cooper said "Having a gun and thinking you are armed is like having a piano and thinking you are a musician". And on our website home page we unabashedly state "Most people would rather pretend".

Harsh words indeed ……. but not nearly as harsh as being unprepared for trouble.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 23rd, 2009, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

good post Tony.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyF View Post

On a more personal issue, I vehemently curse the GWOT for the impact it has had on the private sector training industry. I may ruffle a few feathers with what I am about to state but I think it needs to be stated. For one thing, the sheer volume of “nylon accoutrements” (MOLLE gear) and hard armor being purchased by so many in the civilian sector alarms me. Not because I don’t think civilians should be able to purchase all that stuff but because it is skewing the student’s reality. I fully acknowledge that there are professional “door-kickers” who should wear their combat gear in training and that in some high round count classes, some form of carriage system could be justified.
Isn't it a double edged sword though? Hasn't there been a significant opportunity for TTP's to evolve, get tested, then get verified though use?

Do you think we would see quick adjust 2 point slings, Redi-mags, micro Aimpoints, and stuff like that without the infusion of money and interest into the industry?

Do you think we'd see what has always been viewed as 3-gun type shooting stances in the combat arena? Red dot sights becomes the norm instead of irons?

Quote:
And long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we always encouraged police and .mil types to wear their gear in training PRECISELY BECAUSE that was most likely what they’d be wearing if they ever found themselves in a lethal threat encounter. However, we now have scores of civilians wearing combat gear that they will not even have time to don let alone take advantage of if they ever hear a bump in the night. And whether or not there IS an advantage to any of that stuff is debatable. My impression is that it is driven mostly by what they “want”, based on some unfounded perception, rather than what they “need”. That I find disturbing because it is not rational.

I also believe the GWOT is the reason many are seeking training from the HSLD .mil “rock stars” who have recently begun to offer classes to the private sector. I’m certainly not suggesting that you won’t come away with a solid grounding in the basics from those guys because you certainly will. But I find the “cult like” following that flourishes around some of them disconcerting because it can become a source of closed-mindedness.

If I told you the reason the Weaver Stance utilizes such a deep bend at the support arm elbow you laugh yourself to tears. If I told you the genesis of the VFG as used on the AR15 platform you’d piss yourself laughing. Many have heard Pat Rogers say “don’t get married to your magazines”. I say don’t get married to your instructor’s TTP’s.

And just what is HSLD? Louis Awerbuck once wrote there is no such thing as an advanced gunfight. The context IIRC, is that everyone wants to attend “advanced classes” when in reality it is simply application of the basics under stress.

This is where there needs to be careful consideration as to whether or not a training forum is indicated on this board. The issues can become quite contentious but as lycan mentioned, we did a fair job at policing ourselves in synergy’s “round chambering technique” thread. I’m just not sure there is enough interest here because of the 20,000+ members, training issues don’t seem to be a popular topic.

Finally, embarking on the path to formal training is a journey. Your first class is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. The strange thing is I don’t care who you are, you’ll never stop learning.

Col. Cooper said "Having a gun and thinking you are armed is like having a piano and thinking you are a musician". And on our website home page we unabashedly state "Most people would rather pretend".

Harsh words indeed ……. but not nearly as harsh as being unprepared for trouble.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post
Isn't it a double edged sword though? Hasn't there been a significant opportunity for TTP's to evolve, get tested, then get verified though use?
But I'm not so sure that the evolutionary process has been very revolutionary when you distill it down to its core value. What some view as the latest and greatest, I often see as nothing more than a variation on a theme.

Quote:
Do you think we would see quick adjust 2 point slings, Redi-mags, micro Aimpoints, and stuff like that without the infusion of money and interest into the industry?
There is no doubt the pace of technology has accelerated as a result of the GWOT. And in a sense that's a good thing. But as an example, I dunno what a surefire M900 gets you that a surefire 6P and GG&G Slic mount doesn't. I guess what I'm saying is that the dbl edged sword I see (in the civilian sector) is the focus on gear rather than training.

I'm as much a gadget freak as the next guy but the relentless pursuit of technology for an advantage that is almost immeasurable in the civilian context is oftentimes misguided.

Quote:
Do you think we'd see what has always been viewed as 3-gun type shooting stances in the combat arena? Red dot sights becomes the norm instead of irons?
This issue gets back to the testing you and your friends did with the SS vs HOT techniques. Arguing over the minutia of 0.2 seconds is what Col. Cooper referred to as "Preoccupation with Insignificant Increments". What you guys did was put the two techniques into proper perspective which is to say that they are both valid and that there is not much practical difference between them.

I even recall a thread at Glock Talk many years ago where during a discussion about Weaver vs. Iso, a well known Instructor who teaches Iso stated that "Weaver works".

It just seems to me that too many people get hung up on tech. And nobody likes having their ox gored.

Insofar as "who" to train with, so long as you're trained, your chances of survival increase markedly. And it doesn't really matter if you trained with old guard instructors like Clint Smith, Awerbuck, Giles Stock and Larry Mudgett or rock stars like Costa, Lamb, Searcy and Howe.

It's all good. But I do think it's important to know something about an instructor's pedigree.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyF View Post
I'm as much a gadget freak as the next guy but the relentless pursuit of technology for an advantage that is almost immeasurable in the civilian context is oftentimes misguided.
I think that this is caused largely, if not solely, but a misunderstanding or paradigm inconsistency. You are looking at training as a way to become proficient in useful and sometimes necessary skill sets that may one day save your life. Many people, specifically civilians, who attend training are doing it as a hobby or recreation.
When that happens, when training/practice becomes an activity on it's own, you see people preparing for the training, not what the training is supposed to represent.
Look at trap shooting. It was originally a way to practice hunting. Now many of the people who participate use equipment wholly unsuitable for hunting, and most have never and will never hunt a day in their lives. Do they worry that the skills their using aren't suited well for the activity they're practicing (hunting)? No, because they've decided that the practice is good enough on it's own.
Fencing is similar. It began as a way to practice swordplay without the inconvenience of getting holes poked in you. Now it's become a sport in it's own right, with practices and equipment that bear only a passing resemblance to swordfighting, and that would probably get you killed if you tried to translate them to swordfighting.

I see the same thing happening with me. When I look at a training class, I mentally put it into either the "fun" or the "useful" category. I want to take a HRCC class somewhere, not because I think that will be a useful skillset to develop, but because it will be fun! I want the tac vest, with molle gear, and a dozen mags on my chest. I'll never be in a position to use them (unless the zombies come), but what the hell... It's cheaper than a boat, sports car, or mistress.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Great post Tony. I think that there is a lot of truth in your post.

I agree there aren't a lot of members who would actively discuss tactics and what not. Why? The majority of the members don't have any experience, so they really can't contribute to the discussion. I'm sure some would love to actively engage in the discussion, then see a bunch of abbreviations like SS, HOT, F2F, etc and probably get a little intimidated.

There are a few members that have a lot of good knowledge here and will generate most of the discussion; however, that's not necessarily a bad thing. People can slowly get involved as they learn from here and decided to seek out training.

I can really only speak for myself here but. I don't have a lot of training (bare min.) but I plan on changing that next year. I thoroughly enjoy the discussions that happen in this semi-training section. Although I don't post, I try to follow it as best as I can but I want to learn. I think as more discussion around this topic happens, the community will grow.

Now, whether there is a true "training" sub forum or this sub forum gets used ... I don't care. All I care is that the discussion continue. I value all the great knowledge that gets posted here.

just my $0.02
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Old September 24th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyF View Post
But I'm not so sure that the evolutionary process has been very revolutionary when you distill it down to its core value. What some view as the latest and greatest, I often see as nothing more than a variation on a theme.



There is no doubt the pace of technology has accelerated as a result of the GWOT. And in a sense that's a good thing. But as an example, I dunno what a surefire M900 gets you that a surefire 6P and GG&G Slic mount doesn't. I guess what I'm saying is that the dbl edged sword I see (in the civilian sector) is the focus on gear rather than training.

I'm as much a gadget freak as the next guy but the relentless pursuit of technology for an advantage that is almost immeasurable in the civilian context is oftentimes misguided.
I hear you. I'm not trying to imply that the gear has revolutionized the industry...just that progress is being made, and new things are being evaluated.

To draw an analogy to climbing....which I used to be way into, when I was up at school....Hillary climbed Everest in gear most folks wouldn't go car camping, today. El Capitan, and Half Dome were climbed using hemp rope, "body/hip belays", iron pitons, and machine nuts tied off with cord to place as "chocks" in cracks in the rock.

As the technology evolved, the gear became lighter, stronger, safer, and more flexible. In the 70's, the spring loaded camming device was invented by Jardine. It allowed the climber to protect himself in cracks that couldn't previously be protected (flaring and parallel cracks) because the harder you pulled on it, the more it tried to expand. It would securely fit into a crack which a chock wouldn't.


Then it was realized that the rigid stem would break if you loaded it over a horizontal edge...so they figured out ways around that.

through the use of "tie offs"...

And flexible stems.

Then another company made the flexible stem cam with two axis, making each piece fit a wider range of cracks, and preventing them from being able to turn inside out, (like an umbrella that catches a large gust of wind) they call these "cam stops".


With 1 of these cams, you could cover the range of crack sizes that you would need 6 or 7 different chocks for. They were also easier to place, and easier to remove....this meant you could move faster and carry less weight...in turn cutting down the amount of support gear you brought, because you were now on the face for a day or two less.

In ice climbing, the straight shaft piolet was how you climbed ice in the 60's and 70's.
Here's the axe Hillary used to climb Everest.

And routes like "The Black Dike" and "Cilley Barber" -->

were at the upper limits of what you could safely climb.

Now guys are using radically bent, composite "leashless" ice climbing tools,


and climbing stuff like this:



No single piece of gear unlocked a whole new world of techniques and paved the way for novices to climb Everest or The Nose....but as the equipment evolved, so did the practitioners... and as routes became safer, and protectable, the upper limits of what a climber could climb was pushed further than ever before.

The Yosemite decimal system (the way climbs are rated), only went up to 5.9 in the 60's. It now runs to 5.15a, as harder routes get unlocked.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_Decimal_System


In shooting...lighter weight armor plates, more reliable red dot sights, better performing ammo (such at the BH Mk. 262 mod1), reliable short suppressed full auto carbines (such as the HK416) have opened new doors for the folks who know how to use them.

While a lot of these improvements are minor improvements to existing technology...it has begun to shift how people can engage threats, now. Joe Schmo doesn't need a hk416 and ESAPI plates to check out a bump in the night...but its safe to say that more is being learned about carbine usage in CQB, as more and more data is gathered by the guys who are in the fight.

As you said, we know more today than we did yesterday.
Quote:
This issue gets back to the testing you and your friends did with the SS vs HOT techniques. Arguing over the minutia of 0.2 seconds is what Col. Cooper referred to as "Preoccupation with Insignificant Increments". What you guys did was put the two techniques into proper perspective which is to say that they are both valid and that there is not much practical difference between them.

I even recall a thread at Glock Talk many years ago where during a discussion about Weaver vs. Iso, a well known Instructor who teaches Iso stated that "Weaver works".

It just seems to me that too many people get hung up on tech. And nobody likes having their ox gored.

Insofar as "who" to train with, so long as you're trained, your chances of survival increase markedly. And it doesn't really matter if you trained with old guard instructors like Clint Smith, Awerbuck, Giles Stock and Larry Mudgett or rock stars like Costa, Lamb, Searcy and Howe.

It's all good. But I do think it's important to know something about an instructor's pedigree.
I agree, little technique details and how high-speed your gear is is pretty low on the list of what makes a shooter successful or not.

As other have mentioned...there are other benefits to training, aside from a skill at arms to use in the event of a lethal force encounter. It can just be a lot of fun, too. I started to shoot IDPA because I wanted to practice some gunhandling techniques on the clock, and with a little more stress. I found out that I enjoy it now, and partake in it for the enjoyment just as much as the benefit to my defensive skill level.

Last edited by synergy; September 24th, 2009 at 04:17 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Great post Tony. I think that there is a lot of truth in your post.

I agree there aren't a lot of members who would actively discuss tactics and what not. Why? The majority of the members don't have any experience, so they really can't contribute to the discussion. I'm sure some would love to actively engage in the discussion, then see a bunch of abbreviations like SS, HOT, F2F, etc and probably get a little intimidated.

There are a few members that have a lot of good knowledge here and will generate most of the discussion; however, that's not necessarily a bad thing. People can slowly get involved as they learn from here and decided to seek out training.

I can really only speak for myself here but. I don't have a lot of training (bare min.) but I plan on changing that next year. I thoroughly enjoy the discussions that happen in this semi-training section. Although I don't post, I try to follow it as best as I can but I want to learn. I think as more discussion around this topic happens, the community will grow.

Now, whether there is a true "training" sub forum or this sub forum gets used ... I don't care. All I care is that the discussion continue. I value all the great knowledge that gets posted here.

just my $0.02
You're far from the only one in that position. To the guys who know what the the hell their talking about, please, keep talking. A lot of us a learning from it.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helter View Post
I see the same thing happening with me. When I look at a training class, I mentally put it into either the "fun" or the "useful" category. I want to take a HRCC class somewhere, not because I think that will be a useful skillset to develop, but because it will be fun! I want the tac vest, with molle gear, and a dozen mags on my chest. I'll never be in a position to use them (unless the zombies come), but what the hell... It's cheaper than a boat, sports car, or mistress.
I don't disagree with taking classes just for the fun it but there is a strong undercurrent of desire to attend the "ultimate" training class with the "ultimate" instructor.

I think with allot of people it's actually an obsessive-compulsive disorder. In worst cases it's quite obvious that many seem to be looking forward to a Katrina event hitting their hometown just so they can jock up.

Apparently for some folks, defending oneself in the context of their current lifestyle is not enough of a challenge. I saw this sponsors ad on a gun forum banner that had the following message:

The Zombies are coming,

The Russians are coming,

The Liberals are coming,

Whatever your fear, get the gear.


This kind of thing plays right into people's (unfounded) fears. Fear of what, I have no idea.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: The Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post
I hear you. I'm not trying to imply that the gear has revolutionized the industry...just that progress is being made, and new things are being evaluated.
I don't disagree.

Quote:
I agree, little technique details and how high-speed your gear is is pretty low on the list of what makes a shooter successful or not.
Scott Reitz wrote an interesting article in the latest issue of SWAT magazine.

In it he writes "We tend to lose sight of the fact that it is never the equipment, but rather the individual who decides the outcome of the fight". IOW winning is decided much more often by "software" (the human component) than by "hardware".

And I'll never forget the Carlos Hathcock story where he was visiting a .mil sniper exhibition. Upon reviewing all the fancy high tech gear he literally asked "what's all this shit"?

You can't purchase competency.
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