Number of Training Hits vs Number of Real Hits
I took the Suarez International Force on Force class over the weekend and learned so much. And because I had a two hour drive to think about all I had learned while on my way home I started to think about something that got me very curious.
Going to the Force on Force class I expected it to be much harder to make combat hits on moving targets. I was expecting to not do a very good job.
It was a huge surprise to me then that I was getting a good number of hits on my "attackers." No, they were not all perfect center-of-mass hits but they were hits nonetheless.
I was not alone either.
I didn't pole all of the class participants but from the amount of times I was hit when it was my turn to play bad guy I can only assume that the other class members were also getting a high volume of hits on moving targets.
Perhaps as high as 50-60%
However, it's commonly said that in real gunfights the rate of hits is quite low. In fact, you hear story after story of police officers emptying whole magazines without making a single hit.
Why is this?
Now, OBVIOUSLY, force on force is not real combat. There is no real huge adrenaline dump. The level of fear is much lower. No matter how realistic things try to get you still know it's fake. There's not a lot of recoil. There is a knowledge that shooting someone with a pellet is a lot less fatal than shooting them with an actual bullet.
BUT, with the ease with which we were getting high rates of hits you would think there would hear of far more hits finding their mark in actual shootings.
In the book I am reading by Lt Col Grossman, "On Killing," he talks about the extremely low rate of hits in WWI and WWI and the tendency for soldiers to intentionally miss. The hypothesis is that normal people do not want to kill other people, even when they are attempting to do us harm.
Could that be a large portion of it? Intentionally missing because of the aversion to taking a life? Is it just the adrenaline and the recoil? The fear? And how does that relate to us when we strap on our own firearms?
It's easy to talk a bit talk about what we can do on a range or even in force on force. It's easy to think, "I know I can do this," and even if you can under as much synthetic pressure as can be created it's clear from the history of dozens of civilian and police shootings that few hits are made despite the volley of bullets.
How do you acknowledge what needs to be changed to make those hits and how do you make sure you'll make them?
Is it a training issue? A mindset issue? A drill-until-your-mind-goes-numb-issue? A humanity issue?
On the other side there are plenty of officers and military personnel who are able to get high hit rates. Are they what Grossman would call the 2% of individuals predispositioned to kill? Have they just trained more? Has experienced hardened them?
I would love to hear some thoughts on the matter.