Number of Training Hits vs Number of Real Hits

Number of Training Hits vs Number of Real Hits

This is a discussion on Number of Training Hits vs Number of Real Hits within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: Number of Training Hits vs Number of Real Hits

  1. #1
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    Question 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.


  2. #2
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    Well, according to Col. Grossman I have been trained with the intent to make me a better killer, so take this for what its worth (as have most infantrymen and or military members in the era from Vietnam onward). Conditioning techniques and whatnot.

    I know that I saw pretty high firing rates from my unit in combat, even with the restrictive ROE's, if someone was within ROE's and had a shot, they usually took it. However, in military combat a fair amount of the firing is done to "make noise" for lack of a better term. There is fire at enemy positions to keep their heads down so that other friendly forces can maneuver in them. There is fire that is shot into barriers that kind of bridge cover/concealment, in order to try to get the enemy to move from it because the cover is failing, and provide a better target. Some guys shoot just because everyone else is. Rarely in my experience is the really patient shooter who really waits for the good shot and takes that slow and steady squeeze. Sure the goal is always to neutralize the enemy, but it can be achieved in a myriad of ways. If you are getting good effects on target and the enemy can't shoot back, and a rocket team is moving up to neutralize the whole building under your cover fire, that is almost as good as just neutralizing the enemy, maybe its even better from some military viewpoints.

    I've done Force on Force training, its good, but not really the same as the real thing YMMV. There is always the knowledge that dead in F-o-F isn't really dead, so people take more risks.

    I do think the "killer mindset" can be nurtured and cultured to a degree to make it more acceptable and something someone is more capable of, but at the same time, I think there has to be something there to develop from, and it is not a mindset that all people have, for all sorts of socio-economic/political/spiritual/whatever reasons.

    An older Force Recon Marine who I have great respect for once said it like this to me: "For every person, there ability to kill is like a glass jar. Some people's jar is bigger than others, some of them empty out on their own, and some retain more than others. But everyone has that amount, for some it is 0, and for some it is limitless. A person will never know their limit until they reach it, although most of them will never have to find out." That conversation had a very profound effect on me at the time, and he was a Recon Bubba who had certainly been there and done that, and knew lots of warriors cut from the same cloth.

    Obviously my experiences here are only related to the military aspect of things, I've never been in a civilian SD gunfight, but maybe that added a bit more insight into the issue for you.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    The low hit-counts reported by police are trumped by the higher accuracy reported by CHL shooters (~15% vs ~60%). Those would be the aggregate FBI and LAPD numbers combined with Kleck's, et al. Note the tildes. If your research says 20-70, I'm not arguing. The general sense of the numbers tells me that the self-defense shooter actually does a pretty damn good job, all things considered.

    Police want to go home at the end of the day. They usually have backup. They would generally prefer to avoid a lethal encounter and like the soldiers "shooting to make noise," if a wall of shots makes the BG dead or drop his weapon and end resistance, it's all the same. The ROE for officers probably doesn't provide large incentive for Dead-Eye-Dick out there. The officer can preside over multiple outcomes, almost any of which are not negative for the officer. The officer may be in multiple engagements over the course of a career.

    The civilian defender is a different animal. He or she must get it right and the incentive for accuracy is sky-high. Failure can mean death, and depending on the situation that death could be a rather long and unpleasant affair. A missed shot that injures an innocent party could result in a life-destroying lawsuit or even jail time. In my city, this notorious case ended with the woman rescued by police suing the police for injuries she and her child sustained.

    The citizen defender, even if acting in the bests interests of another, can face uncertain consequences, so we are forced to "wait until we can see the whites of their eyes," until the risk to life is dead certain, and that necessitates close ranges. The CHL owner may actually be better trained than the typical LEO. If there's one thing we've learned from reading on the boards, it's that most officers don't shoot 100 rounds a month, and many enthusiasts shoot that daily or weekly.

    Of course there will be the "squeamish shooter" who, faced with actually pulling the trigger, simply can't do it. We have at least one dead LEO who had that problem and I'm sure there are many, many more of them.

    So there has to be on our part some serious introspection: What are your weaknesses and how can you prepare in advance? FoF training helps to alert the student as to where weak points may lie. It's then the student's job to address those. Competition like IPSC can help with adrenaline familiarity. General physical conditioning may be the most important, in order to strengthen the will. Lima's question here is a toughie, because the answers will likely be unique to each person.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Damn good post, shockwave...
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    While FoF is a valuable training tool, I see its primary functions as the testing of various strategies and techniques, albeit under near ideal conditions, in an attempt to determine their validity in real world situations and,once deemed valid, to imprint those strategies and techniques as conditioned responses in similar real situations. In addition, it provides the ability to experience how some real world enounters might unfold and determine flaws in ones own responses.

    In my mind, any comparison between the stress and other mental and physical factors in FoF and real world encounters is ludicrous. FoF is conducted among friends, or at least like minded people who most likely harbor no ill intent toward each other. Stress wise, the greatest fear comes from performing poorly under peer observation as there is no real threat of death or serious injury. There is no perception of losing ones own life or grave injury. There is no mental confrontation with taking the life of another. There is no threat to occupation or financial well being. All of these things that are absent in FOF are present in some form in real encounters.

    While a serious endeavor in an attempt to gain skills useful in the real world, any attempt to equate FoF to real world enounters on a personal level, is akin to comparing those same real world enounters to the typical childrens play gunfight.

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    There is a reason the Military uses human sihouette targets instead of bullseye targets for training,they learned from previous wars that soldiers had a hard time shooting at a human,so they started having them shoot at silhouettes and on the field of battle the enemy looks a lot like the range silhouettes which resulted in more soldiers firing at the enemy
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    I think part of it has to do with training. We carry because we want to, we have an interest in it, and we find shooting and training fun. At least where I work a lot of law enforcement are pro gun and take part in competitions and like to shoot. however I live in a rural area. As you get to the big cities the people employed may not have as much of an interest shooting or may not have as much of an oppurtunity. I know where I'm working we don't have much training do to the budget. When I first started they used to give you a box of 50 rounds a month for free to shoot. Granted it wasn't much but it was better than nothing. Now they don't even provide that. In addition with schedules some may not want to give up what free time they have to train.

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    Guantes I believe that FoF is a very important training tool. It gives you a chance to shoot at someone who is moving and shooting back at you. You have to move off of the X. You can't get away with any of that stand and deliver square range crap or draw and take a step to the side. You don't know what the other person is going to do so you actually have to use the OODA loop. I think FoF is a valuable tool. Sometimes it's good to take a day and just practice with your form with a real pistol and others it's good to practice against another. That's why I shoot in the National Forest and not at a range. That way I 1. Don't have to pay. 2. Practice moving off the X and shooting at the same time. 3. Shoot like a real situation and not be limited to the stupid no drawing from holsters and no more than 1 shot per second rules. 4. I can also practice shooting from unusual positions I might find myself in in real life such as shooting from my back or side or stomache. (to simulate getting pushed down or having tripped trying to get away etc.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    While a serious endeavor in an attempt to gain skills useful in the real world, any attempt to equate FoF to real world enounters on a personal level, is akin to comparing those same real world enounters to the typical childrens play gunfight.
    Gonna have to disagree with that. You've set up an impossible standard, and you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Let me explain:

    Everyone knows that a trained boxer is a dangerous opponent. A big reason for that is the way boxers train. Unlike some other kinds of martial artists, boxers train by hitting and being hit. They know what it feels like to be woozy with adrenaline and everything that follows from that. They get comfortable being right there, where many other fighters fall to pieces. Does that mean a boxer can't fight for an important title because he or she has never fought for one before? No. It means that they have prepared as best they can.

    Adrenaline doesn't know where it's coming from, and it generally has the same effect on pretty much everybody. Good training will get a student familiar with its effects. The more practice a person has in dealing with it, the better their odds of executing in a real-stakes situation. That's all you can ask for. When it comes on, it can start to feel like an old friend instead of an implacable foe.

    FoF is a valuable training tool ... to imprint those strategies and techniques as conditioned responses in similar real situations
    The FoF most people talk about is conducted at seminars and multiday classes and probably doesn't allow anyone except the instructors to get much imprinting. To get to conditioned-response level takes time and it's a challenge to figure out how to get enough practice to make correct decision-making an automatic reflex.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Remington79,
    I never said that FoF was not a valuable training tool, in fact I said the opposite in my first sentence. The same can be said for other realistic training/practice.

    Shockwave,
    I find flaws with your example also. A real boxer has real punches thrown at him and gets hit, just as in a real fight. The same can not be said for FoF, there is a difference and how it effects the individual.

    While adrenalin may not know where it is coming from I do not believe that the amounts are anywhere near equal in FoF and real encounters.

    I think that people who take FoF classes then proceed to follow that up with their own FoF training, the possibility of conditioned responses is very achievable.

    My experience is in the civilian/LE, as opposed to military, realm. I have shot people, been shot and shot at in FoF and the real world (I've not been hit) and I believe that the differences are as I stated. Others experiences may be different.

    I have to run, will check back later.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    I do not believe that the amounts are anywhere near equal in FoF and real encounters.
    They don't have to be "equal." They simply have to be significant. I've seen lots of examples in martial arts of high-level people with their legs shaking with it, near puking (and puking afterward). The example of the boxer is very pertinent also - the adrenaline they feel in sparring practice can't be what is felt in a title fight with the lights, roaring of the crowd, the belt on the line, etc. No preparation can be "equal" to that, but it doesn't have to be. It only has to be enough.

    I think that people who take FoF classes then proceed to follow that up with their own FoF training, the possibility of conditioned responses is very achievable.
    Agreed in full. And I'll add that all training is valuable if it is approached with the right spirit. The guy who practices drawing from concealed at home is building reflexes. The guy doing square-standing target practice is getting imprinted with the effect of the gun actually being fired. As long as the student makes practice serious and practices seriously, no effort is wasted. If the time for real performance ever comes around, nobody will regret any of the time they put into preparation.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Lima--I just finished On Combat, and that was right after reading On Killing. Grossman points out that in WW1 and 2 the firing rates were as low as 15%, but went to 55% in Korea and 90% in Vietnam, largely due to changes in the military's training.

    If we look at FOF as "sparring" (as Bruce Lee said--"Bags don't hit back"" then the utility becomes obvious. You can poo-poo FOF all ya want, the fact is that it's exponentially better than slow fire at a B3 target on the range for inculcating the ability to aim at and fire at a moving human target. Yep, it's a good test bed for techniques, too.

    I like the idea and see the value in it.
    Dan
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    Member Array remington79's Avatar
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    Guantes,
    I misinterpreted what you had wrote.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Shockwave,

    I feel that we agree in some areas and are not as far apart as it might seem in others.

    A few additional thoughts on the subject of adrenalin.
    I see some differences in the boxer/MA, gunfight comparison that I will attempt to explain. I think that the varying levels of adrenalin in FoF vs real encounters may be more broad and have more effect, at least visible effect, than the boxing/MA example. With a limited number of rounds fired and a relatively small time frame, I think that the effects of the adrenalin amount may be more easily quantifiable, hits vs misses, in FoF. In the boxing/MA example with multiple rounds and the amount of strikes/techniques utilized, it would seem to make attempts quantify accuracy and effectiveness related to adrenalin more difficult.

    Another factor that I think is relative is the effect of life experience on the amount of adrenalin released in FoF or sparring practice compared to real life encounters or title fights. I think that the more real life encounters and title fights one has the less adrenalin they would produce in FoF or sparring. As an example, I think that the amount of adrenalin that I would produce in FoF after first being shot at at age twelve and years of high crime LE experience would be less than someone on their first FoF experience and no previous life threatening encounters. So in essence, I think that we may both be correct, depending on the individual involved. The amount of adrenalin produced by one in FoF may be considerably less than a real encounter, while with the other the amount produced in FoF might be near or equal to that produced in a real encounter. Bottom line, the amount might be "significant" for one and not the other.

    An interesting discussion.

    My point in all of this was addressing the OP's question of accuracy (hits vs misses) in FoF vs real encounters.

    I have neither stated or implied any lack of value, nor poo-poo'd FoF, in fact the contrary. I have merely tried to express some opinions in reference to the hit/miss ratio in FoF vs real encounters and some possible reasons for same.

    ETA: Remington79, no problem.

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    Excellent discussion . . much appreciated.

    I consider the 'adrenalin dump' to be very dependent on an individual's temperment in addition to situational experiences and/or practice and exposure. So I think practice that elicits some degree of adrenalin response can 'teach' what it's like to feel it.
    Practiced response movements have helped me to be less 'reactive' and more purposeful with less wasted energy and movement. I'm very pro realistic training, and i think that can be enhanced by the trainee's mental attitude. A pilot know's he's in a simulator when he trains; but he can make it really payoff by having an 'as-if this was for real' mentality. I've read that vividly imagined practice helps the subconscious mind with mental rehearsal.

    I will readily concede, however, that no practice can replicate the "dump" I experienced when I really thought I was going to die. . . the whole 'slow motion' thing, the not feeling the pain of impact but hearing the 'thud'. You're so right Gloves - about pretending being quite different.

    Another point Col. Grossman made that I thought significant was what he called "parasympathetic backlash". After the encounter is "over" is when a fighter experiences coming unglued and may be most vulnerable. The adren. dump does empower in many ways if a person is familiar enough with it to not be overcome by it.
    "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end"____Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

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