Performance Guidelines

Performance Guidelines

This is a discussion on Performance Guidelines within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Tire Irons "Sights or No Sights - which is best??" thread and its similarity to Brian Enos' five types of focus caused me to review ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Performance Guidelines

    Tire Irons "Sights or No Sights - which is best??" thread and its similarity to Brian Enos' five types of focus caused me to review a couple of books. One of the books was "Shooting from Within," by J. Michael Plaxco.

    In the back of the book are nine performance guidelines. I keep a copy of them in my training log. While competition-oriented, I have found them useful and thought others may as well.

    Performance Guidelines:

    1. Accuracy takes precedence over speed. The most important thing is to hit what you are shooting at. No matter what else happens, you must hit your target.

    2. Learn to apply your skills on demand. Consistent top performers in any sport have a thorough understanding of the basics and have learned to apply the principles at all times. Don't be distracted from shooting.

    3. You must compete at your natural body speed. Don't attempt to speed up or slow down-- you must learn to allow it to happen.

    4. Speed is economy of motion. Every move is directed toward gaining something. There is no wasted motion or effort.

    5. Speed will increase through practice; it is a by-product of proper training and techniques. You don't have to try and be fast. As your skill increases and you are able to execute at the subconscious level, speed increases naturally.

    6. Let the sights dictate the cadence of fire. Sight alignment is your speedometer-- it shows you how fast you can or can't go. If the sights are acceptably aligned, fire the shot. If the sights aren't acceptably aligned, don't fire the shot until they are--whether it takes a quarter second, half-second, or two seconds.

    7. Learn what is an acceptable sight picture and trigger squeeze for the required shot. Quality of sight alignment for a 15-yard shot is not as exact as for a 50-yard shot. You'd always like to see perfect alignment, but you must learn to accept less if it will allow you to hit your target.

    8. Shoot one shot at a time. The next shot you are about to fire is the most important one of your life. Don't fall into the trap of thinking strings of fire. A match is won shooting one shot at a time.

    9. When all else fails, align the sights and squeeze the prepped trigger. No matter what else happens, if you align the sights and squeeze the prepped trigger, you will hit the target.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Very nice BH6, solid information and fundamentals!

    Definitely some important pieces of the puzzle. I spent six years and about 45 courses doing nothing but what was in the performance guidelines.

    I have added additional pieces of the puzzle since then, but no matter what I will always have the foundation of the fundamentals to fall back on.

  3. #3
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    Good stuff except - it appears to be more geared in places to match shooting. That's fine up to a point and useful for such.
    6. Let the sights dictate the cadence of fire. Sight alignment is your speedometer-- it shows you how fast you can or can't go. If the sights are acceptably aligned, fire the shot. If the sights aren't acceptably aligned, don't fire the shot until they are--whether it takes a quarter second, half-second, or two seconds.
    This does not fit in with a combat approach, obviously I would say.
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    This does not fit in with a combat approach, obviously I would say.
    My thoughts exactly.
    Taking the time to line up sights on a perp a few yards away can get you killed.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    But, is there any doubt about the need for solid fundamentals?

    They are a very important start, but a start is all that they are.

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    This does not fit in with a combat approach, obviously I would say.
    Quite the contrary. I think it is particularly relevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hotguns
    Taking the time to line up sights on a perp a few yards away can get you killed.
    I do not think he is addressing the issue of use of sights or not. What I believe he is addressing is using the adequate alignment of the weapon (specifically with the sights, though it certainly would apply if one were not using them) to dictate the rate of fire.

    I am not particularly well versed in the "spray and pray" method of fire, but I believe pulling the trigger as quickly as possible without regard for the orientation of the weapon is a core concept.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    I am not particularly well versed in the "spray and pray" method of fire, but I believe pulling the trigger as quickly as possible without regard for the orientation of the weapon is a core concept.
    Adequate alignment of the weapon can be done more than one way. Using the sights to do this is an essential fundamental. But, no more so than the ability to align the weapon without the sights.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat. The body, mind, and eyes can align the weapon without needing the sights, but you need to know how to do it. At logical distances threat focus skills are extemely accurate and the speed on the trigger can be just as fast as you can pull it. Once again, you need to know how to do this first.

    Spray and pray is what people without the threat focus knowledge or the skill level do, when they finally realize that they may not be able to get to their sights in a life threatening encounter. They did not believe, they did not prepare, all they can do is spray and pray. If you take a believer that has prepared and but them in the same situation they will be able to access their knowledge and skills. They do not spray and pray, they will align the weapon adequately and make good combat hits with combat focus.

    Dynamic FOF encounters have proven to me, without a shadow of a doubt, the absolute need to take my skills past the sighted fire fundamentals. In the numerous dynamic FOF encounters that I have participated in and witnessed, the percentage of people that were able to use their sighted fire fundamentals was extremely low. These FOF courses and sessions were often done with hard core, extremely proficient, "sights only" shooters..... and I was one of them. But when the dynamics of the encounter dictated a threat focused response these "sights only" shooters did something very difference, they focused on the threat. They did what their bodies told them to at a subconcsious level. They did things that they were never trained to do. Luckily their vast amount of sighted fire experience allowed them to make decent hits....just as mine did.

    These realization lead my training into the natural progression to learn how to align my weapon in the very best manner availble, for all situations. These facts lead me to seek out the best threat focused instructors in the nation and to train with then. Out of all of the training that I have received, I hold this training as the most beneficial and the most essential that I have ever participated in.

    I am now extremely well rounded, I have all of the bases covered. I can make the hits with the sights and without the sights.

    Sighted fire fundamentals are essential.....But, no more so than threat focus fundamentals!

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    I see you never miss an opportunity to proselytize...

    If changing the 6th guideline to read "Let the orientation of the gun, either by using the sights or through some other method, dictate the cadence of fire" works better for you, go for it. I certainly do not care, nor do I think Mr. Plaxco does.

    Regardless, the principle remains the same.

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    Senior Member Array Matthew Temkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    Good stuff except - it appears to be more geared in places to match shooting. That's fine up to a point and useful for such.
    This does not fit in with a combat approach, obviously I would say.
    My feelings exactly, and no surprise, since it comes from someone who's only experience is from competition.
    None of my instructors who had actual combat experience ever came close to explaining things in such a wordy fashion.

  10. #10
    Member Array 7677's Avatar
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    Excellent post Blackhawk,

    The only thing I see that I would change is that one should aim their weapon at the target since the performance guidelines for combat shooting are to shoot your enemy before they can shoot you with or without the use of your sights. You have to aim your weapon at the enemy rather it be with eye/hand coordination, sights, scopes or lasers to get hits. When we speak of point shooting, we are talking about putting hits on the target in quickest time possible not advocating Pray-N-Spray.

  11. #11
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    7677,

    I think the guideline is universal despite Plaxco's use of the word "sights." I do not think it is difficult for an experienced shooter to substitute his/her preferred sighting method where Plaxco uses the word "sights" without changing the meaning. The guideline, as I understand it, is to shoot only as fast as you can verify the alignment of the weapon (whether it be with eye/hand coordination, sights, scopes or lasers) with the target. Failing to do so, results in "spray and pray" shooting.

    Unfortunately, as you can see, some people simply refuse to move beyond the PS vs. Sights issue. Others wish take issue with the fact that Plaxco has a competitive background. While I will be the first to admit that the shooting sports have limited application with regard to combat shooting, it would seem that they have the market cornered on shooting quickly and accurately, which Plaxco's guidelines address nicely.

  12. #12
    Member Array 7677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk6
    7677,

    I think the guideline is universal despite Plaxco's use of the word "sights." I do not think it is difficult for an experienced shooter to substitute his/her preferred sighting method where Plaxco uses the word "sights" without changing the meaning. The guideline, as I understand it, is to shoot only as fast as you can verify the alignment of the weapon (whether it be with eye/hand coordination, sights, scopes or lasers) with the target. Failing to do so, results in "spray and pray" shooting.

    Unfortunately, as you can see, some people simply refuse to move beyond the PS vs. Sights issue. Others wish take issue with the fact that Plaxco has a competitive background. While I will be the first to admit that the shooting sports have limited application with regard to combat shooting, it would seem that they have the market cornered on shooting quickly and accurately, which Plaxco's guidelines address nicely.
    Personally, I do not care where the information comes from as long as it works, which at times opens a whole different can of worms. If something that a competition shooter does that can improve performance of a combat shooter then I'm all for it. I just have a problem with it works in competition therefore it must work in combat train of thought and vise versa.

    I also do not understand the whole PS vs sights debate as to be a well rounded shooter one should know both. Let just put it this way…if everyone were advocating point shooting only I would be the one guy saying…we also need to use our sights to be a well rounded shooter.

    The problem lies in posts like these as there is the spirit of what Plaxco is saying and there are those that take those words as the gospel. Like you pointed out that the spirit of Plaxco is the term "sights" applied to all applications, which I can agree with. This is exactly what I was trying to point out... to understand shooting we must understand the thought process behind the written words.

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