This is a discussion on Down range drills and thoughts?? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I do not know if anyone here has participated in a down range drill but if you have I would like your thoughts and comments ...
I do not know if anyone here has participated in a down range drill but if you have I would like your thoughts and comments on them, your personal experience. If you have please don't mention the trainers name in public, pm me if you want to mention a name.
A down range drill is usually something like this:
Shooter a stands 21 feet from a IPSC or IDPA Target and on buzzer draws and fires one shot center mass as fast as they can. Then another person goes down and stands beside the target and the drill is repeated. The times and hits are scored. There are other variations and your personal experience may be different.
Yes thats correct, the idea as I understand it is that it is in a very controlled environment and one shot is fired. The purpose of the drill isn't to learn to trust the skills of someone else, it's to measure your own comfort level with taking the shot.
Let's face it...you've just shot 500 rounds a day for 2 days, and the person is standing 2 feet away from where you're aiming at a distance of 7 yards or less, on a range, in broad daylight, and you're allowed to take as much time to aim as you'd like. Danger is pretty slim compared to the value of the experience.
I would probably agree to do it, if I knew the shooter very well (not just for a few hours) and if I was wearing a vest. I suspect the range owner would have to have an amazingly iron clad indemnification agreement should someone choose to do this. It would also make sense to me to have an individual make this decision (to participate) prior to arriving for the training and perhaps even have that indemnification / hold harmless agreement signed and notarized several days before the event. If they did, no one could ever say they felt pressured at the range or that they didn't have time to "think it over".
As to the value? I can see that it would be a (hopefully) unique experience for most people and may provide a new sense of perspective with regard to their own mortality. It may also help displace some of the unearned bravado you see from individuals who have never been faced with a violent and life threatening situation. I would suggest you sell pairs of Depends for $20 before the event.
I am familiar with the drill, although I have never heard of anyone doing it at out as far as 21 feet. 6 feet distant and the drill can be conducted in a safe manner. It does provide for a very different prospective on defensive shooting.
That said, we do not use this drill in any of our classes. I think force on force (with marking cartridges) is a much better alternative.
It wouldn't be for everyone, but some could derive real benefit from the experience (both on the receiving and giving end).
You do not need to practice being shot at! The military drills mentioned usually include a tripod mounted machine gun with a steel bar fixed so the gun cannot be depressed, then troops crawl under barbed wire, to simulate the "fog of battle!" The rounds are usually a minimum of TEN feet overhead and troops are low crawling under wire that is 12" to 18" off the ground. That is an 8 1/2 foot safety margin under very controlled conditions.
Having someone stand downrange is a MAJOR violation of the safety principles we all should live by. What possible training objective is attained by this foolishness? I would not do it and I would publicize far and wide the names of anyone teaching such dangerous drivel! Avoid this instructor like the plague he or she is risking their students lives for no good reason. Ever seen a highly trained, advanced student make a mistake? Ever seen someone catch a piece of hot brass down their shirt and jump all over the place? Who knows how any individual might react to having live people down range? They could get nervous and jerk the trigger. A totally unacceptable procedure for limited to no training value.
In a defensive shooting situation, what direction is considered "downrange"? (Rhetorical question) There isn't one. That means NO direction is safe when you are standing there on the street with your handgun in your hand. Some directions might be safer than others and we should strive to keep our handguns pointed there, but that's a topic for a different thread.
I do agree with your sentiment that the danger of this particular exercise exceeds the utility of same. There are better ways to have the same type of learning experience. However, to just quote "range" safety rules as an excuse not to do something isn't really beneficial either. There are a number of valuable exercises that have the outward appearance of being dangerous from a "range rule" standpoint but can be conducted in a very safe manner.
Again, I do not advocate this particular drill and I don't think it is a good drill just because some "big name" trainer types use it. That said, you might be surprised at the number of "big name" training types who do. This one has been around for a while (we have jokingly dubbed it 'The William Tell').
Now on the other hand I don't think he was talking about low crawling under a M60 in basic training. Currently infantry soldiers and others do far more dangerous things than the M60 drills. My son is active duty infantry and has come home on the weekends with muzzle burns on his neck from doing dynamic entries.
The drill is not intended to practice being shot at, the lesson is for the one doing the shooting, and no one is shooting at no anyone, you are shooting at a target.
I participated in one, and this is how it went. It was an advanced tactical pistol class (2 days) and on day 1 each student was 21 feet from their target and drew fired that one shot, time and hits were noted. We continued to shoot for the rest of the day and the next day, at the end of day 2 we performed the same drill with someone standing next to the target. Anyone that had not proven proficient or did not want to do it watched.
The first day times ranged in the 1.10 to 1.25 areas, the second day with someone next to the target 10 of the shooters all increased their times some where in the times of 1.65 to 1.80. Why do you think that is?
Becasue their is a live person standing down range in a close proximity to your target, one that we do not want to shoot.
Two of the shooters actually reduced their times!
Well if we are toting our favorite blasters around the streets of America, the malls, movie theaters, and other places, doesn't the possibility of having to shoot around innocent people arise. Sure it does, so my theory is if you can't demonstrate it on a square range under controlled circumstances in broad daylight after already firing 500 to 900 rounds for warm up, how do you imagine yourself doing it cold in a crowded public place?
I admit there is danger involved but I do not see it necessarily as unsafe. Compare the drill with this:
Walk out to your drive way, get in the car with the family, buckle up and head down the road at speeds ranging from 5 to 80 mph, passing who knows how many strangers that may be: drinking, eating, drunk, high on drugs, talking on cell phones, getting blow jobs, counting on stop lights and stop signs to be working and in the right places, and that people will abide by them, that all the tractor trailers are in safe working condition. Thats SAFE?????? We accept that because we are not about to walk.
The military actually does see value in getting used to rounds bein fired in your direction, which is why there are still live humans pulling targets in the rifle pits, that way you can learn the difference between the sounds of a bullet right over your head, which is maybe 3 feet away, and that of a bullet two targets down, being about 20 feet.
You do have a bulkhead protecting you in the pits, but live rounds are going by much closer than 8 1/2 feet, and there is some benefit to that. A low round that strikes the bottom of the target is closer than one foot from the head of a 5'11 individual (me) and has a very distinct sound.
As far as this drill, I could see the benefits of it, but it is obviously for very advanced shooters only. Done correctly it would be a great confidence boost though.
I wouldn't want to stand next to the target without someone I really trust behind the trigger though.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
If you want to try it, there is recruiting station near you. Just look in the directory for U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. There's a good chance you'll get the opportunity to practice what skill sets you may or may not have.
U.S. Army retired