Force on Force Controversy
FORCE ON FORCE CONTROVERSY?
Randy Harris - Suarez International Staff Instructor
The subject of Force on Force training is one that we should all consider. After all, what are we actually training for? Do we train to avoid getting mugged by a flat piece of cardboard that does not think move or try to hurt you or are we training to deal with living breathing thinking adversaries? The obvious answer is live adversaries. So if your training regimen does not or has never included any Force on Force component then how do you know whether what you are practicing REALLY works or not? Maybe you train with some "guru" who has been in many fights and never lost. All that really tells you is HE has a grasp of his material and was successful. It does not tell you how well you would fair using that in a real confrontation. So how do we know? We have to test it.
Some may say "well what I do works in my IDPA matches". Great. You are thoroughly ready to proactively face a 3 foot tall piece unarmed of cardboard after being told to get ready in advance . Again, not terribly realistic. There really is no reason to not avail oneself of FOF training today. Years ago it was only really available to military and police. But now however , with the wide availability of non lethal airsoft guns. The technology is there so that the average guy can spend $150 or so and be equipped to take a force on force class. Of course there are also Simunitions guns if you prefer to use marking cartridges, but the availability and price of the guns and ammo is somewhat prohibitive.
This brings us to our first controversy. Is the Airsoft gun really adequate for FOF training? There are some that make the argument that there needs to be a "pain penalty" for screwing up in FOF scenarios. I agree. What we are really doing is to some degree hardwiring the ability to make good decisions at a very fast subconscious level. In a real encounter we will not have long to make a decision. If we just stand and dither over whether it is "really happening to me?" or "what do I do now?" then we will likely have waited to long to do anything useful. Getting shot with non lethal yet painful projectiles reinforces that if we do not be decisive and act quickly then bad things will happen. This is where our subconscious starts compiling data for positive vs negative outcomes where action is concerned.
Now, do Sims rounds hurt more than airsoft? Absolutely. And we need that pain to get the message across to our brain that we are doing things that are giving an adverse outcome to what we would like. So in that respect airsoft is not as good for FOF as simunitions. But part of the problem is that students often show up for FOF classes looking like they are armored up for medieval combat. If you are so padded up that you cannot feel the BBs then you are really not getting the most out of the exercises. This is why I recommend that during scenario work you wear virtually no protective gear at all. Just head protection and maybe gloves.. Taking rounds in the hands , especially the knuckles, almost always causes bleeding. This way you know where you got hit, but still protect hands and face.I have seen people hit in the hands with airsoft pellets drop their pistols. I have also debriefed many participants and most all agree that it feels like a bee sting when hit. I'd have to agree. And depending on the distance, it sometimes hurts worse than other times. So yes if we limit the amount of padding we wear then Airsoft is perfectly adequate. In drill work I recommend a LITTLE more padding, maybe a long sleeve shirt, because when you are getting in maybe 50 fights or more per day there is only so much impact you are going to take before you get tired and sore and lose concentration. So for the drills I say pad up a little but run the scenarios with as little as possible.