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  • September 5, 2019

    Under Duress

    One very important lesson I learned from doing scenario training in the NRA Carry Guard program, is how you can forget the simplest things under duress.

    At that point I had been on the range a few times at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. I had done about 10 total handgun training days at Front Sight just months prior to this scenario training exercise. I had done their 4-Day defensive handgun course, their 2-Day Tactical Scenarios course, and their 2-Day Advanced Tactical Handgun course. It was great training. I had also been training on my own at the range.

    In my training at Front Sight, and in my multiple private lessons during the previous 2 years, I had been taught to scan after engaging a threat. Why? Because we get tunnel vision under duress. We only see that threat directly in front of us and everything else disappears.

    So we scan after engaging a lethal threat to make sure there are no other bad guys in the vicinity. Bad guys usually travel in packs. Where there’s one, there’s likely another one close by.

    In this scenario my lethal threat came running at me with a knife. He got real close to me real fast!

    When I engaged him, he was 2 feet in front of me. I shot him twice and he went down on the ground in front of me. His knife fell from his hand. He was groaning and still moving a little at my feet and his knife was about a foot away from him.

    As he lay at my feet groaning, I was so busy focusing on him, and his knife, and just being in a little bit of shock at the situation, that I completely forgot to scan! Again, this was my first actual lethal force encounter for real.

    Seconds later, bad guy #2 came up behind me and stabbed me in the back multiple times.

    I couldn’t believe I would forget to scan! It was a very simple procedure I had practiced many times before. It’s very easy to do. I only had to look over each shoulder. That’s not hard. And I had trained on it quite a few times.

    But I had obviously now quite trained on it enough or in the context of a real situation. Before I had only been pretending on the range that I had just shot a lethal threat, and then I scanned. But, when the threat was real and lay groaning at my feet, that was different! And I forgot to do something very simple I had trained on many times before.

    It’s different when you shoot a paper target that is stationary, while pretending it was a threat that just fell down.

    It's the same thing with training on the Type 3 Malfunction. Setting up the Type 3 Malfunction manually, the traditional way and pretending it happened, and just going through the motions of clearing the jam, will not necessarily translate to success under duress.

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