After a student has achieved technical proficiency to the point of not needing to consciously think through target engagement, the next step forward should be decision-making while negotiating an unfamiliar situation. This dynamic training comes next in a student’s training evolution, and he or she will need to learn what it is, how it is performed and why it’s important.
By definition, dynamic training is an ever-changing set of circumstances and cues that require students to make multiple decisions in real time. These decisions can be as simple or as complicated as the conditions warrant. The thought processes maximize success by helping the students stay mentally sharp throughout the challenge. Variables help students understand that, in many cases, there is no black-and-white solution to a particular problem. They must decide in an instant the best course of action to achieve reasonable success.
By definition, dynamic training is an ever-changing set of circumstances and cues that require students to make multiple decisions in real time. These decisions can be as simple or as complicated as the conditions warrant.
Don’t Get Too Complicated
Instructors should be careful when preparing and conducting dynamic training exercises. Do not overcomplicate the initial drills, and only add in contributing factors at a rate achievable by the students. Too much too fast overwhelms your pupils and diminishes the learning value of the training.
In the initial introduction to dynamic training, present and define the term “tactics” as it applies to this stage of learning. Define tactics as an action or strategy properly planned and executed to achieve a favorable result. Simply put, the combination of shooting skills and application of tactics easily equates to dynamic training.
Too much too fast overwhelms your pupils and diminishes the learning value of the training.
At this point, the instructor should differentiate the tactics geared toward those students primarily focused on personal defense as opposed to those whose interest is mainly in sport or competitive shooting. As an example, giving verbal commands in drill sequence prior to and after shooting is applicable to training for personal defense. They are unlikely to be a part of a competitive shooting stage, however. Conversely, the competitive shooter must apply his or her tactics commensurate with the rules of the discipline he or she is pursuing. Even though there may be some crossover, a dynamic training instructor must know and be clear in the explanation of which is applicable to the various students and which is most often not.
Many Moving Parts
Dynamic training drills should include some or all of the following but are not limited to: specific audible and or visual cues to initiate an action; movement; movement to cover; moving targets; no-shoot targets; partially obscured targets; proper use of cover; multiple shots; failure drills; reloads and top-offs; immediate action while in progress; shooting from improvised positions; and dominant and non-dominant single-hand target engagement.
These should be done individually or in combinations as directed, with a designated and understood method of ending the drill. Everyone present must monitor muzzle management and trigger-finger discipline at all times. This ensures that shooters meet all safety measures for both the participants and the venue.
While it is acceptable to create drills that exceed comfort zones of students, they will receive the most benefit when the drills are relevant to the needs of the participants and plausible considering their lifestyles.
For those students interested in personal defense, try adding the following variables: engaging the target with verbal commands but without lethal engagement; verbal commands to the target and to observers during and after the engagement; lethal or not; protecting an unarmed individual; scanning the immediate threat area, 360-degree scanning; and safe recovery of all instruments (guns, knives, cellphones, less-lethal tools, distraction devices, etc.) used in the drill. For these individuals, dynamic training is the beginning of another chapter in gun-handling, tactics and worldview.
These recommendations — as well as others independently derived by the instructor — can provide an infinite number of dynamic training drills and exercises. While it is acceptable to create drills that exceed the comfort zones of students, they will receive the most benefit when the drills are relevant to the needs of the participants and plausible considering their lifestyles. “Relevant” and “realistic” are two words that will need to remain at the forefront of the instructor’s mind.
Dynamic training, for many people, marks the transition point between casual shooters and serious competitors in today’s sport disciplines. The ability gained from dynamic training allows competitors to analyze stages of an event and to shoot in an efficient and effective way. They also gain the ability to instantly adjust their efforts as unforeseen circumstances present themselves.
Even with dynamic training drills, the students have yet to face real adversaries who shoot back. For those focused on personal protection, reality-based training is the next step beyond dynamic training. Reality-based training uses the same skills as dynamic training but with a whole different set of rules for students and instructors alike. Students quickly learn to be situationally aware 100 percent of the time, which is essential for when other participants shoot back.
But that’s for an upcoming issue of Concealed Carry Magazine.