I think we have established that anyone who does not do force on force in their program is only getting a partial picture of what the gunfight will be like, and like the blind men and the elephant, they are probably getting a very inaccurate picture at that.
If we are training for the gunfight, conducting marksmanship-based range drills alone will not do it. We need both to test our range work to see if it will hold up under true pressure, as well as educate ourselves to the true dynamics of a gunfight. We cannot do either of these things on a square range.
The force on force drill has no role playing, no acting, and has nothing to do with a “shoot-no-shoot” decision or legality situation. When you step up to do force on force drills, you are stepping up to get into a fight.
Enter the force on force drill. While many students are familiar with scenarios either from limited force on force, or from a traditional shoot house, a drill is very different from a scenario.
A scenario is an open ended, unknown outcome exercise where the trainee may get through it without even drawing his weapon, much less shooting. In fact, a student is often lauded for getting through a scenario without needing to shoot. The scenario focuses more on picking up the pre-incident clues, and managing a contact, than on shooting drills. Scenarios have value, and are very important in the complete training of a gunfighter, but doing scenario work too early or without the proper foundation will be frustrating at best, and at worst can lead to repeated failure and a fear of engaging the opponent.
It would be like taking a novice boxer who was really good at hitting the bag, and throwing him into a street fight with a veteran fighter. There is a vast gulf between heavy bag drills and a real street fight. A similar gulf exists between range work and a force on force scenario. The missing link for the gun students is the force on force drill.
The force on force drill has no role playing, no acting, and has nothing to do with a “shoot-no-shoot” decision or legality situation. When you step up to do force on force drills, you are stepping up to get into a fight. You know there will be a gunfight and you are simply waiting for the visual clues. Your goal is simple: shoot without being shot.
All training is false (after all it is only training) in the sense that attendees know they are not going to die in the drills. But when they witness the true pressure of another man shooting at them, and feel the pellets impacting their unarmored body, the reality of how easy it is to die hits them like a charge of buckshot. When they see the real speed and pressure of a man charging to hit them with a stick or tackle them or whatever, it has a very direct effect on their view of the fight.
Most range training is conducted on your feet, stationary, and the only time anyone breaks a sweat is when it is hot outside. Conceivably, one could wear a business suit at most gun training sessions and at the end of the day (outside temperature allowing) could simply holster up and go to dinner.
Not so in force on force drills, where at the end of the day you will be soaked in sweat, tired, sore and probably hurting from getting hit so much. Force on force drills are not a gentleman’s pastime; they are more like martial arts training than an hour at the indoor range. It is the crucible of the fighter.
To organize some of this, all you need is a safe, private place to train. You will need some force on force gear (easily located all over the internet), and a few likeminded friends. You will also need a direction. You need a theme to test or train. For example, you might be interested in testing the benefits of the appendix carry position over traditional strong side carry from concealment.
This would be quite easy to accomplish. Set the parameters of the drill and run it several times noting the results yourself, as well as inquiring of the other attendees as to what they saw. Another thing that might be tested is the issue of whether you can out-draw an adversary and shoot him by remaining stationary and drawing or by moving sharply on the draw.
Make certain each operator has a direction, and there is a goal for each one involved. For example, let’s say we are testing the ability to get off the line of fire and respond with your own shot. The directives to the two men may be to simply draw and shoot the other.
Extension of those directives might be: “Do not anticipate movement or lack of movement, simply draw and shoot the man in front of you where he is standing now.”
That is sufficient for the antagonist or as we call him, “The Bad Guy.” The protagonist may get something like this: “As soon as you see his hand go to his waistband, explode quickly off the line of fire to his flank as you draw and fire.”
Some honesty is involved as after the first couple of times, everyone will know the outcome, but that is what drilling is all about. The bad guy must be a true bad guy and not seek to confound his training partner during drills. Drills are as much a learning process as anything else. Both parties must put the ego away and do it according to plan otherwise you are wasting your time.
Keep it safe by observing force on force safety measures as described in our DVD, “Force On Force Gunfighting Drills.” Keep it close like a real gunfight, and keep it real by training in street clothes–and for heaven’s sake, conceal your Airsoft pistol.
Finally, it is important to limit the duration of the drill to maintain a level of seriousness, and eliminate the gaming aspect that invariably crops up if this is not enforced. Remember that Airsoft (or whatever other system you are using) has no ballistic effect on the other man and that if you do not limit the context, duration, and parameters of the drill, it will quickly get out of control. So keep it short, sweet, and intense.
CEO, Suarez International, USA
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