Are matches important?
Jim Cirillo in his NY stakeout squad days shot every match he could. Should you?
I’ve taken a position on this several times and rereading those and several other blogs is driving me to restate my position. Ego aside, I think you should make this your position. But I do have a few assumptions:
One (A): You are serious about preparing yourself for one of the worst days of your life. With the exception of the unexpected death of a spouse or child, few things can be worse than shooting someone in self-defense.
One (B): Helplessly watching your child or spouse die at the hands of another because you are unprepared, untrained and un-equipped to prevent it is even worse.
Two: If you are convinced that gun games are solely that and you have no further interest other than racking up wins, this blog post doesn’t pertain to you. God bless and keep you safe.
Matches are a great way to experience some of the physical and mental stress of an armed encounter. They can put something in the subconscious that will remind you that you have dealt with a similar situation to your current situation and have prevailed.
Do you remember your first gun jam at a match? Did you learn from it? Did you fight through it and get the gun functioning? Image this happening in the back end of God’s forgotten half acre with someone who wants you dead and your children in their van? But now you know how to clear the jam.
Did you use your best tactics at the match? Do you use cover for reloads and then come back out in a different location to reengage the sheets of cardboard?
What about that new red dot reflex sight on your pistol? Can you find the dot after recoil while lining up on a second or maybe sixth sheet of cardboard? Would you like having that figured out before you’re dealing with three armed intruders in your house?
How does that laser, gun light, echo locater work in a smoky environment? Shooting a match with it will tell. A friend of mine used his new laser at a rifle match only to find out it didn’t work on a cold day. Good to know in advance.
So here’s a little fun match. Let’s look at its problems and potentials.
|Quick and easy, you can set it up on a range in half hour|
If you start on the left side of the barricade and pie all five cardboards from 1 to 5 from the left side, when you finished on 5, S2 would have been the next logical target, but you are exposed to S1. Fast but, not very tactical.
Let’s try the other side.
Start on the right side of the barricade and pied all five cardboards from the right side. Start with 5 and you end with 1, S1 would have been the next logical target, but you are exposed to S2. Also fast but, not very tactical.
|Shooter is going to pie all the way around from the left side and then has trouble deciding which of the tee-shirts to shoot first.|
One of several better tactical solutions, start on right side of the barricade. The outer most cardboard 5 is engaged first and then work inward to 4. Move behind the barricade to left side and pie around that corner starting with cardboard 1. You end ready to engage S1 with your last remaining round before reload.
|Everyone should paste to speed thing up|
Use cover and continue to pie the corner to add one round to S1 and then two rounds in S2. I think it’s tactically sound, but slower.
There are three things I’m attempting to address with this blog.
One, matches are fun and can be shot to win (shortest time) with tactics that are potentially fatal.
Two, you can use your best tactical solutions, but don’t expect to win. The corollary is when you review your tactics and those of the other shooters expect to find other usable solutions. At a pick-up match at the range, you may be able to reshoot it with different tactics.
Three, you are engaging non-moving, non-dangerous sheets of cardboard. Expect people to move to new locations as soon as the first shot is fired as well as shoot back!
We shot the above stage as a fun pick-up match. Everyone did fine on the sheets of cardboard, but the tee-shirts caused people to falter as they realized they were exposed to a “live” shooter while engaging the other shirt.
This dilemma isn’t strictly academic. Can you image a similar problem in your home? Forced to engage one person at the entrance to a room, you then pie the corner to find criminal 2 only to realize criminal 3 is coming in from a side angle?
Yes, you should have moved out of that neighborhood years ago, but maybe its Mom’s home and she is determined to stay no matter what. So,what’s your solution?
Matches give you a chance to test equipment, skill levels and solutions. One blog I read explained how he used a three gun match to stress test a reloading technique. That’s a great idea, as long as you don’t think that jumping out into the open to engage three targets with a shotgun is also a great idea.
Don’t confuse cardboard with real life.