Performance Based Training: What you SHOULD Know!

Performance Based Training: What you SHOULD Know!

It happened again, didn’t it?

You get to the range and boom… its like one of those shark feeding frenzies.

Your eyes get a protective white film over them, you start to drool, and you kind of sort of black out… next thing you know you’ve blasted out all available ordnance without really achieving much in the terms of something tangible.

Performance Based Training

Students run through a close quarters engagement drill at Concealed Carry Skills 1

Or perhaps you are more worried about the outcome of a particular event, in this case focused on the flat range, target practice environment. Sometimes you are more concerned about how many rounds you fired in a session… Or how fast you fired them… Or if you shot “well” enough to pass a particular qualification course.

Were those rounds fired quality rounds? Did you achieve a performance measure?


Or were you chasing an outcome? (Think qualification course)

The problem is we begin to chase the outcome. Or worse… we train only to the outcome. This is akin to teachers teaching to the test. The very same thing often occurs in firearms training, especially in law enforcement. Everyone is trying to meet the standard, and only the standard, without any further effort. This can also be defined as institutional inertia. “Its just the way we’ve always done it.”

That mentality creates atrophy and breeds atrophy. I call it advancement paralysis. We literally become stuck in our ways and cannot get any further.

So… how do we fix that?

Enter Performance Based Training

If we change our mindset from chasing the outcome, to focusing on the performance aspects of what we are doing, we will achieve more goals as a byproduct of our performance. Here’s some knowledge from Pat McNamara:

“I encourage those that I’m training to consider training the way a professional athlete would. The professional athlete does not focus on the outcome.  Outcome based training is an anachronism.  The pro athlete uses performance based training.
We are consumed by outcomes; how many, how much,  how fast? vs. ‘how well?’
When we are consumed by the outcome it will sabotage our ability to perform.
Slow down and perform the perfect repetition.  Be introspective. Self coach and self critique.  The probability of achieving the outcome you desire will increase once you let go of the need to have it.
If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.”

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)

From Soldier Systems Daily

Think about it… you win a gunfight by being faster and more accurate than the other guy. First shooter to get a hit usually wins. First shooter to deliver rapid, accurate fire faster than the other guy will crush all.

So how do we get faster? How do we become more accurate?

The shortest way to achieve performance measures is to… wait for it… measure performance. If you have taken any of our classes you probably have noticed that annoying little blue “I forgot how to shoot when that thing went beep” box that we use on the range. Its called a timer. Get one. Thank us later.

Pistol Task Condition Standards Performance Tracker

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Once you start tracking and measuring your performance you will start to see where you are efficient and where your deficiencies exist. By being honest with yourself and holding yourself to a higher standard of performance you will see greater results. Why do we use an 8″ target zone in our classes? Because its harder. We will be rolling out a 6″ zone soon to make it that much more fun. Why do we tape up misses? To hold ourselves accountable. You’ve probably heard this in a class or two:

“If you have to ask…. its out.”  

Tracking your performance is critical as well. Once I started keeping a log of my range performance I was able to analyze where I needed to focus my efforts on. This did a few things:

  1. I was able to find that my draw stroke needed work. I went from a consistent 1.75 seconds from the holster from concealment to a consistent 1.35 seconds. I still need to work on it but that gain is HUGE in the grand scheme of things. My goal is sub 1 seconds on target from concealment.
  2. Split times: both between shots and during target transitions. I found that I was taking almost 1/2 of a second to transition between targets. No bueno. By focusing my efforts on to the target transition I was able to match my transition time to within one hundreth of a second to my actual shot split times. In the 2x2x2x2 drill in our Pistol Task Condition Standards we use a par time of 6.0 seconds from the holster. Put it to you this way: I used to barely make it. Now I consistently CRUSH it in sub 4 second scores.

Why is this important? By setting performance goals I have more than met and exceeded any established outcome that has been presented to me thus far.

I’m not chasing the outcome anymore… I am focusing directly on performing. Some days are better than others.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post please give it a thumbs up and share it on social media.


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Robert Curran

Rob is co-owner of Tactical Dynamics Firearms Training and is a USMC veteran and active Law Enforcement Officer. Rob is a Sig Sauer Master Rated Firearms Instructor and holds several other ratings from various institutions.

  • TacDyn-6
    Posted at 04:37h, 20 September Reply

    Leave us a comment, question, or snide remark!

  • Weston business
    Posted at 06:06h, 29 April Reply


  • Philip Fitzgerald
    Posted at 15:21h, 24 February Reply

    Hello I was wondering if you do training for individuals that want to get ready for the MPTC qualifications but haven’t shot or aren’t very good at shooting.

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