30 Nov Train Like You Fight… or something.
HOW “REAL” IS YOUR TRAINING?
To some of you, this post will piss you off. The majority of you will most likely agree with what I have to say here. For those of you who are of the former group… hear me out for a minute.
This Monday I saw a Facebook post by Bar Stool Operators regarding a class that had been recently run by Tremis Dynamics under the Rockwell Tactical Group flag. During this class an apparent “downrange” drill had been conducted in which shooters in the class were passing laterally IN FRONT of other shooter who were engaging targets downrange within the space provided.
Needless to say my jaw hit the deck and I could not believe what I was watching. Check it out below:
Yep. They went there. Let’s unpack this one a bit…
ENABLING AND TERMINAL LEARNING OBJECTIVES
According to Tremis Dynamics (aka Gary Marr) the point of this exercise was
Not the moving and shooting, but the introduction of shooting past other people and having other people shoot past you. Ideally, the first time somebody experiences those two things will not be added to the stress of fighting to save their life. We can begin to inoculate them in a controlled environment.” – Tremis Dynamics (facebook post)
So basically… Mr. Marr’s argument is that the drill is a stress inoculation exercise designed to harden up his “advanced” students so they can understand what it is like to have friendlies firing rounds past them during a gunfight. As far as I can see this is the only terminal learning objective of this exercise. As far as enabling learning objectives, there is implicit value in the student being forced to maintain situational awareness, muzzle and trigger discipline, and threat/environment assessment under
simulated very real stress.
But is it worth it?
RISK ASSESSMENT VERSUS TRAINING VALUE GAINED
Does whacky stuff happen during engagements? Yes.
Could you potentially be forced to fire past a friendly or non-combatant during an engagement? Yes.
Could a friendly shooter possibly be forced to shoot past you during an engagement? Yes.
Does this mean that you need to train this fact in such a way as this drill was conducted? NOPE.
Here’s why: in any training scenario there has to be a hard look assessment conducted by the instructor(s) that evaluates whether or not the exercise fits the following criteria:
- Safety standards: Will the scenario or exercise violate any of the accepted firearms safety rules, given the audience being trained? For example SWAT officers or direct action military do need to be able to engage in close proximity due to the nature of their jobs. These folks are far more likely to have to utilize such a skill set than your average joe concealed carrier, and as such the training needs to be at that level.
- Training value: Will the scenario provide training value that is relevant to the audience of that particular class?
- Practicality and Realism: Is the scenario realistic for the audience given known past data from previous engagements?
- Risk Assessment: Will the scenario’s training value, audience assessment, and safety assessment justify the drill being conducted?
If this exercise passes the straight face test then it is in a green light status. This exercise as conducted with live ammunition... does not.
CAN IT BE MODIFIED FOR SAFETY PURPOSES
The ONLY circumstance that I personally would allow such an exercise on any of our ranges would be using Simunition or UTM for two reasons:
- NO ONE WILL DIE. Standard force-on-force safety protocols are adhered to in any of our Simuniton based courses. All shooters will be physically checked for live ammunition and all live ammunition will be removed from the training area prior to the start of the scenario. Proper protective equipment is worn and specific scenario goals are delineated and briefed to the students. Safety officers are in place and all persons involved understand the scenario.
- The exercise can go beyond simple lateral movement. While it is a starting point, engaging a target while conducting lateral movement is rather unrealistic for a concealed carrier for various reasons which will be covered in a later post. The short of the long is that it is more efficient, dependent on the environment (cover, terrain, etc) to move forward while engaging or to simply move to cover most ricky tick and then engage from a position of advantage.
What we see in this exercise is more of the tactical kabuki dance, full credit to Pat Rogers may he rest in peace. By conducting this type of scenario with Simunition/UTM, you can change the angles of movement, add in additional non-combatant role players, and actually enhance the exercise more realistically.
Check out this video from Progressive Force Concepts to get a better understanding of what I mean.
WHAT ABOUT ROCKWELL TACTICAL GROUP?
I have personally met these guys before and they are legit former/current Special Forces operators and law enforcement officers. They’re good people. Not surprised that this was their statement on this situation:
I think that they handled it appropriately. The lesson here is to beware who you bring on and allow to run classes under your flag. Trust, but verify.
The bigger elephant in the room is the question of why/how are you training. Are you conducting appropriate training for how you are going to fight if such a fight happens? Are the scenarios and exercises you are being trained on realistic for what you do?
Or are you simply playing dress up with kit and guns you spent a lot of money on?
It is fine if you are… just understand what you are doing. There is a time and place to play tactical dress up. Its your money and you can do with it what you wish. Just take a minute to assess if it is worth it.
It is apparent here that enough of the class was cool with live rounds being blasted past them with little margin for error. They obviously had faith in their instructor and student cadre… and no one to our knowledge stood up and said “no… I’m not doing this.”
I fear the Kool-aid was mixed a bit strong that day. Choose your instructors wisely and trust, yet verify. In any of our classes we welcome our students to raise the bullshit flag if something doesn’t make sense and we will discuss it.
What are your thoughts on this?
As always… please like, share, and leave your comments below!