Tactical Tip Of The Week

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Tactical Tip Of The Week

 By

Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo

In this article, I want to focus on some issues related to long guns. Without doubt, the integration of long guns into a scenario opens up opportunities to win a confrontation quickly and decisively. However, the mere presence of a long gun does NOT equate to a decisive win if not properly employed by its user. Remember, WE are the weapon and the long gun is part of OUR total system. The rifle and its related equipment, our training, our judgment and will to win are parts of our total system.   The long gun cannot do anything for us unless we are properly trained in the mechanics of its operation AND maximizing its capabilities by our ability to achieve combat accuracy in the dynamic environment in which it is deployed.

For a while now, I have been reading many articles and postings related to long guns. There are countless books and videos related to long guns. So, we are not at a loss for information. The big question is how much of this information is useful and the methods presented valid. We have been inundated with training courses that emphasize the “run and gun” format of training. Everyone is dressed out for a raid in Afghanistan and hundreds of rounds are expended with the purpose of helping individuals (law enforcement, civilian and military) learn how to use their long gun for defensive purposes. The question that always enters my mind when observing this training is, “how does this training relate to how that long gun will be used by the person being trained?” ALL training has to have the ultimate goal of being relevant to the individual being trained.

Before we can discuss long gun selection, it is important to determine what will be the mission of the selected long gun. Long guns can be used in a wide range of applications. While it is possible to select a long gun that can fulfill multiple roles, it is important to examine the way we intend to use our choice.

Here are some roles that long guns may be used:

  • Home defense
  • Law enforcement duty
  • Private security
  • Military
  • Hunting/sporting
  • Competition

Each of these categories can have similarities and their roles can overlap into one another. However, there can be unique differences that separate each category and impact the selection of particular long guns based upon their role assigned role.

Training in the use and deployment of our selected long gun is a critical issue that must be addressed to maximize the capability of the long gun we select and our ability to use is capabilities.

One of the first questions you have to ask yourself as you select a long gun is what is its intended role and what environment will it be deployed. This will help determine what choices are best suited for that role and environment, what training will be needed to effectively operate in that environment and how to equip your long gun.

As an example, if you intend to use your long gun as part of your home defense plan here are a few specific questions you need to consider when you choose a suitable long gun:

  •  Do you want a rifle or shotgun?
  • What type of mechanism do you want to use (for shotguns – pump or semi auto. For rifles – semi auto, lever action, bolt action)?
  • What barrel length and overall size is best suited for you?
  • What shotgun gauge or rifle caliber (including pistol caliber carbines calibers) do you want?
  • If other family members may have to use the long gun, will they be competent with it? (What works for you may not work for them). How will recoil, size and weight of the long gun affect their ability to effectively fight with it?

You may have more specific questions but this gets the point across that much thought has to be put into the selection and several considerations must be weighed in the selection process. A similar process can be used for the other roles. Each role has its own special requirements.

Training Considerations

Once you select the long gun and identify its primary role, your training should focus on the environment you will be operating in when it is deployed. Let’s look at some of the considerations that can guide our training:

One important consideration when selecting a long gun is to analyze anticipated target engagement distances from the threat when you deploy your long gun. Will you be in a Close Quarter Battle (CQB) scenario? Do you have to engage threats at ranges beyond CQB but within 100 yards? Does your environment include long distances to the threats?

Every one of these environments require specific training to maximize your ability to efficiently employ your long gun. One size fits all training doesn’t accomplish the goal of maximizing your capabilities with your long gun.

If your environment presents variable lighting conditions, your training must include specific training to become acclimated to operating in that variable lighting. Training in variable lighting conditions should be included in your normal training cycle. The only way to really develop fighting skills in low light and potentially black out conditions is to train in those conditions. This will not only allow you to become accustomed to the lighting conditions but also potentially lead you to a greater understanding about what additionally equipment you may need to effectively operate in those conditions. This experience will also help you set up your long gun to increase your capability to fight in this environment.

Proper methods of shooting around or over cover with your long gun are another important training consideration. Knowing the difference between cover and concealment as it relates to stopping incoming rounds is also very important. Whenever possible we should be behind cover (capable of stopping incoming rounds) or at least concealment so that you present a more difficult target to hit. Remember, many people won’t think of shooting through what is concealing you and focus on the small portion of your body that may be exposed. I have seen this happen to people who don’t receive proper training in how to shoot in a combat environment as opposed to a range training environment. If a small portion of their head is seen around a corner and the remainder of their body is concealed behind drywall or some other material that can’t stop bullets, it is easier to shoot through the material rather than attempt ot hit a small portion of a head.

Other Training Considerations

As with our handgun training, long gun training can follow the same template that I have discussed in previous articles. We have to build our training around several factors. We have to account for the physical and psychological status of the individual at the moment of contact where the training methods that the individual has been indoctrinated in must be used to engage a threat. If we are in a CQB environment where contact with the threat can be spontaneous. We have to account for the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) being activated to some degree. The engagement rate of fire will be rapid and the engagement range can be anywhere from arms length (or closer) to approximately 10 yards.

Training for the CQB environment will require very specific training that may not be a requirement if we are training to engage targets at 100 yards with our long gun. The key to developing valid training is that the methods taught MUST match the environment that the individual will have to apply those training methods.

Another important element of training with our long guns is to integrate them into force-on-force (FoF) training. Other than having to be in a live combat shooting, the only way to determine if our training works is to put it to as close a test as possible in a training environment. This is especially true if your primary use of your long gun will be in the CQB or home defense role. I have seen individuals that go to the range and train regularly and would be considered proficient shooters have difficulties when attempting to apply their training in a FoF environment. To the extent possible, try to receive training in a FoF class and if possible, train on a regular basis in that FoF environment.

Of course, longer range shooting requires different considerations than CQB. With the aid of airsoft long guns we can still practice long range shooting by analyzing the capability of the airsoft long gun and its potential accuracy at given ranges. We can have role players at ranges that allow for acceptable accuracy with the airsoft long gun we are using and limit the area targeted to simulate longer ranges. The thing to keep in mind is that in the law enforcement environment patrol rifles are generally used at closer ranges than might be expected. Also, in the civilian community the most probable use of a long gun will be more in the CQB role. So FoF training doesn’t require an airsoft rifle that has very long-range capability. Try some FoF training with long guns. You will be hooked. It is not only meaningful but also fun.

The “Hardware”

There are many thoughts and opinions about what long gun will be “best” for a particular role. You can spend all day reading everyone’s opinion about what YOU should have as your long gun. If the writer of the article prefers shotguns you will get information about what is the “best shotgun” YOU should use. Well, they don’t know you, they don’t know YOUR specific needs and they don’t know how you will integrate that long gun into your specific scenario.   So be careful about what you read and the perspective of the person writing the article and providing advise.

Here is an example of what I am eluding to in the above paragraph. Let’s say you have a pump shotgun that you are very familiar with, have used it hunting, have practiced on the range extensively with it and the fit an d feel of the shotgun is just right for you. You need a long gun in the role of home defense long gun. Well, what’s wrong with using the shotgun you are intimately familiar with, shoot it to the point of being proficient with it and have confidence in your ability to hit what you are shooting at with it? The answer, NOTHING!!

Regarding the “hardware” – the shotgun discussed above – can we possibly make it more efficient for the home defense role we are assigning to it? OF COURSE WE CAN. If you want to make it easier to maneuver with in close-quarters, you could simply install a shorter barrel when not hunting with it. Having a simple butt pouch to carry extra shotgun shells can help you have immediate ability to reload if needed. This can also be useful when hunting. But if all you have is the longer barrel for the shotgun, it can still be used in the home defense role by adjusting how you deploy it and understand the limitations of having a longer barrel.

The point is there are many long guns that can be used effectively in more than one role by simply using it “as is” or slightly modifying it to meet a specific role. You may only have a lever action 30-30 rifle that you enjoy shooting. You are proficient with it and have confidence in your ability to hit your target with it. This can be a great long gun to use in a number of roles. As with every long gun, knowing its capabilities and limitations must be evaluated. Capitalize on the strong points of the system and find ways to minimize and overcome the weaker points of the system. Learn the better ways to use the system tactically and you can turn a long gun that you like and are familiar with into an asset for the particular role you have assigned to it.

I used the example of a pump action shotgun and 30-30 rifle because they are common in the gun community. These aren’t specific recommendations but my intention is to open our minds to the concept that we can make more common less “tactical “ looking firearms work effectively in many roles.

I will pick up on the “hardware” issue in the next article and more fully explore the topic as it relates to selecting the long gun and the accessories that can be used to enhance our ability to maximize on the capability of our selected long gun.

Be safe!

 Louis M. Chiodo

Grand Master

 

 

Tactical Tip Of The Week

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Tactical Tip Of The Week

 By

Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo

 

In the last two articles in this series I have focused on the value of integrating airsoft equipment into your training program. Significant benefits can be gained in both developing skills and managing tight budgets when this integration is done appropriately. If you haven’t read the previous articles on this topic, you can find them in my website, www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page, Gunfighters Ltd. Combat Shooting Methods Inc. It will help understand the content of this article more fully if you have read the previous articles.

 In this article I want to focus on two main points:

 Our attitudes towards using airsoft equipment

  • Training protocols that can be helpful in develop our fighting skills with our firearms via the use of airsoft equipment.

Let’s look at the issue of our attitude towards airsoft training. At first glance, it may look like airsoft equipment is simply a toy. I have listened to some individuals and instructors say that airsoft equipment isn’t a serious tool to use in this business of developing combat shooting skills.   Once these opinions or attitudes have been formed, it is difficult to get through to them because they have made up their minds and formed their opinions. Of course, everyone can make up their own mind about how they feel about an issue but it is critical to form opinions based upon facts and valid analysis. I have seen many opinions formed around incomplete data or plain erroneous analysis. So it is of vital impotence that we get the facts straight and have a complete understanding of how airsoft is a benefit to integrate with the other firearms training we do before we make conclusions about its value in the training environment. So, I would caution to keep an open mind so you don’t pass up a great opportunity to become more skilled and add depth to your training program.

A concept I have tried to live by for the 51 years of being involved in martial arts, 10 years as a Marine Officer, and the 23 years of being a law enforcement officer and instructor is that I consider myself a perpetual student. We can never stop learning and adjusting to the ever-changing environment. This means we have to always have an open mind and keep our ears open. I have too often seen many who are responsible for training others who have become so engrained in what they teach and the methods they have been indoctrinated in that they close their minds to the truth and reality of how those methods are working off the range and in real fights. The point – constantly reflect on what you are teaching and how it is working. Don’t hesitate to change when needed and challenge the doctrine you are following. This is equally true for both an individual seeking truth and reality in what they are practicing and for those managing firearms training programs.

Many go to sources that are doing nothing but profess the very things that have proven to be ineffective in combat shootings. In a conversation I had with Col. Rex Applegate, he related that some instructors and writers have been professing certain positions for so long that even if what they are professing is found to be wrong they will never admit it is wrong. How can you say that over the last 20-30 years you were leading people down the wrong path? In my opinion, Col. Applegate, with all his wisdom, was absolutely right.

So to sum up this portion of the article, it is important to keep your mind open and don’t accept anything unless it is validated in both a training and real environment. Methods that may work out well on the range can fail in combat because the conditions present on the range don’t match what is found in combat. The closest way we have to test out what we are doing in our range training is to try to apply that training in a force-on-force environment. Although we can’t replicate true combat in training, we can create scenarios that can at least replicate the dynamics present in combat. This is where airsoft equipment can be an invaluable tool to accomplish that objective.

This leads us to the issue of integrating airsoft into our training programs. Let’s start off with a simple, basic way to use airsoft handguns and long guns. I won’t discuss the “how-to” regarding shooting methodology since that is beyond the scope of this article. What I will discuss is laying out some of the ways we can use airsoft in a training environment.

One way the airsoft equipment can be used as a supplement to live fire is to mirror what you intend to do with your live fire at the range with your airsoft equipment. As an example, you may have a limited amount of ammunition available to use in your live fire shoot. You can take what ever you intend to do in live fire and bring the officers or trainees into an airsoft training session. During the airsoft training session, you can do a tremendous amount of repetitions of the same drills you intend to do at the range for extremely low cost. This will help the officer or trainee develop enhanced mechanical skills. You can take it one step further with the airsoft equipment by setting up drills that allow the officer or trainee to apply those skills against a “human target” in a safe, controlled environment. Role players can be appropriately geared up to take the hits from numerous BB’s that will be projected at them. This allows an application that cannot be duplicated on the range for obvious safety reasons. Then when you go to the range, you can use the small amount of ammunition you may have available to practice the skills that have been practiced in the airsoft training session. On the range, we can verify that the live rounds are being accurately placed on target and the shooter is managing recoil. My experience is if the shooter is demonstrating proper grip, platform and shooting method in an airsoft environment, it has translated to effective shooting on the range.

Another productive way to use airsoft equipment is to use it to teach new skills to an officer or trainee safely. Skills like shooting while moving and shooting at moving targets can be easily taught with airsoft equipment. Also, due to the extremely low cost of using airsoft, a high number of repetitions can be done at a significantly low cost as compared to the same number of repetitions with live ammunition.

There are almost unlimited amounts of drills that can be developed to utilize airsoft training to supplement live fire training. Here is an example of a very basic drill that can be used to help develop the critical skill of drawing the handgun and engaging the target. I won’t get into the mechanics of drawing, just describe the drill and discuss how to integrate the airsoft drill with live fire drilling.

Airsoft Drill 1

Distance: 4 yards

Target:   8.5”X11” paper

 Description: In n appropriate airsoft training area (no real firearms and ammunition in the training area), the shooter will draw and fire one (1) “round” cover and then re-holster. Repeat as directed by the range officer.

Airsoft Drill 2

Distance: 4 yards

Target:   8.5”X11” paper

Description: In n appropriate airsoft training area (no real firearms and ammunition in the training area), the shooter will draw and fire one (2) “rounds” cover and then re-holster. Repeat as directed by the range officer

Now, these are simple drills but every mechanical movement needed to draw and discharge a real firearm can be duplicated with these drills. You could vary the number of shots from the airsoft handgun and practice trigger reset in the process. Of course, recoil impulse can’t be measured but as I stated earlier, if you are doing everything right in your grip and platform, it will translate to your live fire. Remember, this is not a replacement for live fire training but an enhancement of firearms training to increase our live fire skills.

So let’s say you only have a small amount of ammunition available for your live fire training. You can dedicate a small amount of that ammunition to VERIFY that the officer or trainee is demonstrating the skill level you desire in live fire. Since you can do an almost unlimited amount of repetitions with airsoft, the mechanics of the draw can be deeply ingrained in their psychomotor skills and then use that small amount of ammunition to ensure that they can manage the recoil of the live rounds and get the desired combat accuracy.

You can take the airsoft drill one step further by simply adding a shot timer into the drill to get the shooter to work under more demanding circumstances. I use a shot timer that is downloaded into my iPhone and use it in my personal airsoft training. Using a delayed start function, I can set up a scenario where I have to react to the signal to get me to work faster while maintaining accuracy.

This is a very simple drill I have written above. It is only a very basic drill. There are so many ways to use the airsoft equipment to help develop skills that I could type here for hours typing them. The point is to use the equipment to maximize on its ability to help us develop skills.

In many combative disciplines, training aids are used to help develop the person’s overall skill levels. As an example, in boxing or martial arts, heavy bags are used to help develop power and teach our body how to kick or punch. It’s not the end all to training. It is a COMPONENT of training. It is blended with physical conditioning, speed training, coordination training drills and sparring to help the trainee to learn how to strike/kick and then how to apply those movements in a dynamic fighting environment.

I use this same template to teach FIGHTING with firearms. It is just done with training specific to firearms. The methodology is the same. Our minds are the only limitation to how we train. It just requires an open mind and never loosing sight of our goal – PREPARING FOR COMBAT!

I hope the information presented in the three articles I wrote on airsoft training can help you in overcoming the problems associated with having tight budgets and time constraints.

 Be safe!

 Louis M. Chiodo

Grand Master

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tactical Tip Of The Week

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Tactical Tip Of The Week

 By

Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo

 During the last article, I discussed the issue of providing meaningful training when funding for ammunition and training time has been diminished but the need to continually train still remains a priority to ensue the safety of those we train and for our personal safety. Whether you are in a police agency, military unit or a civilian, these two factors – time and money – will always s be present. If you haven’t read the previous article on this topic, you can find it in my website, www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page, Gunfighters Ltd. Combat Shooting Methods Inc. It will help understand the content of this article more fully if you have read the previous article.

In this article I want to focus on two main points:

  •  The airsoft equipment
  • How we can integrate airsoft into training to get the maximum benefit from what it has to offer us.

 Over the past decade, the airsoft industry has evolved significantly. We are now in a position where a wide range of products is available to us. Whether you are a person training for concealed carry, a patrol officer/deputy/ trooper or military member, specific equipment is available to meet your needs.

 Lets start off by discussing airsoft handguns. Virtually any handgun in use for duty/carry purposes is available in an airsoft counterpart. Obviously, every handgun clone is not available, but even if you are using a handgun that is not fond in an airsoft version, there is something available that is a suitable alternative to use that will still provide great training value. The point is that the airsoft handgun will be used to help develop the psychomotor skills that are critical to our performance. The good news is that the standard handguns that we see in service do have an airsoft counterpart. So for the vast majority of people seeking to train with airsoft handguns, you will find a suitable counterpart to your duty handgun.

 As with many products we purchase, there is a varying degree of quality based upon price. The same is true for airsoft equipment. I want to make this point right from the beginning that great training value can be gained no matter how much a particular airsoft handgun or rifle costs you purchase. I have used everything from very expensive gear to the most economical one-shot, spring-loaded gear available and received great benefit from its use. All the variants can be used to develop the mechanical skills that will translate to better performance with our live firearms.

 Lets examine the various airsoft designs available to us:

  •  Spring Loaded Models of both handguns and rifles are about as economical as we can find on the market. These are single-shot models that require a cocking after each shot. While not as high speed as some of the models we will discuss, these inexpensive airsoft handguns and rifles can be valuable training tools. They can be an outstanding way to develop fighting platform, grip and the mechanics of getting the handgun or rifle in the appropriate position to deliver that first, vital shot downrange.
  •  Gas Operated Handguns are available in a variety of replicas of the handguns we use for duty, home defense or concealed carry. These handguns allow us the capability of multiple shots without having to cock the handgun or rifle between each shot. These systems allow for more depth in the training drills we use since we can shoot at the same rates of fire as our real handguns.

 Gas operated airsoft handguns can be powered by green gas that is contained in canisters with a nozzle that inserts into the base of the magazine to power the system or CO2 gas. The CO2 gas is in small containers that are loaded directly into the magazine. Each system is available in a multitude of airsoft handguns. A Google search will open the entire airsoft world to you and you can research the variety of airsoft handguns and systems available. Either green gas or CO2 systems are excellent. You can choose what suits your situation best.

Blowback or Non-blowback airsoft handguns are available. The blowback systems operate like our real handguns in that the slide with cycle to the rear and then back in-battery with each shot fired. Non-blowback systems do not allow the slide to cycle to the rear with each shot. Your simply insert the magazine and each pull of the trigger will discharge a BB but the slide will not cycle to the rear. There are benefits to using each of these systems as well as disadvantages. The blowback systems have more moving parts and with that the more possibilities for wear on those parts. Non-blowback models have less moving parts and service life can be extended beyond what we see in blowback models. Of course, there are variables between the various models in both blowback and non-blowback models. We will discuss this more later in the article.

 Electric and Gas Operated Rifles are also available. With so many agencies using patrol rifles, the airsoft industry has a vast variety of airsoft rifles that replicate the patrol rifles in use today. With the high cost of rifle ammunition, airsoft rifles offer an incredible opportunity to do volume shooting at a ridiculously low cost for the agency or individual. The electric airsoft rifles offer the ability to do a high volume of training by simply having a charged battery in the rifle. The magazines can hold up to 400 plus bb’s depending on the make and model. This allows for high repetitions (as we discussed in the last article) without reloading frequently. This is a great feature if time is a factor or you have a large number of people who are being trained. These are great especially when teaching new students who have little or no rifle experience. It is safe and you can really take advantage of the ability to repeat drills numerous times for the extremely low cost of the BB’s. The batteries are rechargeable so the cost of recharging is low. Just plug the battery pack into the electrical socket.   The gas operated airsoft rifles are great tools to use in training. They charge via the magazine just like the airsoft gas operated handguns. Generally, the magazine capacity is the same as the real rifles we use. This has an advantage and disadvantage depending on the type of training you are providing or doing for personal use. I will cover this later in how we can apply these tools in our training.

I encourage you to research the variety of airsoft equipment available and the price range of the different models. The airsoft “hardware” is in abundance and the industry has provided us with a great resource to use in our training.

Let’s talk about getting an airsoft program off the ground. How much equipment needed is dependent upon how large a department you have and how many people will attend a training session at one time. If you are an individual, it’s simple. All you need to do is select a particular airsoft handgun or rifle and you are ready to go. Decide if you want a non -blowback or blowback model and what type of airsoft rifle you want (electric or gas) and you will have a great way to compliment your live fire practice.

 I want to focus some attention on a department training program since it poses more consideration. If you are going to do frequent training with the airsoft gear, then it is worth the extra money to buy high quality gear. If you select a gas blowback handgun, you may spend anywhere from $120-$150 per handgun. Of course, there are more expensive models but I have found that in that price range, you get great quality. I personally have been using a KWA Adaptive Training Pistol (ADP) and it is awesome. I paid approximately $140 and have put several thousand shots through it since I began to use it and it has been flawless. Check around and you can get some great deals and select a airsoft handgun that replicates the duty pistol you are using. All the current handguns in police service are represented in the marketplace. If you intend to do a very high volume of shooting with a large number of officers, then it may be wise to buy a certain number of non-blowback models to do volume shooting practice and use the blowbacks for other training events like force-on-force training. I have done this and it works out great. The same goes for the airsoft rifles. Ideally, it is nice to have the electric models so you can do a large volume of shooting. I really like using the gas rifles for scenarios since the magazine capacity is the same as the patrol rifles and there is little felt recoil with the gas systems. ALL THE GEAR has a place in training. You will have to select what you believe works well for your situation.

Of course, money becomes an issue anytime we are trying to start a program or continue to fund a program once it is brought online. For an individual, it is simply a matter of what fits into your budget. Remember, live ammunition costs a significant amount of money when shot in volume. These airsoft handguns and rifles pay for themselves every time you use them.

For an agency, if you are lucky, you can convince those who control the money to allow you a budget for the airsoft program. That’s the easy way. Present a proposal highlighting the following points:

 The cost of the gear

  • The savings in ammunition costs
  • The enhanced skill level that will be developed (cheaper than paying for hospital bills or funerals for officers killed in the line of duty)
  • Time savings since travel time to a range can be saved
  • Department members can be taught more enhanced skills safely.

If you can’t get money from the department via a specific budget allocation, then we can get inventive. One agency I work with has used the money made from selling the empty brass from live fire to turn the money into airsoft gear. Simple things like a raffle can generate funds. Personal donations from officers or businesses may be an option. The selling point for this equipment is that you get enhanced training for a marginal cost as compared to going to the range. So even if you can get a small portion of the range budget to cover some initial costs, it can start the process. Let’s face it, we are in the business of getting the job done. Getting the money is just one more challenge to overcome. We are good at doing that.

Once you get the airsoft equipment, then all you have to do is establish where you want to do the training. As we discussed in the previous article, you can set up almost anywhere.

The use of this equipment is to supplement the on-going training you do at live fire sessions. If you have only a couple of opportunities to do live fire in a year, this is a great way to help continue development of the mechanical skills and use the range sessions to do your required qualifications and verify that everyone is maintaining their skills.

I will cover more on this topic in the next article and focus more on the integration of the airsoft equipment in your training. There are many things we can do with this equipment that just cannot be done on a range due to safety issues. Have a great week.

Be safe!

Louis M. Chiodo

Grand Master

 

 

Tactical Tip Of The Week

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Tactical Tip Of The Week

 By

Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo

During this past week, I have been participating in numerous discussions with some great trainers about a variety of topics. It’s gratifying to see so many dedicated law enforcement trainers sharing information, ideas and experiences. It makes all of us better at providing relevant and valuable training to other department members and others we are training that may have to rely on the training they receive to stay alive.

 A topic I enjoy talking about is how to make the best use of the training resources we have available to us and the amount of training time we have to provide the training. These are two important pieces to the equation. One thing for sure is that all the trainers I know will always want more resources and more time available to provide training. The reality is that sometimes it seems as though we have to fight for every resource and minute of training time we receive to provide life-saving training to those we train.

A specific question that was fielded that requires discussion is, “how can we provide firearms training when minimum ammunition and time is available for training”. This is an issue I have personally dealt with during my time on the job as a trainer and in my private training courses via my company. There are many reasons why an agency or individual can run into difficulties dealing with these two problems. For an agency, there may be two key reasons why there may be a problem with resources and time. Money can become an issue especially in times when the city is cutting back funding or department money has to be spent on other projects or situations that may arise. For the agency, there may be personnel manning issues that cause training time to be modified or outright canceled because law enforcement is a 7/24/365 operation. We simply have to have people in the field or it can get more dangerous for everyone. Another problem that can cause difficulties with resources and time is that some agencies are large. Any training evolution when you have an agency with 8,000-10,000 members can become very expensive and time intensive. So if you intend on providing a 4-hour block of instruction on any topic, it could mean thousands of man-hours to complete the training and fewer officers in the field.

For an individual private person, resources can become an issue because training ammunition and equipment will oftentimes come out of the family budget. Also, time can be an issue especially when you factor in work, family obligations and travel time to a facility if training involves live-fire. So resources and time in some way affect everyone. Let’s spend the rest of the time discussing what we can do about maximizing the resources and time available to us. Our objective is to not only just try to maintain skill levels but also actually become more proficient.

Even if you are in an agency that doesn’t have a problem with having a budget that fully funds your program to the level you desire or you are a private person who can spend the amount of money you want to support your training, this information can be of great value to you. Unfortunately, many agencies and people do not have unlimited resources and the result is that training has been curtailed resulting in less training received by the end user. However, the threats are still there and the need to continue to develop skills to better prepare to defeat those threats is paramount. I speak to many trainers that tell me that they have had to cancel training due to lack of funds to purchase ammunition. I also know many civilians that can’t afford the ammunition due to the constantly increased cost of ammunition. Let’s looks at some solutions to these problems.

The first step in this process for law enforcement trainers, military trainers or civilians is to completely open your mind to the concepts I will discuss. Up front, I KNOW they work – not from theory but from results that have been attained in real fights.

Decades ago, I started to develop training methods based upon my experience teaching combative arts via the martial arts system I have been in for the past 51 years. Training people to fight with a handgun or long gun is very similar in that we are attempting to develop psychomotor skills that have to be used under high-stress conditions in scenarios that often are started by someone else. In essence, we are programing our mind and body to work together to achieve success. The way we do that is by starting with VALID methods that have been validated in live combat under conditions present in the fight not in a make believe world where conditions are predictable, stress levels are low (as compared to when real bullets are in the air) and an individual’s physical and mental status are different from the training environment.

Once we sort out the methodology the next step in the process is practicing those methods repeatedly so that the movements become deeply programed in our mind and body. Some people call this “muscle memory”. I do not. Muscles have no memory. Just look at a dead body. There are still muscles there but they can’t do anything without the link to the mind. Every time we perform an act that involves our mind and body, signals from our brain are passed to the various muscles or group of muscles needed to perform the physical task. The more we repeat that process, our ability to get our body to do it faster and more accurately increases. Doctors can write a book about this but for us trainers, what we have to know is that the more we can get people to do the tasks we are teaching them, the better they will be able to perform those tasks. Also, when we can allow them the opportunity to perform those tasks in as near a real scenario we can provide them, the better they will understand how the method applies. Also, if something isn’t working right, it will become apparent and corrective action can be taken immediately to increase their performance.

So, how do we get more training when the ammunition supply is low and time is at a premium?   The answer is we seek a way for us to develop the mechanical skills that is not designed to replace live fire but used to augment it.

We talked about how vital repetition is in the process of developing our psychomotor skills and I have successfully used airsoft equipment to achieve this for a couple of decades.

A question that always comes up is, “why airsoft equipment?” There are several reasons so let’s examine them:

Repetitions – No matter what movement or tactic I am trying to teach, I can teach it using airsoft equipment. As an example, if I want to teach something as basic as going from a combat ready position to a firing position, I can allow the trainee to do hundreds of repetitions for pennies on a dollar.

Cost – As mentioned above, ammunition, even at department prices, is expensive. For civilians, it is even more costly. The cost of BB’s, especially if bought in bulk, is very inexpensive as opposed to the usual 35-40 cents per round for live fire practice. If you are using a green gas airsoft handgun, CO2, or an electric airsoft rifle, the cost per shot fired is nominal as compared to live fire.

Safety – We always follow safe ranges practices while using airsoft equipment and handle them as though we are on a hot live-fire range. Teaching new concepts and methods can be done safely and efficiently with minimum safety equipment or special facility like a live fire range. There are few safer ways to teach new shooters than using airsoft equipment. I have been using this as a way of teaching new students for years. Many have never handled a firearm so it is a great way to teach proper gun handling and ultimately the mechanics of combat shooting without the issues involved in immediately going to live fire.

Time: As we discussed earlier, we seem to always fight for time to do training. For many agencies and especially for civilians, live fire practice involves travelling to a range. This equates to time being used for training but no training is being accomplished while travelling to the range. The beauty of airsoft training is that you don’t need a special facility to conduct training. I have conducted airsoft training classes in venues such as hotel conference rooms, briefing rooms, the back portion of the office parking lot and within the studio where I teach martial arts. Also, I created and filmed an entire on-line training course available from Live Safe Academy (www.livesafeacademy.com) in the martial arts studio. The point is we do not need a place capable of stopping live rounds and we can create a training area almost anywhere.

Just think about the timesaving alone when you can take officers, deputies or troopers in the law enforcement community and simply designate a place right there in your facility to use as an airsoft training area and provide a way to practice the mechanics of combat shooting without driving to the range or buying ammunition. Even if you are down to two live fire shoots a year, you can still practice entire courses of fire and do it without wasting time in travel. In addition, airsoft equipment is an outstanding way of integrating force-on-force training into your curriculum.

For a civilian who has a busy schedule and little time to train, a simple training area can be designated in the garage or, for that matter, right in the house with proper precaution to prevent damage to the interior of the house. Even if you get only a five-minute window to practice, the mechanics can be easily practiced and the psychomotor skills continually honed without going to the range. REMEMBER, I said earlier that we are not trying to replace the need to do live fire training. WE ARE trying to have a way to practice when time and cost are factors.

Whenever I am developing a training program or course of fire to use in a training evolution, I first lay out the program or course of fire then go into the garage and use airsoft training to sort out the program and drill it myself for personal training. In most weeks, I get at least 5-6 training sessions in with airsoft and get the opportunity to personally train all my programs and courses of fire repeatedly without leaving the house. When I do go to the range, I use the range to VERIFY that my skill level is maintained. But the truth is, my skill levels continue to increase because I am able to practice thousand of repetitions of the mechanics and then use very little ammunition to verify that the mechanics are developing.

 I will end this article with a few thoughts and observations that I think are important for us to consider about using airsoft as part of our overall training program.

To program our mind and body to work at its maximum capability, we simply have to do the repetitions. If you are in a position where you only have resources enough to do minimum amount of live fire training, it is imperative that the repetition and development of the mechanical skills still be done on a frequent basis. The only thing I see that you don’t get from airsoft is recoil impulse. The way we overcome this issue while using airsoft equipment is to program proper grip, proper fighting platform and proper way to move and maintain balance while training with the airsoft equipment. If you are doing theses things right, your ability to control recoil will greatly improve. We must also teach appropriate methodology that includes both target-focused shooting for close quarters and the use of the sight system for longer range and precision shooting (all of which can be taught with airsoft equipment). It has been my experience that there will be little difference between shooting an airsoft handgun or long gun and a real handgun or long gun when this is done properly. I have observed this in not only my personal training but more importantly in the training of many others using the concepts I have discussed in this article.

I will continue this topic in the next article where I will focus on the equipment we can use to make this training happen. We will talk more specifically about cost and how we can offset the cost of running an airsoft program so there is minimal cost to include airsoft training concepts into your program.

 Be safe!

 Louis M. Chiodo

Grand Master

 A safety tip from Lou Chiodo

 

 

Tactical Tip Of The Week

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 Tactical Tip Of The Week 

By

Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo

During the last three “Tactical Tip Of The Week” articles, I discussed the issue of selecting a handgun. If you haven’t read those three postings, it would be beneficial to read them prior to reading this weeks posting. You can find the prior postings in my website www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page – Gunfighters Ltd. Combat Shooting Methods Inc. I have also teamed with Ian Kinder of Live Safe Academy to produce a podcast and video presentation on this topic. They are available on his website www.livesafeacademy.com.

We have discussed the selection process for a handgun that will be used for duty/open carry, home defense, and concealed carry purposes. Let’s look at another mission/role of a handgun – deep concealment / undercover.

At times, you may be in an environment where you need/want to be armed, but the need to be absolutely discreet outweighs your desire to have a larger handgun concealed. Your handgun MUST NOT be detected no matter how you are dressed. For a civilian this means due to the decorum of the event/environment you are in, you simply don’t want to have your concealed handgun detected. For an undercover law enforcement officer, it might mean that the criminal element you might be dealing with is vigilant about police infiltrating their world and getting caught with a handgun concealed could cost you your life. Also, if for some reason, the criminals either detect your law enforcement affiliation or decide to attempt to kill you for any number of reasons, your ability to have a deep concealment handgun can make all the difference in winning the confrontation if it develops.

One important issue needs to be discussed so that we can understand the difference between a secondary handgun and deep concealment handgun. A secondary handgun should be able to assume the role of a primary handgun if possession or use of the primary handgun is lost. There are a number of ways we can either loose possession of our primary handgun or loose use of it. Here are a coupled of ways:

  •  You are disarmed.
  •  You received an injury to your primary arm/hand/ shoulder that causes the loss of control over holding the handgun in the primary hand causing the handgun to fall out of your hand.
  •  Your primary handgun has an actual “malfunction” and it breaks. It is not a “stoppage’ where you can apply immediate action and clear it. It has a part(s) breakage and would need repair before becoming operable again
  • You run out of ammunition for the primary handgun in a protracted fight.

Of course, there can be more reasons but this gets the point across. So our secondary handgun should be sufficient in size and caliber to assume duty as our primary handgun if our primary handgun becomes unavailable to us for any of the reasons above.

Regarding the secondary handgun, there are a few considerations I would like to talk about. Positioning of the secondary handgun can be a critical issue. For your secondary handgun to be of use as an immediate way to replace your primary handgun, it must be in a position that can be accessed rapidly. Speed and ease of access is a critical consideration.

Another consideration is that you should be able to access the secondary handgun with either hand. Why is this important? One reason you may need to use your support hand to draw the secondary is because your primary hand is injured. This injury can be received as you are engaging the threat OR you may receive an injury BEFORE you have drawn your primary handgun forcing you to have to use your support hand to draw your secondary handgun. If your primary hand is injured before you have drawn your primary handgun, you may not be able to use your support hand to draw your PRIMARY handgun due to its positioning on your body or it may be in a security holster that doesn’t work well when trying to draw using your support hand. REMEMBER, the secondary has to be able to be deployed rapidly to be of any value to us if it is needed.

Can you draw your secondary handgun while on the move? It may be very dangerous to stand still while trying to access your secondary handgun when your primary handgun is no longer available and the fight is still on and the suspect is still shooting at you.

So, when you are selecting a secondary handgun and trying to determine how you intend to carry it, it can be helpful to think about some of the issues we have just discussed. It can make all the difference between having a handgun that can actually be of use when needed or just another handgun on your person.

Let’s discuss the “deep concealment / undercover” handgun. The mission for this handgun is distinctly different from the secondary handgun. As we stated earlier, the deep concealment / undercover handgun is used in circumstances where absolute concealment is paramount. Oftentimes, the handgun must be concealed in a location on the body that is not common to a place where handguns are normally concealed on your body.

Let’s use the matrix, “Size vs. Concealment vs. Proficiency”, to get a better understanding of what type of handgun might work well in the role of a deep concealment/ undercover handgun.

Size vs. concealment of the handgun is a critical issue. Generally speaking, a small handgun will be ideal for this role. Here is where some of the more common concealed handguns may run into difficulties being used in this role. At times, even a “J” frame Smith& Wesson revolver may be too big. So, it may be necessary to use a handgun that would not normally be anywhere near what we would commonly carry as a primary concealed carry handgun. Also, the caliber that may be used is one that we normally would not rely on for normal carry. So, some of the smaller .22 / .25 / .32 caliber semi-auto handguns may have to be used in this role. The key issue is to understand that it is a “last ditch” way of having a firearm in circumstances that prevent us from relying on our normal handguns and carry methods. One important consideration is that whatever you choose must be reliable mechanically with the ammunition you select to use.

As far as “proficiency” with the selected handgun, the distances and circumstances that we can envision when we would deploy a deep concealment / undercover handgun will be in very close-quarters with the threat. So, being able to draw the handgun from its place of concealment is a critical skill to develop. Also, it would be wise to practice “target-focused shooting” with this handgun since it may be deployed during a time of high stress, very close-quarters and extreme speed of engagement will be required to win the fight.

The deep concealment / undercover handgun is a “mission specific” tool that, if needed, may be a last-ditch way of dealing with a threat. Selecting the right handgun that can be undetectable based upon its size and location where concealed needs thought and experimentation to determine what will work best for you.

 Be safe!

 Louis M. Chiodo

Grand Master