Shooting Environments

Combat Readiness

Qualifications are staged environments on a one-way range. Marine and Army qual courses have remained the same for decades with the courses published in official regulations. Police courses are just as bad. The minimal standards needed to graduate recruit/basic/academy training remain the same throughout an entire career with no skill progression required.

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Qualifications are intended to be passed by low-skill shooters and retries are offered for anyone failing. Where is the stress in that? And such low-level qualification remains the only time skills are measured and held accountable at all. Even if “advanced” tactical and force-on-force exercises are conducted, their value and interpretation is often subjective. As long as we all agree we did a good enough job and learned something when congratulating ourselves during the AAR, then we’re tactical.

Funny thing, competition has been proven by laboratory tests to consistently create a large amount of stress hormones and continued competitive experience does not blunt this effect. However, any stress created in non-scored, non-competitive environments has also been proven via laboratory tests to diminish notably by the third time a novice tries it, even when that third attempt happens on the first day during attention-grabbing events like parachuting. A brand new parachutist experiences less stress hormones during the third jump on their first day than an experienced competitor with a decade of experience and hundreds of competitions under their belt. This makes that “under no stress” qualifier a real problem for tactical instruction but not for competitive environments.

The best answer is to blend all the useful characteristics from multiple sources. Recognize that many things are beneficial but nothing provides a complete solution. A person with a reasonable competitive track record that shoots well, is in good shape, has formal tactical training in non-staged environments, and experience in force-on-force exercises is the best combination.

Why High Standards Matter

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Musketry & Combat Practice Firing

Note how often that competition was suggested as a good approach to training.

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US Army Training Film TF-24
Musketry & Combat Practice Firing

1935 US Army Training Film

The application and control of collective fire of rifle units (Rifle Squads & Rifle Sections) is called “Musketry.”

This film covers rifle firing skills.
– Reel 1 provides an introduction to methods of estimating range to target.
– Reel 2 shows how unit members communicated knowledge of the target in the field.
– Reel 3 instructs squad leaders on the construction and use of ranges for landscape target firing.
– Reel 4 details technical characteristics of rifle fire and its effects.
– Reel 5 demonstrates the application of rifle firing techniques in field exercises.
– Reel 6 features a schematic drawing of the effect of combat fire.