Thursday, May 10, 2012

They're All Gonna Laugh At You

I have not written here for months, mainly because shooting is a very small part of my life now. I spend more time on my motorcycle, and writing about riding. My last deployment didn't sour me on shooting, I just don't have the time to go shoot anymore. But what has me back in the game is a series of videos I've seen on the ENDO blog, which I do visit regularly.

A while back, there was an advertisement for some supertacticool knife, which was intended to act in place of a gun for "international bodyguards" who couldn't have a firearm. This drew my ire for encouraging people to rely on a knife as a primary defensive tool.

Now there's a video from Cory and Erika of YouTube fame which shows the lovely Erika shooting and then beating on a punching bag. She was doing this "drill" at a James Yeager school. My issue is with the instructor, as most people don't have the "benefit" I've had of actually being in ground combat a number of times.

Gun schools have sprouted up everywhere, and to my mind, a lot of them are frauds who teach innocent people Hollywood-style tacticool garbage that stands an excellent chance of getting them arrested or killed. If your instructor tells you to punch with a gun (loaded or not), leave. If you are taught how awesome it is to fight with a knife, leave. Going "hands-on" with a pistol will always lead to you struggling with your attacker for control of the firearm. Always. And if you're a 95lb young lady like Erika, or a fat old retired Sergeant like me, odds are the crackhead will win the physical fight. Everyone loses a knife fight. You will be cut, and the crackhead will probably take your knife away and shank the shit out of you with it. Knives are cool, but at the end of the day, a poor tool for defense.

Real training is simple, to the point, and focuses on doing the basics better/faster/more accurately. Things like the examples above are just hooks to appeal to uneducated masses who do not know any better. I am not against training, since the average citizen does not get years of military training, or years of experience in combat. I fully endorse the Magpul videos that have been around for a while. They teach simple, fast techniques that build on military training. That's what you should look for, no matter what school you choose to attend. I don't recall Travis Haley telling people to use their pistols as a club, either.

And while I'm at it, I have no beef against James Yeager and his exploits in Iraq. I'll leave it to you to find the write-up that was done by a fairly impartial British outfit. What I pulled from the story was this: the team took 50% casualties in the first five seconds of the attack, and the "armored" car was being shredded by a PKM. The options I see in my mind are 1) stay in the car and become a casualty, or 2) get out and try to suppress the enemy so that the casualties can get to safety. I don't think he "ran away". I think he was making sure someone was still alive to return fire and tend to the casualties. And I've been in an ambush in 2004 in which we had only one armored truck. If you're in a light skinned vehicle and the road is blocked, you have to get out and fight. Yes, the team made mistakes, but they were mistakes of complacency (only taking small, comfortable-to-carry firearms) and failures to coordinate with coalition forces. The worst case is that they thought themselves so high-speed that they were too super secret squirrel to coordinate with lowly US infantry units in the area.

If you're seeking training and you're new to the game, please, for your sake, do plenty of research before you commit.