Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just A Shot In The Dark

 It's been a while since I had a good "that's not training" rant. Low and behold, this morning Everyday No Days Off had an article about a former Spetsnaz instructor shooting his fellow instructor at a range in Texas. Three times(!).

Without wishing to get personal, I'd like to beat this issue to death. The problem here is the total lack of target identification. From what I grasp of the story, students were led through a low-light or no-light shoot house to engage targets without the use of NODs or lights. While one can see the utility in training for the worst of all scenarios, one should also recognize the importance of knowing what you are shooting and why.

One of the neat things the Army started doing during the train-up for my last tour was asking everyone who fired a weapon during a CQB range "what did you shoot and why did you shoot?". The core of defensive (or offensive!) shooting is knowing what you are about to destroy. Is it the target you put up an hour ago, or is it your co-instructor standing in front of the target? Is it a burglar or your teenage son sneaking back in from a party? You HAVE to know the answer to those questions before you fire. Period!

There is a new fad with younger trainers wherein common sense safety measures are overlooked because "safety is for pussies". Well, after surviving a number of complex ambushes, I am a huge pussy. I will not fire at shadows, noises, or into an unsafe backstop. If I cannot positively identify what my bullet is about to enter, I won't shoot.

No matter how high-speed your instructor may have been, you shouldn't shoot blind. If you feel a drill or an action is unsafe, then use your judgement and decline to do it. Firearms training is inherently dangerous. Probably more dangerous than golf or bowling even. There's no reason to make it any more dangerous by doing ridiculous drills.


James said...

There's a solution to shooting targets in the dark, and it's called put a goddamn white light on your gun before you kill someone you wish you hadn't. I have a loaded shotgun and a loaded handgun by my bed, BOTH have white lights.

The Flatland Gun Nut said...

I think I got to the bottom of all this. Sonny was trying to prove that he has Jedi senses. Apparently he was on some TV show a couple of years ago (Greatest Warrior?) and the challenge was to shoot a combat course USPSA-style in total darkness. He shot all the baddies and none of the no-shoots. I'm guessing he and the other fellow got a walkthrough and Sonny had a very good memory. Fast-forward to Texas, and the story at ENDO mentions that Sonny set up the targets in the shoot house. I don't believe he had any kind of sight picture or target ID--he was probably just shooting in the direction of where he placed the target in that room.