Monday, December 26, 2005

Lies, Damned Lies, and Shooting Lies

Concealed Carry Response Time [Archive] - THR: "
A good shooter can draw and fire a double tap in less than a second... average one can do it in about 1.3 seconds... which is probably not fast enough if he is caught unaware... he will probably cap the ED, but will also probably get cut too. At this point the victim better shoot the ED to the ground, because that knife is awfully close and easy to use...even by a wounded ED."

I shoot in IPSC matches about 30 - 40 times a year . . . conservatively speaking, and I'm talking VERY conservative. I've been an IPSC competitor for over 20 years, and I currently shoot a Race Gun from a Race Holster, which means that I'm loaded, I have the fastest-draw holster I can find, and I'm READY to draw and engage the closest possible target as soon as the buzzer sounds. I probably start 240 - 250 stages every year, which means that I engage first-targets that many times a year, in live-fire, so I probably have a very good idea how long it takes me to engage a non-threatening target under the best possible conditions and under some (competitive, not life-threatening) circumstances.

Let's talk about the buzzer. I hear it every weekend, and when it goes off I'm aware that the shooting problem does not involve my possible demise. It's a shooting problem, not a self-defense situation. I expect it to go off within a couple of seconds of when it actually DOES go off, and there is no confusion involved; I know it's a signal that I WILL draw and start shooting. The target(s) are pre-defined, and I know that it's a shooting problem. I don't have to wonder if I should be required to draw and shoot, there are no ethical aspects to the situation that I have to consider. Essentially, it's a no-brainer.

My very best draw-time (hitting the A-zone of a cardboard IPSC target at 7 yards) is 0.85 seconds, and that's just with ONE shot. No double-tap involved, and my best double-tap time adds another 0.13 - 0.15 seconds to the equation. Best possible situation: a double-tape in over one second, and who knows where the heck the second shot went? Besides, I'm ready and I'm only shooting at cardboard.

This guy is talking about an "average shooter" who can double-tap an aggressor in 1.3 seconds.

Heck, if the target is at all difficult, I'm lucky if I can get my first shot off at that time, and the target is a piece of cardboard several steps away from me.

Put a defensive-carry gun and holster on my, and my draw/engagement time is going to double, at least. Chances are my first shot is going into the dirt closer to my feet than to the feet of my attacker. And I'm darned if I'm confident that my second shot will bite meat, because you see I'm accustomed to the characteristics of a competition race gun, not a clumsy clunky defense pistol.

All I'm saying is that if you read the Forums, you're likely to read a lot of opinions from people who are probably well-intentioned, but that doesn't mean that they know what they're talking about.

Sometimes that presents an unrealistically optimistic self-defense scenario, sometimes it's unrealistically pessimistic. It's a crap shoot. It's a box of chocolates, a la Forest Gump ("Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get.")

My advise is, don't pay any attention to the expectations propounded by people you don't know. In this case, you may read on and find that some of the best competitive shooters in the world (eg: Jerry Miculek) are saying "I just do not believe that anyone is going to be able to draw and fire in a second or second and a half under those conditions. I suspect 2 seconds would be a very good time."

Well, I think I would be very unlikely to draw and double-tap a target, any target let along an attacker, in less than two seconds. This presupposes that I was very much READY to repell an attacker, and frankly I think it would take most of us a couple of seconds to convince ourselves that we are actually being attacked.

So, while you are training diligently to defend yourself against a Lethal Force attack, remember that you are only human and thus subject to human frailties. IF you will train to defend yourself against attack, don't forget that movement is probably one of the best defenses against sudden, unexpected, violent attack.

Life isn't an IPSC match. You would not believe how daunting it can be to suddenly find yourself being aggressively attacked, with the range quickly shortened by your assailant. The skills you develop competing in IPSC matches, for example, will NOT serve you well against a personal assault by a determined, aggressive assailant.

How long, for example, will it take you to identify an assault when the assailant starts 30 yards from you, does not obviously show a weapon, and you don't know that YOU are the subject of the attack until it is (probably) too late ti attack?

Perhaps, if this is a concern, you should re-evaluate your training doctrine.

But you should never, NEVER, depend on your ability to respond to an attack in 1.3 seconds.

Geek Advice in how to handle this situation?

Don't ever get yourself in this situation.

The details of the solution are left as a problem for the student.

(I sure don't have the answer!)

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