Sunday, April 19, 2009

Training Day: Alternate Indexing

Today's training focused on using alternative indexing techniques when engaging a threat closer that 15 yards. 15 yards was determined empirically as a drill was set up that involved walking back using the alternative indexing technique and most participants dropped their shots at a range beyond 15 yards.

The day started with everyone taping up their sights so they could not be used in the traditional sense. We had to use alternative indexing methods to get neutralizing hits on the target. Alternate indexing, be it using the slide, your body positioning, or whatever is decided on by the participant. I relied on the slide for indexing and later for closer targets I simply used muscle memory, consistently extending my arms in the same way to shoot.

But first, a digression. The class started with a member, who is a LEO, talking about a lecture he attended given my Lt. Col. (ret.) Dave Grossman who wrote
"On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" and "The Bullet Proof Mind" which I mentioned in a previous post. He was impressed with what Grossman had to say and what it takes to develop the proper mindset for defense against career criminals and/or "nut jobs" out to do harm for harms sake. He mentioned the lecture because Jeff, the instructor, brought up the recent 20/20 show "If I only had a gun". The group was discussing the "totally unbiased view" that 20/20 portrayed in a fictitious scene that was played out in a classroom. The scene involved an active shooter coming in and taking out the students. First the teacher then zeroing in on the only person with a gun. Basically the perspective was look at what one person, trained, with a gun could do to stop an active shooter. They could save a lot of lives or ,the 20/20 perspective, that the defender could hurt another person during a defense from an active shooter ignoring the fact that the active shooter is there to systematically shoot people. The point being if the active shooter knows they are going into a situation where they could get stopped then they would not do it in the first place rather than having everyone just run away and get taken out in the process.

Anyway, back to the training day.

We started out with an exercise to find our alternative index. We were out at 10 -15 yards shooting at 12" steel plates with our sights taped up. We would index off of our slides or whatever to get consistent hits on the steel.
Everyone was doing very well considering the circumstances. We then would alternate between the 12" steel plates and the 6" steel plates to try to get hits. Good shots were still being made and confidence was building.
Next we set up targets to engage at a much closer distance to simulate an actual defensive situation from a threat. The distances covered were 5 and 7 yards. We just had to draw and shoot right away indexing off of our muscle memory based extended shooting position, slides or whatever the individual was using. This exercise proved to be very illuminating as everyone was getting very good hits and even good ocular cranial hits too.

Next we were to focus only on the threat and draw our weapon and engage. We brought the weapon up into our line of sight to engage the threat just like one would point your finger. This proved to be a pretty reliable way to get fast and accurate shot on target at close range.
After that exercise a scenario was set up to try to simulate a defensive situation. We would draw and fire on three different treats then move to the next set up and finally to a barricade. Adding stress and a timer helped us get not only acquainted with not worrying about a perfect sight picture but built up our confidence that it is not absolutely required to get a perfect sight picture to get solid threat stopping hits on target very quickly.

Next up a couple more scenarios to put together other skills we learned from previous classes like shooting from retention etc. The final scenario was shot using support side only with reloads using the bent knee technique. That is you drop your mag, stuff the pistol behind your knee while kneeling to secure it, get a mag out and put it in the pistol, then racking the slide on your shoe.

We were all pretty tired at the end of the day considering it was over 90 degrees out and we were training solid nonstop all day! We all learned a lot, built confidence in our shooting ability and had a lot of fun too.

Learning is the progressive discovery of your ignorance.

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