Practically Tactical

I had a fellow in a class back in the spring who showed up in head to toe multicam.  He wore a shemagh, a plate carrier, Oakley gloves, and Salomon boots.  He carried a state of the art LWRCi rifle, complete with BAD lever, 45 degree sights, EoTech and magnifier.

He had a very narrow stance, and when he fired more than a couple shots in a string, he would begin to rock back throwing his shots out of the 3×5 card at seven yards during rapid strings.

I went to the guy and suggested that he widen his stance just a bit, and lean into the rifle just a bit.  He replied “In a gunfight, no one will care where your feet are”.  Ummmmm, ok.  I responded that they would likely care where you hit, and your stance is allowing you to miss far more than what you are hitting.  I asked him where he worked, and he advised he was an investment banker.  Got it.  Check.  After some respectful debate, he changed up his stance, and started hitting more than he was missing.

While dude was right, he was also dead wrong.  Sometimes, we as shooters get so wrapped around the tactical, we miss the practical.  I had another student who was an IT guy who demanded to shoot his P226 9mm with gloves and from a thigh holster.  He was a good enough shot, but his ego sort of got in his own way of getting to the next level.   We talked about it during the break, and I explained to him that some of the top shooters I have had in class have looked, dressed, and acted like very fit homeless guys.  They didn’t wear gloves, thigh holsters, or multicam.  But, what they did do is have very clean gun handling, and they could hit whatever they wished upon demand.  And by their own admission, they got there by having clean fundamentals that they could fall back on under stress and at speed.  During practice, they worked feverishly on stance, grip, sight alignment, and sight picture.  All are subservient to trigger control.  And what it produced was the ability to hit stuff when it matters without worrying about where your feet are.

I understand that if you are tasked to shoot in certain gear, then you should train in it.  I completely believe and understand that.  But, we seem to get more wrapped around the gear as a hardware fix for the software problem as it comes to the inability to hit stuff at speed.

We, as shooters, can pay attention to or ignore anything we choose.  Some tend to gravitate toward “IN A GUNFIGHT” as a rationalization of the execution of bad training.  Some of this has to do with the tactical tourist mentality, or the guys in LE who think they are covert operatives of SEAL Team 26.  If you have been around the training world for more than a few days you know what I mean.  You can spot them quickly, if nothing else by all the crap hanging off of their rifle.

The guys who are better than than us are better because they have more repetitions of performing the fundamentals correctly, and can do so at a high level when it matters because of the attention to detail on the techniques.  It doesn’t matter if they have gloves, keffiyeh, or armor on or not.

This entry was posted in Gear, Long Guns, Modern Service Pistols, Training, Weapon Modifications by Jerry Jones. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jerry Jones

Jerry Jones has been a Sheriff's Deputy in Kentucky since 1996. Jerry is currently assigned as a patrol deputy, firearms instructor and senior operator/training supervisor with a multi jurisdictional tactical team. Jerry is Kentucky POST certified to teach firearms, SWAT, and sniper operations and deployment at the Academy level. Jerry is also the President/CEO of Operation Specific Training and the Law Enforcement Representative for Apex Tactical Specialties.

20 thoughts on “Practically Tactical

  1. Its funny that an IT demanded to use a thigh holster! I used one for many years and hated it! I love to see guys come to class with all that crap on and a loaded down rifle, only to take it all off by the middle of the first day. Great article Jerry!

  2. Thanks Jerry, in your opinion, how much crap should be hanging off of a rifle?
    This has been discussed thoroughly in the training community, but I like to listen to everyone’s opinion.

    Also, I would caution against generalizing against ALL gear snobs. There are a few that are experienced \ accomplished and can walk the walk. That being said – I’m usually one of the 10% who wears 7 year old yard work clothes to rifle\carbine classes.

    • A carbine/rifle should have a sling, a set of zeroed back up irons, and a quality optic. If you intend to use it at night, a white light and/or IR laser. Other than that, nothing.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. As an LE UOF Instructor I am amazed at the number of fellow officers who show up for training as if they are on deployment. While many of these pseudo operators have a good handle on the fundamentals they unduly influence newer officers into a “who has the coolest gear” mentality. Good belt, quality holster and pouches with some mags and a firearm that works. Add eyes, ears and hat that is all the gear that is really needed.

  4. Great article. I’ve taken classes with some of the more well known national instructors, as well as some local to my area. I have learned something from each and every one of them because I when with an open mind, and the willingness to learn. I never understood people willing to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and then argue with the instructor.

  5. “There is no such thing as advanced skill, there is only perfect execution of the fundamentals under stress” (I look homeless) 😉

  6. I’ve attended and taught numerous classes over the years and have seen everything from guys in full Multicam who looked like they just stepped off a little bird and could not hit at 7 yards, to guys who’s equipment was literally held together with wood and sheet metal screws who could hit anything on demand.
    Equipment will only get you so far…
    Many fall into the trap of buying the latest/greatest, but few are willing to devote time to training.

  7. Who was it that said to carry a big gun you have to dress like a slob? Maybe I am just old fashioned but I can care less what I look like, I am more concerned about how I do work. That being said you do come across gear-do’s that run their kit well so who am I to judge?

  8. The only ones that want to wear all of that crap are the ones who don’t get to wear it!
    I’ve been in a LE uniform for 14 years and counting! I’m elated to get all of that crap off at the end of the shift. If I could sew velcro into the seams to rip it off faster I would. I buy zippered boots just to help with the cause. My gear is heavy, hot, and uncomfortable. No one who has to wear it wants to wear it a second longer than necessary.

  9. “The guys who are better than than us are better because they have more repetitions of performing the fundamentals correctly…”
    A truer sentence has never been written here.
    Fundamentals, reps, gunhandling.
    If those are right, you can do anything.

  10. Good article and reminder of what actually counts. Look at history: There are plenty of people in the ground who were put there by clubs, spears, swords, arrows, matchlocks, wheel-locks, flintlocks, percussion cap n’ball, etc., etc., etc. Equipment only means so much. “The skill of the warrior is more important than the sword he wields.” “The will of the warrior often trumps the weapon in hand.”

  11. I can’t imagine going to a training course and shunning the instruction the trainer gives “because you won’t do that in a gunfight”.

    Training to shoot is training to shoot and it seems backwards to not only not develop the skills of shooting but to pay for that chance to not learn something.

  12. Your comments are right on target. I used to wear all that stuff for a living and don’t anymore. Last thing I want is to lug that stuff around again. I prefer to attend classes and shoot in the same clothes I wear on a regular basis. An old friend of mine is a big fan of Disney clothing for a more sheep like low profile appearance. Even his weapon fanny pack ( which is not tactical black by the way) has a big Mickey Mouse patch on it. Blending in is the smart way to go

  13. I hate the “well in a REAL gunfight” statement because 1. most of them have never been in a gunfight, probably not even a fistfight. 2. I was always taught that when stressful situations occur we revert to our lowest form of training. The only people that rise above their training in a fight are actors in hollywood.

    I have to say in both situations you handled it better than I would have. No point to me in trying to reason with fools. Guy #1 I would have walked off, and Guy #2 I probably would have laughed at and then mocked.

    I also agree on the head to toe multicam nonsense. I have been fortunate enough in my career to work alongside some amazing people and yes, most of them look like homeless people or crossfit employees when back on the block.

    • A real gunfight is nothing more than an exercise in how you applied your skills to solve a problem, and assuming that it teaches more than how well you know your fundamentals and how best to apply them will just leave you spinning your wheels.

  14. Couldn’t agree more, Jerry. Being “tactical” is, or should be considered to be, simply applying polished fundamentals to complex situations. You can spend years going to ever course and class that teaches you how to shoot around barriers, from cars, hanging upside down, from the crapper, whatever. But if you don’t learn to properly handle the gun itself, you’re going to have a bad time. Make driving the gun a priority, and burn that into your brain until you can do it in your sleep while high on nyquil. Then when you go to advanced courses (or, practical applications courses, I guess?) all you have to figure out is what the course of fire calls for and the muscle memory will do the rest.

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