Friday, May 1, 2020

May 2020 Defensive Pistol Craft Post

Jon Low has posted a new roundup of articles and commentary over at this blog. So much in his post that I don't even know where to start and I haven't had time to go through everything. But I noticed he had thrown a link my way, so I do want to express my thanks to the shout out.

      Although I haven't had time to go through it all, there are a couple that caught my attention. Just a little way down into his post, he posted a link to a video on the subject of Motor Learning: Block vs Random Practice. Block practice is essentially a rote practice where you repeat a movement or technique over and over again with little or no variation. As the video explains, this is a good method to learn a technique, but it doesn't stick with you as well as random practice (and the video has some examples of tests from various studies on this). Random practice, in contrast, is deliberately putting variance into your practice. The idea with random practice is to not just master the technique but to also learn to read a situation and adjust or compensate. Drawing on an example from the video, it is the difference between a golfer in putting practice putting from the exact same spot a dozen times in a row versus randomly distributing balls around the hole and trying to put them in. The first may result in you getting the ball in the hole all of the time and look impressive, but the latter will teach you to read the green and adjust your stroke for when you don't have the perfect set up to sink the ball.

      You can probably already see where this is going for practicing with a firearm or self-defense technique. Most square ranges limit your movement and orientation and presentation of a firearm, so most of our practice there will be rote--e.g., setting up a target at 25 or 50 feet and repeatedly shooting at it. Safety considerations are going to severely limit your ability to "shake it up" a little. But you can try shooting at different ranges (perhaps unknown ranges), use different targets, try different drills, etc.

      Similarly, with dry fire practice, safety concerns may limit the direction in which you point the firearm. But I would guess that you could safely move to slightly other locations in relation to whatever you are using as a point of aim, or practice drawing from different positions, dry fire with just one-hand or your off hand, etc.

     Moving on, Jon relates a somewhat difficult qualification course he had to fire using a firearm and holster with which he was not familiar, and including elements of varying time limits and number of rounds. He mentions:
If you didn't already know the counts for timing your rate of fire, you would have had a hard time with the time limits.  Fortunately, I had learned from a class at the Citizens Safety Academy that "1 front sight, 2 front sight, . . . " will give you one shot per second; "1 and, 2 and, 3 and, . . . " will give you two shots per second; and "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, . . . " will give you four shots per second.
I didn't know that, but good to know.

     Next, he has links to some videos on stick fighting and combative knife techniques. I know what I'll be watching this weekend.

     I've mentioned before that (most) law enforcement receive training in "verbal judo" in order to get persons to cooperate without force or to deescalate a situation. Jon notes 5 principles of verbal judo:
1.  Everyone needs to be respected.
2.  People would rather be asked than told.
3.  People would like to know why they are being asked to do something.
4.  People would prefer to have options over threats. 
5.  People want to have a second chance.
Frankly, these are sound principles for simple, everyday interaction.

      Another section to be sure to read is a discussion on best practices if you happen to have to swing a firearm across a group of bystanders to get from one target to another. Basic point: you don't muzzle people you don't plan on shooting. Bring a gun into a safe ready position (e.g., high ready or temple index) as you transition across a bystander or bystanders from one target to another.

      Anyway, a lot more good stuff, so be sure to check it out.

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