Cardboard gunfighters, June 2002
Life or Death: Learning to Survive
This is what we are talking about, with our emphasis being on staying alive. If we ever had to defend ourselves we would want enough in our portfolio to get the job done. We need the right balance of accuracy (Dilegentia), power (Vis) and speed (Celeritas). You also need the right mindset and tactics to survive. This is where instruction from well qualified and experienced professionals is needed. These are the people that can teach what you need to know. If you can’t afford this training then be very selective whom you choose to learn from. Some “instructors” may not even be able to teach you basic shooting skills, and definitely nothing about staying alive in a gunfight. You may think by hearing some of them talk that they have first hand experience to draw on, when in reality they may never have been in a fistfight let alone a gunfight.
Competition is great practice, gets the adrenaline flowing, and teaches you good shooting skills. WRONG! Some competition can be good. The right type of practical (combat) competition is good. Chuck Taylor covers this in one of his articles, “Training and Technique Development” (www.chucktaylorassa.com/trainingandtech.html). You should learn the difference between the types of competition. When I go to a USPSA match, I treat it solely as competition, a game. When I shoot IDPA or DSM, I look at it from a totally different viewpoint. I have always finished higher on the list when shooting truly practical (combat) matches, compared to run and gun events. When you do compete in a practical match (this is what we are trying to accomplish in DSM), shoot the stages the way they were designed to be shot, and don’t try to game them. You can only find out about your ability if you play fairly. If you cheat in any way, you are only cheating yourself.
To survive a gunfight we need basic shooting skills, a serious study of tactics, reliable equipment, and a strong will to stay alive.
Don’t learn from incompetent instructors, take bad advice, or compete in the wrong competition.
DVC, Jimmy G.