The Scoring Game
The most difficult thing Sam and I have done over the years in teaching our pistol craft as a martial art is trying to figure out how to do it without making it a game. The problem is, once the timer buzzer goes off, it becomes a competition and therefore it is reduced to a game. Trying to come up with a form of scoring that will take the game out of the system has not been easy, but over the last few months of 2006 we may have started on the right road. I will explain what we have done, but first let’s take a brief look at different scoring systems and their faults!
Points Down Scoring; A fairly good system, based solely on time, it lets you see how you are doing against other shooters in your area, and you can see if you are improving based on how you do against these shooters month to month. The two biggest problems with this system is, in my opinion the national organization that presently uses this system has a poor target design and the penalties for poor accuracy are minimal, so the faster shooters always look good on paper.
Hit Factor Scoring; This has always been one of the better scoring systems for the action pistol sports, based on total points scored, divided by time gives you a hit factor. This system also allows you to see if you are improving based on how you do against other shooters month to month, but has the same problem as the points down system; although the target design is generally better, the penalties for poor accuracy are minimal, so the faster shooters always look good on paper.
Paladin Scoring; This is the worst of all, a useless scoring system based on “A” hits keeping you safe from dying, then if you “survive” all stages, total time decides the winner. Often changed by the user to fit what they think is right (an A hit, two to the head, three to the body, four in the knee caps). Biggest problem with this system is you are shooting at non-reactive targets, so you have no way of knowing how good your shot placement was. If the target is uncovered you have to look at the target to be sure of your hits (do this in a gun fight and you will DIE). Plus, odds are pretty high that in a defensive situation the threat will have clothing on so you won’t be able to see your hits, the only feedback you will have will be their reaction to your shots. If the target is covered with a shirt, most new or inexperienced shooters will take extra shots to be sure they don’t DIE. This scoring system makes a victim out of the shooter and gives no feedback to let him know if he is improving.
When Sam and I started DSM we decided to use hit factors for our scoring system, but we were never satisfied with the results we have gotten, so over time we have changed point scoring on the target to better level the playing field, we have also changed the scoring zones on the target. Still, we felt that we were rewarding speed over accuracy. The truth is, the fastest man on earth will loose a gunfight if he has poor shot placement. Our new scoring system will better reward proper shot placement on the target. With the help of Dr. Paul Maurer and his son Brett, our target has been redesigned to make it more anatomically correct, penalties have been doubled for a miss and we have put in place a FTN penalty (failure to neutralize). This should force people to take a split second of extra time and make sure of proper shot placement. Hopefully this will take some of the game out of our martial art and allow people to get back to the fundamentals of the original formula (DVC), adopted by DSM, taught by Jeff Cooper and many other experts on the subject: Diligentia (accuracy) + Vis (power) + Celeritas (speed) = you get to see another sunrise.
DVC, Jimmy G.