Thursday, October 29, 2015

Definitions: Mindset & Levels of Awareness

Mindset (Oxford Dictionary) is the established set of attitudes held by someone: "the region seems stuck in a medieval mindset", a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations, the thought processes characteristic of an individual or group.

Unaware – These are times when you are asleep, watching TV, occupied with a specific task (for example when I’m writing this) and daydreaming.

Aware – You are conscious of your surroundings, cognizant of those around you, have mentally identified potential threats and where they may emanate from.

Alert – A specific potential threat or threats have been identified; this is a heightened state of awareness.

Alarm – Whatever action was planned in the alert level is now implemented.  Again, taking action does not necessarily mean using force.

Maintaining Awareness – It is difficult to maintain a heightened level of awareness for great length of time, particularly in your own home, which is considered a sanctuary from the outside world.  Make a conscious effort to remain alert to your environment, whatever it is.

Below is a link for a watered down (practical everyday person) OODA loop.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Photo shoot 2015

We have finished our latest photo shoot for the year.  The pictures are posted on our Facebook page.  Here is a preview of what you'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Natural Aiming Area and Flash Sight Picture

“You can’t miss a shot fast enough.”

A shooters natural aiming area (or NAA) is the instinctive alignment of the shooter, gun and target in a specific stance.  A good defensive shooter is one where their natural aiming area can be achieved in a variety of positions.  Practicing good fundamentals will strengthen your natural aiming area, so that you will stop thinking about the fundamentals and instead naturally assume a good shooting position.

In a close range encounter, you will not be able to achieve a perfect sight picture.  The additional skill to your NAA is flash sight picture.  Flash sight picture is an imperfect alignment of your target as you recover from your firearm’s recoil.  Specifically, it is used to quickly acquire your target during a rapid, close range engagement.  Think of the last time you were shooting at the range.  With your eyes focused on the front sight you should be able to see the recoil of your pistol go up then down onto your target.  As soon as the front post is coming into the target, you will get an instantaneous sight picture of your target.  This is your flash sight picture.

You need to develop your skills in both your natural aiming area and flash sight picture to shoot fast and accurately in a defensive situation.  One more thing to think of, the farther the target is away from you’re the more time you have to acquire your sight picture.  Conversely the closer the target, the less time you have to acquire proper sight picture.

Next time we will return to preparing yourself mentally in a defensive shooting situation.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Defense

Today, I am opting to share a link to Personal Defense Network's article, the Five Fundamentals of Home Defense.  A couple years ago I was beefing up on my knowledge of what to do if my home was invaded and came across a similar article from PDN.  I thought it was very informative and helpful to know what to do in case of an emergency.  What it also gave me was a baseline for all the other information I wanted to learn and a premise of how to view my own personal safety.

Five Fundamentals for Home Defense

Friday, October 9, 2015

Defensive Accuracy versus Target Shooting

“A slow hit beats a fast miss, but there is such a thing as taking too much time.”

What is defensive accuracy?  Defensive accuracy is the ability to shoot the center of mass as fast and accurately as you can, the resulting shots should be covered by the spread of your hand.  As we progress from novice to intermediate shooters, I would hope that shooters’ goals will also change.

Many beginners learn the fundamentals and focus on target shooting.  To review the six fundamentals – stance, grip, trigger control, sight picture/sight alignment, breath and follow through.  All of these fundamentals should be performed perfectly in order to hit a bullseye.  In contrast to defensive accuracy where your fundamentals may not be perfect, your ability to stop the threat will be.

Take sight alignment.  There is a degree of deviation from perfect sight alignment when shooting for defensive accuracy.  Aim at the center of mass of the exposed target area, when aligning your sights and acquiring sight picture, your shots will be spread across your target.   To determine your accuracy, your shots should be about the size of a sheet of copy paper.  You are looking at a larger area and at a closer range as your target. A defensive encounter will not afford you the time to gain a perfect sight picture as it does in the range.  Therefore you will need to practice a new set of skills.

Do not think of defensive accuracy and target shooting as opposites.  They are stages in the progression from being a beginner to becoming a marksman.  As first you are only concentrating on the basics.  You want to perfect these before moving on.  This may mean that you skills will allow you to shoot a small 3-4 inch grouping on your target.  Once you are satisfied with your progress, try shooting a piece of paper as your target.  First shoot slowly and keep in mind your fundamentals.  Then change to a clean target and shoot faster.  Aim for one shot every two seconds.  Assess your progress and continue until all your shots are on the sheet of paper.

Next time we will cover natural point of aim and flash sight picture.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Natural Response to Fear

There are five psychological responses to a threatening encounter – fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit.  Every encounter is different and there is no way that you will be able to predict your response regardless of your previous experiences.  This is where your versatile training and becoming flexible in your response comes into play.

Fight – the fight response is using whatever force is reasonable to prevent harm.  Deadly force may only be used in the event of an imminent threat of severe harm or death.  You must become familiar with your local laws and what is to be expected from the legal process if your plan includes deadly force.

Flight – also known as retreat.  Fleeing is not always possible without incurring injury to yourself.

Freeze – in the event of a life threatening encounter you may be taken by surprise and incapable of any action.  Be aware that this is a possible reaction and train to reduce its effects.

Posture – is combat without contact.  In the animal kingdom, this is usually seen as puffing up, growling, baring teeth, but not actually fighting.  The end result sought is for one side to back down or retreat.

Submit – is completely giving in to the adversary. 

In some cases, these responses may lead to another response and escalate the situation.  Know what you will do in any of these cases, role play and discuss your plan with others who may be available during an emergency.

In addition to the mental state, you should also be aware of your physical responses to a stressful life threatening encounter.  These include loss of fine motor skills, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (unable to hear/speak), time dilation (time slows down) and adrenaline rush.

Both psychological and physical responses can be a battle to overcome in your practice.  Training for stress is crucial to prevail in an encounter.  Your goal is to acclimate yourself to performing under stress.  This can be done through timing yourself while you shoot, raising your heart rate through exercise prior to shooting or entering a competitive match.