More knowledge from the Rangemaster Instructor Conference

On Nov 11-12, 2017 I attended the Rangemaster Instructor Conference held at the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Oklahoma. 49 instructors, out of the more than 800 graduates of the 3 day Rangemaster Instructor program, spent 2 days shooting and learning.  I wrote an AAR about it after I returned.

Highlights from another presentation at the conference:

John Hearne – Who Wins, Who Loses and Why

This information-rich slide from John Hearne’s excellent presentation “Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why” explains a lot about setting training priorities.  He defines 4 factors you can control: emotional control, level of learning/automaticity, fitness and gear, with their relative importance shown by circle sizes.  Unfortunately, those priorities are mostly inverted from the concerns of the average gun owner that’s not in the 1% that are serious about their training and preparation.  Gear reviews are typically the most popular topic on youTube channels and blogs, with articles on tactics typically less popular.  Fitness – another area that many gun owners do not emphasize in their daily lives – is more important than gear but not as important as the top two:  Emotional Control and Level of Automaticity.

Automaticity comes from practicing a skill enough that you can do it without conscious thought.   This requires doing more than the state minimum to get your carry permit.  This article provides some data on how many repetitions may be required to reach that level.  It’s more than what is required to do the task one without error.  Probably double or triple that number of repetitions, with additional repetitions performed frequently enough to keep that skill at that level.  The way to achieve that level with a handgun has been understood since the 1930s (or earlier): dry fire practice.

Emotional Control comes from learning how to manage stress.  Putting yourself in stressful situations, for example doing Force on Force training, where you interact with live opponents, using low impact training rounds and other gear that allows simulation of gunfighting and physical fighting, can teach the emotional control necessary to prevail in an actual incident.

Things you can’t control (much)

All the other factors are things you have limited control over.   You can avoid places, times, people and behaviors that put yourself at high risk, but unfortunately there are plenty of examples of incidents that happened when the odds were very low.  How many attackers there are, how high their skill levels are, where the attack occurs — all those elements are controlled by the attacker(s).

The best you can do is to put as much weight on the side of the scale that tips in your favor: whether it’s improving your fitness (and diet), getting back to regular dry fire practice, attending more training, or making a bigger effort to carry your gun, put your phone down and pay more attention to your surroundings when in public.

John will be presenting 8 hours of material at the Northwest Regional Tactical Conference put on by Rangemaster, coming up July 27-29, 2018 at the Firearms Academy of Seattle.  (I will also be presenting my Historical Handgun material at that conference).


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  1. Pingback: KR Training December 2017 newsletter – Notes from KR

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