Recently, I was once again participating as a role-player in the Shoot Logic Simmunition shoot house. Another church security team decided to take the plunge, and take some time to learn about high-stress decision-making. I cannot express how grateful I am to be able to participate in this endeavor, and how moving it is to see volunteers take action to better prepare themselves in their protective role for their congregations. However, during the course, something happened to me, and I think it’s worth sharing with other students in the hope that they find themselves in a similar moment of growth in the pusuit of being a better gun owner.
Due to the nature of the Simmunition class, I can’t divulge to many details, but I’ll set the scene up with relevant facts.
1) I was in a position of having to possibly shoot an armed opponent.
2) I had a small opportunity to get ready, and from experience, it might be anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds.
3) I had several options for cover and concealment.
Now, ultimately, I was able to get behind cover, and when faced with the assailant, I shot them with a Simmunitions round when they exposed themselves to me. They retreated for a moment, and when they tried to re-engage, they were shot once again.
This isn’t a story about how I shot someone. This isn’t a brag, or some chest thumping about how great I am. This really is about all the time, and thought, and mentorship I’ve received came together, and allowed me to prevail in a force on force encounter. This is how it happened…
During the Simmunition training scenario, I knew there was a high likely hood that I was going to be shot at, so, I quickly sought cover. This was an instinct, not a choice or decision, as I’ve been shot with enough Simmunition rounds that I just know that being hit should be avoided. I know it sounds obvious, but the amount of times I’ve not gone for cover when I had the opportunity would refute that fact. I still see it regularly at Simms classes, and students often don’t take an opportunity for cover, as the heightened intensity of a force on force drill often makes us…well…kinda’ dumb.
With the impending aggressor not far away, I quickly darted behind cover, an old chair. Now, a chair isn’t really great cover, but it at least offered concealment, and I dropped to one knee and presented my handgun in the direction that the opponent would have to come from. As soon, as I kneeled down, I instinctively scooted back about a foot. Why? Because after so many great days at IDPA, I’ve been corrected by enough of the scorekeepers to know that I tend to not use cover correctly, so without even thinking, I adjusted to better position, simply because I have been guided to do so repeatedly.
I now found myself well covered, and I extended my arms toward where the threat would be coming from. I was in a textbook covered kneeling position, and my arms were extended as they should be, regardless of standing on the line or tucked behind the blue barrels so common in the shooting world. The fundamentals I’ve been so well trained in by the Shoot Logic staff and the myriad of world class instructors who’ve frequented the range had actually gotten through my thick skull, and I wasn’t trying to bench-rest my arms over the top of the chair, or cocking the hammer on the revolver, or any of the improper techniques that can weirdly pop up while stressed out. My upper body was doing the same thing it always does when I shoot, the only difference was that my lower half was balled up and crunched behind the chair.
Within moments, my training adversary came around the corner; gun in hand. I focused on my front sight, pulled the trigger like I do when dry firing at home with any of my revolvers, and he quickly retreated. I didn’t move. I didn’t try and get fancy. In earlier Simmunition experiences, I’ve allowed myself to needlessly reposition, attempt to throw my opponent of balance with different tactics, or just grown impatient and gave up a great position. This time, I simply kept my position and waited. I kept my gun at the ready, and tried to keep aware of everything diffusely in my field of view. The student’s head slid into view, and as an exposed target, I once again focused on my front sight, and sent a Simmunition round into his helmet. The instructor called out “END SCENARIO”, and I sighed with relief.
Again, I’m not trying to brag, or give the impression that I’m sort of ultimate gunfighter. I am none of those things.
I am a student at Shoot Logic, and I’ve spent time in the Simmunitions house.
I’ve listened to the thoughtful instruction of the staff and guest instructors.
I have spent time dry firing at home.
I have learned from my experiences at IDPA.
And for about 10 seconds one Saturday afternoon, all of that came together, and I did the best job I could, and the results came out in my favor.
I’m just a 40-something guy, raised in an anti-gun family, who needs to get in better shape and could still stand to practice a bunch more. However, I caught myself in a moment of competence, and honestly, it feels pretty good. It’s a feeling that I would wish upon anyone reading this, and the secret? It’s all just been for fun. That’s it, just doing something fun with people who I think are great. A few years ago, I decided to let go of worrying about defense. Guns and shooting were “just a hobby”, and I have embraced the fun and let go of worrying if I was ever going to be good enough should trouble land on my doorstep. Then, somehow, in-between Frank Proctor talking about visual awareness, Brian McGriff repeating “front sight, press” about a hundred times, and thoughtful talks with Tim Elmer over coffee, I managed to learn a few things that might keep me alive if things go wrong.
So, to that end, I just want to say Thanks. Thanks to Tommy for building a place for us to learn while we laugh. Thanks to the staff for treating me like a friend, and never a client. Thanks to the folks that make Saturday IDPA a wonderful time, and thanks for any other students who’ve stood beside me at the line, and caught my goofs, while letting me share something useful with them.