Posts Tagged ‘self defense’

IDPA Is Not Tactical Training

Posted: October 29, 2009 in IDPA
Tags: ,

Tonight I completed the last class of an eleven week course called the Civilian Police Academy. Every Thursday night I’d go down to the station around 6pm, eat dinner, then sit through about 3 hours of presentations and demos by seasoned officers and detectives on the various aspects of Police work.

The course covered a kinds of things, some included:
History of Policing
Internet Crimes
Sexual Crimes
OVI
Animal Control
SWAT Team
Drugs
Search and Seizure
Domestic Violence
Community Services
K9 unit
Forensics

The last class tonight was about building searches and as part of it, we did a live demo where we had to clear an office. As I’ve shot IDPA for a few years now, I thought I definitely had an advantage.

They gave us very brief overviews of techniques then basically set us loose to find the bad guy who could be hiding anywhere in a 3000 square foot office. I was in a group of 3 and we all had plastic red guns and flashlights.

Now one of IDPA’s things is to use cover (well ok, concealment in the real world) and to slice the pie. Those are usually things that we do at virtually every match, even in the classifier, so I was comfortable with that. However, it was a completely different experience knowing that there was a bad guy hiding in there who could be hiding motionless, moving around or waiting to jump out. Due to the construction of shooting ranges, your line of sight is pretty limited, however, in an office we had to look up at the ceiling tiles and at one point I had my gun pointed almost vertically. I broke the 180 countless times and probably swept my comrades a few times as we negotiated the tight confines of the cubicles. When clearing a building there’s no one standing there with a timer and in this scenario there was only one target and there was certainly no rush to move from one position to another.

I did eventually find the bad guy (well girl actually), she was hiding behind a box under a desk. At first I just saw a piece of gray cloth, so I kept my flashlight on it, then I saw it move just a tiny bit as she breathed. I shouted something like “Let me see your hands” and at that moment I saw a hand come out holding a red gun. It was moving up towards me so I shouted bang bang and that was that! I was really glad that we managed to get the bad guy and not get shot, but it was quite an experience to say the least.

While I felt like I did have some advantages over people who had never done any IDPA, there’s a whole lot more to the tactics and communications aspects, especially when working with others, which is one thing that you can never get in IDPA.

I know we did a ton of things wrong, but hey, we had absolutely no training, so I think we did ok considering. I’ve always heard people say that IDPA is just a game and I’ve always approached it that way myself. My view has always been that if someone’s timing me and keeping score, then it’s a game, it’s that simple. Now IDPA is good for working on basic gun handling skills, but when it comes to real defensive shooting or room clearing, as many scenarios have us do, IDPA is not and can never be used as training.

Of course now I can’t sleep and am itching to do a class at one of the firearms training centers.

The Department of Homeland Security has recently issued 2 PDF documents: Active Shooter Information and Active Shooter Poster to give holiday shoppers potentially life saving tips.

IDPA is great for honing your gun handling skills, but it’s still a game. Real life scenarios do not have people following you with a timer and scoresheet.

If you find yourself caught up in a situation where an active shooter is in your vicinity, here’s some advice from the Active Shooter Poster document:

QUICKLY DETERMINE THE MOST REASONABLE WAY TO PROTECT YOUR OWN LIFE. CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS ARE LIKELY TO FOLLOW THE LEAD OF EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS DURING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION.

1) Evacuate
– Have an escape route and plan in mind
– Leave your belongings behind
– Keep your hands visible


2) Hide Out
– Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
– Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors 

3) Take Action
– As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
– Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter
– Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter

CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO

 
HOW TO RESPONDWHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES ON THE SCENE

1) HOW YOU SHOULD REACT WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES:
– Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
– Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
– Keep hands visible at all times
– Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety
– Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling 
– Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises
 

2) INFORMATION YOU SHOULD PROVIDE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR 911 OPERATOR:
– Location of the active shooter
– Number of shooters, if more than one
– Physical description of the shooter/s
– Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s
– Number of potential victims at the location
 

RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF POTENTIAL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

AN ACTIVE SHOOTER MAY BE A CURRENT OR FORMER EMPLOYEE. ALERT YOUR HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT IF YOU BELIEVE AN EMPLOYEE EXHIBITS POTENTIALLY VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. INDICATORS OF POTENTIALLY VIOLENT BEHAVIOR MAY INCLUDE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
– Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
– Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints
– Depression/Withdrawal
– Increased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses
– Increasingly talks of problems at home
– Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

 
You can download the original PDF documents here:

Active Shooter Poster (pdf/454kb)

Active Shooter Information (pdf/212kb)

You will need Adobe Acrobat to read the PDF files.