Michael's work yielded some very interesting results. What he discovered that there were relatively few "rules" that kept divers alive. That flew in the face of the "more is better" school of learning. Yes, he found, more information is always useful, but there was a clear difference between "useful" and "save your ass." Cave diving, for example, functions on four basic rules:
• Have specialized training.Michael also discovered that death was often the result of an accumulation of small mistakes as opposed to one cataclysmic error. Three seemed to be the magic number — a person could survive one, maybe two mistakes, but Number Three was often the killer.
• Always have a continuous line back to the surface.
• Have multiple redundancy for mission critical gear — regulators, lights, etc.
• Use the "rule-of-thirds" air management system as a minimum — use one-third of the air going in, one-third of the air coming out, one-third in reserve.
I bring this up because I think it's something those of us in the firearms community should be doing on a regular basis. We do it occasionally in various magazines, but Menduno's particular genius was in regularizing the process and divorcing it from the emotionalism that surrounds those deaths (Michael and I have lost far too many friends...).
With that spirit, I want to take a look at the Tyler, TX . PLEASE, in no way do I want to denigrate Mark Wilson's heroic sacrifice (see my previous post), but there are things we need to discuss.
I've now read a number of the reports on the shooting; plus, I was able last weekend to talk to a resident of Tyler who is a bonafide firearms and self-defense expert and a number of other experts who followed the situation very closely. Their observations mirror Michael Menduno's thesis that Mark Wilson's death was the result of an accumulation of smaller mistakes, any one of which taken individually was probably survivable.
Here's what we discussed last weekend:
1) Wilson's initial choice of weaponry put him at an immediate disadvantage. He chose his regular carry gun, a Glock 9mm (sorry...don't know which one). Handgun against rifle is a classic worst-case scenario.
2) The attacker was wearing body armor. My understanding from off-the-record sources is that Wilson, a skilled shooter, shot at least a five-to-seven shot group on the attacker's chest, any one of which should have been fatal. The armor negated Wilson's marksmanship.
3) Wilson went prone behind his pickup truck to present a smaller target behind cover. Apparently, the combination of being hit and in a prone position rendered Wilson unable to escape the attacker's advance.
What can we infer from Wilson's actions? Well, Wilson's actions were in line with a lot of current training. We're taught quick reaction is critical, and the quickest reaction is with the gun closest at hand. I don't know about you, but RIGHT NOW the closest gun to my hand is a J-frame S&W in .38 Special, a pocket carry gun. There is a rifle upstairs, but the remainder of my rifles are in the safe in the gunroom. Might that be a situation I need to reevaluate? In my home, do I need better access to a rifle?
I do not own body armor. I'm going to have to think about that. If I had body armor in my house and/or in my car, I would be able to at least add an additional level of protection should I face a shooting situation either in my home or in public.
An additional point on armor...there's a lot of it out there! Does my training (and, by extension, the competitions in which I participate) accurately reflect that fact? Mine does — for decades, I have kept some variation of the "Mozambique drill," two shots center mass; one head shot, in my training. In simulations and training scenarios, I try to think in terms of three center mass shots, followed by multiple head shots. IF ALL YOUR TRAINING IS FOCUSED ON CENTER-MASS SHOTS, I SUGGEST YOU REEVALUATE YOUR TRAINING TODAY!
We need a "PLAN B...PLAN C...PLAN D...etc." training mindset, that is, a continuous flow from Pan A to Plan B, etc. Granted, this requires Real World situational awareness: "three shots center mass, head shot head shot, pelvis shot, pelvis shot, etc." UNTIL THE ATTACKER IS NEUTRALIZED! We cannot shoot...stop...evaluate...shot again if necessary. There is not enough time!
Additional point about training — marksmanship matters! Head shots are hard, especially when someone else is shooting at you. onsider. The pelvic girdle is a small target. Take an IDPA/USPSA target and draw body armor on it...now reevaluate your shot placement. Also consider trainer Dane Burns' mantra...distance from threat is good; more distance is even better. The farther you are from the target, the harder it is to make the shots. Think about it.
If we're serious about this, we must add FORCE-ON-FORCE scenarios to our training! We need to be able to train in an environment where the targets shoot back, because it profoundly changes one's approaches! I mentioned Karl Rehn's training in a previous post as being particularly effective because he intentionally inserts an element of chaos in the simulations.
We need to reevaluate our preprogrammed responses to situations. I've always considered prone firing from behind cover as an acceptable course of action. My question is now this...does the loss of mobility inherent in prone overcome the most stable marksmanship platform and smaller profile? Another question...do I practice lateral movement enough in my training? I am beginning to believe more and more that movement = survival; does my training reflect that?
Mistakes accumulate, until you've no longer got any moves on the table.
Okay, this post is long enough as it is. Comments??? Especially from the training community...