Issue 25

Reality-Based Training

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Obviously, the closer you get your training to the actual situations you may face, the better prepared you'll be in the event you need to put your training to use.  There is a growing trend called "Reality-Based Training" (RBT).  A type of this that most people are aware of is with various martial arts.  You train to fight, and you test (and polish) your skills in sparring sessions and other competitions.

While not as realistic as hand-to-hand sparring, the philosophy behind these training techniques can be used with pepper spray and Tasers literally in your backyard.  You can also include certain aspects of RBT in handgun training at the firing range.

Moving Targets

One of the most difficult aspects when using any type of self-defense weapon is movement - either by you or the attacker.  Generally speaking during a threatening situation, either you are fleeing from the attacker, or the attacker is running at you. 

Being inaccurate with your pepper spray, Taser probes or bullets from a gun can, at best, waste your precious self-defense resouces.  At worse, an innocent bystander could be injured or killed.

Pepper Spray and Taser Drill

As we teach in our Defensive Sprays and Stunning Devices workshop, set a target - paper plates work well for this - on a tree or stake about 5 or 6 feet high.  Stand back from the target the maximum distance your spray will carry (this varies with each type of spray canister). 

Shoot a one- or two-second burst at the plate, then immediately step to one side.  You need to assume that your attacker is charging you and you don't want them grabbing or tackling you even if you have a direct hit to the face.

Another drill that can be used with pepper spray or Tasers is to start behind your target.  Run forward, past the side of the target.  When you are past the target - no further than the distance your spray will carry, or less than 15 feet for a Taser - fire at the target while you're still moving.  This will let you see how accurate you are able to aim while on the move.

Please note, that with pepper spray, be sure you know which way the wind is blowing (literally)!  You do not want to practice either of these drills by shooting into the wind.  You may end up getting a dose of the spray yourself!

Firearm Drills

Far and away, the best way to practice RBT with firearms is to join a gun club that has an IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) or IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) certification program.  These programs allow you to practice multiple drills while moving, negotiating various shooting scenarios (shooting from behind cover, or through staged rooms) or at moving targets.

If these are not available, you can still do certain drills to help sharpen your skills at a regular, public range.

Set-up your paper target with two or more stick-on bulls-eyes.  High and low, and side to side.  Present your firearm and fire at one of the stick-on targets.  Immediately afterwards, aim at one of the other stick-ons and fire.  This gives you practice at rapidly acquiring multiple targets.

You can also practice by starting at the far side of your shooting point, firing, then taking a lateral step to the opposite far side of your shooting point, and firing again.  This will help you develop your firing-while-moving skills.

Of course, always follow the regulations of the firing range you attend.  If you have any doubt as to whether these types of training drills are allowed, check with the range master first.

Regardless of your choice of defensive tool, you want to, "practice like it's real" whenever possible.  In the event you are ever forced to defend yourself, you will have the knowledge and confidence that you can do so safely and effectively.

Next Issue:  Understanding The Mechanics of Your Defensive Tool

Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting for individuals, businesses and organizations.

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