MAY 31, 2016

Split Times: Critical for Competition, Not for Defense?

I recently became aware of the issue of how fast one needs to get hits in a fight from two venues. One was Dave Spaulding's "Triangle Drill," a recoil control exercise. The other was through the Tactical Professor, Claude Werner in his analysis of 2015 LAPD Officer Involved Shootings that had been released from the agency's Board of Police Commissioners. At the risk of spoiling the surprise, Claude identified three "initial interpretations: 1) your front sight is your friend. 2) your split times are virtually meaningless outside the competitive arena. 3) other tools are probably more useful than a spare magazine." While I'm more concerned about trigger control at the distance pistol fights normally occur – well, and further too – visually tracking the front sight is essential to accurate follow-up hits. And why do we need follow-up hits at all? Because handguns suck at stopping fights. Please, no caliber clashes, just go along with the fact that the violent criminal offender may stop at being shot once but he likely won't. As to the spare magazine, I pointed out that his injunction didn't apply to me as I carry it anyway as well as lots of other stuff. It may as well ride along too. But the split times, aren't those of huge import? Well, no. Dave Spaulding pointed out, in his video on the triangle drill (really, find it – it's worth watching and well worth your time to try), that the human eye takes right at .3 of a second to blink. Yeah. All those folks trying to get to that .15 second split want two rounds out within the blink of an eye. But how long does it take a determined attacker – or even a deer who doesn't know you're hiding 50 yards away with a .30-30 lever gun – to give up the fight? It's a hell of a lot longer than .15 - .30 of a second. Even if he piles up like he was hit by a train, approaching in a big hurry is a quick way to get yourself measured for a marble hat – whether he's a whitetail or a drug-crazed maniac. In any event, Dave fired his drill – five hits from ready at five yards into the triangle – and had splits between .25 and .33 seconds or so. When he poured it on, about .18 splits, his shots strayed clear of the triangle. On the street, you're accountable for any and all projectiles issuing from the muzzle of the piece. They're all yours and they have a mighty high price tag – legally, ethically and morally. On the range if your hits shuffle out into C and D zones, and you did it quickly enough you still have a chance. On the street, there's no joy: it's either a peripheral hit – often worthless in a fight -- or a clean miss. I'm not picking on USPSA either: the same goes for the -1/-3 zones in IDPA and nearly all of the NRA B-27 silhouette. Don't shoot quicker than you can hit. Constantly assess the threat through the sights. Control the trigger. You can't miss fast enough to win – only enough to create a tragedy. Carry a dozen guns and a cargo container of loaded magazines -- if you don't assess your work through the sights and shoot no faster than you can hit, it won't matter. -- Rich Grassi