Square range training is vital to developing basic marksmanship, basic weapon manipulation techniques, and even footwork, but it simply doesn’t prepare you to fight the way that force-on-force training against live opponents can.

Yesterday we watched two force-on-force runs by Gunsite Academy 350 Intermediate Pistol students. The first was a journalist, and the second was a police public information officer.

“What happens,” you may be wondering, “when we put an experienced police officer with street and SWAT experience in the same situation?”

Here’s the answer.

You’ll note that Officer Joe quickly fired a controlled pair into the body of the attacker stabbing the victim, then shifted his aim upward for a headshot as part of a non-standard response (NSR), which is one of several possible responses you’ll learn to apply effectively at a good shooting school.

You may also note that his post-shooting reaction was better than that of the two shooters featured yesterday, another police officer,  and myself, all of whom followed an instinct to move forward and attempt to “clear” the structure.

He instead immediately called for 911, and made sure that he told the caller what to say, so that responding officers would know they were coming up on a “good guy with a gun.”

He then kept his distance from the attacker, and wisely opted to use the wall for cover, prompting the instructor to end the exercise.

You might be able to run this scenario slightly better if you gamed it out beforehand, but Officer Joe pretty much nailed this force-on-force run.

This is how it’s done, folks.