I just stumbled across a video of a Gunsite Academy client—quite obviously, a member of the U.S. military—running through one of the shoothouses in the 223 Carbine Class.

Roughly the first have of the video is the student’s run through the shoothouse, and that’s followed by the most important part for the student, the instructor’s critique. It’s here where you discover just how badly you’ve screwed up. You learn from “dying” here (often repeatedly) so you don’t end up dying in the real world when it matters.

This serviceman was “killed” by the very first target, who was a bad guy standing outside an open window of the first room he was focused on clearing. You can see here where he would have taken hits at 1:12 in the video.


The serviceman developed tunnel vision, and was so intensely focused on technique footwork, angles, clearing the room and possible threats down the open hallway to his right that he didn’t see the bad guy just outside the window. It’s a very painful lesson that I learned almost the exact same way in 250 Pistol in 2014… Twice.

But guess what I don’t do anymore?  I always check my windows, multiple times, as I move around the room.

These simulator runs also teach you just how vital it is to use your sights, even on targets that are so close that you “can’t miss.”

This soldier seemed to get hits on all the targets he saw, but there was definitely room for improvement on the quality of his hits, even though he was using a rifle at close range. Once again, I’ve been there; I missed a target in 250 Pistol with two shots completely at a range of six feet. It was at a spot I wasn’t expecting it to be and I just pointed and pulled the trigger in a panic.

Now I may not get the best hits (still working on mastering a smooth trigger press under stress),  or the fastest hits, but I am learning to make sure I my sights on target and focus on the sight, not the target. My 350 Intermediate Pistol simulator runs showed improvement as a result.

And that’s the point.

We know that in the real world people don’t “rise to the occasion.” They instead  default to their level of training.

Get trained, folks.