force on force

In a move that will come as an absolute shock to no one, “research” funded by a radical gun control group has been shaped to draw a conclusion would greatly restrict who can carry firearms for self-defense, and force them to undergo expensive and time-consuming training that wouldn’t necessarily change how they would perform in a typical real-world scenario.

The National Gun Victims Action Council funded “research” by three Mount St. Mary’s University academics that resulted in the pseudo-scientific 57-page report, “Firearms Training Self-Defense & Does the Quality and Frequency of Training Determine the Realistic Use of Firearms by Citizens for Self-Defense?” (PDF).

The Christian Science Monitor gushed about the conclusions reached by the authors.

The recent investigation used 77 volunteers and had each of them participate in three scenarios – a carjacking, an armed robbery, and a case of suspected larceny.

People with firearms training performed better than those without it.

The Washington Post noted the latter “didn’t take cover. They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy – they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough – they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.”

According to CCU, 93 percent of single-gunshot wounds are survivable, which goes against the common expectation that one bullet is enough to stop a threat. This assumption was reflected in the study, which found “participants with no skills were not only slow to fire, but did not fire enough shots to effectively neutralize the threat they faced.”

The report also noted five states have passed laws that eliminate any training as a requirement for carrying a handgun in public and said minimum standards for tests required to employ concealed-carry are not even high enough.

It said consensus among law enforcement and firearm experts agreed with their findings and argued in favor of mandatory firearms training.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has complicated views on requirements for concealed carry.

Following the Newton, Conn. shooting, which left 26 people dead, including 20 children, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” CBS News reported.

The Washington Post reports the organization has “floated the idea of mandatory firearms training for school children,” but has also “opposed laws requiring mandatory training for gun purchases.”

According to the report, the NRA’s hostility to such laws was founded on the idea “citizens are capable of deciding for themselves that attending firearms training is the responsible thing to do” and do not need to be “micromanage[d].”

But the study notes training teaches participants more than how to shoot an assailant: it also “increases the probability that one will take protective cover, issue commands and attempt to de-escalate the situation before it becomes deadly and exercise trigger discipline, which reduces the chance of accidentally firing and potentially harming bystanders.”

 

Regular readers know that we agree with many of the individual ideas mentioned in this report:

  • We believe that concealed carry certification courses mandated by many states are not actually firearms training, and are inadequate in almost every discernible way other than in generating revenue.
  • We believe that quality firearms training is invaluable, and that people should invest heavily in training from quality instructors.
  • We believe that scenario-based training, including carefully-constructed force-on-force training, is imperative, as “square range” training at stationary targets in front of a berm does not come close to training people to survive a real-world encounter.

We believe the more realistic training that you get and the more frequently you put in quality practice, the better off you will be. Data (not just in this report, but in this and related fields) supports this generalization. Those who have the skills, training, and a plan are going to run circles around those who don’t, just like an athlete who has honed his skills in his sport for years is going to utterly destroy your average layperson attempting to play against him who has only minimal and infrequent practice.

What none of the researchers nor the media outlets gushing over the report want to discuss is the elephant in the room: the context for an average concealed carrier using a firearm in self-defense is radically different for that of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. Put bluntly, the subjects of the test were forced to role-play in a law-enforcement training scenario, so that the study would arrive at the predetermined outcome that you need to be trained like a law enforcement officer to perform well in law enforcement scenarios.

A student works o shooting and moving with a carbine with another student at the Multi-Quad range.

Who could have predicted that outcome?

You cannot fabricate one context for your testing scenario, then insist that that same context (law enforcement) is analogous to the realities of concealed carriers. Their contexts are not remotely the same, other than the fact that both may have to face a criminal and bring a firearm into play.

Law enforcement officers are tasked with hunting down and making contact with suspected criminals, and are frequently dispatched to locations with little data and no idea who the good guys or bad guys are when he gets there, or even what they nature of the disturbance may be.

That is a radically different context than you typical defensive gun use (DGU) by a concealed carrier outside of the home, where they or someone nearby is the victim of an in-progress violent felony, the threat is clearly known because of his current violent actions, and there is generally far less shoot/don’t shoot ambiguity.

training

Put another way, When John Q. Public sees Dindu Nuffin pistol-whipping Mrs. Wilson at the grocery store and screaming that he’s going to kill her if she doesn’t hand over her purse, then the context of the incident is very different than that of Deputy Fife who is responding to the same incident, armed only with the knowledge that some reported seeing a man in the parking lot with a gun. Deputy Fife faces far more uncertainty and must get up to speed before he can take action. Mr. Public simply needs to determine if Dindu Nuffin constitutes a deadly force threat, and determine whether he wants to get involved, and if so, if he wants to open fire.

The more training Mr. Public has, the better equipped he will be to handle that threat. He will know his skill level, have a better idea of his competences and weaknesses, and may be better in his use of tactics to end the threat. It’s also quite possible that Mr. Public will walk straight up to Didndu Nuffin without a plan or training, pull his Taurus Judge out of his Serpa holster, and blow Dindu away with a contact shot as Dindu fixates on Mrs. Wilson. That happens far more frequently in the real world than many of us who are training junkies would like to admit. Of course, Dindu may also turn around and blow Mr. Public away without warning. That happens, too.

This “research” was apparently created to appease the paymasters at the National Gun Victims Action Council. This is a gun control group who wants there to be far fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, and who clearly favored results that would make it far more difficult for average citizens to carry arms for their self-defense. The clear goal of the report is manufacture data to support a demand for much more restrictive concealed carry requirements.

If these researchers actually gave a damn about determining the importance of training and how much training is required to prevail in a gunfight, they wouldn’t have to rely on scenarios, but could instead put in the work and post the results showing the level of formal training must victors in gunfights have under their belts.

That, of course, wouldn’t support the desire for gun control favored by the men writing checks to these academics at Mount St. Mary’s University.