Would you teach the class differently…

A couple of years ago, an acquaintance of mine put up on Facebook a question about “As a firearms/self-defense trainer who teaches courses, if someone came to you knowing (for certain) that they’d have to use their firearm as a lethal-force response to a self-defense threat tomorrow, would you teach them any differently?”

I said:  “Of course I would!”

Whereupon I got jumped all over by lots of people who claimed that as firearms instructors, their classes were all completely focused on teaching REAL self-defense, and that if I had to change my class, it was an indicator that my class just wasn’t very good.

Which just goes to show that like any other group of people, “firearms instructors” contains all kinds, a significant proportion of which are idiots who have no idea what they are talking about.

Why am I right and they were idiots?

If you have a gun (whether for hunting, competition, self-defense, or generalized plinking), the person most likely to shoot you…is you. Most people will not ever be in a lethal-response-level self-defense situation.  But anyone who owns a gun for self-defense purposes (and actually prepares to use it, as opposed to putting it in a drawer and leaving it there) will be handling a firearm on a regular basis.  As such, the thing most people need in their initial training is conceptual theory and practice at being safe with a firearm.  Defensive skills come after that.  As Kathy Jackson at The Cornered Cat has said:  “Putting the gun into the holster is the most dangerous thing most people ever do with a firearm.”

And it is also (other than driving a car on a busy road) about the most dangerous situation most people will ever be in.  And just like driving, people will get complacent about safety technique because “I haven’t had any problems yet” is one common way for foolish people to justify being unsafe.

In my Introduction to Handguns class, we teach people how to build and practice safety habits so that you always do them at an unconscious level—so when you are distracted, or under stress, you’ll still do them properly.  We aren’t going to be teaching you to draw from concealment in that class—and if, in your first Introduction to Handguns class, the instructor DOES teach that particular skill, then either 1) it is a multi-day class with a tiny, TINY student-to-teacher ratio and a bunch of very, very motivated students, 2) the student somehow magically KNOWS that they are going to be in a self-defense situation the next day, the teacher believes them, and so they are doing something completely different than normal, or 3) the instructor is an idiot.

And #3 apparently happens a lot, judging from the responses I got.

If you aren’t a felon or someone who either does drugs and breaks the law or hangs out with people who do drugs or breaks the law, then your chances of being shot are….small.  Not zero, but small.  And of those chances, if you are a gun owner, the majority of that small chance of being shot all comes from you shooting yourself or a family member accidentally shooting you.

Safety is a thing.  And it is an important one.  If you can’t keep your finger outside of the trigger guard and pinned to the frame or slide when you aren’t shooting, if you can’t demonstrate muzzle control—then I can help you learn how to do that so you won’t shoot yourself.  But if you think it isn’t important or don’t want to do it or “I’ve been shooting for 25 years and I’ve been just fine”—-then that’s completely up to you but I don’t want you around me or anyone I care about, because you aren’t safe.

So:  You’ve got 1 hour, 50 rounds, and your ex-boyfriend has already told you he is going to break into your home tonight and kill you?  (Assuming for some magic reason that you can’t simply “not be home” or something else equally easy to stop tonight’s specific issues…)  Sure, I’ll teach you what I can to help you save your life.  And it won’t resemble my Introduction to Handguns class at all.

If you are like everyone else in the world, however, the most important thing you can learn in an introduction to firearms class is how to be safe so that you don’t shoot yourself or anyone you care about.

So yes—-I’m going to teach those two classes differently.  Anyone who says they wouldn’t is probably an idiot.


2017: How are you going to get better this year?

At the start of 2016, I posted an article about one of the things I was going to try to do to get better at shooting throughout the year, which was attempt to dryfire every day.  While I didn’t manage to meet my goal of dryfiring every day, I did certainly dryfire much more often than I had in the past, and it made a difference to my shooting.   (I made excuses for myself on some days later in the year, rationalizing not putting in the work.  The excuses weren’t valid, and it isn’t like the extra 3 minutes I got instead of practicing ended up being useful to me.  One of my goals this year is to not make excuses for not doing the work.)

You should dryfire also.  Seriously.  You don’t have to grind at it for an hour daily (well, if you are able to you certainly can!) and you don’t always have to put on all your gear to get it done–you can actually perform a good, simple drill that takes less than 3 minutes, doesn’t require you putting on any gear, and WILL make you a better shooter if you do it daily.  Sure, if you ARE able to practice in dryfire for an average of an hour a day, you will get SIGNIFICANTLY better.  But, if you are like most adults and have other priorities in your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get in good practice.

Drill Zero:

And you can’t argue that you don’t have a free three minutes in any particular day.

To help you make sure you are drilling every single day, here’s a 2017 Dryfire Report Card so that you can track every day that you help make yourself a better shooter.  Download it, print it, then put it up somewhere next to where you’ll practice.  Every day, color in the box for that day, showing that you at least practiced Drill Zero.  My personal goal for 2017 is that every single day I will practice physical pistol skills in some fashion, and I’m going to mark in black days I do Drill Zero, blue the days I do longer dryfire sessions, purple the days I dryfire with guns other than my carry gun or primary competition handgun, red the days I live fire practice, and green the days I test myself either in competitions or in training classes.  (Yes, I own a lot of Sharpies.  Doesn’t everyone?)

You can mark it differently, of course, but I like tracking how much I do each different kind of work.  I didn’t manage to meet my goal in 2016, but I got in a LOT of practice that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.  I’m hoping that this year, I’ll meet my goal.

Awhile back I posted an article on some variations on Drill Zero to give you some other things to try–they still don’t take any more time than the original Drill Zero, but allow you to change things up while still getting in some practice on important things that will make you better at shooting.

For the first two variations, you will need this target: 5_2in_Dots

There are a number of other things you can do in any particular year to make yourself better–take classes, compete, test yourself against known objective measurements of skills–but the one thing that doesn’t take any money and doesn’t require you to go to the range is dryfire.

And you can make yourself a MUCH better shooter just by doing dryfire.

Every day, get a little better.  Try it!

Measuring long-term performance increases…

People who actually want to get better at shooting, AND have the self-discipline to put in the work, find pretty quickly that if they never shoot any diagnostic drills then they have no idea what they are good or bad at, which means they don’t really know what they should be working on.

It is really temping to just work on the things that you think are “fun” — but chances are, those things are both easy and also are things you are already good at.  Sure, doing that (and getting even better) isn’t a bad thing–but if that is all you do, you simply aren’t going to get much better overall.

It is important to understand where you are with regard to basic shooting skills, so you can work on removing weaknesses, and increasing overall skills.  There are a number of drill descriptions on the Internet that do a good job of being diagnostic–in other words, they allow you to rate your ability at certain skills.  Now, it is important to pick the diagnostic drills that monitor and rate the skills that are most important for you.  If most of your needs are for concealed carry defensive skills, using the 500-point bullseye test as a diagnostic isn’t going to be very helpful, or at least it isn’t going to be testing skills that are as important to you as a different drill might.

(That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that drill once or twice sometime, because it’ll tell you something about a particular set of skills.  BUT….it is a much lower priority than other skills for your particular situation.)

So the first thing is to look at your main reason for having a gun.  Competition?  Concealed carry?  Bullseye precision?  What exactly is the most important thing you will need to do with your gun?

Once you have that, then you can figure out what specific skills are the ones you need to prioritize in terms of becoming competent, (and later, hopefully expert).

Here’s three good, short diagnostic drills, along with a list (in some cases, partial list) what skills they test.  This list is primarily focused on physical shooting skills that should probably be priorities in terms of skill-building for self-defense purposes.

  • Hackathorn 3-Second Head Shot Standards
    Skills tested:  Draw to first shot, accuracy at speed, accuracy under known time pressure, transitions
  • F.A.S.T.
    Skills tested:  Draw to first shot, accuracy at speed, appropriate speed for low-percentage versus high-percentage targets, slidelock (emergency) reload, shot after reload
  • 10 Round Assault Course
    Skills tested:  Draw to first shot, precision accuracy at distance, accuracy at speed, shot after movement, shooting while moving

Some reasons I like those three:

  1. None of them take very many rounds, or much time.
  2. You get only one chance to do it right, and you can’t fix mistakes you make.  There are no makeup shots, and no fixing errors.  Either you do it right, or it shows.
  3. Every single one puts you under time pressure of some sort.  Now, this isn’t important if your main focus is bullseye accuracy–you should be using different diagnostics for that.  But for a self-defense or competition focus, time is ALWAYS important.  Diagnostics that don’t include time pressure are ignoring an element of  primary importance for those foci. (And these three drills all include time pressure in different ways.)

Recently, Rob Pincus has continued his crusade to have people stop getting better at shooting skills by again claiming that using timers (and other tools used for actual skill-rating metrics) isn’t useful and will actually make you worse.

This, of course, is belied by the knowledge that every teacher/instructor/trainer of any physical skill knows, which is that if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t work, you can’t actually get better in an efficient fashion.  Sure, there are plenty of self-defense skills that you can’t put on a timer.  (Or measure in an objective fashion.)  This doesn’t change the fact that keeping track of the physical shooting skills that you hold as a priority is important–because you can then look at what you do well, and what you need to work on.

What diagnostic drills do you like?  Why do you like them?  What skills are you tracking over time?


Range Safety, Part I…

So, being out at the range the other day, I observed yet another set of range behaviors that again defied my understanding.  I don’t get how people can commit such egregious safety fails without any understanding of why it is a problem.

And while pointing it out in articles time and again doesn’t seem to be helping, I thought I’d write about it again because there ALSO seems to be a lacking of understanding of how range rules are ALSO things you have to pay attention to regarding safety and range procedures.

Everyone should of course know the basic four rules of safety (if not, put the gun down, step back, and learn them first.)  1) Behave as if the gun is loaded at all times, 2) don’t point it at anything you are not prepared to destroy, 3) keep your finger off the trigger until you are prepared to shoot, and 4) know your target and your backstop.  Sure, there are multiple variations of the wording for those, but the meanings tend to be fairly consistent.

And yet…

So I’m at the range, and I see a guy wearing a bright red hooded sweatshirt that says “POLICE” on the back in big block letters, and he is “instructing” three other folks in shooting.  He first brings himself to my attention because one guy is standing there with the gun up in a not-too-bad stance and grip, and the “instructor” is standing directly in front of him hitting the front of the gun with the palm of his hand.

Now, I get the “showing how a good grip and stance mitigates recoil” demo going on here, but literally, this is why blue guns were invented, so you didn’t have to stand in front of a real gun and put your hand over the muzzle.

I can hear it now:  “But it wasn’t loaded!”

I don’t care.  That was stupid.  Don’t do that.

(Taking a closer look later as I walked by, I saw that the back of his hooded sweatshirt actually said “POLICE Firearms Instructor” which did not make me feel better. I rather pitied his police students.)

Later, I’m sitting in my car getting ready to leave, and I look up to see what looks to be a grandfather/father/son group on a bay, setting up.  The son runs downrange to set up a target when the father pulls a gun out of a bag (carefully pointing it downrange), works the slide a couple of times, puts a mag in and out twice, works the slide again, and sets it down.

It was of course pointed straight at his son the entire time, because his son was straight downrange putting up a target.

I can hear it now:  “But it wasn’t loaded!”  I don’t care.  (And it WAS, briefly, since you put a loaded magazine in it a couple of times, though I’m not sure why.)

That was stupid.  Don’t do that.

But separate from the numbers of people who ignore the rules of general firearms safety, we have the people who don’t seem to understand that it is ALSO important to understand the safety rules for the particular range you are using.  They have additional rules, and you should abide by them.  Sure, some may be in place purely for insurance purposes, or were made by people who are afraid of anything that makes you shoot faster than once every two seconds–but some are probably there for reasons that are safety-specific to that particular range.

And you don’t get to pick-and-choose which ones you are going to follow.

Example:  At the Eastern Nebraska Gun Club, the rifle ranges are common firing lines.  However, the pistol bays are NOT.  Whoever is on the bay first has the bay, and if they don’t want anyone else shooting in that bay, that’s how it is.  Now, a couple of the bays are large and wide, and sometimes people don’t mind making a common firing line–but it isn’t required, and if someone is practicing USPSA or Multigun, moving, shooting at angles, etc, they don’t want someone else on the bay shooting at the same time.  It isn’t safe.

So that same day when I’m on the range watching the “POLICE Firearms Instructor” and the grandfather/father/son trio, I also have to have a talk with a guy who walked up to a large bay (in which someone was already shooting) and started to unload his stuff, to pull out guns and targets.  The original guy said “you can’t shoot here” and the second guy started to argue with him.

Now first:  Don’t argue.  If you need to discuss something, ask for clarification, whatever—sure, do it.  But don’t argue.  Don’t raise your voice, don’t declaim angrily “this is a public range!  I can shoot here!” when neither of those things are true.

But secondly:  The range rules are clear.  Whoever is in the bay first has the bay, at ENGC.  Other ranges may be different.  The rifle bays at ENGC are different.  But in the pistol bays, those are the rules.  And if you are going to be shooting at any range, you need to understand the rules of the range.

If you don’t, you are wrong.  That’s stupid.  Don’t do that.

The other day I saw a guy running a pretty energetic rifle practice.  He had paper silhouette targets all over the range, and was double-tapping (ug! but we’ll let that go because it isn’t a safety issue) everything left and right as he ran complicated patterns through them.  At one point as he was running he turned to the side and put two in a paper target that was slightly behind him next to the berm, took another step forward, then turned the other direction and took two shots (that also hit) at a paper target on the other side of the bay next to the berm that was ALSO slightly behind him.

We had a little talk about breaking the 180, and not keeping the muzzle pointed downrange.  That’s a range rule at ENGC.

His contention was that he was shooting into the berms, so it wasn’t an issue.  My response was pretty simple:  It is against the range rules.

And the REASON for that particular range rule is because we live in Nebraska, and there are these things called “rocks” that exist and sometimes can be found in berms.  If you shoot one, the bullet may ricochet off and continue to head uprange.  Where other people are standing.  Matter of fact, this particular bay’s uprange end was pointing toward the back of a different bay, and anything heading uprange would head right into the most-used firing line in the pistol bays.  (Yes, I’m aware that ricochets happen with rocks for other reasons.  But shooting uprange makes the potential for problems much more likely.)

There may be other ranges where “as long as it goes into the berm, it’s good” is a range rule.  This isn’t one of them.  And you don’t get to argue whether or not the range rule is a good one when you are shooting.  You want it changed?  Come to a board meeting and argue.

When you are shooting, obey the range rules.

If you don’t, that’s stupid.  Don’t do that.

Is the New York Reload faster?

I was recently in a firearms class when the instructor, in the middle of demonstrating a drill involving reloads, suddenly dropped his gun, dropped to a knee, pulled a j-frame revolver out of an ankle holster, and engaged the target.  When he stood up he grinned and said “And when you want a REALLY FAST reload, you simply grab another gun.”

That got me thinking, because up until that point in time I had simply gone along with the assumption:  New Gun = Faster.   Don’t have to drop the mag and find a new one and insert the new one and then shoot–just hit that New York Reload (for those new to firearms, a “New York Reload” is simply pulling another gun) and life is good.

Of course, it could be better.

BostonReloadBut….is that really true?  Are New York reloads (NYR) actually faster?

Watching the instructor pull his backup gun (BUG), I really wondered—because here was a skilled, experienced instructor whom I respected, and it took probably a little over 2 seconds from shot to shot between the old gun and the new gun–and he knew when the old gun was going to go dry so it wasn’t a surprise.  Sure, plenty of people don’t have 2-second reloads.  But…most people don’t have 2-second draws from BUG positions, either…

So are NYRs normally faster than standard reloads?

I thought I’d find out, or at least get one comparative data set.  In my case, instead of drawing a small backup gun from a ankle holster or some other place equally difficult to reach, I used a G19 from an IWB holster carried strong side behind the hip as the BUG.  My normal carry is a G17 in an AIWB holster, so I went from my normal carry gun as the primary, to a “BUG” that was a common primary carry pistol using a normal primary draw type for most people who carry.

In other words, I’m giving the NYR the maximum chance to be fast, by making it an easy gun to draw and shoot, and doing so from the place where most people carry their primary.

Contrasting this, I’ll be performing a normal reload-to-shot from my standard extra magazine carry position.

Here’s what happened:

There just doesn’t seem to be that much difference in time.  If I was drawing a j-frame from an ankle holster, it would have been even slower.

…I’m just not seeing much in the way of saved time here, using a New York reload.

Now, no matter what else is true, there are some useful things specific to each type of “reload”:

New York Reload Advantages:

  • If your primary has an unfixable malfunction (at least, unfixable within a useful time frame) the NYR is obviously going to work best.
  • If your primary is taken, lost, or unavailable due to position, then the NYR is obviously going to work best.

Standard Reload Advantages:

  • You aren’t reloading to a smaller gun that is harder to shoot well.
  • You are reloading to another full magazine of ammunition, instead of a 5-shot snubbie or something similar.  (If you shot so much that the gun went empty once, the idea of now only having 5 rounds doesn’t sound good…)
  • You don’t have to reach to draw from a non-primary position.  Example:  You can’t draw from an ankle holster if you are trying to run for cover.  Or run anywhere.  Many backup guns are holstered in unobtrusive (meaning:  slower to draw from and harder to get to) positions, making them harder (and slower) to access.

So ignoring the time differences, there are some potential cases when the New York Reload is the only one that will get you a working gun.  In others, the standard reload is the only one that will make it happen.

Best choice?  Obviously having both an extra magazine and a backup gun to cover all the bases.

That being said–there just doesn’t seem to be much of a time difference between the two “reloads” when going from shot to shot.  And in my case, my standard reloads are actually probably going to be faster than any backup gun that I’d actually carry.*




*Obviously this sample is one case, based on one set of guns/holsters, done by one person.  If your reloads suck worse than mine, maybe the BUG will be faster.  If you can’t hit anything at speed with a tiny gun past 3 yards, maybe the standard reload will be best for you.  But….that difference isn’t a function of the method, that’s a function of shooter skill.  From the viewpoint of method, there just doesn’t seem to be as much of a time difference as many people might think—especially if someone is drawing a tiny BUG from deep cover.

Fundamental Gun Handling Videos: Part IV, The Reload

There are a number of different ways to perform a reload, and a number of different reload “types” that people perform.  Administrative reloads, speed reloads, emergency reloads, tactical reloads, reload-with-retention, slide-closed emergency reloads…

…in the end, they are all about getting ammo back in the gun and being able to shoot it again as fast as possible.  (Well, except for the admin reload. We are going to ignore that, however.)

There are already a number of videos out there that show how to perform various types of reloads, and we don’t need another one.  Instead, as is normal in this series, this video will talk about some of the most common errors people commit in their reloads, and show you how to fix them.

Don’t forget to keep your finger pinned to the frame or slide while performing your reload, and don’t put it back into the trigger guard until you have the gun pointing on target and you plan to fire.  Even if you screw everything else up, get the safety part correct.

Oh–and don’t reload sideways.  STAHP.



Posts in this series:

Gun Defenses and Disarms

I recently participated in a discussion regarding gun defenses, which started from a video by Polenar Tactical regarding how little it takes to cause a handgun’s slide to not function correctly.  It surprised me that many people didn’t know how easy it is to cause the slide of a semi-auto to not cycle correctly.  Merely putting a thumb on the rear of the slide is enough to stop the slide, and no, it doesn’t hurt your hand at all.

It led into a discussion about (after off-lining the gun) what to do when defending against a firearm:  perform a disarm at distance, use the body to control the gun, or enter while jamming.  For awhile at the beginning, there was some discussion as we all attempted to make sure we understood exactly what the other person meant by phrases like “jam the gun” or “use the body to control the gun.”  (Which was good, actually, because sometimes in discussions like that people don’t bother to make sure they are all talking about the same thing, and it goes downhill from there.)

It caught my attention a bit during the discussion about whether or not it was a good idea to close with the attacker and jam the gun, primarily because in my experience (which is limited to observations of training and force-on-force evolutions, not people actually being shot because having a large amount of experience at this is something I don’t want to gather) whether or not the defender should close is often highly based on the relative sizes of the attacker and defender.

Another way of saying that is if the attacker is bigger than you, closing with him isn’t a good idea unless you have no other choice.

Now–opinions vary on this.  Other people in the discussion had closing/jamming being their primary reaction.  (My response was “I bet you are a pretty big guy” because that would be an excellent choice for a big guy, though not necessarily for others.)

Here’s a little video showing the various conceptual choices you have regarding gun defenses.  In general, you can offline the gun and move outside, move inside, or you can offline the gun upward.  After that, you can perform a disarm/attack at distance, you can use your body to control the gun at distance, or you can close/jam the attacker.  Effectively, pretty much every gun defense (that doesn’t include weapons) is one of those things.

The video doesn’t include what to do after those points, and it definitely doesn’t include information about how to offline the gun in the first place.  You want to know how to get the attacker to miss the fact that you are removing yourself from harm’s way?  How to mis-align the attacker’s weapon so you don’t get shot?  Take a class.  Making it clear how to do that in public seems a great way to educate attackers, and I don’t really see a need for that.

The point of the video is to understand the common choices of entry, and then the pros and cons of the various followup ideas that are possible from that point–and there are certainly strengths and weaknesses for each.

In the video, I didn’t discuss at all what you can do with weapons of your own–such as having a gun and the ability to draw it quickly one handed for close-range shooting or having a quick-access blade for close-quarter work–because that changes things significantly.  It doesn’t make “not getting shot immediately” any easier, nor does it automatically make you safe or let you “win” if you think about it in that fashion.

But it does give you more choices.  For example, if you are moving in close to jam the gun, stopping the other person quickly isn’t easy to do, and you BOTH are effectively equal in terms of capabilities at that range, depending on your relative size.  If, however, you have a knife in hand, ANY strike you do can be significant. (That isn’t the same as debilitating, though.) Similarly, if you are able to jam the other person and simultaneously draw your own firearm and place shots into the attacker, that’s a big deal.

In those last two cases, size isn’t nearly as important a factor as it would be if you didn’t have a self-defense tool (read:  weapon) available to you.

There’s a lot of gun disarm/gun defense videos out there.  Many are pretty cool looking, some have solid technique.  Unfortunately, many are also pure nonsense in terms of actual effectiveness, much of which is because the technique itself is Hollywood-style crap that looks good but only works against someone who isn’t actually resisting.

When looking at gun defenses, bear in mind:

  • If the offline doesn’t work, you are dead.  It has to work against a resisting attacker.  The cool-looking gun strip at the end means nothing if you’ve already been shot in the face getting your hands on the gun.
  • If the technique is a distance disarm using arm strength that won’t work against someone who resists and can move, then it isn’t a good technique.
  • If the technique is a body-on-body gun jam that requires you to incapacitate the attacker while jamming the gun, then body size WILL make a difference unless you are lucky or catch the opponent by surprise.  (Because after that point in time your attacker has just as much chance to making a debilitating strike as you do at that range.)
  • If the guy teaching the technique won’t ever show you what it looks like versus an active attacker using a gas AirSoft gun and face/throat protection (or something similar, even a laser designator), he doesn’t think it’s any good either.
  • Different techniques are most effective for different people.  All techniques will not work equally for everyone.  Make sure you understand which ones fit your strengths best–and which ones you only try if you HAVE to do so.

Take this picture shown below, for example.  This is a promo picture from a certain training school/organization specifically for a gun defense seminar–and yet, looking at it (as a static picture, maybe a video would be better but I doubt it) it seems to violate several important things.  The direction of the gun is not controlled–the attacker can turn their wrist fairly easily as you can’t clamp very hard that way.  If the elbow strike by the defender is not significant, then the attacker is not particularly off-balance and the situation will effectively be on an even footing–except he has a gun that you don’t control, and he does.

What is stopping the attacker from simply turning his hand and shooting you?  Even by mistake?

What is stopping the attacker from simply turning his hand and shooting you? Even by mistake?

I realize that the picture makes it look as it the attackers are off-balance, but that is completely a function of the elbow strike.  If the elbow strike doesn’t work, is blocked, jammed, or off-target, the off-balance will not happen from that technique.  Stepping in, binding the arm but not the weapon, and relying on a striking technique to stop the attacker sufficiently so that even by mistake he doesn’t turn the gun into you and fire is just NOT A GOOD IDEA.

How about this picture?

Yes, because gun attacks look exactly like this.

Yes, because gun attacks look exactly like this.

Oddly enough, even though this picture by itself contains much contrived “let’s make it easy on the instructor by being completely non-realistic” derp, the YouTube video it comes from is actually not bad, and is one of the few I’ve seen that does a good job of describing how to make an upward offline technique work.  However, it still is a low-percentage technique for offlining in the first place–even though it LOOKS like it works really well in the video, it only looks good  because the gun is pointed so high in the first place that merely hunching the head down is sufficient to take it offline, and apparently no attacker ever pulls the gun downward by jerking the trigger.  (I’ll also note that the technique as taught piece-by-piece isn’t the technique the instructor uses at speed.)

Practicing versus a partner who is just holding the gun out is necessary in the beginning, as you need to practice the specifics of the technique in the beginning.  However, once that is solid, a GOOD instructor will have the students start training with increasing levels of resistance–and perhaps set up verbal interactions also.  However, since many schools/instructors don’t do this, many students are convinced that their techniques will work even if they have been taught poor technique.   As I said, if the guy teaching the technique won’t ever demonstrate it in a force-on-force situation where there is an actual consequence for failure (and gas AirSoft guns STING like you wouldn’t believe), then that’s a Bad Sign.

Force-on-force testing is a wonderful thing.  Failing a force-on-force test doesn’t automatically mean the technique is bad—nothing is foolproof, and you may well be doing it wrong.  However, if someone can easily shoot the instructor repeatedly, well…

….quit listening to that instructor.  He’s going to get you killed.