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2018 Training AAR, and new Force Science Institute Paper

Greetings, war brothers and sisters, and Merry Christmas!

2018 was a busier-than-usual-lately training year for Tactical Anatomy Systems. In addition to having the honor of being asked to return to teach at the IALEFI-ATC (International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors – Annual Training Conference), I was brought in to conduct training with several LEA’s. On top of that, I was brought in to provide expert testimony in two separate (but similar) lawsuits brought by condemned men to have their executions conducted by Firing Squad. An interesting side note, this last bit… and one I’m sure will garner a lot of negative publicity for me if the mainstream media decides to act like the pack of jackals they are on this issue. 

On the training side, it was a really good year. By this I don’t mean financially, as Tactical Anatomy Systems barely breaks even at best. No, I mean it was a good year because the agencies I was brought in to train for the most part performed superbly. I would like to single out Captain Michael Maynard and his Nevada Department of Wildlife LE Division officers, who brought me out to their training facility in Winnemucca, NV, in March. This group of men and women performed at a level of firearms proficiency that met or exceeded that of any SWAT team I’ve ever trained with, and that says a lot. I’d like to point out that every group of wildlife enforcement officers I’ve ever trained was well above the average in firearms proficiency, by the way,  but this Nevada bunch was truly exceptional. 

There’s good reason for that. First, wildlife LEO’s tend to be pretty damn self-reliant types to start with. The nature of the job means they work alone 99% of the time, with no backup whatsoever, so they know they have to perform at a high enough standard to stay alive in any SHTF scenario. In other words, they are motivated to be highly proficient with their firearms. But in the Nevada DOW group, I believe they have a second advantage: a command staff that takes firearms training very, very seriously, and puts their money where their mouth is. I wish every LEA administrator in America could be more like Captain Maynard. 

However, I also trained one agency that was a grave disappointment to me. Despite their training sergeant’s claim that they were “highly trained”, this group of cops performed so poorly with their firearms I had to spend more than half the allotted range time teaching basic firearms skills. These cops never train strong-hand-only, and less than half of them had ever fired their duty handgun with their nondominant hand. They never conducted low-light shooting. They never conducted force-on-force training. Not surprisingly, they had a hard time managing even the most basic SXRV training exercises.  At the end of that training day, I had to say a prayer for the good citizens of that city, because in an armed encounter with Bad Guys, the cops there are not going to be able to help them. 

(As I’ve said before, do NOT take SXRV unless you and/or your officers have a degree of firearms proficiency equivalent to a USPSA C-class level. This is not a beginners class, nor a remedial class. It is high-performance combatives training. Come prepared. You won’t be shooting a lot of rounds, but the rounds you do shoot will have a high level of expectation attached to them. You will learn stuff at SXRV that you can use to hone your personal training and/or develop training for your department, but this is not a class designed to make you a better shooter. It’s a class that will make you a better fighter. Learning to shoot better is on YOU.)

Which brings me to the sad case of the recent Force Science Institute study analyzing the firearms performance figures for the CIty of Dallas, TX, Police Department. (I have not trained with Dallas PD, in case you wondered.) If you have not read this report, you can read a summary of it on my Facebook page or go directly to Force Science Institute’s website for the full paper. 

What it breaks down to is this: Dallas PD officers were involved in one-on-one OIS’s 149 times from 2003 to 2017 (14 years, or 10.6 OIS’s per annum). They had a hit ratio of only 35% in these OIS’s, and in more than half of those OIS’s the cops missed the target with every round.  Now, folks who’ve taken my class will already know the sad fact that this is actually better than average performance for America’s law enforcement officers, who typically hit their target only 20% of the time. But 35% is still pretty dismal, and far, far below the 80+% hit ratios being achieved by SXRV-trained agencies. 

How does this happen? 

Simple: don’t train enough, and don’t train well. Design a simple qualification CoF that any idiot can pass so as to keep them all on the streets, and call it good. That’s what Dallas PD has been doing. And it’s what many, if not most, of America’s law enforcement agencies are doing. 

Contrast that with the sort of training conducted by Sgt. Joe Szaz and the FTU of City of Milwaukee PD, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working for many years. MPD conducts firearms inservice training quarterly, and this is in addition to shooting qualifications twice annually. Each inservice is a 4-hour session, and Milwaukee coppers typically blow off well above 100 rounds in closely regulated exercises at each training session. It’s no wonder that MPD’s hit ratio is the highest I’ve ever seen or heard of among metro police departments in America. 

Again: the difference isn’t just in the quantity and quality of the firearms training given to these deparments. It’s a top-down deal. Good command staff want their cops to have the tools they need to succeed on the streets, and they make sure they get it.  

So hats off to those great police administrators and firearms training units across America who are doing what’s needed to get this job done. Now if someone can just get the word over to Dallas PD…

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