Multiple Threat Engagment

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WillBrink

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I have noted there seems to be two primary ways people are taught multiple threat engagement with handguns.

Assuming for sake of the example, same target priority, there is:

Each target gets at least one rnd before the others do

Or

Each gets multiple rnds from the start

For example, IDPA, which was founded by some experience shooters (Vickers, et al) calls for the first. 3 targets in front of you with equal target priority - unless otherwise instructed - you would shoot 1,1,2,1,1. That's 1 for each of the 3, 2 in to the last, then one more for the last 2

People like Clint Smith however argue that the time it takes to simply add an additional rnd, knowing how notoriously ineffective handguns rnds are, teaches multiple rinds per target from the start, so 3 equal priority targets in front of you, would be 2,2,2, I recall, then deal with the situation as circumstances dictate.

I have been to courses where both methods are taught. I shoot the former as a regular IDPA shooter, but often practice the latter as it seems more natural and instinctual, etc.

Which do you follow/teach and why? :)
 

HOLLiS

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I can see the first scenario. In that hitting each target as quick as possible will slow their response in returning fire. Then a follow up shot to insure the job is done.


In the 2,2,2 scenario, there is a slower movement to the other targets which could give the other targets sufficient time to respond. For the hot dog speedsters out there, probably doesn't matter on which method they use.

Generally most people will get their heads down when incoming is coming in. More experience people will do it differently. Putting rounds down range is a different experience than receiving incoming on how a person reacts.

Other thought, is how many shooters and how many targets? I think that would effect how a person responds.


Disclaimer, the old grunt way of doing things and thinking
 

Diamondback 2/2

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For competition I would shoot/ teach to shoot the drill. If it is multi targets spread out I would shoot controlled pairs (or however many shots it called for) per a target and then move to the next.

If it were real life and I was training someone for real life, I would reinforce the fact that 3 or 4 dudes are not going to line up directly in front of you such as in an 'El Presidente'. In reality you would more then likely be surrounded and or be cornered and would need to shoot each threat as fast as possible with 2 to 3 rounds and then quickly follow up with head shots. Personally I think a controlled pair is as fast (15 yards and in) as shooting just 1 shot.

I focus and train people to focus on headshots on the move and from all positions, b/c my belief is that all threats should be addressed with head shots. If you build in you mind that all you are shooting is headshots, you no longer have to worry about body armor drills, and follow up in capacitating shots…
 

zushwa

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I have noted there seems to be two primary ways people are taught multiple threat engagement with handguns.

Assuming for sake of the example, same target priority, there is:

I would argue that is a big assumption. There IS some priority. Whether it be proximity, weapon, aggressiveness, etc. By you assuming they are the same priority immediately means this is competition. That's the problem. Some competitive drills utilize fundamentals of shooting that can be applied for the real world but typically they don't drive tactics.

Each target gets at least one rnd before the others do

Or

Each gets multiple rnds from the start

For example, IDPA, which was founded by some experience shooters (Vickers, et al) calls for the first. 3 targets in front of you with equal target priority - unless otherwise instructed - you would shoot 1,1,2,1,1. That's 1 for each of the 3, 2 in to the last, then one more for the last 2

The statement above could imply that this is how LAV (and others) teach. I would confirm whether or not this was for competition or combat. Just because a certain drill in part of an organization that certain well known Instructors were involved in doesn't mean it's what they profess.

People like Clint Smith however argue that the time it takes to simply add an additional rnd, knowing how notoriously ineffective handguns rnds are, teaches multiple rinds per target from the start, so 3 equal priority targets in front of you, would be 2,2,2, I recall, then deal with the situation as circumstances dictate.

I have been to courses where both methods are taught. I shoot the former as a regular IDPA shooter, but often practice the latter as it seems more natural and instinctual, etc.

Will, what other courses have you attended since the Jeff Gonzales class? From your post in February it was your first so have you taken a course since then??

Which do you follow/teach and why? :)

For competition I would shoot/ teach to shoot the drill. If it is multi targets spread out I would shoot controlled pairs (or however many shots it called for) per a target and then move to the next.

If it were real life and I was training someone for real life, I would reinforce the fact that 3 or 4 dudes are not going to line up directly in front of you such as in an 'El Presidente'. In reality you would more then likely be surrounded and or be cornered and would need to shoot each threat as fast as possible with 2 to 3 rounds and then quickly follow up with head shots. Personally I think a controlled pair is as fast (15 yards and in) as shooting just 1 shot.

Nope, it's about .18 seconds slower. }:-)

I focus and train people to focus on headshots on the move and from all positions, b/c my belief is that all threats should be addressed with head shots. If you build in you mind that all you are shooting is headshots, you no longer have to worry about body armor drills, and follow up in capacitating shots…

Fuck dude, remind me to skip your training day. Making head shots ALL THE TIME?? That is a tall order. I understand trying to ascertain a certain level of marksmanship but that seems a bit much. Making a head shot, even at 7 yards, while both parties are moving is VERY difficult. Add in multiple threats and it becomes exponentially harder.

For the record, I shoot drills like the El Pres, and it's variants, as well as Non Standard Response drills. I have the luxury of training FOF for work and both types pf drills have paid dividends. The bane of my shooting existence is multiple targets. I'm always working on it because I suck at it. I also believe if I ever have to engage multiple booger eaters the training will one day save a 100lb head, a coworker, or my life.

There are plenty of people here with real world shooting incidents. I'd be curious if any were multiple threats and how they engaged the targets.
 

hoepoe

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Good info.

I would say shoot the priority #1 threat until it is no longer a threat and move on.

Don't count rounds.

H
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Fuck dude, remind me to skip your training day. Making head shots ALL THE TIME?? That is a tall order. I understand trying to ascertain a certain level of marksmanship but that seems a bit much. Making a head shot, even at 7 yards, while both parties are moving is VERY difficult. Add in multiple threats and it becomes exponentially harder.

One of the FOF course I took (ALERRT train the trainer) I was actually shot in the head with a sim round at about 30 feet while both of us were moving :eek: It was an eye opener for me, I talked with the dude (Harris County SWAT Deputy Sheriff ) and he said he was just 100% dialed in on his sights and did not allow his fears and thoughts to alter that broke the shot clean as he had been taught and practiced.

Since then I have trained that way on the range, however my FOF training has been limited the last 4 years.


For the record, I shoot drills like the El Pres, and it's variants, as well as Non Standard Response drills. I have the luxury of training FOF for work and both types pf drills have paid dividends. The bane of my shooting existence is multiple targets. I'm always working on it because I suck at it. I also believe if I ever have to engage multiple booger eaters the training will one day save a 100lb head, a coworker, or my life.

I agree with what you are saying here, and trust that it will pay off if ever needed. Something to think about in reference to the above comment you made is “lowest common denominator training” if you train your self to an easy standard of shooting center mass/chest, you will greatly limit your ability. Always set an achievable goal, but once it is achieved strive to make the next goal harder and more focused (such as headshots).

There are plenty of people here with real world shooting incidents. I'd be curious if any were multiple threats and how they engaged the targets.

My real world experience s limited to a rifle and in the box, but something I took away from that was that every threat gets a head shot at some point. After the threat is down on the ground or still moving. If you shut the computer down, they cant pull hand grenade pins and the can’t set off IED’s (or pull a trigger for that matter).

Ceneter mass shots come from increasing the chances of a hit, not from achieving a kill or incapacitation. I have long been an advocate of changing the way we view short range marksmanship (SRM) in the Army. I think center mass/chest shots are in adequate in close range, where the desired result is more now then later. Head shots are doable, with the proper supporting training and required standards. :2c:}:-)
 

surgicalcric

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My real world experience s limited to a rifle and in the box, but something I took away from that was that every threat gets a head shot at some point. After the threat is down on the ground or still moving. If you shut the computer down, they cant pull hand grenade pins and the can’t set off IED’s (or pull a trigger for that matter)...

Just like a computer, energy is stored in the system after its been shut down. A head shot, shutting down the processor, will not stop all movement. I have watched dead people twitch for some time after the processor shut down. So given this it would seem to me, from both a medical and a shooter solution perspective you should be shooting to separate the hand from whatever object they are then holding thereby neutralizing the threat.. I mean come on, now thats skill... :D

Seriously though, head shots while moving (one or both parties) are very difficult to reproduce, especially under stress and duress. You are talking about a target that is 7-10" in diameter (nominally) and moves us and down, side-to-side, and elliptically all at different times and all in varying degrees. This means you have to track the target thru half a cycle consecutively to reproduce the results.

Your time and rounds would be better spent placing more shots center mass, or at least it has been in my experience.

Crip
 

zushwa

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Yeah dude, I'm all about pushing the accuracy level, but realistically head shots all the time is hard for me to swallow. There is a balance between speed and accuracy and I'd say even more so when discussing multiple targets.

No question good shooters (or lucky ones :)) can make great hits but in a dynamic situation everything becomes harder. Transitioning from one target to the next is difficult, WAY MORE SO if transitioning from head shot to head shot.

While not a way to teach tactics, some drills might be good for assessing something like this. Set something up like the El Pres. If you want, vary the distances between targets, distance from you and the target, as well as number of shots per target. Shoot the drill all head shots and then all COM shots. Make sure the rounds per target are the same between rounds. I would imagine there is going to be a significant difference in time. I think I'm hitting the range today so I'll try to run it and see what I get.

BTW, another variation on the El Pres is loading single digit round count in the carbine and do a transition instead of a mag change. One of my favorites.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Just like a computer, energy is stored in the system after its been shut down. A head shot, shutting down the processor, will not stop all movement. I have watched dead people twitch for some time after the processor shut down. So given this it would seem to me, from both a medical and a shooter solution perspective you should be shooting to separate the hand from whatever object they are then holding thereby neutralizing the threat.. I mean come on, now thats skill...

Seriously though, head shots while moving (one or both parties) are very difficult to reproduce, especially under stress and duress. You are talking about a target that is 7-10" in diameter (nominally) and moves us and down, side-to-side, and elliptically all at different times and all in varying degrees. This means you have to track the target thru half a cycle consecutively to reproduce the results.

Your time and rounds would be better spent placing more shots center mass, or at least it has been in my experience.

Crip

So because it is difficult we should not even try it? Sounds like a great way to train! :uhh: }:-)

One of the big threats we faced in OIF 1&2 was the insurgent would have a suicide vest on, detonated by a grenade fuse attached to det-cord, they would role over and their stomach and hide that they had this shit on them. So what did we do? We shot them in the head and waited, and then we would tie some 550 cord to them and drag them to see if they blew up… Worked for us! ;)

As for the twitching, yeah I have seen that too. I have also seen the motherfuckers fall like a sack of potatoes and never move again. I guess its motherfucker dependent; I would still rather take my chances with an involuntary movement then a volunteered movement.

Back to the idea of shooting head shots, no you are not going to hit them with ease and stress induced situation will of course affect your accuracy. However if you simply say fuck it not worth training that way, then you are limiting your own self from development. I am not saying my training is the only way (it’s low end compared to the trainers I have attended) but it’s challenging and that’s what drives you to a better level of proficiency. Otherwise we would all still be shooting in ranks and columns firing one shot every 60 minutes like our forefather did. ;)
 

surgicalcric

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So because it is difficult we should not even try it? Sounds like a great way to train! :uhh: }:-)

You sure do have a habit of reading into others statements and inferring something from them that was never stated. First the COIN thread and now here.

One of the big threats we faced in OIF 1&2 was the insurgent would have a suicide vest on, detonated by a grenade fuse attached to det-cord, they would role over and their stomach and hide that they had this shit on them. So what did we do? We shot them in the head and waited, and then we would tie some 550 cord to them and drag them to see if they blew up… Worked for us! ;)

There is a world of difference in shooting someone laying on the ground in the head, from whatever distance you would like to (with a pistol) and shooting them while moving at you and you towards them, or static for that matter.

As for the twitching, yeah I have seen that too. I have also seen the motherfuckers fall like a sack of potatoes and never move again. I guess its motherfucker dependent; I would still rather take my chances with an involuntary movement then a volunteered movement.

Again, I suppose you missed the sarcasm in that post...

Back to the idea of shooting head shots, no you are not going to hit them with ease and stress induced situation will of course affect your accuracy. However if you simply say fuck it not worth training that way, then you are limiting your own self from development. I am not saying my training is the only way (it’s low end compared to the trainers I have attended) but it’s challenging and that’s what drives you to a better level of proficiency. Otherwise we would all still be shooting in ranks and columns firing one shot every 60 minutes like our forefather did. ;)

I, nor anyone else here that has had the opportunity to exchange rounds with a pistol will tell you that it isnt worth the training to practice head shots. Hell I do it all the time with my rifle and pistol. However I will put 8 in your heart and lungs while you are still trying to refine your sight picture enough to get off a good head shot or multiple shots because the target or pistol moved.

I do multiple target arrays, at multiple distances with my pistol alone and as part of a transition drill and I get better with every drill, but having exchanged lead with a moving target with my pistol I can assure you, based on experience I dont take head shots at moving targets.

And for the record, when taking those head shots and practicing shutting down the processor the target isnt the head. It is a triangle shaped area covering the eyebrows down to tip of the nose, respectively. Talk about narrowing the target area..... ;)

Crip
 

zushwa

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Seriously though, head shots while moving (one or both parties) are very difficult to reproduce, especially under stress and duress. You are talking about a target that is 7-10" in diameter (nominally) and moves us and down, side-to-side, and elliptically all at different times and all in varying degrees. This means you have to track the target thru half a cycle consecutively to reproduce the results.

Your time and rounds would be better spent placing more shots center mass, or at least it has been in my experience.

Crip

Not to get out of my lane (or any more than I already am) but to piggy back on Crip, the "head" isn't even a realistic target. Not the whole head anyway. It is a very small target that will potentially shut someone off. Jeff Gonzales describes it as a 2 inch wide ribbon wrapping around the head.

J.A.B., the potential to make hits under stress, and the likelihood of damaging or destroying vital organs is MUCH higher with COM shots, and they are more likely to be HITS. The margin of error with headshots is ridiculously small. I'm not saying head shots shouldn't be practiced and don't have a purpose. They obviously do, but I don't know ONE other trainer or unit that adheres to your logic.

If given the choice would I shoot someone in the face? Fuck yes, but we're talking multiple threats. I just don't think the parameters of this topic lend themselves to head shots all the time.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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If given the choice would I shoot someone in the face? Fuck yes, but we're talking multiple threats. I just don't think the parameters of this topic lend themselves to head shots all the time.


Agreed I am off topic, but something to look at in regards to this is the 1x8 drill I posted in pistol marksmanship. I have many more that I will post later in that thread regarding head shots.

As for what I would do if 3 MS13 retards tried to car jack me or whatever, I would shoot the in order of threat level and i would follow up with a ----- HEAD SHOT---- }:-):p;)
 

TheWookie

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I'm almost always shooting a pair when I come out of the holster...

Don't count rounds.

Well said, and I agree. Shoot until the threat is neutralized; 1 shot, 2 shot, 3 shots, or four.

I think following through on target is very important. What if you miss the first shot. If you follow through it doesn't matter, as much.
 

zushwa

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Well said, and I agree. Shoot until the threat is neutralized; 1 shot, 2 shot, 3 shots, or four.

I think following through on target is very important. What if you miss the first shot. If you follow through it doesn't matter, as much.

There's a discussion over on M4C in the training forum about follow through. Some "interesting" opinions.
 
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WillBrink

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I would argue that is a big assumption. There IS some priority. Whether it be proximity, weapon, aggressiveness, etc. By you assuming they are the same priority immediately means this is competition. That's the problem. Some competitive drills utilize fundamentals of shooting that can be applied for the real world but typically they don't drive tactics.

No doubt you are correct. I was trying to keep the variable to a minimum, out of curiosity as to how people here would approach/teach it using those strict/limiting guidelines.

The statement above could imply that this is how LAV (and others) teach. I would confirm whether or not this was for competition or combat. Just because a certain drill in part of an organization that certain well known Instructors were involved in doesn't mean it's what they profess.

Your points are good ones. Wold be interesting to ask Vickers, H ackathorn, etc, if those rules of engagement that exists for IDPA (which was supposedly designed as a competition that attempts to teach "real world" shooting with obvious limitations that exist in such a format) is what they teach, etc. A Vickers course is on my list.

Will, what other courses have you attended since the Jeff Gonzales class? From your post in February it was your first so have you taken a course since then??

Fair question. "I have attended various shooting sessions that..." would have been more accurate. I have been been doing various sessions with trainers or members from tactical LE, the director of S&W Training academy, Boston PD range, some get togethers with shooters from various background and training. I had noted differences in the approach there when setting up targets of equal distances considered to have equal priority. I'm taking a course end of this month BTW. Hopefully it's a productive one!

As you said, in a real world confrontation, there is always some priority, but standardization of various scenarios is common for sake of teaching, competing, etc. as you know, so I was asking a scenario that was forced to use a narrow guideline to see how others would approach it. No doubt, fixed scenarios are always limiting as the BGs don't read from the same lesson plan all the time.

Thanx for the comments.
 

SAWMAN

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Being presented with multiple simultaneous threats is like having a total parachute malfunction.. You've got the rest of your life to fix it!

For me, how to engage each threat is entirely based on the unique circumstance I'm facing at that instant. I know what I can hit under various conditions. I also know what result to expect from various shot placement and caliber options.

I'm a big proponent of head shots, but they're ONLY good when you can make them. If the threat is running, I'm probably breaking COM or pelvic shots until he slows, then following with multiples to the head until he drops. I also NEVER expect to remain still, unless the cover I have is the only workable option at that instant.

I make use of changing the angles to take one of the threat's ability to engage me away, simply by moving past cover, or putting another threat between us. This cuts down on their ability to engage you simultaneously while you continue your non-stop assault on them.

I condone shooting pelvic shots to stop threats enough to transition to head shots for the kill. I'm not proud. I'll shoot feet, legs, hands, anything I can put rounds into to slow or reveal the threat so I can finish the job with head shots.

If I'm within my comfort distance, I'm generally going head shots straight up. If I'm running, I aim COM, or pelvis.

I attempt to shoot through ALL barricade material, just to make sure it won't work. It's faster to try than to wait. It also causes frag and grief on the threat's end, which is desirable, especially if you're charging him. You might be surprised how often it'll punch through. It's a good habit to develop, especially if you carry manly calibers.

Rounds skip off walls, floors, vehicles, you name it. Skipping rounds is another way to engage a threat that you don't have a direct shot at. I'm all about it. If I don't have a perfect shot, I'm still skipping rounds at the threats and checking to see if their barricade is entirely bullet proof.

I'm also big on upgrading. Depending on what you're carrying and what your threats are carrying, swiping up their weapons (if better than yours) is an option that should be second nature. Always keep your own, but if theirs is better and functioning, rage with it until it's dry, then transition back to yours.

So, by moving, rapid engagement of various methods, and consideration of what weapon I'm fighting with, I would handle it any number of ways.

The constants are: Aggression!!, Team work (unless alone), Breathing through the nose (to keep hart rate down and clarity of thought...VERY important) maximum utilization of various forms of Cover, near continuous Movement, and ultimately just being a complete son of a bitch.
 

HOLLiS

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Sawman, I think represented practical actual combat shooting. Target competition is another form of shooting, but a different world.


Pistol shooting is cool and fun, but it is mostly a LE or civilian main weapon. For a grunt the rifle is the tool to use. As another person once said, "a pistol gives you something to fight with, until you can get a rifle."

Target shooting tends to be static in nature. I have seem some LE training that used videos and dynamic targets to help a officer to stay flexible and alert during a shooting.

On head shots, I was always thought "center mass". Again those very talented fast shooters are not the norm. Training and weapons used must be effective for all that needs it and conforms to their abilities.

Other aspect with competitions, Shooters can generally pick their own weapons and tune them and their ammo for the shoot. In LE and Military one shoots what was issued to them (most cases). The primary requirement for a LE and Military firearm is reliability not speed. A custom competition firearm can be built for speed and ammo made for that specific firearm. Using out of the box ammo for a custom firearm could lead to misfires. A LE and Military firearm, must function with a range of supplied ammo.

I think competition is a valuable training aid, but one should understand it's limits. Same goes with the needs to be accurate. The bullet needs to hit within the kill zone. Kill zone can be pretty big when measure in MOA (combined with distance).
 

Manolito

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Sawman can I steal that analogy I like it? Total failure is easy it is that single line over that looks like a big bra but is working fairly well that poses the problem.

I see two topics here unless I missed something. Civillian and firefight. If all I have is a pistol and I am in a situation that requires deadly force in the US I am shooting and moving quickly not taking specific cover for a prolonged fight.
Firefight is different and I won't be using a pistol unless I am out of everything else.
I carry every day and I have not fired a shot in anger in the US. I can say looking at a single traget and letting them know they are the one I chose to receive my first reaction has defused the situation knock on wood. :2c:
 
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arizonaguide

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I condone shooting pelvic shots to stop threats enough to transition to head shots for the kill. I'm not proud. I'll shoot feet, legs, hands, anything I can put rounds into to slow or reveal the threat so I can finish the job with head shots.
Thank you. :2c:
 
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