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Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods


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Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods

In this insightful analysis of shooting and fighting instruction, noted firearms expert Ralph Mroz examines the myths and misinformation that plague the gun community. From the five deadly training traps to unrealistic training exercises to concealed-carry mistakes, Mroz offers solutions to help defensive shooters snap out of their routines and become better and safer with their firearms. Mroz, whose articles have appeared in Combat Handguns and Guns magazines, takes a no-nonsense approach to such topics as the need for empty-hands skills, range training vs. real-world training, the problem of range standards, understanding and developing startle recovery, and more.

Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods

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What customers say about Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods

  1. Alan D. Cranford says:
    48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Honestly, how realistic is YOUR training?, July 12, 2001
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods (Paperback)
    FINALLY! Someone who is not chained to any one school of thought and attempts to conform reality to training instead of the opposite! I am a Firearms/Defense Tactics instructor (both for law enforcement and civilian) and have become conscious on how unrealistic many “defense” training is (be it firearms or empty hand).
    I have studied countless real-life incidents of deadly force attacks on both officers of the law, and civilians, and have been training others and myself for such possible scenarios. There are great flaws in many “systems” taught by today’s Gurus. Ralph Mroz, the author, outlines these flaws and gives the reader a “reality check”.
    In this book, Mr. Mroz describes how different philosophy of training (martial arts, weapon craft, etc.) forms a different (and many times only one aspect) point of view on the potential threats one may face. A martial artist envisions a single unarmed mugger (maybe wielding a knife at the most) and a gunfighter prepares for armed and multiple attackers. The problem is that we all live in the same world and can face a multitude of dangers. Stop looking at the world through a martial artist’s colored glasses or gunfighter’s colored glasses.
    Mr. Mroz stresses on how we must train for situations that may require unarmed AND armed solutions. As the saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail”. If you find yourself being assaulted at contact distance, and your gun is still holstered, you are better off resorting to proper empty-hand techniques.
    One must always strive to make their training as realistic as possible, this means going beyond punching holes in paper targets. Mr. Mroz explains. The author covers close-range Point Shooting, something some “modern” schools scoff at because it does not fit in to their doctrine (BUT IT WORKS!). Another chapter to ruffle some feathers (and open some eyes) is the “Five Deadly Training Traps”.
    It is so refreshing to read someone who has broken out of the mold. I hope Mr. Mroz continues his writing in the truth in combat training and publishes more books of this nature.

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  2. John Perkins , President Attack Proof Inc. says:
    46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Puts my training in perspective!, September 9, 2005
    By 
    Alan D. Cranford (Salt Lake City, Utah USA) –
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    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters: A Critical Look at Current Training Methods (Paperback)

    Training is synthetic experience. This fake experience is valuable because greater feedback is possible, telling me exactly what happened in the clinical training session. This “play ” is inexpensive compared to the real thing-nobody is supposed to really die or become crippled, and the safety rules prevent criminal and civil charges when followed. Training is great stuff because training can focus in on a specific aspect of life, an aspect that happens too rarely to otherwise gain enough real-world experience, such as exchanging gunfire with an armed opponent, and the trainee can experience handling this situation successfully. Training is great-but it is phony!

    Ralph Mroz points this out in different words. His “Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters” is not a recipe book of handgun techniques, but a yardstick to measure a training program. This book may go over the head of the casual shooter, someone who is seeking only the minimum training required for professional certification (a majority of our professional police) and most of the private citizens who carry concealed handguns for self-protection. These casual shooters’ needs don’t include self-criticism and introspection-they have a specific goal and just want a cheap, simple way to reach the goal. Mroz is also certain to alienate many because he reminds us that not only is training NOT “real-life,” but that it cannot be. As many gun people have invested thousands of dollars and years gaining measurable skills that they can perform upon demand-on a structured shooting range-being told that their skills are not always the right answer is going to hurt their feelings. Mroz states that most self-defense shootings happen at hand-to-hand combat distances; on page 63 he wrote that 54% of gunfights happen at 5 feet or less and 74% happen at less than 10 feet. Then he turns around and states in the footnote that some of the shooting data is based upon self-reports and may not be entirely truthful or accurate.

    For the serious (obsessed?) student of the gun, “Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters” is a gold mine. Miners know that a lot of gravel has to be moved to get a handful of nuggets. This book’s information can’t really be used directly as a training blueprint or a performance yardstick. The 74% of gunfights at 10 feet or less figure I quoted above doesn’t take into account the dynamics of a lethal force encounter-that the participants don’t just stand at a set distance from each other, but they move, sometimes several miles at high speeds. Ever hear of a freeway shootout between two speeding cars? Mroz writes of gun-FIGHTING rather than shooting because often, at these close distances, the defender has no chance to use his gun and has to rely on running or empty-hand techniques to create enough space. Mroz doesn’t call the skills imparted by intense competitive shooting useless. Instead, he points out that the performance envelope for those skilled at these games is limited and that real-life lethal-force encounters take place outside of this envelope. Here’s and example: virtually no shooting schools permit their student shooters to shoot at moving targets or targets closer than 9 feet-in real-life encounters, most “targets” move (and move AT the shooter with deadly intent, else shooting isn’t justified) and there’s that 74% of shooting incidents taking place at less than 10 feet figure again.

    On Page 51, the chapter that includes point shooting is worth the price of the book. I was introduced to point shooting by Rex Applegate’s “Kill or Get Killed” and I learned to shoot by using a cheap BB gun. When I read the controversy about point shooting versus “aimed fire,” I was mildly amused. Mroz not only settles the issue (use both, depending upon the situation), but he details the strengths and weaknesses of both, discusses the psychological and physiological factors involved, and then in his examination of police departments who successfully use point shooting instruction to better their street shooting results, reveals the real secret of success: lots of realistic practice. If you train to a performance standard that is related to real-world incidents, you are better prepared for those incidents.

    Mroz covers subjects including shoes and eyeglasses. How much detail can you get from 148 pages, anyway? This book is a primer on THINKING. One thing which can upset readers is that many of us buy a book to get the answer to questions such as “what is the meaning of life?” Since real life isn’t a fully-instrumented laboratory, there are going to be a lot of unknowns. If you don’t know the questions, how are you going to find the answers? “Defensive Shooting for Real-Life Encounters” is a series of questions that I’m going to use to re-examine my own training programs. Besides, in my case Mroz validated much of what I’ve been doing for years. For example, due to safety…

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