Posted on October 12 2019
500 hours Range Shooting Experience vs. 500 hours Gaming Experience
[We tested this in real life.]
Here’s the straight dope:
Tim Evancich and Team
- Very experienced range and dynamic shooters
- Variety of fitness levels
- 30 to 65 years old
- Fighting with a coordinated TEAM OF TEN fellow operator trainees (all experienced shooters.)
Sage Ross + two OpFor
- Thousands of hours video gaming (like any Gen Z punk)
- 200 hours of paintball experience
- Extremely fit (youth is wasted on the young)
- Hopped up on Hot Pockets and Red Bull
- 19 years old
- Fought alongside TWO older volunteer OpFor (Opposing Force.) No comms.
Tim, his squad and Sage came face-to-face three times during three missions in the ReadyMan RM1 tactical training event using the IR Tactical Combat laser rifles (like MILES, but with shock belts)
Who do you think won these close-to-real gunfights?
Hint: the answer will blow you away.
Jeff Kirkham (28-year Green Beret vet), Kevin (Army Ranger) and Wali (Afghan Commando) offered a two day course in how to assault targets using the Citizen Commando system of combat planning. They equipped a team of ten student/shooters with laser AR-15 simulators. Tim Evancich served as squad leader. The squad included Tim, one SWAT guy and eight other highly-trained citizen gun owners.
The squad of citizen shooters meticulously approached each target, setting proper ORPs (Objective Rally Points) conducting thorough recon and closing with extraordinary professionalism. They were definitely squared away.
While the squad of ten overran every target and killed every member of the OpFor team on each mission, they also sustained an average of SEVEN casualties (out of ten squad members) on each assault. (Casualties = wounded or KIA. The IR tactical system can be set to mark “wounded” team when shot in an extremity.)
More or less, this huge loss of “life and limb” had everything to do with our resident punk, Sage, and his mind-blowing ability to pick the team of citizen gun owners apart. And I would bet big money that he would do the same to you and your gun buddies.
Again: the ten shooter/students were serious, cool-headed, extremely well-trained guys—the best you are likely to find outside of Special Operations Forces veterans. The SOF veteran instructors agreed: the citizen gun owner squad did excellent work. In fact, two of the instructors agreed THAT THEY EXPERIENCED THE SAME RESULTS THEMSELVES IN RANGER SCHOOL at first. In Ranger School OpFor routinely destroyed their squads until they learned several crucial lessons.
How in the HELL did a nineteen-year-old gamer destroy ten trained men? The answer casts a withering light on GUN RANGE FIREARMS TRAINING when employed in an actual gunfight.
In a nutshell, flat range firearms training falls grossly short of what is required to reliably win against a young man with even a small amount of REACT AND MANEUVER experience—and physical fitness.
Here are several key takeaways, but you owe it to yourself to watch the video, and to watch Sage (obnoxious, scraggly-bearded brat that he is), come close, over and over again, to wiping out a far-superior force in a true-to-life scenario.
1. The PLACE where you shoot FROM is usually more important than how well you shoot. If you’re firing your weapon from an enemy’s unexpected flank, it gains you at least one second to make a clean hit. Primarily because of his paintball and gaming experience, Sage had a better sense of how to appear from the flanks of the assaulters and to shoot them before they could respond. He used this method numerous times and the team never did get a good feel for where they were exposed on the flank.
2. Know when to run. Sage knew to shoot and then maneuver rather than slugging it out from a barricaded position. He would take shots, kill guys, then run away—appearing later in a new position with new angles on the squad. The team struggled to communicate to one another in the midst of a hot gunfight and Sage succeeded in surprising them over and over again.
3. Mind your fitness. Despite his penchant for Domino’s Pizza and Big Gulps, Sage is nineteen and when it came to a gunfight, he didn’t hesitate to move far and fast. He would frequently drop away from the fight, circle around, and pick up a new angle. Many of the squad of ten had excellent fitness too, particularly Tim, but the team worked the objective methodically and they weren’t eager to counter Sage’s flanking moves—often because it would require more energy than they had on-deck. A tired shooter will often choose a barricade and slug it out from that single piece of cover, come what may. That’s often a bad idea. Fitness frees up the ability to see better moves and tap into more dynamic options.
4. Protect your six. In two of the scenarios, the squad knew that they had a “squirter,” but even then, they over-focused on the firefight in front of them to the exclusion of the possible threat behind them. Sage took advantage of their tunnel vision to eviscerate their team from the back and sides. Given enough “reps” in force-on-force action, the squad will eventually learn to mind their six. Nobody likes 300 volts to the belly and the team got their share.
5. Don’t shoot your friends. Over the course of four missions, the squad of ten had five blue-on-blue shooting incidents—where one team member shot a fellow team member. Shooting one another turned into a big deal for the squad. You and your friends would have the same issue. Guaranteed. As an OpFor guy, Sage didn’t much care about shooting his own guys. He was free to make big, quick moves without letting anyone know. With real bullets flying, instead of laser bullets and a belly shock, he might not have been so casual about running downrange.
The RM1 shooter/students will eventually beat Sage and the OpFor without sustaining high numbers of casualties. These guys had only experienced this two day course in force-on-force.
Jeff commented, "This is very typical. Losing this many blue-on-blue casualties and getting your butt handed to you by the OpFor... it's as common as bread in this kind of training environment. No gun owner gets this training in the real world, so everybody starts exactly right here. Screwups are totally normal."
In a post-collapse scenario, even one casualty among friends would be unacceptable. Using tight leadership, effective communication and improved situational awareness, the squad will gain enough experience in force-on-force fighting that they will dominate the OpFor. But it will take practice and they’re not going to get it on the shooting range. They need force-on-force experience. Plain and simple.
Initially for some on the squad, it was a great disappointment; to learn that all their hundreds of hours on the shooting range did NOT result in domination on the simulated battlefield. But everyone on the squad was thrilled to know that they would get many new opportunities to take their gunfighting skill next-level. The fact that there is much more to winning gunfights also means that there is a lot more fun to be had while learning. Force-on-force training, turns out, is an order of magnitude more fun than shooting on the range—win or lose.
We’ve conducted dozens of force-on-force training sessions with the IR Tactical system in every scenario imaginable (desert, indoors, roadblocks, forests, mountains, urban, etc., etc.) and these ugly results happen EVERY TIME, no matter how experienced the citizen gun owners are range shooting. We simply do not train enough in force-on-force gunfighting—not by a long shot. For every hour on the shooting range, we should be training six hours against actual human beings.
Here’s the really amazing news:
- Force-on-force training is a blast.
- Force-on-force training is MUCH cheaper than range training.
- Force-on-force training can be conducted almost anywhere.
- Force-on-force training improves fitness. Done right, it’s a great workout.
We could fill a book with BAD ways of doing force-on-force training and we could fill ten books with GOOD ways of doing it. Keep an eye out for future blogs on how to conduct force-on-force with your buddies cheap, easy and fun. You do not need a fancy IR Tactical system to get the value of force-on-force.
For now, let’s just bake on the truth that became unavoidable to every participant in this event: GUN RANGE TRAINING IS NOT ENOUGH to win a gunfight. Not even close.
Visit the post on the ReadyMen Group to share your thoughts and opinions. We plan on burying the internet in blogs, videos and free info on how to conduct force-on-force training with your buddies. Watch this group or the ReadyMen Group for more specifics on how to do this right. Maximum fun and maximum training are the goals. Stay tuned.
(P.S. It was my punk kid who whooped 'em, so I'm entitled to give him crap. And if my kid put his finger on the trigger like in the graphic at the head of the blog, I'd spank him. No time outs. A straight spanking.)