Tag Archives: Shooting

How to use the Human Resources Target

Images ©Copyright 2017 RE Factor Tactical

The Human Resources Target was created at the request of U.S. Special Operations units for improving their already advanced shooting capabilities. Units from the SOF community needed a target that would provide diversity and complication,  as well as test the skills of their operators in various situations.

There are five different variations of the targets to provide the shooter with an unlimited number of drills and scenarios. Each target contains five shapes placed inside and around a standard torso silhouette, differentiating in numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. This is a similar system to that of our IQ Targets, which are also used among other SOF units, law enforcement, professional shooters, and everyday civilians looking to improve their shooting abilities. The primary shooting zones on the H.R.T. targets are the T-box zone for the head, a large circle for the chest area that approximates the location of vital organs, and an upside down triangle to simulate the pelvic cavity of the human body. Additionally, we have added two more secondary shapes, (one on each side of the head) to simulate either hostage scenarios or shoot/no shoot scenarios. All of the secondary shapes, vary from target to target, to make the shooter look and think before he/she shoots.

The torso silhouette features three primary target areas – the T-box (head), a large center circle (chest) that approximates the location of vital organs, and an inverted triangle (pelvic cavity). Two additional shapes, one on each side of the head, have been included to simulate either hostage or shoot/no shoot scenarios. All of the secondary shapes vary from target to target, forcing the shooter look and think before firing.

The Human Resources Target is the perfect target for CQB/shoot house style training, due to the vast number of scenarios that can be built from different target variations. Drills can be as simple or as complex as the shooter desires, and can continuously change between iterations. Both instructors and shooters can quickly alter the focus of a drill by marking specific target variations as shoot/no shoot. This challenges the shooter to quickly identify targets as threats or friendlies when entering a room or while on the move. The same drills and principles can also be applied to basic flat range training,  making the targets more useful for instructors and students. The Human Resources Target and all of our other training aids are available at tacticalequipment.com.

 

What should you do when there is an active shooter?

Image courtesy of David Becker/Getty Images

The common misconception that we live within well-disposed, nonviolent communities is a self-destructive dogma that repeatedly endangers not only our own lives but the lives of those around us. Society’s collective decision to deliberately ignore pragmatic threats has built our communities on the fundamental and false premise that we are always safe and that threats do not exist. However, history shows us quite the opposite, proving the existence of consistent threats to our safety.

Mass shootings, such as Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Orlando, and most recently Las Vegas, show us that our personal safety can be threatened anywhere, regardless of how arguably “safe” you believe your location to be. That being said, the threat of active shooters is REAL and more common than we choose to acknowledge. Naturally, this poses the question – What should I do in the event of an active shooter? Here’s a quick guideline:

Establish Your Plan – Without endangering yourself, the first thing you’ll need to do is to figure out what exactly is going on. This means assessing not only the threat but also your current situation and the situation of those around you. Do you have the ability to get yourself to safety? Should you remain in place and harden your defenses? Will my actions endanger those around me?

Execute Your Plan – Your primary goal should be SAFETY, whether that means you have to run to it or stay where you are. Do your best to remove yourself and others (if possible) from the situation so that you are safely out of harm’s way.

Communicate – If other’s are around you, let them know your plan. If you must flee your location, share your escape route with others. If you choose to say and hide, cooperate with others to harden your defenses to ensure you’ve made effective barricades and cover. Communication also includes working with law enforcement or first responders to notify them of your situation, whether that be any injuries or immediate threats.

Don’t Be A Hero – Just because you sank $2k into your tricked out 1911 and look like a badass doing your static weaver stance at your bi-monthly range visit, doesn’t mean you should be taking on an active shooter. The shooter has planned his attack and hopes get the drop on you, most likely have studied the lay of the land and having firepower superiority. You also don’t want to be mistaken by law enforcement as an active shooter. Fighting should always be a last resort, used only when your immediate safety is threatened. Let the cops do their job and focus on getting out alive.

Ultimately, you can never be 100% prepared for an active shooter, as your situation will always dictate your response. However, understanding the present situation and prioritizing your safety will increase your chances of survival.

Remember – complacency kills and vigilance is constant.

 

How The US Army Manual On Rifle and Carbine Was Developed According To The Guy Who Wrote It

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TC 3-22.9

Greetings to the readers of RE Factor Tactical’s Blog. I am SFC Ash Hess and the Senior Writer for the recently released TC 3-22.9 Rifle and Carbine.

Last week RE Factor asked if I would like to do a write-up on the book, its development and what’s next. I jumped at the chance as this will be my biggest opportunity to thank the group that indeed made it possible and let many people know what is coming next. It is best to give a little back story on the project that will allow you to see the scale of what was accomplished.

The Beginning

In 2012 I was given the guidance to build a course for the 10th Mountain Lightfighters School that matched the FM 3-22.9, was able to be duplicated by the graduates, and created highly skilled marksmen. This required me to truly dig into the FM and find ways to make the course teach the things I had learned at TigerSwan, from Kyle Defoor, the vast knowledge of Kyle Lamb, and many others. Therein the problem rested. FM 3-22.9 was a maze of training strategy, marksmanship techniques, positions and advanced skills. That manual had five different prone posts in it that were not based on combat, they were based on where in the training cycle you were. The pictures did not match the words, and the standing position had two variants based on range. This led me to make an attempt to get in contact with whoever at Fort Benning was writing the manual and ask some questions.

If you have been around the Army in any way, you know what happened next. I found the people who had more questions than I did despite them being tasked to work on the manual. These individuals were attempting to turn an aircraft carrier with a paddle, and the process was still in early stages. I maintained contact with them and met some of them in person two years later when I attended the newly formed Master Marksmanship Trainer Course. I also came down on orders for Fort Benning at nearly that same time. As fate would have it, I landed in the very office that was writing the new manual.

A short time later, I became the 27th NCO and 28th person to work on the 3-22.9. Imagine if you will a document that had been recycled since the late 1980’s that had 28 people press their version of what was important and the most recent technique into that document. As you can imagine, it was not pretty. It was long, drab, and bounced from one subject to the next based on two years of meetings with various units, groups, and individuals.

I was determined to start completely fresh with some specific guidelines in place that were unavailable to the previous owners. This allowed me to gather a group of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and ultimately some people who had been calling out my office about what we were doing. All of these people helped in some form or fashion craft and steered what would be published.

The most credit goes to the 10th Mountain, 82nd and 101st Master Gunners and marksmanship gurus. They have been involved since the 2nd day of the project. They steered, tested, calmed, and guided me on the path of building a book that best suited their needs. These guys spent hours poring over ideas and pages of things that I created. They took those things refined them and sent them back to me. More times than not they wondered if I had had a urinalysis recently but patiently made things smooth.

About the time we had a working product, a member of a state-level marksmanship unit was publicly saying that he had heard the new book was being written and since they were not involved it was going to be subpar. So I invited him and his people to be part of the group. Their input allowed us to see things from a state level and ensure that everyone would be able to apply the stuff we published.

Now firearms use in the Army is much like fitness on the outside. Everyone is an expert. Everyone has their favorite way of doing things, or favorite person to listen to. We had over 500,000 people on active duty and that many in the Reserves and Guard at the time. This makes a project like this harder in that everyone wants their way to be THE way.

These guys, which totaled about 20 total, provided great insight into training in the units. We combined this with most of the things that the US Army Marksmanship Unit wanted from the book. I will let you all know now that not one single person, let alone group, got everything they wanted from this book. Even the people who only wanted buy in from one group didn’t get that. What everyone got was a highly valuable book.

That leads me to the scale of this book. This book outlines the “how” we want over 1 million people to use the Rifle or carbine. That’s 1 million people today. That number doesn’t account for change over or the long term change over. When you have highly skilled, opinionated, and passionate people debating the proper way to say how to pull a trigger and you have to make it simple for millions of individuals to understand, it gets fascinating.

So there is the baseline for what I have been doing since March of 2015. Many people think that the published book has been in progress for eight years. In reality a year ago it was a name and a table of contents. With the collected knowledge of the group mentioned above combined with much typing and talking on my part resulted in a leap forward book which has been praised in may reviews since its release. It is easy to shoot. It is harder to teach shooting. It is harder to type about shooting, and hardest to get everyone to agree on what is typed. Despite many days of anger, meetings, passion fueled lively debates EVERYONE had the best product in mind, and the Army is better for it.

The Book

Now, a thousand words into this, I can start to get into what the TC 3-22.9 is. It is designed from inception to be a Soldiers book. It does not cover how to run a range, qualification, or training strategy in it. We focused on what a Solider needs to know while shooting their rifle. .” any Soldier of any rank. A shooting manual if you will. It is cargo pocket sized and as mentioned in RE Factors’ review has some things that are missing. The goal was to have the important things laid out, so the individual has access to them in a building block format. The book discusses the rifle, the optics, the accessories, then once all that is taught, how to use all those things. We looked at the truth and how we taught those things. We settled on the Shot Process as our baseline. We pulled the shot process directly from the AMU and built upon that. We needed separation and decided to use Stability, Aim, Control, and finally Movement as the places to put all the information. This in itself is a simplified shot process that without tying importance on to things as is the habit, allows it to be taught in a sequence. First, you build a position and things like grip and Stockweld based on the weapon. Then you aim which is sight alignment and sight picture. Then you control the trigger and the multitude of other things that can have effects on the shot like focus. Movement describes how to take all this stuff and move. Moving has effects on stability, aiming, and control. It is critical to learn because offensive operations will require movement.

Shot process

There are new things such as a different way to deal with malfunctions that we made as simple as possible in real language. We hoped that the NO BANG on the chart was self-explanatory to all that use the book, but as we found out recently, it wasn’t. We didn’t add pages of pictures and words to the book on malfunctions and reloaded.

As NCO’s, we believe the NCO is the primary trainer in units. Rather than dilute the book with 30 techniques that a Soldier may or may not use, we saved some things for the next book.

What’s Next

At this moment, we are in the early stages of building what is referred to as the “trainer book”. This book will be “How to train all the things in the TC3-22.9”. It is going to cover each phase and lay out the best techniques to teach soldiers about the rifle or carbine, how to operate and zero their optics, what accessories do what, the shot process and how to make the best use of the things in the elements. Without having to explain all that in text, it frees us up to lay out the ways to see sight alignment with all sights, how to know a good position, when to use that position, and pros and cons of all.

It also allows us to allow leaders to select which reload matches their SOPs and teach the one they chose most important. An example is most units teach magazine retention on reloads. Some units do not teach that technique. This book will allow us to show both techniques without bias toward either. As for malfunctions, we now have space to lay out the entire process of reducing each type and allow the leader to show Soldiers via hands on.

One of the coolest things about this book is the same group who developed the 3-22.9 will be testing and validating every word in the book. The group teaches courses on a daily basis, and we can test each line on Soldiers as we write it.

The final validation of that book will come from the Master Marksmanship Trainer Course. This course is the TRADOC built course that was spearheaded by the US Army Marksmanship Unit and is in the final stages of validation itself. This course will serve as the baseline for marksmanship instruction in the future much as the Master Gunner School does for Armor and the MACP does for combative.

This book should be finished by September of this year and will go through the publishing process with a hopeful publish of late 2016 or 2017. The time it will take is in the testing of every word and the fact that MMTC is five weeks long.

Overmatch

In Closing  

The Army has taken a keen interest how we use weapons over the past few years. Improving it is interesting and was littered with institutional inbreeding, ego, passion, haste, laziness, and moments of epic frustration. This is exactly what you want a book to go through that million of Americans could take to the battlefields of the future. We owed the American people, her sons and daughters, and all those that came before us the best product we could make. All the people I mentioned in this process made that happen. Their skill and professionalism made it possible. Hopefully, this has given some insight into the process and the future.

SFC Ash Hess

Weapons and Gunnery Branch

Directorate of Training and.Doctrine

Maneuver Center of Excellence

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About SFC Ash Hess
I am a 20+ year Cavalry Scout with four tours overseas. I am a graduate of the Master Marksmanship Trainer course, The 75th Ranger Regiment’s Small Arms Leaders Course, and Ranger Marksmanship Instructor Course; I was the primary developer of the 10th Mountain Divisions Rifle Marksmanship Instructor course, Urban Operations Course, and Machine Gun Leaders Course.
I have been to multiple civilian courses from Defoor Proformance and TigerSwan.
I am currently the Senior Small Arms Writer for the MCoE and primary writer of the TC 3-22.9 Rifle and Carbine, TC 3-22.35 Pistol and overseeing the revamp of TC 3-23.10 Sniper Operations.

Here’s The Proper Way to Fly with Checked Firearms

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I recently had my first experience flying with checked firearms, and I thought I’d share what I learned for those who may be starting to travel with their guns for business or pleasure.  First, let’s start with what the TSA says:

“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.”  (TSA website)

Now, each airline has slightly different methods of how they execute the TSA policy, so definitely check up on the individual airlines.  Here is Delta, Southwest, American, and United.  Firearms are usually lumped into “Sports Equipment,” so you may have to scroll down to find it.  I flew American Airlines out of Norfolk, which is a huge military town that probably sees guns constantly flying, so my experience was quite comfortable.

Photo Jun 13, 19 53 57I packed my pistols inside a Stack-On metal gun safe.  Technically it was probably a lot of overkill, but I also wanted a safe to keep the weapons in my hotel room once I arrive in New Hampshire.  The standard is simply a locked, hard-sided case.  I would recommend using a case that can accept a massive lock, not just a TSA lock, mostly because TSA locks are flimsy and specifically designed to be opened by a readily available master key.  Upon arriving at the ticket counter, I declared my firearms to the ticket agent, who asked me a few questions regarding whether the guns were unloaded, whether I had any ammunition, and whether the ammunition was packed or loose.  In this case, I wasn’t flying with ammunition, as the course was providing it, but if you are, please keep in mind that ammunition cannot be loose in your luggage (they prefer original packaging), and there may be limits on how much ammunition you can carry.

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Photo Jun 13, 19 39 04I had to sign a statement that my firearms were unloaded, then take my bags to the TSA screening point.  I declared my firearms to the screener and waited while they ran my bags through the scanner.  Once they gave me the thumbs up, I headed to my plane.  Honestly, the process itself was pretty simple.  The most stressful part of checking in was the insane overweight baggage fees (note to self, bring two bags next time).  I’ve heard stories of people having their tickets marked with codes denoting firearms, but after examining my tickets, the only unique code I see is the TSA Pre-Check (sign up for it if you haven’t), so I can’t find any evidence of that.  What I did get, however, was a big red “Special Handling” tag.  According to American, that tag denotes an item of value or particular fragility.  The intention is to keep baggage handlers from putting the bag on the carousel, requiring you to go to the baggage office to show identification for pick-up.  So while it doesn’t expressly identify a gun, it does tell everyone in the bPhoto Jun 13, 19 39 20ack room there’s good stuff in there.  There was a theft ring in Norfolk International Airport a few years back that specifically targeted red-tagged items, so to me, it is a bit of a concern.  They also didn’t tell me that I would have to pick it up at the baggage office, so I wasted time at the carousel before heading to the office after the carousel stopped.

Hope this was useful.  Don’t let worries about flying with your guns keep you from attending that course, going on that hunt, or even just taking your carry gun with you when you travel (providing it’s legal where you are going).  As with anything, have a plan, especially for extra check-in time, and know the rules.  Good luck and safe flying!

About the author

Joel is a 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served in various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

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Here’s A Few Pistol Drills That Can Be Done On The RE Factor IQ Target

IMG_9256Here’s a few pistol drills that can be done on the RE Factor IQ target. Some of these drills have par times, others are a “beat yourself” drill – establish a par time at your shooting level, then push yourself to constantly decrease your par time while maintaining accuracy.  Also keep in mind that even though the square, circle, and triangle all technically measure 3″, the square offers the most “shootable area,” followed by the circle, then the triangle.

Dot Torture (credited to David Blinder):

Drill: Shooter will begin holstered at the 3 yard line. You will use 10 dots.  There is no time limit, this is a marksmanship fundamentals drill.  The strings are shot as follows:

Dot 1 – Draw and fire one string of 5 rounds for best group. One hole if possible, total 5 rounds.
Dot 2 – Draw and fire 1 shot, holster and repeat X4, total 5 rounds.
Dots 3 & 4 – Draw and fire 1 shot on #3, then 1 shot on #4, holster and repeat X3, total 8 rounds.
Dot 5 – Draw and fire string of 5 rounds, strong hand only, total 5 rounds.
Dots 6 & 7 – Draw and fire 2 shots on #6, then 2 on #7, holster, repeat X4, total 16 rounds.
Dot 8 – From ready or retention, fire five shots, weak hand only, total 5 rounds.
Dots 9 & 10 – Draw and fire 1 shot on #9, reload, fire 1 shot on #10, holster and repeat X3, total 6 rounds.

Grading criteria: Begin slow enough that all rounds remain inside the circles/squares/triangles.  Once you can shoot the entire course clean, add distance and repeat.

Skills:
Draw stroke
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Target transitions
Strong hand only marksmanship
Weak hand only marksmanship
Reloads

Dot Drill 2 (designed by Frank Garcia)

Drill: Shooter will begin holstered at the 7 yard line. You will use 6 dots.  Set your timer par time to 5 seconds. On the buzzer, shooter will engage the target with 6 rounds.  Conduct the drill 6 times total.

Grading criteria: Track the number of hits achieved within the 5 second par time.  Once you can shoot 6×6 in the par time, decrease par time and push yourself.

Skills:
Draw stroke
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Recoil management
Balancing speed and accuracy

iHack (taken from pistol-training.com):

Drill: Shooter will begin in the ready position at the 5 yard line.  You will utilize 3 dots.  Set your par time to 3 seconds.

String 1: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each from left to right.
String 2: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each from right to left.
String 3: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each.  Engage the middle dot first, then the outside dots in any order.

Grading criteria: 7 out of 9 shots on is “passing.”  Once you can shoot it clean, try from the holster, then concealment.

Skills:
Presentation
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Target transitions
Draw stroke

Command/”IQ” drills

Command drills are designed to work the “thinking” part of gunhandling, a part often neglected, especially in flat range scenarios, but every bit as important as the physical manipulation of the gun.  While they certainly won’t replace well-designed scenario training, they can drill rapid target identification and engagement.

The IQ target has three shapes, three numbers, three letters, and five colors randomly dispersed across the target. Drills start simple – your partner may call a single attribute, and you must engage all the targets with that attribute.  For example, your partner calls “blue” or “two,” and you must engage all the blue targets or number two targets.  As your proficiency builds, you can up the difficulty.  You could try the numbers game (video preview below), or you can call multiple attributes – “red numbers,” “triangle letters,” etc.  There is no set par time for these drills, because the number of targets engaged will vary by attribute combination.  Push yourself.  Fire as rapidly as you accurately can.

Give these a try and post up your times to the comments!

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Get The Best Bang For Your Buck With This Marksmanship Training

With the current outrageous prices of ammunition and limited range time available to LE and Military entities it is now more important than ever to find new, innovative ideas to increase your marksmanship without burning thousands of dollars at the range.  Here are a few ideas our staff have developed through various shooting courses and their own desire to get better at shooting without breaking their bank accounts.

1. Dry Fire- Dry fire, dry fire and then dry fire some more.  Studies have shown that thinking about an act or conducting an act in a mimicking fashion will have the same neuro-synaptic response as actually conducting the act yourself.  In fact, in 2004 the Cleveland Clinic released a study showing that people who think about a function such as working out will actually gain strength just by thinking about that task in depth.  This doesn’t mean you can become the next Rob Leatham just because you think about shooting all the time, but it does mean that dry firing will have a profound effect on improving your marksmanship.

When dry firing ensure you are practicing not only trigger squeeze but every other aspect of shooting as well.  This is a cheap, fast way to improve magazine changes, draws, malfunctions and any other element of shooting that you want to improve on. Side note: make sure you unload your firearm before performing any dry fire drills, otherwise it’s no longer a dry fire drill.

2. Have a plan at the range- When you go to the range have a preset plan on what you want to practice while you are there.  Just loading up magazines and then trying to keyhole for an hour will not turn you into a better combat shooter.  Plan to work on something and conduct numerous iterations of that tasks to help strengthen your skills and build strong muscle memory.  If you are low on ammo or just want to conserve it plan to practice firing iterations such as magazine reloads or draws that tend to burn less ammo than 5 round rhythm drills.  Innovative Shooting Concepts and pistol-shooting.com have great shooting iterations as well as targets you can print out for free that will maximize your range time and ammo expenditure.

3. Use a shot timer- A shot timer is a great way to keep you on your toes and to continually push yourself to the next level.  Whenever you know there is a time standard to meet and or beat you will constantly push yourself.  This will help every shot count and have more training value than if you took your time and paid no attention to speed.  You can pick up a shot timer at brownells.com or midwayusa.com.

4. Record your progress- By recording your progress you will be able to see whether you are improving or getting worse.  By setting a standard for yourself you will naturally try to improve from your last time at the range which in turn make your training value go up.

5. Make every shot count- Most people tend to write-off a miss as no big deal but if you carry a gun for a living a miss means you are failing at your job.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to push yourself to the point where you miss, but it should bother you a little if you do.  Each round that leaves you barrel should be accounted for and documented.  A good plan of action is to push yourself to the point where you miss then ratchet it back down to maintain to accuracy and marksmanship.  The moment you start to lose your basic fundamentals, stop, regain composure and get back on it.

6. Compete- This can either be in an IPSC/IDPA type arena or just with your buddies at the range.  The bottom line competition will push you beyond your comfort zone and force you to perform under pressure, something you would be doing in the event of a gunfight.  Every range day should end with some sort of competition whether on steel or on paper.  These competitions should be fun but should also focus on the fundamentals of marksmanship.

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