December. 1992 – Michael’s Observations

The Difference Between Them and Us

I say again, it was a real bitch to get hits, in Horne’s recent ride-the-truck exercise. This is partly the reason why we do this type of test: to find out what is possible in a realistic situation, not like the very controlled and supposedly “fair — the same for everyone” horse manure that is common in big-time competition. Remember, folks, that most competitors aren’t interested in “pushing the envelope” in front of other shooters because they might not shoot high scores. They want to look good (lots of points, fast times, all the plates down, etc.) and that requires a lot of practice on specific drills, and on the specialized equipment for each type of contest that will come along. But all of us know that by now — or we should.

These experimental shoots we do are just like what Jeff Cooper did at Big Bear for the old Mountain Man program. I, personally, am happy to be part of a small group of shooters who are searching for new ideas, new limits, or just that varied experience that will serve us well in any surprise or unknown confrontation.

Over the years we have shot from moving vehicles, from hanging onto ropes, from ladders, while hand-cuffed and holding an empty pistol, having had first to quickly put a field-stripped pistol together, with a bag over the head or with some other type of blindfold on, indoors with strobe lights in our faces, while tied to a board, with simulated “wounds” (first arm, then both arm and leg splinted; tape over one eye, etc.), while being hit with water balloons and BB pellets from behind, having started with our pants down in the take-a-crap position, at night, at 0430 in the morning in blowing snow, in 112-degree heat, and in driving rain — and this is not even considering all of the role-playing events we have had, in which you were required to think and adapt as part of the solution to the problem.

And this list of things we have done over the years is just a few minutes-worth of my thoughts on the matter. I’m sure if several of the veteran shooters sat down and started a “remember the time we…” session, we’d have a page or two of unusual shoots, stages, or tasks that we’ve successfully done during the last 20 years. What the hell can the bad guys throw at us, that we haven’t had a piece of already? Not very much, in my book. This realistic, experimental training is very valuable to people who want to survive to a ripe old age, instead of just to compete for trophies and glory.

Well, the next logical progression, as I see it, is: another “partner shoot” with two runs, but having both shooters shoot their pistols in one run, and then both shoot shotguns in the second run. We would then have a comparison of the effectiveness of pistol fire versus shotguns, on a run-to-the-border. Are you listening M.K.H.? This is my official proposal for next year’s event.

Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! (Or: Now hear this!) Let it be known far and wide that in January a rifle shoot and gear test will be put on at D.M. for anyone who is man enough to put his choice of field gear on the line. Everyone tells me that he has it together — well, come out and show me!