Combat Focus Shooting

Train your brain to work your body under threat.


It was interesting, not that long ago, to see a fellow writer refer to a book as "software for the brain." Quite so. No matter how good our hardware (body) is, or how competent we are with our tools, if the software is faulty then the system will fail--eventually. At about the same time as I heard that statement from the fellow writer, I also received the book that is the subject of this week's review: Rob Pincus' Combat Focus Shooting: Intuitive Shooting Fundamentals. Let me first delve into the structure of the book and then I'll offer up my subjective opinion.

To Rob's credit the book starts out with two pieces that are neglected by many other "experts" who produce printed material, call it a book and sell it for a high price:

  1. He starts out talking about Background and Overview--his own background, the background of the shooting fundamentals he's going to discuss in the book and overview of those fundamentals;
  2. Warrior Experts--now I put "experts" in quotes above, because a great many people consider themselves expert at something--even if it's basket weaving. Rob isn't talking about the experts who offer to teach you their particular skill at a price. He's talking about how if you're going to carry a gun, then YOU need to become a Warrior Expert. Simply carrying a gun does not make you capable of adequately defending yourself with it--not anymore than owning a piano makes you a musician.

With those items taken care of, he moves into Safety and Training Goals. It's always refreshing to receive training from an instructor who starts out by telling you exactly what he's going to try to teach you. Bear in mind that "training goals" doesn't have to be a detailed list of minutia, the mastery of all of which are required to properly draw a handgun from concealment...or some such. In this case he cites two: Comfort and Competency. It seems to me, in other training I've had, that those same two training goals have been listed, and if you think about it, they are VERY important. I just spent (last week) an evening on the range with a young lady who was neither comfortable nor competent with her issued handgun. However, before I could make her competent, I had to get her comfortable with the weapon. Comfort is most often required before competency can be achieved.

Rob goes on to make the excellent point that many of us prefer to train within our limits. That is to say that rather than pushing ourselves to be better in some way EVERY time we train, we perform a given task adequately and don't seek any progression. The problem is that--especially in a combat environment--if your skill level remains static, then it's falling behind that of others who are constantly training. Bad guys train more than most of us like to think about. Rob makes the excellent point that we should take every opportunity in our training time to learn SOMETHING.

From there on, Rob goes into some detail about HOW to develop your combat focus in shooting and WHY it matters in particular to you. The reality is that the training program/information outlined in this book may be general information, but it's individually specific in its application. Why does that matter? A great many trainers today will happily custom-tailor a training program just for you, and you'll pay one heck of a price for it. Other trainers will take a given training program and expect every student to mold themselves into the techniques being taught. The problem is that we are all different and what works perfectly for you may not work as well for me. I have my own personal best level of efficiency in shooting, and that level should be maximized--but never expected to match Rob's or anyone else's. That's a very important point to be made.

Before discussing accuracy, Rob talks about physiological reactions you might experience during a high stress event, such as combat shooting. He explains them, how they might affect you and why it doesn't matter.

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