Tactical Anatomy(tm) Training

I find it's usually a good idea to follow the doctor's orders.


Nearly a year an a half ago, back in December of 2005, part of my column was about the firearms training program being developed by my friend and colleague, Dr. James S. Williams. At that time, we were both preparing to make separate presentations to the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers' annual conference in Albuquerque, NM. As it turns out, unfortunately, ASLET closed up shop shortly after that conference, but the importance of training for law enforcement officers never ends. I said in that column that I would return to the work of Doc Williams again and in more detail. I am doing so now, because he has recently completed his new instructor manual and it is now available to bona fide law enforcement firearms instructors, through his training company, Tactical Anatomy Systems, LLC.

First, let me review Jim's background for you. He is a full-time emergency room physician by trade, but he has an intense interest in firearms training and helping police officers survive deadly force encounters. In addition to being a partner with David Maglio, Andy Vissers and Michael Williams in the Wisconsin-based Firearms Training Associates, LLC, he is affiliated with the Ripon (WI) Police Department as their medical officer. He has been developing this program for several years, and has made presentations about it not only at two ASLET annual conferences, but also at annual conferences of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) and the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). He has also conducted training seminars for various agencies throughout the country. Although he enjoys conducting the training himself, he does have a pretty intense day job and long ago recognized the need to develop materials for other trainers to use to expand the training to as many cops as possible. And, before I leave the bio part of this, I want to also mention that Jim is an excellent competitive shooter. He is the Wisconsin State IDPA coordinator and has organized, and won, a number of IDPA matches. He was the Wisconsin IDPA state champion revolver shooter in 2001 and 2005. In other words, when he speaks of the importance of accuracy, he understands the concept from both the sending and receiving ends.

What Doc Williams is trying to get across is that accuracy is the most important factor in quickly stopping a deadly attack. But accuracy really has several components. In other words, accuracy is not just being able to hit what you are aiming at, but is also knowing what to aim at. The shot must hit something vital that the bad guy needs to keep attacking. Therefore, you have to know where those vital areas are in the human body--hence his trademarked term "Tactical Anatomy(tm)." As a result, a key component of Jim's training is what he calls: "3-D Target Visualization." This is innovative because most law enforcement training is still conducted in static, two dimensional environments. We are beginning to make some big strides in this area, principally with force-on-force training and various video simulators. In fact, part of Jim's training program includes how to make the most of such training. He is also in the process of developing, along with a commercial target manufacturing company, some suitable 3-D targets to use in a conventional range environment. Simply put, Tactical Anatomy(tm) is the combined skills of accurately placing your shots and placing them in the right spot to be most effective.

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