Training Shooters With Behavior Modification In Mind

De-escalation could take a few minutes or a few days, depending on the officer.


Drivers also have a perception of the width of the roadway and how close objects are to their lane. If tall grass is close to the edge of the roadway, traffic will move slower than highways bordered by cropped vegetation.

Firearms instructors already create shooter friction by placing "no shoot" targets on the range. Constantly shooting at partially obscured targets or targets that require a threat assessment will train shooters to fire through without interruption. The best way to reduce shooter friction is to continually introduce new situations, then increase competency in those situations.

Ignore perceived friction
Officers should learn to ignore or take advantage of perceived friction. The way to ignore perceived friction is to respond to visual cues about cover and concealment. The way to take advantage of perceived friction is to recognize that aggressors will do the same thing.

Rangemasters should use polyethylene orange fencing. Place sections of this fencing perpendicular to the line of fire, covering all or part of a target. This is the same stuff some shooting organizations use for lane control, simulating walls and range obstacles.

Because of the way this fencing is usually employed, many shooters will ask "Is this fencing supposed to simulate cover or concealment?" Rangemasters should respond. "It is not simulating anything, it's just fencing." Officers who clearly identify threats behind the fencing (and determine there aren't any "no shoots") and fail to shoot through the fencing should be corrected. This model should be repeated using clearly identified threats behind glass and empty garbage cans. Range masters should create range scenarios which cause officers to shoot through small openings and semi-transparent items such as shower curtains.

Exploit perceived friction
It is a natural perception to believe opaque materials are cover. Anyone who has put a bullet through an interior wall knows this is not true. However, for a brief moment, it may work. Getting behind an opaque material will buy an officer time to seek cover. The threat may believe the officer is behind a sheetrock wall. However, the astute officer has already moved.

Change the cadence
When learning Morse code, radio enthusiasts use the Farnsworth method, a time compression of actual code speed. Instead of listening to individual dots and dashes, letters are sent at a fast rate causing the student to hear the group, not the components. The intervals between the letters decreases as the skill level increases. If a student is learning code at five words- per-minute, individual letters are sent at 21. Students learn to hear the combinations quickly, almost ignoring the interval. They already are familiar with the cadence, only the interval has changed.

Changing the cadence on the range is a similar concept. First, officers must learn to fire rapid accurate shot strings, while the interval between these shot strings decreases.

Officers should begin at the 3-yard line with three 75-percent Milpark targets, shoulder width apart. From the holster, officers must draw and fire two shots on each target within 3 seconds, reholstering every time. When officers have established accurate first and second shots with consistent cadence, the drill changes to six shots from the holster in 4 seconds without reholstering in between.

This particular drill accomplishes two objectives. First, officers hear the rapidity of the shots and mimic this speed. Second, rapid-fire shooting causes a "feel" for the trigger. Shooters tend to maintain better trigger contact if they have to fire faster. This type of drill should be preceded by sear reset training.

Reduce administrative friction
Agency administrators need to do their best to remove the perceptions that would detract from an officer doing his job. If an officer believes that the infrastructure of the agency is designed to scrutinize every decision he makes, he may subconsciously fail to deliver the correct amount of force in a given situation. Statistically, failing to deliver the correct amount of force at the correct time is one of the most consistent factors in law enforcement officers being assaulted.

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