Training For Absolute Chaos


Force-on-force training with Simunition guns will get your blood
flowing and provide valuable training for the chaos of a real encounter.
Image: Michael Bordon (

So, you have bought your concealed carry pistol, taken your CCW class, and now you’re ready for a deadly force encounter. But are you? Do you think you have an idea of what that encounter is going to look like?

What It Might, And Won’t Be Like

TV and movie fight scenes, car chases, and prolonged shootouts are just not reality. Nor will your confrontation likely involve a 6’4″, 275-lb. “biker” wearing a name tag that says, “HELLO, my name is BAD GUY.”

I do know for a fact your adversary will not be a freshly hung paper target. Your paper target will always stand perfectly still while you load, get the perfect grip and align your sights. Then you can fire the perfect round, which stops the target every time and lands in the backstop with no consequences.

The 24-hour news cycle tells us encounters can happen anywhere. It can be an armed carjacking from church, armed robbery at a birthday party, or a lethal encounter in a grocery store. It may be dark or light. It may be quiet, or it may be so loud from the sounds of screaming people or fire alarms you can’t even think. You might be alone, with your family, or surrounded by a group of panicking kids.

Your adversary might be just another person in the crowd or an employee who looks just like the 50 other employees in the retail shop. Maybe it is a 14-year-old kid who has decided the cell phone in your hand is worth more than your life. Or even worse, it’s someone doing unspeakable things to your spouse or even your child.

Maybe this confrontation isn’t seven yards away, which gives you some reaction time and a full field of view of what’s in front of you. It might be a confrontation that is moving with no signs of stopping. Or it is you and your adversary in a small room with nowhere for you to go, and all your options are bad. Maybe your attacker has forced you to the ground where they are now using all the benefits of their strength, weight and evil intentions upon you.

When you begin to look at a lethal encounter in a realistic view, you quickly realize how violent this encounter is going to be. It is personal, frightening, in your face and constantly changing in a way you could have never imagined. Now you have an adversary who will no longer stand still and already has the advantage of action versus your reaction. All of this is happening in a time span of seconds. It will, in fact, be utter chaos.

Chaos Preparation

I’m guessing this is a little different than you pictured. You may find your head spinning and wondering if your time on the range was wasted.

It wasn’t. High-quality, fundamentals-based training with your firearm is a great start. You need a level of skill that makes the operation of your firearm almost automatic. Good quality repetitions refining the fundamentals will accomplish this goal.

To help you survive a deadly force encounter, you should add training that takes the skills learned on the square range and lets you apply them in a more “real world” application.

At Gunsite, we have fully functional live fire shoot houses. This lets you work through rooms, look in places where people might be hiding, and confront them in a more realistic manner. It has threat and non-threat targets, forcing you to decide if you need to engage.
When taking students through the shoot houses and them having to make all those decisions, I have seen very emotional responses. Often, this is the first time shooters have confronted life-like-looking targets, causing their brain to think of it as a person and not just a paper target.

The closest thing to a real encounter is force-on-force training. This is not paintball, but a scripted event with a desired outcome and a functioning pistol, which shoots paint marking rounds. It involves a scenario with a real live human who will move, act and threaten you. It is as close to a true deadly threat as you can replicate. This will cause you stress, give you tunnel vision and force you to react to another human. Having to manage all this is crucial when preparing for what a deadly encounter might look like.

Mike Tyson is famous for saying, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” He is right, your plan is great until it needs to change. But you can help yourself with this change by adding training that lets you apply your fundamental skills in a realistic and changing environment as close to the real world as you can make it.

Gunsite Academy is the world’s oldest and largest firearms training facility. Originally known as the American Pistol Institute, Gunsite Academy offers firearms training to elite military personnel, law enforcement officers and free citizens of the U.S. For more info:

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