Sunday, July 24, 2022

Combat Mindset

Jeff Cooper wrote about the Combat Mindset in his excellent book To Ride, To Shoot Straight, and ToSpeak The Truth.  While he taught this at Gunsite, it's not clear that it can really be taught.  Certainly the Special Forces selects for this mindset among its applicants.

Glen Filthie has an important post related to this: Not Bourne - It's Basic Pistolcraft:

Not to take anything away from the kid - under the circumstances, with the lead flying and people panicking - the young man showed a coolness and proficiency most veteran cops don't have. That is a condemnation of our police, more than anything else. The kid did well, and deserves the accolades he got.

However - 40 yards is not a long shot. Back when the Old Guard still were with us, guys like Bill Blankenship was dumping 12" gongs at 200 yards.

I agree and disagree, although I don't really disagree.  In a sense, 40 yards isn't all that far.  I recall the time that ASM826 hosted The Queen Of The World and me at his shooting range.  It was raining and so we set up a steel target at 100 yards.  TQOTW had a ball shooting the AR and ringing the gong all day.  Feeling a little sporty, I took my 1911 and squeezed off a shot - the sound of bullet hitting steel was quite gratifying, and I did an entire magazine ringing the bell.  And I'm not a particularly good shot.  So Glen is right that 8 out of 10 at 40 yards isn't exactly Annie Oakley shooting.

Except ASM826's range wasn't hot in both directions.  This is where the combat mindset comes into play.  It seems that those who can suppress their emotions do well - that's certainly what the young man at that Mall did.  And so my only disagreement with Glen is that it's only basic pistolcraft if you have the combat mindset.

I don't think this is common at all.  I don't think it has been common in ages past.  Roman military manuals discuss this: The Praecepta Militaria from around 965 AD talks about the fear that soldiers felt in combat and ways to organize the units to help maintain good order.  The book uses the term "in good order" or its equivalent dozens of time, showing the importance - and difficulty - of maintaining the Combat Mindset.

That was 1000 years ago.  I think the problem is the same today, which is why so many applicants wash out of Special Forces training and why the young man in Indiana stands out.  As Napoleon said the mental is to the physical as three is to one.  Or Clauswitz: in battle everything is simple but even the simplest thing is very difficult. That's just different ways of saying the lessons from the Praecepta Militaria.

Me, I have no idea how I would have reacted in that situation.  Quite frankly, I hope never to find out. 


Michael said...

I agree, I never want to walk into a mass shooter situation with my wife.

Hard enough to hold it together with your fellow medical crew under fire in a warzone, KNOWING your family is an ocean away safe from troubles.

You might not care to play with the Party of Chaos but the Party of Chaos *might* be interested in playing with you.

May you live in Interesting Times, old Chinese curse.

Divemedic said...

The same is true in any life or death situation. Watch a fire crew going into a burning building. The old vets never seem to get excited.

Matthew W said...

Glen is wrong.
"everyone" can make a 40 yard shot, but it's how this kid did it that is amazing.

5stonegames said...

A pistol at 40 yards vs a carbine in crowded mall with having to push a wife to safety and no bystander hits is not basic pistol craft .

Its expert pistol craft.

And sure you can do it easily enough on the range, Garand Thumb just did that calling it the Dickens Drill but under fire? Many trained marksmen miss at closer range.

B said...

Yea, and no.
40 yards on a range is still good shooting. Much better than most folks usually practice.
40 yards under stress? That is EXCELLENT shooting.

It isn't hard to hit a gong at 100 yards under calm, controlled conditions. But even bullseye folks consider 50 yards (with a pistol) long.
The fact that most cops shoot at 12 yards is a failure in training.
Fact is this kid did better than most people can. Even those of us who shoot regularly. To disparage his feat is asinine.

Will said...

I'm wondering if he has a hobby or activity that has raised his threshold for adrenaline dumps.

Heavy adrenaline use is anathema to engaging in dangerous activities that require precise hand and/or body control and sharp mental faculties.

I roadraced motorcycles for a number of years. Most people think racers do it for the adrenaline rush. Au contrare. Occasionally some sort of near crash activity can cause an adrenal dump. Then, you have to slow your pace for a bit, maybe a half lap or so, until you can flush your system and regain your control, so you can return to pushing the handling limits of your vehicle.

Even riding on the street probably raises your dump threshold to some extent. Competition of a physical sort would fit this category, I suspect, along with things like horse-riding, rock climbing, flying, and others that don't immediately come to mind.

danielbarger said...

JB Books addressed the issue well....

ASM826 said...

I have mentioned this to Borepatch before, but if you want to see how see how you shoot under stress, I have an idea.

Get the target array up and shoot it for time and score. That's your baseline.

Reload your magazines. Run down to the 200 yd line and back. With your heart rate up, turn and make ready. Have a friend solidly wack you across the shins with a 1" dowel rod, then stand off to one side and throw plastic milk crates at you when the buzzer goes off. Shoot the array for time and score. That's your stress score.

It's not combat stress, but the difference in results will tell you something.

Glen Filthie said...

Well ol’ Glen is wrong aboot a lot a things. I am a simple man. I was a farm kid, I hunted and fished, and I had to get practical in life or suffer the consequences. I tend to see the world in simple terms. I tend toward preparedness in all things. The topic of “mindset” is complicated, and I’ve seen it send the self proclaimed experts go hareIng off into the woods. (General Aesop, Vlad is holding on line 1 😂👍)

If you carry, you have to accept the idea of actually killing someone in self defence. Do your thinking now, you don’t one to get bogged down with morals and ethics in the middle of a firefight. Me? I’m good with it. The next step is training. Read the experts, ignore the phonies, and hit the range 3 or 4 nights a week. No, 40 yard shots are not “excellent” shooting. If you practice you will be able to hit at 75. I know because in my younger days I did all the time. There is no magic there, I could do it because I spent the time and money on it. I am not a good shot either. But you will develop a familiarity that will allow you to shoot with a clear mind.

In light of that the whole thing becomes a no-brainer. Two way rifle ranges like that are are not complicated. Can you make the shot? Yes? Send it. No? Seek cover and make the shot if the opportunity allows. Properly prepared, you will focus on the task at hand and not on panic. That’s what panic is - the mind is overloaded and tries to process too much at once.

There is no shame in not being able to wield a weapon in self defence either. JL over at The Bitter Centurion talks about mindset in terms of software… and he’s right. Some people will never be able to run it. Most people have to learn it. If you’re born with it, chances are you’re a psychotic…but I could be wrong on that.

For those of you saying that this was a Herculean feat of marksmanship… my question to you is this: have you ever actually TRIED to cultivate long range skills? As in making it a part of your drills? Sorry, firing 50 rounds and saying it’s impossible is what it is - a cop out!

I don’t think Glen is wrong here at all.

matism said...

What is your score, ASM826, if one of your shots successfully removes the "friend" who is throwing those milk crates?

Aesop said...

Glen or anyone else should feel free to post their 3"x5" index card target, and score for 10 shots rapid fire offhand at 40 yards. 80% or better is passing.

The pistoleros of old who were shooting gongs at 200 yards and game at longer ranges weren't doing so offhand, but rather prone or seated reclined, frequently over longer-than-average barrels, slow-fire, and using their hips, knees, thighs, and footwear as ad hoc rests.

That vs. Greenwood Mall is apples to pineapples.

In neither case was nor will be anyone shooting back with a carbine, but it makes the point even without that added factor.

And FTR, to be scrupulously accurate, Napoleon said "in war, the moral is to the physical as three is to one." Not the mental.

He was talking about combat spirit and fighting motivation, which involved quite a bit of emotion, not some zen-like focused mindset, although the circles may have some amount of overlap at the end of the day. Think more Rebel yell/Viking berserker, rather than samurai swordmaster.

Mel; not the rug rats.

Comrade Misfit said...

I am with B on this.

Go to a Bullseye match and watch guys hit the center of the target, offhand, at fifty yards, with centerfire guns. The pressure is time in two of the stages.

But, and this is a big "but": Nobody's really doing that with a carry gun. Tuned, custom 1911s, or 6" Model 14/15/25s.

Hitting a moving target, eight times out of ten, with a compact, not target-grade pistol with open sights is impressive work.

Glen Filthie said...

Yeah yeah yeah. Of COURSE you are, Cow Cnut. Whatever.

For the adults in the room:

So, don't tell me it can't be done because it obviously can. And just because you two idiots will freeze up and gobble in fright at the sight of your own shadows - doesn't mean others will too. If you focus on your training one shot is the same as any other.

Again, not trying to take away anything from the kid. But if you are going to call him an extraordinarily gifted shooter - you are both going to have to call ME one too!!! Kiss my arse, morons - you first, General! No biting and keep your tongue in!!!

The lad was focused, practiced and skilled - but no, he's not Jason Bourne.

Divemedic said...

Uh, oh. Looks like we have us some Internet commandos engaging in an online dick measuring contest here.

Glen Filthie said...

Why… how RUDE, DM!!!

But if it IS a contest… Misfit would probably win it! HAR HAR HAR!!! 😂👍 I don’t think strap-ons are sporting but what’d a I know?

But it is thought provoking. I may have to try this one myself on the next trip to the range.

Comrade Misfit said...

Dear Glen: Bad enough that you come onto my blog to insult me (for which you're being banhammered, but you're too obtuse to recognize that), but now you feel that you have the right to pollute the comment section of another blog so that you can spread your vile, childish misogyny?

You, sir, are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

JL said...

Glen's a pathetic excuse for a human being, as said by an unabashed communist.

Pot, meet kettle.

blogger said...

Hey Glen, remember what it says here on top of the box where you type your comments:

Remember your manners when you post.

You've been coming here for a long time - you know this. I don't care what you post at your place: your place, your rules. But this is my place, so my rules.

In particular, you didn't have any real argument here with Comrade Misfit. I'm leaving your comment because this reply will let folks know that I don't want this sort of thing here. Like I said, my place, my rules.

Like I also said, you've been commenting here for a long time, and have contributed to a lot of discussions. I don't want that to change but I do want the insults to go away.

- Borepatch

blogger said...

JL, you left your comment while I was typing mine. What I said to Glen applies to your comment too.

Folks, if you're going to post attacks on other people, slow your roll. Seriously. I don't want to delete comments but this is getting out of hand.

- Borepatch

JL said...

Suits me, kemosabe. Your house, your rules.

B said...

Hey, GLenn, in the Real World you'd likely not outshoot me.
But feel free to come to Indiana and show me. I'll video it so you can have the bragging rights if you can match your deed to your mouth. I strongly doubt you can.

But feel free to cash those checks your mouth writes. Email. You can find contacts in my blog if you think you can meet the standards you've thrown down here.
Show the rest of us you are more than a blowhard. If you can.

we can do 50 yards outdoors, 25 yards outdoors, or if you can't face the sun we can go indoors and poke holes in paper at 50 feet. Your choice. I do all of them at least once a week. With carry pistols. You?

Feel free to step up, or shut up.

Glen Filthie said...

My apologies BP.

bultaco1495 said...

One last thought, . . . not to get into the weeds about this, but, . . . could we get technical for a minute?

I went on Google. I typed, "mall shooting". This event occurred on July 17. Most of the posts above are from the days shortly thereafter, so not all of the specifics were known.

Most of the handgun comments seem to be based on guessing or assuming what handgun (size) probably, or at least, predictably, was used.

But now, later, we come to find out what it really actually was. It was a Springfield Hellcat. I looked that up on Google. It says it has a three inch barrel. That is not exactly a Glock 19 handgun size . . . if you get my drift . . . [and, I have ten handguns in my safe, so I am not inexperienced].

I am reading all the comments, sometimes several times, and I am thinking, . . .formally trained or untrained, with pressure of without pressure, is it really thought to be that, "what's the problem?" with respect to accuracy or skill, at that distance, . . . with a three inch barrel, . . . with what is marketed to be and is referred to as a, "micro compact" pocket pistol?