Are You Adding more “Suck” or “Skate” to Your Training?

I got asked this question the other day by a very close friend of mine and it got me to thinking seriously about my current combative training routine. (and understand when I say “Combative” training routine I am referring to my ENTIRE martial training: Empty Hand, Stick, Knife, Gun.)

Now before I jump into this let me explain one other thing for all my non-military readers. The terminology “Skate” is military jargon that refers to a person who is SHIRKING their duties when they are supposed to be WORKING. To put it simply, SKATE=LAZY!

OK, so first things first, and this is important to answer in any training scenario:. WHY are we wanting to make our training more difficult? Is it to pet our ego? Is it to impress our friends? No, of course not. We are making our martial training more difficult and challenging because that is the way the world works.

The Real World is Brutal! Keeping your training REALISTIC (but at the same time PRACTICAL) ensures that you are going to be in the best SHAPE (both physically and mentally) to not only face what this crazy world throws at you, but also kick’s its ass.


OK, so one of the most practical ways to add REALISM to any training drill, regardless if it is with a firearm or not, is to add STRESSORS to the drill.

STRESSORS typically fall in one of three categories:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL: This is anything to do with the environment around you where you are fighting. Weather conditions (Cold, Hot, Rain, Snow) Condition of the Ground, Condition of the building where you are at, etc.

  • PHYSICAL: This is anything to do with your physical body. This can include increased heart rate, tunnel vision, loss of hearing, being wounded, etc.

  • TIME: This is the most practical stressor used in firearm drills. By adding time we create the need to be fast but efficient and accurate in our movements and shots. Competition shooting uses this stressor (via a shot timer) as the baseline in which to measure shooting competency.

  • DISTANCE: Most folks believe this stressor is unique only to firearm drills, but it also works with empty hand and knife drills as well.

Here is a clip from Pat McNamara where he uses all Four of the above stressors together to create a very realistic handgun drill.

*Notice how the simple use of MOVEMENT with dumb-bells adds an increased heart rate, which effects the mechanics of making a good shot, combine this with DISTANCE (when you have to shoot more accurately you have to shoot slower) and this drill can be a real ass kicker.

So we can see very clearly that by keeping in good Fighting Shape (strength and cardio) we can not only rest assured we will be able to fight somebody more than 2 minutes without becoming winded but also be able to make good solid hits on target after moving.

Remember when Stress floods our system, our heart rate increases, which in turn increases our breathing, which as we all know, is one of the main factors effecting accuracy with a firearm! *Bear in mind anytime we use DISTANCE as a stressor it will effect the TIME it takes to make an accurate shot.

In the next article I will discuss Square range versus Real World Mentality and why Movement is so important.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

HCS Pistol Bullet Points

I came across this in my binder today and realized I had not published this. I think it speaks for itself, but as we cover the associated drills in the coming months it may help you visualize the drill itself.

  • Train how you Live, same clothes, same gear, same gun. Don’t go to the range suited and geared up like a SWAT Officer or Airborne Para-Troop, wear and use what you carry with you everyday.

  • Hard Focus on ECQ Shooting, >5 Ft. Distances & Close Contact.

  • 70/30 Dry to Live Fire Ratio; Fundamentals are only cemented by Repetition. 

  • Movement approached with the clock method, empahsizing obliques.

  • Displacement Trumps Marksmanship; learn to move and shoot. It is always more important to NOT get shot in a gunfight.

  • Combat Accuracy; forget about the bullseye, any hit in the pumphouse (center mass) or the Computer (head) is Good for you, bad for him. Flush the ideal of always shooting nice tight groups, that is for target shooting and impressing your friends, not combat shooting and fighting for your life.

  • Cognitive Stress Drills; learn to think on your feet and use discretion before you squeeze the shot

  • Continuum Concept; Drills must have an equal mix of point and sighted fire. Approach this concept in terms of when do I really need to use my sights? Typically Distance, Time and Circumstance will dictate this.

  • Ambidextrous Weapon Handling; there is no “Strong” or “Weak”, all martial arts promote using both hands, firearms are just an extension of your fist.

  • Smooth is Fast; eliminate un-needed movement and tension (jerky) in weapon handling  and Presentation of the weapon.