Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Java Gold—A Short Range Match Stage

In April 2010 security cameras recorded a violent attack at the Java Gold jewelry store in Houston. Three men robbed and beat the store owner and an employee. Police eventually caught all three attackers.

Mehmood Ghaznavi the store owner armed himself after this robbery and unfortunately was killed in a gunfight with Anthony Parks during an attempted robbery in a separate incident a year later on 6 July 2011. Police found Parks at the scene and transported him to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the right side of his forehead. A jury later convicted Parks of Ghaznavi’s murder and sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

This is a video of me shooting Java Gold—a Short Range Match stage that replicated the April 2010 robbery. The scenario: String #1: Starting seated at P1with hand on holstered pistol (or retention ready), draw and engage all targets with at least two rounds. You may stand or move as you deem necessary. String #2: Starting seated at P1 remove pistol from the box and engage all targets with at least two rounds. You may stand or move as you deem necessary.

The Short Range Match stage design encourages people to use proper tactics and cover. The match replicates incidents such as the Java Gold robbery on a square range. The Short Range courses of fire seek to replicate real life scenarios where you are more likely to use carry-suitable handguns. The match's guiding principle is to improve concealed carry skills and shooters ideally will use a pistol they carry to shoot the match. All pistols may be loaded to magazine capacity; however, the match may have some reloads on the clock or some malfunction drills. Although this was a static stage, we typically practice a lot of moving to cover during the Short Range Match.

You will notice that the targets are covered with old t-shirts.  I inadvertently learned a few years ago that shooters tended to shoot low when they did not have a reference aiming point--either the ability to see the down zero ring or tape on the target.  They were literally shooting "center of mass." Since then, I frequently cover the target and regulars at the match have learned to raise their aim to the proper, anatomically correct area on the target.

I have also become convinced that the typical IDPA match encourages training scars. Training scars are bad habits, inappropriate, or counterproductive actions that don’t have a basis in proper tactics. Prior to the rule change several years ago, IDPA stages often required shooters to engage targets while moving. This resulted in shooter taking baby steps as they engaged targets. Obviously if someone is shooting at you, chicken walking in the open is probably not a good idea.

Under the current rules, competitors can also engage targets while standing in the open much like USPSA stages. If cover is available you should get to it as fast as possible. Several years ago, Active Response Training published the results of an informal experiment testing the benefits of static engagement, moving and shooting, and using cover. 

Although certainly not a controlled scientific experiment, the results are interesting. Defenders who remained stationary were hit 85% of the time with 51% hit in the torso. Defenders who moved were hit 47% of the time with an 11% hit rate in the torso. Defenders who rapidly moved to cover were only hit 26% of the time with a 6% hit rate to the torso—a significant improvement in survival potential. The full article is worth the read. Click here.

I’m not bashing IDPA or USPSA; however, if you are interested in improving self-defense skills, training with scenarios like those we use in the Sensible Self Defense Short Range Match helps. IDPA, USPSA, the Short Range Match and similar contests do train us to shoot under stress and improve our speed and accuracy. The skills we practice most often are the skills we will use if called upon to defend ourselves so occasionally shooting a match using correct tactics is a good idea. You may not win the match, but it will improve your odds if you are forced to draw your pistol to defend your life.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm interested in your "Java Gold" short range match stage. I don't know how to contact you directly about it other than to leave this comment and hope that you email me, but I'd like to discuss it further. My email is the username under which I am commenting.

    Mike Trent