Drill Stories & Insights
15 to the 3rd Drill by Dave Spaulding, Handgun Combatives (Feb 2017 email to Live Fire Drill Cards)
“While it may seem like a small thing, the drill is/was a matter of many years work to it in place. You see, what I teach in Handgun Combatives is a result of decades of research, training and personal experience…I have faced life threatening situations and I understand what they really are. My lessons plans are not just something I threw together because they look cool or are fun to do. Each drill reinforces skill set(s) that I feel are essential for pistol combat while maintaining as much simplicity and lack of motion as possible. Today (at least it seems to me) many drills are created because they are fun or the instructor in question is good (thus looking good in front of the class) at them under the auspices of they “reinforce proper fundamentals” which can be said about most anything regarding a gun. Pick it up, work the trigger, and shoot oranges at twenty feet and someone will claim “the visual feedback of the exploding oranges reinforces proper fundamentals!” Yeah…ok…sure…
What I call the ESSENTIALS are certainly important, but I do not focus on them beyond their station in the overall scheme of things. What I do in Handgun Combatives is build skill sets that will allow the student to “adapt and apply” the skills needed to prevail in armed conflict. You see, I have long understood the secret to winning a gunfight is not how smooth you work the trigger, how fast your splits are, how quick you draw or how fast your reload is, it’s being able to read the situation for what it is and adapt and apply the needed skills to overcome your attacker. Shooting fundamentals are easy to teach…and fun to do… fighting skills are difficult. It’s like a pyramid, you have to build and place each skill block next to and on top of the one just mastered, but if you neglect any of them (remove them from the process) the pyramid will crumble. The essentials (fundamentals) are the foundation, but the first block is a combative mindset…something most ignore. Without it all to follow is a waste.
15 to the 3rd reinforces several of these required skills. It is used in both my Advanced Combative Pistol course where the whole course is dedicated to movement…not just “MOVE!” as screamed by many instructors, but how to move forward, rearward and laterally and how to stop quickly prepared to shoot accurately. In my Close Proximity Pistol class it is used to clear non-hostiles in the battle space to engage an active threat. Without the instruction required to do it well, the drill is just another drill on the internet…something people shoot because they want to feel good about themselves, but do not want to seek out and pay for proper training. The internet has not really been a “friend” to fight preparation…and training is just that…preparation for the most serious moments of your life.”