Force on Force Drills
By Gabe Suarez
I think we have established that any one who does not do force on force in their program is only getting a partial picture of what the gunfight will be like, and like the blind men and the elephant, they are probably getting a very inaccurate picture at that.
If we are training for the gunfight, conducting marksmanship-based range drills alone will not do it. We need both to test our range work to see if it will hold up under true pressure, as well as educate ourselves to the true dynamics of a gunfight. We cannot do either of these things on a square range.
Enter the force on force drill. While many students are familiar with scenarios either from limited force on force, or from a traditional shoot house, a drill is very different from a scenario.
A scenario is an open ended, unknown outcome exercise where the trainee may get through it without even drawing his weapon much less shooting. In fact, a student is often lauded for getting through a scenario without needing to shoot. The scenario focuses more on picking up the pre-incident clues, and managing a contact, than on shooting drills. While scenarios have value and are very important in the complete training of a gunfighter, doing scenario work too early, or without the proper foundation, will yield frustration at best, and repeated failure and a fear of engaging at worst.
It would be like taking a novice boxer that was really good at hitting the bag and throwing him into a street fight with a veteran fighter. There is a vast gulf of ground between heavy bag drills and a real street fight. A similar gulf exists between range work and a force on force scenario. The missing link for the gun students is the force on force drill.
The force on force drill has no role playing, no acting, and has nothing to do with a “shoot-no-shoot” decision or legality situation. When you step up to do force on force drills, you are stepping up to get into a fight. You know there will be a gunfight and are simply waiting for the visual clues. Your goal is simple; Shoot without being shot.