Stress Fire and GPP

Took a class at the gun range this weekend that simulated a mass shooter situation at a restaurant. Good info and excellent instruction all around. But three things stuck out in my mind:

  1. You probably won’t have your fancy “range gun” with you at a restaurant. Many people take these classes with their best firearm: a full-sized handgun with all the bells and whistles, tucked into a competition-style holster they’d never use in public. I get it. You want to do well in the class and not look bad. But it’s not practical; it’s not “functional training” to borrow that bastardized term.

  2. Everything changes under stress, physically and mentally. With stress-fire training, you try to simulate the elevated heart rate and other conditions you’d experience in real life.

  3. Why are so many people who are concerned with self-defense and the defense of family so unconcerned with their physical health? After all, you may need to move in a bad situation, right? Seems like GPP or General Physical Preparedness, would cross their minds. Basically, being fit enough to fight if necessary, or at least run away.

With all that in mind, I took this class using my carry gun (Sig 365XL) and tried to do some light stress-fire training to see what changed.

Anyway, I learned a lot. Made some mistakes that I didn’t make when relaxed: reload orientation, using cover, etc. And for the record, I didn’t miss the green pin. I decided to let that guy live. Actually, I didn’t shoot at it. I had purposefully under-loaded my magazine so I’d be forced to do a surprise reload. I’m thinking the surprise reload combined with being a little winded threw me off. Good lesson: f!ck up in class so you won’t f!ck up in a bad situation.

Not seen in video: The 217 pushups I did before filming began.


Seriously, thinking about hauling in a kettlebell for the next class.

Ever train like this as a civilian? (I know LEOs and military folks do.)


I sometimes do a few pushups before the timer goes off. It’s humbling. I only do it when I’m alone at the range in the woods, because if I’m fatigued and a bit sloppy, I’m not putting anyone else at risk.

I also recently added 2 “no muzzle!” targets to my range. Even if you were at a mass shooting, it’s not only not ok to shoot an innocent, you really shouldn’t even be pointing a gun at them.

It’s nice to have a range where I can do what I want. I understand at some public ranges you can’t even draw from concealment. Which, on the one hand I think “what’s the point of even practicing, when you can’t really practice?” On the other hand, when I do go to a public range I see the ceiling and floor pock marked by bullets, so I realize the rules maybe necessary.

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Yep, I had to pass a draw-from-the-holster class first. Also, to shoot with one hand like I did with that last shot or two, I had to take a one-handed class. My range has pretty strict rules but once you “level up” it gets fun.

I am a CQB and SWAT tactical instructor. Twice a month , I along with three other instructors, volunteer teaching a practical , active shooter drill for citizens. I can tell you stories of both men and women who show up with the latest trick guns, gadgets, and whiz-bangs and be 30 to 50 pounds over weight. We have about 5 hours of shoot and move, with tactical thinking. Most cannot last an hour without rest. I simply don’t understand this and will ask, " do you really feel you could survive a gunfight? Are you fit enough to save your own life?’ I mostly get hate stares for those two questions.

Because they have never been in fight, either armed or unarmed. Get you ass beat or get shot at a few times and then decide if you want to be fat and out of shape. Never ceases to amaze me and it not just civilians, when qualification times come around, I have a lot of desk jockeys show up fat and out of shape. There typical response to my comments are: “I don’t do street work anymore”. Stupid.

For those interested, I will post some information on the Tactical Games and their training page.

I have access to an outdoor range, where I can train with tools. I take a 50lb sand bag and a 20lb kettebell. I do carries, drop bag and fire two rounds, repeat. I will do “kettle bell bombs”, where i will throw the KB as far as I can, run up, fire two rounds, and repeat. I keep this up until my hands start cramping, then stop. Ammo is too expensive to waste.

Really good post, I enjoyed your insights.


All the time. Running drills is a hobby. It is all about muscle memory. You will need it when your adrenaline is skyrocketing in a real situation.

I have also taken a handful of classes at Tactical Defense when James Yaeger was still alive.

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Sandbag work sounds ideal. Maybe my range will store one for me if I buy it and make it available to everyone.

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Exactly! No one ever “rises to the occasion.” We all fall back to our lowest level of training under pressure. It’s like a guy squatting 135 with shitty form. It ain’t gonna get better with 400 on his back.

I’ve got friends who will say ridiculous things about what they would do in X situation. But the only thing I’ve ever seen them train is shooting at paper while sitting.

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Some people do perform better under stress than others. I’ve seen it. It’s like their self -conciousness, ADHD, or whatever goes away and they can actually focus. It’s weird, and I definitely wouldn’t count on it. Some people never pull their head out of their ass, and the more bad situations they are exposed to, the worse their problem solving skills get.

Stress inoculation helps. If you can volunteer at an EMS agency I would say that is a great way to build the ability to function in a stressful environment. Also, you get to practice on people you don’t know, so if a family member ever has a medical emergency or major trauma you will be better prepared to help them and less likely to melt down.

But the best thing to do is preplanning, pre-visualization. Creative problem solving under stress or novel stimuli almost never happens.


Couple things.

1.) I’ve always hear you should train how you shoot. IE, if you usually wear a business suit and you’ll be drawing from under a sportscoat, that’s how you should train. If you’re a lady and you’ll be drawing out of a purse for defense, that’s how you should train.

2.) FloCombat had a BJJ version of The Ultimate Fighter called “Who’s Next”. One of their challenges (Hosted by Tim Kennedy) was they had to grapple with an opponent and escape, then go thru a course of fire. That was very interesting. The effect on shooting acumen was pronounced when the competitor had trouble escaping.



Only in America as they say!

This seems like something along the lines of what the Tactical Games is based on.

As someone who’s profession is in the fitness industry, I cal tell that you described a plurality of American citizens, and I can tell you, from a professional perspective, that it’s not just civilians. This same lack of concern with physical health has taken root in parts of our military. Even in that population, it never seems to register that " you may need to move in a bad situation" to either save someone else’s life or your save your own life, or even be able to flee the situation.

I definitely want to do a few of these comps in the spring when the weather warms up

It’s weird, for sure. The military seems to lowering standards as well, mainly because recruiting is way down and they take what they can get. And while warfighting is pretty high-tech these days, at some point you might have to take some stairs, right?

Most of the people I train with are absolute crackshots and fast on the draw. Their tactical skills are on point and they’re better than me. I just hope they’ll one day take the rest of their “machine” into consideration and, I dunno know, maybe drop some fat and quit smoking.

Lol…If you can persuade them to get into the tactical games, I don’t think that will be a problem. I heard one of the founders of the tactical games say in a video that the tactical games weeds out people from both the CrossFit community and the competitive shooting community. It weeds out the crossfitters who are only concerned with training and working out but never work on their firearm skills, and it weeds out the competitive shooters who only train firearm skills and are content to let physical fitness fall by the wayside. What you are left with are the people who do both.

Never thought about that. That sport breeds a unique athlete, for sure.

Having competed, been a volunteer and an observer, your statement is dead on. It is an unique combination of skill, endurance and strength. I would advise anyone interested in competing to try and attend one of their one or two day training classes.

Be honest. How many times can you do this?

With or without an oxygen can? :smiley:

This thread is cool! I didn’t realize such competition existed. I’ll have to start thinking about training like that while I’m at the range. I train like that at home but without shooting. One thing I enjoy doing is what I believe to be called the Marine Qualification Drill 1 (could be wrong). Starting at the 50 you shoot at one target standing, kneeling, prone, then hop-up and run to the 25-yard line. The rest of the drill has some walking and shooting all the way up to the 3-yard line. I do that multiple times. Not quite the same as what I see above but getting your heart rate up and moving makes a difference.

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