Three dimensional (3D) targets for training on the range - we're chuffed as hell to offer today's article by Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics. He's an excellent instructor and a smart sumbitch. Give the article a read and we're sure you'll agree with our assessment. If you have preferred targets or drills using these sorts of training aids, please let us know in the comments section so everyone will benefit. MD
The Case for 3D Targets
The case for three dimension training should be self evident. We live in a three dimensional world. We have grown up interacting in three dimensions using depth perception, hand-eye coordination and an instinctual math to perform a multitude of tasks on a daily basis. Yet, when it comes to firearms training, a vast majority of professional shooters are still using two dimensional training models. Instead of training on three dimensional targets that represent, as close as possible, the threats we will face, training is conducted on two dimensional paper caricatures of the human form that are always conveniently squared off to the shooter. Even when these targets are utilized on sophisticated ranges with pneumatic or eclectic shuttles that allow them to run side to side, the remain squared to the shooter; as if we are expected to believe that this is an accurate representation of reality.
Instead of admitting that conflict is largely unpredictable on the personal level and the actions of an individual threat when faced with lethal force are even more so, the two dimensional target dangerously reinforces the supposition that in a violent encounter our threat will stand fully erect, squared off and if he moves, it will be forward, back, or running squared-off to the left or right. Anyone who has ever been in a violent force encounter involving firearms knows this to be almost 100% false. Due to a natural sense of self preservation, even the most aggressive threats will do everything they can to allow incoming fire the right of way.
Now, some may ask why it matters if we train in 3-D or 2-D, of what possible advantage could it be? Besides the fact that you will never encounter a 2-D threat, 3-D allows us to train for reality. We are of course due some training artificialities. No one to date has been able to produce a 3-D target that looks and behaves like a person and even if one was available, I can only imagine the price. What I mean by reality is familiarization with shooting on the human form. Squared off, oblique, flank, crouched, sitting, bent over; all of these positions present a different target with a different center-of-mass. Do you know the best point of aim from the flank that is likely to produce fast incapacitation? For those who have been introduced to and train for vital areal incapacitation, the targeting of critical organs, what would be the preferred point of aim if you are crouched or kneeling and the threat is oblique away and bent over at the waist? Where is the point of aim to strike the upper cardiovascular area of the threat when the threat is seated and the target presents from the flank?
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