Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I Learned From FATS

You know, with a nickname like GunDiva, people kinda expect me to know one end of a gun from the other and, you know, be able to shoot said gun(s).  And I can.  Unless it's FATS training and both Jeffery Deaver and Lee Lofland are in the room watching my group.

I can honestly say, though, that once the scenarios started I forgot they were there.

Everything Mrs Mom's DH (Anonymous) wrote in the comments section of yesterday's pop quiz is true. 

  • The whole losing 50% of your fine motor skills.  Check.  Lost some fine motor skills. 
  • The whole shooting until the threat is stopped.  Check.  Did that - of course, the scenario didn't end until the bad guy was neutralized. 
  • The whole attitude is everything.  Check.  I can grip and present a gun with the best of them.  Couldn't hit anything, but, man, if attitude would have taken down the bad guys, I wouldn't have ever needed to squeeze the trigger.
I've shot Defensive Pistol off and on for a long time; I've been under pressure from the clock and other competitors.  But that didn't do much to prepare me for FATS.  I had a hard time interacting with the screen - screaming alpha commands at it just wasn't working for me.  Lucky for me, one of the girls in my group had that down pat.  In Defensive Pistol, it's just one person killing all the bad guys.  Makes for a bad team player when grouped with others.  So, #1 and #4, I apologize for being a bit scattered.

I did okay with most scenarios, but there was one that raised my frustration level like you wouldn't believe.  The scenario was that we were called to a wholesale warehouse (like Sam's Club or CostCo) where a man with a shotgun was confronting an employee.  My frustration came when we couldn't get the person who called to shut up and get out of the way, then we were moved through the aisles until we came to the end of one.  I found myself peeking around the corner just like I would in a match, but the camera took us into full view of the bad guy.  #1 killed him dead; I followed a shot or two behind.

I was completely disoriented by the camera movement; in matches, we're expected to move around the course, standing still and being moved by the camera view was just plain weird.  By the end of our eight million scenarios, I'd adapted to the camera movement and was doing better.

The other thing that frustrated me about FATS training was the lack of immediate feedback when firing.  I squeezed the trigger and had no idea where my bullet went.  I know that sounds horrible, and it was horrible.  Any time a gun is fired, the shooter should know where the bullet went.  I thought I had my sight picture lined up and I know I wasn't jerking the trigger, but I consistently was a little high on playback. 

Despite my disorientation with the camera movement and my frustration with not knowing where my bullets were going, I loved FATS training.  It was excellent for shoot/no shoot training and made me really analyze what I was doing and why.  There were people that I didn't shoot (and correctly, it turns out) because they didn't feel like a threat, but I couldn't articulate why I chose not to shoot them.  However, I can absolutely understand why people would shoot them; their actions could absolutely be interpreted as aggressive or dangerous.

In the half hour we had with FATS, we must have shot seven or eight scenarios.  I can happily say that I did get better with every scenario and that I had an *amazing* head shot on a bad guy holding a baby in a car seat in one arm and swinging a machete with the other.  I fired one round and killed him dead.  I am also thrilled to say that no one in my group was killed or shot an innocent.

I thought we were going to get to see Jeffery Deaver shoot - apparently, he's quite the competitive shooter - but we moved onto the next round of simulation training, the VirTra simulator.

With the VirTra simulator, we all got to shoot individually and I LOVED IT!  It may be that we got to start off shooting steel poppers.  I love shooting steel poppers.  Doing so gave me a chance to get to know my weapon and gain confidence.  Again, I had trouble giving alpha commands to a screen, but I had a blast shooting the bad guys.

One scenario completely threw me for a loop.  I was called to remove an employee who had been fired, but was refusing to leave the building.  He was standing at his former desk, with a cardboard box of his belongings on the desk and he was flat-out refusing to leave the premises.  The problem was that I was giggling because all I could think of was the movie "Office Space" - I just wanted to give him his red Swingline stapler and usher him out the door.  Instead, he reached in the box and pulled out a Glock.  I knew he was going to eat lead a split second before he did.  I hesitated, not wanting to shoot him and be involved in a "suicide by cop" situation.  In the moment of my hesitation, he shot himself.  "Oh Shit," was all I could say.  That scenario was set up for failure - either I shot him to neutralize the threat or I let him shoot himself - either way he ended up dead.


Allenspark Lodge said...

Was there a suggested way to respond to the suicide scenario? (I suppose a double-tap to his groin so he had reason to kill himself would be inappropriate?)

Mr. Daddy said...

I am howling at Bill's comment...

And either way you could consider it a win, win situation for the perp...

he got what he wanted either way...LOL

Not that I envy him the prize...ROFL

Momma Fargo said...

Glad you liked it! I am a fan of the FATS, too.

Terry Odell said...

Hi there! Finally made it back home, and had a chance to drop by your blog. I've linked the Hubster's take on his FATS experience to his guest post, which will go up tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 7th). Should be an interesting comparison. Glad your enjoying my recaps. And more glad you introduced yourself.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery