Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: "Be Fast, Be Accurate, Be the Best", by Bill Rogers.

I had the pleasure of meeting legendary Bill Rogers, father of the modern Kydex holster, lead designer for Safariland and instructor extraordinaire, during my time in Utah. I had plans to attend his class, but was bumped out since his method requires an maximum of 15 students - to be explained later. While I wasn't able to shoot in the class, I was able to listen to his lecture portion, which draws on his considerable USPSA, law enforcement training, and product development backgrounds. If there was a time I wished I had a notebook, it would've been then: my memory is pretty good, but much of what he related, I didn't write down since I was flustered about being ousted.

When I came back, I related much of the information to Mik3 and, to my surprise, he passed his copy of Roger's book to me! What follows is a review of that book, an overview of drills that Rogers recommends, and some of his training methodology.

The book is extremely short - just over 100 pages - and most of the first half focuses on Rogers' history with the FBI and his approach to holster development. While this section is certainly interesting, the second section is more applicable to skill-building.

Rogers seems to separate shooting into two fundamental approaches: "Precision Shooting", based on completely controlled, methodical trigger manipulation and perfect sight alignment and "Reactive Shooting", based on the flash sight picture, immediate trigger control and subconscious correct repetition of the presentation. Rogers goes on to say that the latter approach is more important in initial development as it builds realistic, life-saving skills first. From the standpoint of a competitive or defensively-oriented shooter, I'm apt to agree.

The development of reactive shooting skills is based on correct repetition done at the fastest possible speed where a positive result can instantly be visually recognized. The correct repetition is developed through the ability of the shooters to "coarse-index" the gun to where the eye is looking and transition back to the front sight while beginning to manipulate the trigger (essentially what ToddG and Langdon might present as the "press-out") in a fixed 1/2 second time. During live-fire, the correct trigger manipulation, minimizing the flinch, is reinforced via a modified ball and dummy drill using staggered live-dummy sequence: The person will fire, then flinch, but be able to see that they flinched, thus resetting the mind to perform the "correct" trigger manipulation.

Rogers' school
is founded upon the maximizing this exact scenario with a variety of other manipulations (movement, reloading, cover) thrown in. (See the videos below). Apparently, the approach works since various high-speed, low drag units and agencies send their personnel to his school to train.
The perhaps downside is that his school is geared towards accepting those folks instead of civilians: his schools is during the week, 5-day program.

While the book is certainly interesting to read, there is no easy way to build the skills he advocates without taking a week vacation and getting down to Georgia - to that end, we attempt to run a "jury-rigged"" version of his approach by shooting 8" plates obscured by a drop turner, released by a teammate - I don't readily recommend the text to folks looking for skills development in ISPC/IDPA.