Force on Force

Force on Force

Posted by Matt Little on 21st Oct 2022

"You can only fight the way you practice." - Miyamoto Musashi

Without force on force, we cannot work our firearms-based tactics and techniques against noncooperative training partners. Just as martial arts styles become contrived and unrealistic without some sort of competitive aspect to their training, without properly conducted force on force drills and scenarios our training for gunfighting will be just as artificial and ineffective. And with properly conducted force on force training, your ability to fight with a firearm can be developed to a very high level. I still remember being surprised at how easy my first gunfight felt compared to my training.

There is a flip side to this, of course. Without a high level of subconscious competence at weapons handling, marksmanship at speed, and movement techniques, force on force training can easily degrade into an expensive game of paintball. The hard skills have to be developed at a high enough level in order to receive the potential training benefits of force on force exercises.

The way most teams train force on force is incomplete. Most teams solely utilize scenario-based training, without devoting time to opposed drills. Scenario-based training is vital, but it’s analogous to the testing phase of firearms training, especially when it’s a large full mission profile exercise involving command and control. For optimal skill development, smaller more specifically focused drills should be run in force on force frequently, with the larger scenarios reserved for evaluating performance and creating a feedback loop for informing future training.

For civilians and others without access to force on force training, explore paintball and air soft. Yes, they are games. Yes, they are not as realistic. However, they at least allow you to spar with mock firearms against uncooperative opponents, and learn valuable lessons from that competition.

Gunfighting is still fighting. And without fighting an opponent who is trying to defeat you, you will never reach your potential ability as a fighter. Embrace that. Learn from your defeats and victories in training, so that you won’t have to learn those lessons when the fight is real.