Training for the Fight
What is follow through? It is the act of observing your advisory after being involved in a critical incident for a certain amount of time to be sure the fight is over. In this case I am speaking about a shooting.
During the beginning stages of my worst encounter on the street my lack of follow through was nearly fatal. Having been involved in 3 previous police shootings my mindset was on the side of, I shoot the bad guy falls, and I wait for the investigators.
Bad call. Wasn’t really my fault but I didn’t understand yet why follow through was so critical. After defeating three enemies prior, I made the mistaken assumption, that if I put somewhere between 7 and 10 rifle rounds downrange it should solve the problem right?
Well dealing with the dedicated criminal sometimes even that much firepower doesn’t necessarily work. How did I figure this out? Simple…when he fired three rounds back at me was the moment I realized how important keeping my muzzle pointed downrange really was. Needless to say I was behind the curve. Fortunately his rounds did not hit their mark and I escaped without physical injury. Mental not so much.
Now having realized I was still in danger my options were pretty open. Stand on the X and try again with more rounds? Change my angle and deliver rounds from a better tactical advantage? Seek cover? Run away and hope he doesn’t shoot at me again? Freeze?
This is where superior training kicked in. Purely instinct now I recognized my situation and moved off the X and sent more rounds down range.
The reasons are this:
My first volley of rounds did not find their mark.
I was in the open and no cover could be reached.
Running away was never an option, however, I did joke about wanting to. Freeze up? Definitely possible without proper training.
Christopher Hoyer is a retired Phoenix police officer. He is currently a full-time instructor at the Marine Corps Police Academy, a protector, survivor and an advocate for mental, physical and emotional wellness, helping the law enforcement community prepare for the trauma that comes with the job. Chris is the author of When That Day Comes: Training for the Fight which Radical Policing will be posting soon.