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Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

We cannot outperform our self-image. Many of us have a predetermined notion of where our peaks and valleys lie. Every once in a while we will outperform our current belief or nose dive and completely shit the bed. Enter the world of cognitive dissonance.

Using my ‘Five Second Standard ‘drill as an example, we should perform fairly consistent with incremental improvements over time. Use IPSC targets and yard markers starting at 7 yards, 10 yards, 15, 20, etc. I call these yard lines ‘levels’.

Set a timer to a five second par time. Start at the 7 yard line (level 1), weapon at a ready position. On the timer’s ‘Beep’, engage your target twice within those five seconds. Next, draw and engage your target twice in five seconds. Next, draw and engage your target twice strong hand only. If all six shots are in the ‘A’ zone, you have graduated level one.

Next move to the 10 yard line (level two) and repeat the same. If all shots are in the ‘A’ zone, you have graduated level two. Keep moving up levels until you shoot outside of the ‘A’ zone.

Sometime, even good shooters will drop out of level one or two. Take your medicine and fail quickly.in other words, get over it. It is a biological requirement for us humans to fail. These failures however, should not be a recurring theme. Learn from the past, prepare for the future and perform in the present.

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)

Pat McNamara

Patrick McNamara spent twenty-two years in the United States Army in a myriad of special operations units. When he worked in the premier Special Missions Unit, he became an impeccable marksman, shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness. McNamara has trained tactical applications of shooting to people of all levels of marksmanship, from varsity level soldiers, and police officers who work the streets to civilians with little to no time behind the trigger.

His military experience quickly taught him that there is more to tactical marksmanship than merely squeezing the trigger. Utilizing his years of experience, McNamara developed a training methodology that is safe, effective and combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability, as well as provides courses covering several categories, including individual, collective, on line and standards.

While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting). He also served as the Principle of TMACS Inc.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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17 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

  1. Ed Hickey says:

    Good Stuff my fellow Irishman!

  2. Mike Mike says:

    If you want to learn to shoot like the best you have to do competition shooting. McNamara and Proctor will attest to that.

    • Bill says:

      I guess, if you want to learn to shoot like the best competition shooters. It”s a really cool drill and of course I’ll steal it, but the title is “Gunfighter Moment.” The fight starts from the moment the pistol is picked up, loaded, magazines exchanged, chamber checked, holstered, mags topped off, secured, etc and so forth. I’d FAR rather ride with someone who got all “B” hits, or whatever is next down from an “A” hit, but has impeccable weapons handling skills and the ability to read and respond to a rapidly evolving situation. There needs to be a balance to all training.

      I hate training cops who spend a lot of time competing, mainly because they seem to think reholstering is something that has to be done immediately after the last round is fired. I can’t bang it into their heads that they need to take their time to cover their targets, breathe, get to cover if they aren’t already there, make certain the problem is resolved, reload the gun, THEN reholster, one handed, without having to look at the holster. But that kind of stuff is boring…..nobody gets invited to Japan to put on a presentation about reholsterng after a gunfight.

      • Vic says:

        Sorry bro… Reholstering one handed without looking is archaic and bad advice. When you are putting the blaster away, it’s ok to take a second and insure that it is headed home.

        Also, if your biggest grip against shooting competively as a professional LEO is bc you don’t agree with an individual’s post shoot ttp or sop then that is kind of silly. If I could get a fraction of my guys to hit a match or two yearly, I’d be beside myself.

      • Mike Mike says:

        Im trying to see what your complaint is? Pat’s article said, “While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.” Why do you think he did that? It doesn’t matter what the TITLE is of all his articles. And what cops do you know compete? Very few LEO compete in USPSA or IDPA. Its a long running joke, even Max Michel spent part of his tv show once on the subject. Obviously you have never been to a USPSA match cause I know of NO ONE who has to look at the holster to reload. Its in the same place it was when the gun was drawn. Lets address “B” hits you mentioned. Again, another example that you are making stuff up. Do you even know where the “B” zone is on an IPSC target? If you did you would not make that statement. The percentage of “B” hits in any given match is less than 1% because….get ready…ITS THE HARDEST PART OF THE TARGET TO HIT…and most people hit it by accident. Lets look at your next statement, “has impeccable weapons handling skills and the ability to read and respond to a rapidly evolving situation.” That’s what competition teaches. You evaluate the stage and decide for yourself what targets to shoot and when, when to reload, round count so you don’t go dry, getting a sight picture on target, and getting good hits on target in the fastest time possible for your skill level. And WHO is not reloading ‘ONE HANDED?” I have never-ever seen or heard of some holstering TWO-HANDED!!!! How would one do that? Where do you think DEVGRU goes to train CQB? Mid South in Mississippi, run by Shaw, one of the ORIGINAL USPSA guys. Who do you think hires Rob Leatham, aka TGO, to teach them…Tier 1 groups. Same with Max Michel. Just because Costa goes to Japan doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Competition shooting is another form “Practice.” which enhances your skills. The more you practice the better you get. Lets exam this line of yours. “The fight starts from the moment the pistol is picked up, loaded, magazines exchanged, chamber checked, holstered, mags topped off, secured, etc and so forth.” Hate to tell you but that’s not when the fight starts. There is NO set time for the fight to start. Unless your the one starting the fight, it starts when it starts, whether your ready or not.

        • Mike Mike says:

          Vic, I hear you! Im sure you would love to have your guys hit the competitions. We are trying to get more LEO’s involved here but you know how it is. No one with a badge wants to show up and have a girl or 15 yr old kid wax that ass! Its humbling fo sho but good for them. We see LEO’s come and go from matches. AD’s are embarrassing-riding that trigger, breaking the 180..all which can get you a trip to ‘D’airy ‘Q’ueen. It hurts the ego. One of the problems I see today is that a lot of people getting in LE were never athletes and have little self confidence hence the bad attitudes and fear of failure at a competition. Just putting a gun on someone and getting them to pass the basic LE shooting exam doesn’t mean they have a clue how to run that smoke wagon. A slim few of the guys I know who compete and are in LE will attest, the worst shooters and handlers of their firearms are their fellow LE. Good luck on getting your guys out there…at least you know how beneficial it is.

          • Bill says:

            “Breaking the 180” : I NEED my guys and girls to break the 180, being cognizant of where their muzzle and trigger finger is. They don’t have the benefit of a tailgunner to handle any threats from the rear, and can’t risk fixating on one threat alone. “Running the smoke wagon” is only one component of fighting with a gun.

            To use the athletic analogy, running cross country in athletic shoes and PT gear and getting the gold medal doesn’t mean that a person is prepped to win a foot pursuit, in full gear, having to check corners, cross fences, etc.

            If a shooter can’t reholster one-handed without looking, I’m not confident in their ability to wipe their ass or zip their fly. It’s one of the basics that has to be second nature..

            What percentage of active military are competitive shooters? What percentage of active military use a handgun as their primary weapon? What percentage of military work alone or in pairs? I’m not even asking what percentage of active military are actually in shooting roles and missions.

            If competition works for you, fine, I have no idea how a person would extrapolate winning in competition to winning a gunfight. It’s analogous to claiming that golf makes a person a better backpacker because you walk around the outdoors carrying a heavy bag. Again, if it works for you, have at it, but in my experience the competitive shooters I have to train into gunfighters are like the Tae Kwan Do blackbelts who have years of experience not hitting people hard.

            Like I originally said, I’m still stealing the drill, and it will require movement, reloading at every stage, covering targets, scanning 360, and all those little things that go into fighting with a gun, when implemented into our trainings.

            • ScottieDag says:

              Bill: You sir have no clue what your talking about. It’s like your making stuff up as you go and using analogies that make no sense. You certainly have no idea what Mike Mike was talking about when he mentioned breaking the 180. No one holsters with both hands. It’s almost impossible to get your support hand over to the side to do that. What you do sound like is someone who watches an IDPA video and now thinks they know how to handleA gun and teach firearms training. So let’s make it real simple…. Why do you think the military has war games? Why do SWAT teams practice entry drills on a timer? It’s all about repetition, practice. Doing it over and over. You rcompetition people will shoot as much as 13,000 rounds a year. Average cop maybe 200 at their required qualification. Competion shooters have to be good at reloads to keep time down. Cops don’t practice reloading. The more you comment the more foolish you sound. I’m sure the author Pat would love to meet someone like you and use you in his classes as an example of what not to be.

            • Mick says:

              It would seem to me that nothing in how Mac describes the drill would preclude you from doing it of that or not. As with many of Mac’s drills he set the standards, but not the parameters. But think the bigger point is that it is just one drill, that works one component of the Triad. That is the ability to make hits under a compressed time. Considering statistically that LEO gunfights are relatively low round affairs, those first hits matter (well they do in all gun fights but I think it really matters in our fights).

              I would suggest running the drill with above directive, one shooter at a time. Do your shooters conduct post shooting assessment after every string? Do they do a “tactical draw” as Pat describes in his book, IE lateral movement on the line?

              • Mick says:

                Sorry fat fingered that reply too soon.

                If your shooters don’t do any of those things (and I bet the majority of LEO shooters don’t) and you expect them to, then you need to adjust your training plan and perform remedial training. This can measure what you want. But I think the first thing it needs to measure before you get too crazy with it is hits under compressed time.

                • Bill says:

                  We do all of those, and as I’ve said, I’m stealing the drill and adding the real-world requirements. I’m confident that most LEOs don’t practice or qual that way, but I don’t care: I hold my people to a higher standard.

                  I know exactly what is meant by breaking the 180, and if my guys and girls don’t at the very least look behind them it’s a scrub. They are instructed that on the tone they move off the line of force while drawing the pistol, firing the drill as instructed, but on any stage involving more than 3 rounds they must move again, finish the exercise, move and conduct a 360 degree check, and if they muzzle up anyone, which would usually be me, it’s a scrub and possibly a toss from the range. Then they are required to get a full mag into the gun or top off the magazine of their shotgun, and holster, while continuing to scan.

                  If they experience a malf, they have to move while resolving it. If they do neither, it’s a scrub. If they run the gun dry, it’s a scrub. If they run the gun dry due to the model of gun or the round requirement of the stage, that’s cool, but if they don’t move and reload, it’s a scrub.

                  Targets are either steel, or because I have a training budget of 8 dollars, copier paper scribbled up with colored sharpies to make bullet holes less visible, or 4 x 6 cards, similarly vandalized, or Post it notes.

                  And the troops fucking hate my guts, because they don’t get to stand flatfooted on the range and blaze away punching holes in paper.

                  I run the driver training component also, and you seldom see us adopting techniques from NASCAR or drag racing, Stock car racers aren’t ambi-turners – they go fast and turn left. Drag racers don’t know cornering, and braking is a drag chute I’ve been to some of the high level driving schools, and actually had people from some of those units cited in the same class, but we were well able to separate what works in competition from what works on an actual road. I really thought autocross was cool, but was the smartass who said that it would be a lot better training if half the cars were going the opposite direction, just like in real life.

                  • Tetsuo says:

                    Is this Bill Beasley from American Defense Enterprises? Shouldn’t you be doing hondo rolls somewhere?

                  • Mac says:

                    I guess, if you want to learn to shoot like the best competition shooters. It”s a really cool drill and of course I’ll steal it, but the title is “Gunfighter Moment.”

                    Bill. Thanks for the notes. This is a Moment….a snippet. Read my other posts. I cover and discuss most of your concerns in my courses.

                    • Bill says:

                      Cool. will do and thanks. Note that I’m not criticizing you or your content, I just have issues with the concept that competition translates to fighting, and that being good in one automatically makes a shooter good in the other.

  3. mark says:

    This was great. I like it when the Gunfighter Moments have practice drills so that we can test ourselves.

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