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"If you look like prey, you will be preyed upon," said Dave Spaulding, the 2010 Trainer of the Year, during yesterday's four-hour Handgun Combatives class at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference.

The goal, he said, is to look fearless and to prevail. How do you train your officers to do this? By training them to have the right mindset and making them practice, practice, practice. Studies show that we retain 90% of what we do verses 30% of what we see, 20% os what we hear and 10% of what we read.

Spaulding came up with a list of requirements for combat shooting:

  • Consistent, significant practice.
  • Visualization of potential events and frequent thought about what you may face.
  • Solid understanding of violent encounters.
  • Acceptance of involvement.
  • Personal attributes.

When it comes to the actual shooting, this should be your priority of fire:

  • High chest area.
  • Pelvic girdle.
  • Cranial vault.

To minimize your reaction time, you must:

  • Limit your responses.
  • Simpler techniques are faster techniques.
  • Practice your techniques.
  • Make your actions natural, smooth and efficient.
  • You can react later with a fast, simple technique than earlier with a slow, complicated technique.

Spaulding advises trainers to be leary of "tacti-cool," techniques. They may look cool, but do they work? In general, simpler generally works better and provides the desired result, says Spaulding.

The end goal is not just to survive, which means to remain in existence, but to prevail, which means to be victorious, to suceed.

"We need to train people to street prevail," Spaulding said.

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