The 3-D target system I've created facilitates a paradigm shift in the "shoot center mass" training principal that has been taught for more than 30 years.
The real threats, people and situations exist in a 3 dimensional world. 3D targets are the next leap forward in tactical training, significantly increasing realism, and improving training.
There are other 3D targets made of foam, or pressed plastic, the biggest drawback of these targets is the fact there is virtually no shot accountability. Meaning, the shooter and the trainer don't know where rounds are impacting on the target. In fact, you might know if you're hitting the target at all. Professionals, and those serious about their training must have shot accountability, therefore they paper, or cardboard targets are most common, because shot groups can be seen and assessed.
Targets, are nothing more than training aides and the quality of the training aides are proportional to the quality of the training. HVT does not depict lines on the targets because real people don't have lines depicted on them. Like a hunter, we must begin training ourselves to think about shot placement. Instead of lines, there are faintly depicted zones over the heart and the cerebellum of the brain, these are referred to as Threat Elimination Zones™ both of which are approximately the size of a fist. Use of HVT 3-D targets trains a shooter to think about where to engage the target, verses instinctively firing center mass. This raises the bar, demanding more of trainers and shooters. HVT 3-D targets allow shooters to clearly see what the expectations are and with instant shot group feedback.
Humans are capable of amazing athletic feats, how is that people have learned how to do multiple 360's on a snowboard? Use of foam pit has been instrumental in numerous extreme sports and the foam pit is nothing more than a training aide. If we are to shoot better and raise the bar from where we currently stand, different training aides are required. Maintaining the status quo when better options are available amounts to mediocrity, which is unforgivable considering we aren't training for a gold medal, we're training to eliminate a lethal threat before we're eliminated. Game over. -------
Scientists have learned that when surges of adrenaline hit during life threatening situations we begin to mentally take snap shots of the situation. This accounts for why many report the perception that time has slowed down, because mentally, we are taking snap shots of the situation and mentally processing. This is the scientific foundation, the underlying training principal that demanded the creation of this type of target.
"There isn't time to think", just get rounds on target.
...There is time to think and the neuroscientists at MIT proved it.
In 2014, A team of neuroscientists from M-I-T found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds. This break through was the first evidence the brain can process images far faster than the 100 milliseconds suggested by previous studies.
The study proved, we can process an image in just 13 thousandths of a second. Following this logic its reasonable to assume a decision can be made regarding where to shoot in the same amount of time, IF the proper training is provided. What this means for shooters is that in as little as 13 thousandths of a second you can understand there is man pointing a rifle at you and wearing a Plate Carrier. The next step is simply seeing where to shoot.
Interestingly enough, processing images is what we naturally begin doing when we're faced with a life threatening situation. We begin taking mental snap shots of what is happening, which is responsible for the phenomenon that time has slowed down. During life threatening moments we often begin processing images like individual frames of a video, very rapidly.
Processing an image in as little as 13 thousandths of a second and following it up with a decision about where to shoot is referred to as Image Processing Training™ (IPT).
Training to shoot center mass is a training paradigm that has existed for over 30 years. It's time for the sport of combat to evolve, it's time to raise the bar. IPT is a game changer, it is the future of tactical training and it's foundations are rooted in combat experience and neuroscience. IPT is thinking and shooting, in contrast, training to shoot center mass, is akin to training ourselves not to think.
In summary, IPT is (1) Processing an image (2) seeing where to shoot.
One thing certain is 100% certain, you cannot train yourself to cognitively engage a Threat when shooting at a cardboard silhouette, or any target for that matter that does not present a 3-D image.
There are two places that count, the heart and the cerebellum. Both locations are roughly the size of a fist and require 3-D thinking to penetrate them. In other words, the shooter needs to think about how the round will pass through the body to (hopefully) impact the intended area. Its not rocket science, hunters do this when taking deer and elk. In fact, ethical hunters won't even take a shot if they can't shoot the animal properly.
There are two Threat Elimination Zones™ on the body, the heart and cerebellum of the brain, both zones are roughly the size of a fist.
There is an old training adage that say's, "you can't miss fast enough." People/ threats are being engaged upwards of 15 times when one round placed into one of the two Threat Elimination Zones™ would have ended the fight immediately.
During an attack at the Embassy annex in Kabul, in 2014, peer encountered a terrorist wearing US Army fatigues. A pause for target ID almost cost him his life, as the terrorist rapidly produced an AK from his side and placed two rounds on his ballistic plates. Fortunately, he had already aimed in on the head of the terrorist. He absorbed the two rounds and pressed trigger, canoeing his head. In his words, he attempted to follow up with more rounds however all went over the top of the falling body. THIS, is what we all need to be aiming for, pun intended.
Real world situations are all about angles, this reality is why our targets are portrayed at up to 5 different angles, 360º around the clock.
What we also desperately need are relevant weapons in the hands of the target characters, and for the hands to be showing on each and every target, so target ID can also be trained and ingrained. Target characters need to be depicted with weapons, gear and clothing indicative of the threats we are training to eliminate. Targets featuring someone who looks friendly, the next door neighbor, or an off-duty cop are not realistic training aides.
Near Peer, is a relatively new term and refers to enemy combatants wearing similar gear, such as, plate carriers, helmets and weapons with optics.
Near Peer refers to threats that our law enforcement officers and troops are encountering, or are likely to encounter, which are geared up in a similar fashion. Near Peer threat targets may also be referred to as, new and emerging threats.
The target above was made at the request of DEVGROUP and reflects a Near Peer threat. The picture on the right is of Qasem Soleimani, who was an Iranian General and commander of the QUDS Force, an IRGC division primarily responsible for extraterritorial and clandestine military operations. The target was made depicting the solider (pictured) to the left of Soleimani.
Play along for a moment and assume that you just entered a room to find the QUDS force soldier (target) above in the position pictured. As you've been trained, you begin firing center mass. Now, who do you think is going to win that gun fight? There are double stacked AK mags across his chest and a big clump of steel, otherwise known as an AK-47 blocking just about any and all rounds sent towards the torso. The fact is, if you haven't trained yourself to assess the target and think about where to shoot, you'll lose that gun fight. I know, you're thinking you'll go for pelvic girdle shot. #1, that is still thinking about where to shoot and that space the same size as the head. #2, the pelvic girdle shot is not going to kill the man. Without going into a dissertation about it, it will not eliminate the threat as you would need to in this situation. If he is intent on killing you, he will fall to the ground and continue shooting, you.
In brainstorming the perfect target, I initially considered foam molds and pressed plastic silhouettes. A search online revealed some options, some of which weren't too bad. So, I asked myself, "why hadn't we been shooting at these when I was in the SEAL Teams and with the CIA? As I pondered the question and read the product description the answer became obvious, "you can shoot this target upwards of 1000 times;" As the rounds pass through the plastic or the foam, it's difficult if not impossible to identify where the rounds impacted, so there is virtually no shot accountability. Professionals must have shot accountability, assessment of shot placement is crucial for training instructors and students.
Fewer rounds will be fired in combat when training with 3-D targets. People are getting shot upwards of 15 times in combat when one well placed round would end the fight. The answer is contained in our training, as we are not thinking and shooting.
What we should be aiming at is the size of a fist, the heart and the base of the brain. There is a training adage that says, "aim small miss small." Many have heard it, but the importance of the concept is easily lost when shooting on a target with lines and hit zones.
By looking at and shooting at target characters posed at different angles the shooter is subconsciously training themselves to instantly see those locations after "processing the image". Through repetition we create a process that is repeated subconsciously under stress. Rehearsing a holster draw is an example of this, as the saying goes, "perfect practice makes perfect." The HVT 3-D target system is based upon the same principal, through repetition of shooting the targets the shooter is training themselves to identify the Threat Elimination Zones™ on the body; As mentioned, there are two, the heart and the cerebellum of the brain. Understanding the importance of the psychological piece is understanding the value of the targets.
Training that emphasizes cognitive shooting and 3-D thinking can not be accomplished without the use of a 3-D target. After careful deliberation about how to accomplish a 3-D training aide it was decided that shot-accountability is the primary driving factor, therefore plastic and foam target options were eliminated as possibilities. For reasons of cost and versatility, it was decided the targets must be cardboard, or paper.
Targets incorporating 3-D images are the next substantial evolution in the science of contemporary combat. There is a distinct difference between Target Shooting and training to eliminate the threat of an armed opponent. Generally, it may be said, the more realistic our training is, the better it is. Stepping up to a 3-D target system increases realism and training value. Targets are just training aides and better training begins with better training aides.