Force-On-Force Training: AKA Training for Reality Part 1

Force-on-Force Training

Force-on-Force (FOF) Training is not a new concept. FOF was initially launched as a training option for the Military and Law Enforcement Personnel. According to Gabe Suarez in his book “Force-on-Force Gunfight Training”, “……FOF Instructors are focused on making Students better Fighters in the environments and situations where fights …actually …occur and do not focus on teaching theoretics ….” FOF allows the participants to engage in dynamic, interactive reality-based training scenarios where (1) individual performance-under-stress can be evaluated; where (2) mistakes can be identified and (3) where corrective action(s), if required, can be taken, without the loss of life.

Identify Point Fire

This is done by having the Students engage live human threats, look at real human beings in front of their guns and make shoot/no-shoot decisions that are based on each dynamic, interactive scenario while using a non-lethal firearm loaded with non-lethal ammunition.

Identify Point Fire


Why Force-on-Force Training for Civilians?

We’re going to open this segment of the FOF discussion by referring to this YouTube Quote from Bruce Lee’ “…Boards Don’t Hit Back”!

Yes we agree that “Boards Don’t Hit Back”! Paper Targets Don’t Shoot Back!; Moving Steel Targets Don’t Shoot Back!


The average Firearms Student does limited training that is restricted to a traditional square range where they stand at a counter top, point their gun at a static target and pull the trigger. This type of limited training is really what we call “practice” because (1) the Student is shooting without the reality of stress [aka adrenaline dump] (2) where there is no challenge to their fine motor skills; where (3) they are not learning how to collect and process data from multiple sources; and (4) they are not forced to make shoot/no-shoot decisions that is based on their data collection and analysis skills.


This being said, Force-on-Force Training is not for everyone but it is indeed for some……..Fast Forward……Meet 2 of our New Students.


This new family just joined our Firearms Training Group. The wife asked “how often do we have to Train”? Her Husband responded……”for the rest of your life”! We all smiled and laughed! But the reality is that responsible gun ownership is really a “lifestyle change”! The parents wanted to learn a firearms training system that would effectively support their objective…..To protect each family member inside and outside the home. In their particular case, this life style change involves/impacts (1) both parents, (2) their twin daughters and (3) their Nanny.


Identify Point FireWhy are they so preoccupied with family protection? They are from Connecticut and they have vivid memories about the Cheshire, Connecticut, home invasion murders that occurred on July 23, 2007.


This is not your typical Firearms Family. They are not into firearms because it is fashionable; they are not into firearms because of a family tradition. They see firearms as a way to meet their goals and objectives. The parents have made a conscious decision to protect their family. They have a mindset that is built around their need to become proficient in defensive shooting.

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In order to support their new Life Style goals/objectives, we had summarized for the Parents in CHART “A”, the “Training-In-Context” skill-sets that they would need to develop, as a minimum, as they mastered their shooting fundamentals.


The foundation of this Lifestyle Change is the Skill Development Cycle [SDC] that was developed by Rob Pincus for the Combat Focus Shooting Program.



The SDC is a fully integrated teaching/learning/coaching process that consists of the following 3 integrated Steps:
 Step #1: Initially we will teach & the Students will learn new skills in as much Context as possible. This training-in-context limitation is dictated by the complexity of the various skills and safety considerations associated with these skills. For example, learning presentations from a holster and clearing malfunctions fall into this category.

Identify Point Fire

Step #2: Eventually, all skills will always be taught/learned in the correct Context. The Plausibility Principle will dictate the Student’s Training Goals & Objectives. [E.G. Dry Firing is “Not-in-Context” if you want to learn how to manage recoil]. If the Student cannot master specific Skills in Step #2, then the Students will Repeat those particular skills in Step #1.
Step #3: Evaluate Student application of their skill(s) in Simulations & Scenario Drills. [E.G. Figure 8 Drills; Sprint Drills; and Fore-on-Force Scenarios]. If Student cannot successfully demonstrate their skill(s), the Instructors will develop Student-specific action plans that will correct these weaknesses. These weaknesses will be fixed as the Student repeats Step #2.


Just to reiterate, Force-on-Force Training (1) is not for everyone and (2) each Student must be prepared in the Skill Development Cycle before they start to train against living, thinking opponents who are unpredictable, can change the scope of the situation and who can shoot back!


Identify Point FireIn Part 2, we will look at the new Force-on-Force Training Program that is being developed by Rob Pincus and the ICE Training Company.

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