On Combat Accuracy and Magnification.
***note- the site is experiencing difficulties with attaching photos. I will edit the article with photos ASAP. Until then….use your imagination****
Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard the term “combat accuracy” before. What exactly is that though? Well the general consensus from those i asked is that combat accuracy is “minute of man”; otherwise known as being able to put round into a human size torso at a given distance. While thats all well and good, Id like to challenge what we should define as ”combat accuracy.”
To begin with I will give my definition of combat accuracy. “Having the ability to quickly stop the threat(s) with as few well placed shots as possible.” That statement should have two parts that jump out at you as you read it. ”Stop the threat(s),” and “well placed shots.” So before the show and tell portion of the article begins, lets break down those two aspects.
In general there are three ways in which a threat is stopped:
Mental/Psychological, Timer/Pneumatic, Light Switch/CNS. Lets break those down further.
1-Mental/Psychological: this is the method of essentially changing the threats mind of continuing the fight by making them wanting to leave, retreat, or surrender. This could be accomplished by overwhelming suppressive fire, non-mortal wounding, or simply presenting an un-appealing target to continue fighting via numbers or fire superiority. Of the three methods this is the least reliable and generally the most ammunition consuming route. Its not that its undesirable in terms of outcome, but facts are facts. Your gonna expend a lot of time and most likely ammunition gaining this type of stop.
2- Timer/Pneumatic: This is in essence life threatening or mortal wounding of a threat that at some point (time) leads to the stop; most likely due to cardiac failure from bleeding out externally or internally from a vital organ or artery; or respiratory failure via lung collapse (pneumatic). This can be much shorter and less ammo intensive than the first stop method, but its still not as ideal as the last. The human body can do amazing things for an amazing time when mortally wounded. I have seen people brought in to my ER trauma room with direct wounds to the heart and lungs still functioning enough to continue pulling a trigger. Albeit most likely not accurately. Add in the advancement of field trauma care with tourniquets and the like and you could have an adversary keep fighting for an indefinite time even with a severe wound to a major peripheral artery.
3- Light Switch/CNS: This is the most preferred method for an immediate threat stop. This is when the CNS (Central Nervous System) has been stopped leading to the body essentially shutting off like a light switch. If you can think of a ventriloquist dummy having its string cut and crumpling, this is the effect you get with this type of stop. It can even be accomplished in as little as one round expended. The downside is the accuracy required for this is at a much higher percentage.
Which leads me to the next portion: well placed shots.
This is where the discrepancy i have with the “minute of man” or “human torso hit” definition comes into play. I feel a lot of it stems from flat range and big military range presentations. We can all conjure images of the big green humanoid pop up targets at marked distances on military ranges.
The issue with this is it allows for a massive acceptable hit area, when realistically the actual acceptable hit area is rather small.
Lets compare the human vitals to a standard IPSC torso target. To begin with you can see how the target size itself compares to me, a rather large fellow.
Now lets focus on the parts that will actually lead to a type 2 or 3 stop.
Comparatively speaking the accuracy standard required to hit these areas, vs just putting rounds into the target is vastly different. Make sure when you and your group are training you are taking this into consideration. While putting rounds generally on target or “minute of man” is a semi-decent starting point, all attempts should be made to increase your accuracy standards as soon as possible. Using B8 repair centers on your targets is a solid move to get guys to focus on smaller hit areas. ”Aim small, miss small,” is as good a statement as ever.
Now to the second part of the article: Magnification and magnified optics.
This builds upon the accuracy discussion directly because magnification can help you achieve the accuracy demand mentioned above and ill attempt to show case this below.
I want to clarify something really quick though. Magnified optics do not make your rifle or you shoot better. Your rifle is just as accurate with irons as it is a LPVO, just like you are. If you dont have a solid grasp of marksmanship fundamentals then a 4-16x44 optic that allows you to see the whites of their eyes at 200 yards isnt going to lead to you being more accurate. Magnification allows you to SEE more and gather more definitive information at distance. Thus allowing your to better determine where your shot placement should be. Its still you and your marksmanship skills that put rounds on target.
With that out of the way, lets look at a simple un-obscured 50y threat presentation. Using the same drawn on vitals target i shown above, lets compare irons and a LPVO at common magnification ranges of 1,4, and 6X.
Notice how much more information you have gained by increasing the magnification level even at a mere 50 yards. Now, can you make hits with irons at this distance and beyond with THIS type of threat presentation? Sure. There are lots of marksman qualified guys walking around that shot irons up to 600 yards….on exposed half torso targets.
What about if we add some “realism” to it though? Chances are any threat your actually engaged with isnt going to be standing up in the middle of an open field and staying stationary. They are going to be seeking cover and concealment, along with practicing movement and tactics just as you SHOULD be. With that the actual target presentation gets smaller.
Figuring that the threat has to be able to see to shoot (news flash, you do too, be mindful of this), lets look at how a threat may have its head exposed to fire a rifle. Again this is at 50 yards.
Now, how appealing are the 1X and Iron sight options to you? Lets further expound upon this and increase the distance to 100 yards.
Outside of firing at muzzle flashes or movement, id wager that your ability to guarantee any type of accurate shot placement with 1X or Irons is pretty low if not zero.
This is something i see not discussed often. Many will talk about how you as the “good guy” need to practice cover, concealment, bounding, and ambush tactics because it will increase your effectiveness. Rarely do they discuss the shoe being on the other foot. If your fighting a knowledgable and trained force they are going to be using these same methods to increase their survivability just like you are. Your weapons system should be set up to INCREASE your capability. Not limit it.
This is not me bashing on iron sight guns and those who enjoy using them or choose to implement them. I love them. They are generally light, handy, fun, robust, and reliable. However you have to understand and be willing to accept the limitations. The same as the RDS or Holographic only crowd. Yes you can threat focus instead of front sight focus, but that only gets you so far.
As always my words are not gospel. They are just there to get you thinking.