What Is Tactical Shooting All About?
Tactical shooting involves much more than simple target practice. In tactical shooting there are a couple of purposes in mind. One of these is to get your opponent in your sights and shoot him, the other is to accomplish that goal without getting shot yourself. Tactical shooting can either be done as a game or sport, or done as practice for real life and death situations. Tactical shooting takes place in an environment designed for realism.
Video Games - The less-adventuresome or couch potato type may participate in a kind of tactical shooting by means of video or X-Box games. The more sophisticated games involve much more than blowing away aliens, monsters, or bad guys in general. The more sophisticated games require strategy, including watching your own back and avoiding getting into inescapable situations. In other words, more than just action shooting. Of course if you get shot, or shoot one of your comrades, no one really gets hurt and you live to play another game.
Paint Ball - A step up would be paint ball. Paint ball is a kind of hide and seek with guns. In some highly organized paint ball competitions, strategy can play a significant role. When participating in paint ball strictly for fun and games, the objective is more or less keeping out of sight while attempting to spot and shoot an opponent. Paint ball, purely as a game, might not be considered tactical shooting, but as a competition, where definite strategies are called for, it could be.
Tactical Shooting (For Real) - True tactical shooting involves real guns and live ammunition. The targets however, are not live people, except in situations where blanks may be substituted. This type of shooting, with real guns and ammo, definitely has some practical aspects to it. One could attend a tactical shooting school or academy simply for the enjoyment of participating in the activity, and many do just that. Usually however, people who attend these schools do so with self-preservation or self defense in mind, or are professionals, police, military, or security forces, there to practice real life situations, and the learn tips and techniques that go along with coping with those situations.
More Than Just A Gun - An exercise in tactical shooting can, and often does, involve more than simply carrying a weapon and firing at pop-up targets. It also can involve carrying the appropriate gear, and learning survival techniques beyond those of avoiding being shot or captured. In a tactical shooting school you will find people from all walks of life, civilians, weekend warriors, and those who are attending as a part of their job.
The Color Code - Besides marksmanship, an individual's state of mind plays a role in tactical shooting drilling and exercise. One way to explain this is through what is known as the tactical color conditions, the colors being white, yellow, orange, and red. If you watch enough action shows on TV, you'll hear the terms "Condition Red or, Code Red" fairly often.
Most of our waking hours are spent in what would be considered Condition White. In this condition we are not particularly attentive to what is going on around us, so are in one respect somewhat vulnerable. If someone is intent on harming us, and we aren't paying attention they will probably succeed in doing just that. Condition White is a safe condition to be in some of the time and in some places, but dangerous in other times or places. Condition Yellow is the condition we should be in most of the time. This simply means we have a general awareness of what is going on around us. We aren't anticipating trouble, but can usually see it coming when it does. We aren't apt to be taken totally by surprise.
In Condition Orange you are expecting to be attacked by a certain person or persons, or from a certain place, and are alert to any detail that will assist you in being well prepared for the attack should it come. This doesn't mean there will be a fight, but the probability of that happening is reasonably high. In Condition Red, you're ready to take it on. You still may not have to fight, but you're ready to do so in an instant. In a tactical shooting scenario you'll learn how to shift back and forth between conditions Yellow, Orange, and Red. You probably will spend little if any time in Condition White, or will get into trouble if you do.
Although the reasoning behind the tactical color conditions may at first be difficult to grasp, they are important. On the rifle range, one rarely gets beyond Condition Yellow, and most remain in Condition White. Those states of mind will not serve you well in a tactical situation on the street, and it's important to understand the risks and rewards of mentally being in any one of the conditions, and being able to change from one state of mind to the other on short notice.