DVD Review: Maximizing Reality-Based Training.

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Reality based training (RBT) is becoming a bigger part of the defensive shooting world on a daily basis. This DVD answers your most common questions!

DVD Review: Maximizing Reality-Based Training
Presented by Ken Murray and Rob Pincus
Published by the Personal Defense Network as part of the Personal Firearms Defense DVD series

Reality-based training, sometimes referred to as force-on-force or scenario-based training, is a teaching methodology that uses scenarios with live actors and non-lethal munitions to mimic — as closely as possible — what a defensive shooting incident is really like. RBT is the closest analog we have to an actual lethal fight, and therefore the best tool we have to help students prepare for and evaluate their skills under “real life” conditions.

As a defensive shooting student I’ve experienced RBT, and as an instructor I spent a few years experimenting with it to see how I could integrate it into my teaching. While I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, my brief experience with RBT taught me a lot — and what I learned left me realizing that I still have a lot to learn!

This DVD is a followup to PDN’s earlier work with Ken Murray, which was titled simply “Reality Based Training”. While this DVD builds on the first one, it also paradoxically stands on its own. Whether you have or haven’t seen the first one, I think you’ll find value here — I’ll get to the “why” in a bit!

In this DVD the Personal Defense Network’s managing editor, Rob Pincus, sits down with Ken Murray to answer a wide range of questions raised by their first DVD. For those who don’t know him, Ken Murray is the man widely considered to be the father of modern reality based training. Murray co-founded the Simunitions company, which gained fame as the preeminent supplier of non-lethal marking munitions suitable for scenario-based training. (The company is so famous, in fact, that in training circles ‘Simunition’ has almost become something like ‘Kleenex’ — inappropriately used as a generic term for all marking cartridge training ammunition.)

In addition to producing the product, the Simunition company pioneered the development of training protocols and procedures to maximize the value of the RBT experience. To that end Murray wrote what is widely considered the “bible” of RBT training, Training at the Speed of Life. Murray is in fact THE expert on reality based training, as well as being one of the most astute thinkers on all aspects of lethal force education. That knowledge shows through in his discussions with Pincus.

They cover a number of hard-hitting questions that often get asked about RBT:

– When should you get started with reality based training?
– How do you know you’ve picked the right instructor?
– Is reality based training worth the expense?
– How often should you participate in reality based training?
– Do you really need an instructor to get value out of reality based training?
– Should you spend your time doing skill building drills or scenarios?
– Is reality based training dangerous?
– How should you integrate marking cartridges into live fire training?
– Can you really test skills with a “fake gun”?
– How do you know that success in reality based training will lead to real world success?

Murray answers each question thoroughly, candidly, and thoughtfully. Some of the answers are perhaps a little surprising to some, and Murray is careful to explain his thought process and the logic behind those answers. The result is a presentation that is both engaging and highly informative.

I said earlier that this DVD was suitable for people who’ve seen the earlier DVD and for those who haven’t. I realize that’s a slightly unusual claim, but I think it’s true. For the student who is interested in taking classes which incorporate RBT, these questions and answers will cover most everything he or she needs to know to make an informed decision and then apply what they’ve learned.

Picking the right instructor, for instance, is key to getting value from the experience. Murray makes the point that while RBT using non-lethal marking munitions in real guns can be dangerous if safety protocols aren’t followed, the psychological damage from bad training is an unseen risk: it programs people with failure, which is exactly what you don’t want to get from your training! The discussion about how to determine if your RBT instructor is any good (which actually comes up several times in different ways) is therefore one of the more important to the student and will be a real help to those looking for a good RBT teacher.

One of the better discussions on this DVD comes from the question about how often you should participate in this kind of training. His extensive answer is much more enlightening than the subject might suggest and can itself serve as the basis for anyone’s training and practice planning. To me was one of the highlights of the presentation.

For those who have seen the first DVD (which was really aimed at the instructor rather than the student), and particularly to those who aspire to teach RBT, this DVD is a veritable gold mine of tips and hints to properly conduct scenarios and integrate them into a curriculum. From safety protocols to judging whether students are ready for RBT to the value (and risk) of fun in the training environment, this DVD covers a lot of territory and should be considered a must-have addition to the first.

Both Reality Based Training and Maximizing Reality-Based Training are available at the I.C.E. Store. Highly recommended!

-=[ Grant Cunningham ]=-

Disclosure: This DVD was supplied by the Personal Defense Network for review. I am affiliated with PDN as a contributor and have taught with Rob Pincus in the past. I receive no compensation should you purchase this DVD.


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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