Force on Force: Chocolate Frosting

| April 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

“Go get a can of chocolate frosting.”

No problem, right?

What could possibly go wrong?

A lot of shit, including two guys holding up a convenience store, a malfunction, I stayed when I should have left, and I got shot in the arm.

Good thing this was just another force on force scenario, and I got to live to fight — and learn — another day.


I was told to walk to the “convenience store” setup in our force on force facility and get a can of frosting.

The scenario-based training sessions sometimes involved fighting other students. Some of the scenarios did not. Scenarios were typically structured to allow students to determine what they wanted to do, even if they made bad choices.

Two other students were instructed to rob the store. One had a knife and would threaten the cashier. The other had a gun and served as overwatch and backup for the first assailant.

What happened:

I saw the two students enter the “store” at the same time, so I assumed they were together. I had no idea the second student was armed, but I wanted to put as much distance between myself and him in case he tried to foul my draw or grapple me.

I used another student as a screen to draw my pistol. The second student didn’t see until I was about to start shooting. Everything was going great!

Until it wasn’t.

My Airsoft pistol fired once, and then nothing happened. I immediately did a tap-rack-bang malfunction clear and then returned firing. By now the second student was shooting at me, and I avoided taking hits as I left the convenience store.

I hit the first student twice more, and then the second student twice. I took off, and made it to the doorway and bumped into the doorframe and the first student. Come to think of it, I wonder if he still had the knife in his hands. It happened really fast.

Anyway, I got out.

For some reason I didn’t leave. Maybe it was because I wanted to “get” the remaining bad guy. Maybe it was because some of my friends were on the other side of that doorway, and I didn’t want to leave them in there with a guy with a gun.

I moved from one side of the doorway to another, and got hit in the left arm. I went to one hand for shooting (not a big deal, we practice that, too) and I noticed the second student had taken a really low defensive stance behind the product shelving. I fired some shots at where I assumed his body was, but of course the plastic Airsoft pellets weren’t going to get through.

The second student started to flank me, and as I stepped to the other side of the doorway our primary instructor called off the exercise.

04122014 force on force convience store-0

Things are about to get interesting. You can see the student in the top right mid-draw as I am about to try my second shot against the student in the blue with the knife.

What I did right

  • Screening the draw with another student worked well.
  • My shooting was good, especially in the first bursts.
  • Detecting and clearing the jam went well.
  • I did a good job of moving after shooting. My current training group advocates staying still while shooting, and then moving before shooting again. We’ll see if that transitions to shooting while moving as I do more training this year.

What I did wrong

  • I should have gotten out of there as soon as I hit the doorway. Staying in the funnel was stupid.
  • The training area has cinder block walls. If that was a “real” structure, I don’t know if it would have provided sufficient cover against handgun rounds. Again, I should have kept going.
  • I did not fire in a burst of four as I was taught. Two rounds a piece. Was this really bad? I don’t know — but it wasn’t how I was trained.

What I could have done differently

  • My instructors suggested that I could have challenged the student with the knife. This is true, and in a one-on-one encounter I would have felt better about it. However, I assumed the two students were paired up, and I didn’t want to tip my hand until I had to.
  • I could have just left. No one prevented me from leaving. Some students left different scenarios before anything happened. I don’t fault their decisions; we all have friends and families to go home to. In this situation I felt that the displayed weapon and overwhelming odds against the cashier was enough reason to stay. Interestingly, I played the bad guy in the next scenario, which was a hostage situation.
  • I could have gone to my backup gun instead of tap-rack-bang, but I don’t think it would have been as fast.

How many mistakes have you made this season?

I am glad that I went through this scenario. I was glad that some things went well and some things didn’t. I am now really happy all of my fight-focused instructors have made me practice clearing different types of malfunctions.

Someday we may have to face a tough situation and have to make tough decisions. I’m glad that the force on force training environment allows me to face some of those things where it’s still safe to learn.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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