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LARPing; and the potential consequences of it's stigma. Login/Join 
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How do we define LARPing? Is it the point in firearms training that many perceive to be "try-hard", outside a military or law enforcement role? Is it wearing too much "cool guy" gear at the range? Is it making an effort to train in tactics that are very likely unnecessary in a home defense context? The Second Amendment doesn't exist to ensure we're equipped to entertain our target shooting hobbies, hunt for food, or even defend ourselves from a home invasion or crazed active shooter; those are all very fortunate side effects. The current conflict in Ukraine shines a spotlight on the absolute necessity of the Second Amendment to our Constitution. The citizens there are playing catch-up, in trying to equip and train their population to oppose an invading force. An invading foreign entity is not the only threat that the 2nd deters, but I am not posting to talk politics or discuss any certain conflict overseas. I am curious how others consider their firearms training, and what limits they consider reasonable to apply to it. A recent comment in another thread stated that, when something happens for real, you will not rise to the occasion, but rather sink to the lowest common denominator of your training. Is omitting seemingly "unnecessary" tactics training really a good idea? I know many members here come from military and law enforcement backgrounds, and therefore have a foundation in tactics that others may lack, which is great. I'd encourage even those members to not rest on those laurels of a past military training. How do others consider this? How did the LARPing phrase originate, and how can we look past the pettiness of it's use?

I speculate the ultimate hurdle many will face, when pursuing training opportunities, is available time; that and the difficulty in coordinating with other equally busy people. The vast majority of additional training doesn't require a significant additional investment in equipment or even ammunition. It does require time, which is damn hard for most folks to allocate.
 
Posts: 911 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Loswsmith
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I'm unclear. LARP in the urban vernacular is Live Action Role Play, and generally used the context of those who dress up and play "role playing" games in the real world.

What you seem to be talking about is training, not game playing. Similar, except LARPing (game play) is sometimes done in public areas in public view. Firearms training should probably never be, IMO.


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Life Member NRA & Washington Arms Collectors

Mistake not my current state of joshing gentle peevishness for the awesome and terrible majesty of the towering seas of ire that are themselves the milquetoast shallows fringing my vast oceans of wrath.
 
Posts: 1454 | Location: T-town in the 253 | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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I had no idea what “LARP” referred to until I ran across a video in which the participants used it.

Like most words and expressions, I suspect that its usage has evolved beyond “playing” to referring to things that have an element of make-believe, but nevertheless involve serious activities. The video I saw had shooters participating in some sort of live fire competition, but used “LARP” to refer to the fact that they/some of them were dressed in camouflage clothing and were wearing tactical type mag pouches, etc.

I regularly shoot a course of fire that could be considered to be similar. It involves shooting pistols and rifles at multiple targets at different ranges, and its designed intent was to in some ways mimic real situations involving live adversaries. Just things like partially loading magazines or including dummy rounds in a drill to force a reload or clearing a malfunction are a form of make-believe because they are an artificial, not a genuine need.

And keep in mind that the term “role playing” has long referred to activities that were not playing in the sense of a child’s or childish adult’s game. The activity can be completely serious, such as training police officers how to deescalate a tense situation involving an emotionally disturbed or agitated person. The “role” part of the term refers to the fact that all parties assume something like a stage actor’s role and actions of trying to make the situation as realistic as possible. When I was being trained as an interrogator, some of the training involved interactions with actors who were playing the role of a source of information or suspect in a crime.
In fact, I would argue that that was the sole sense of the term before it was taken over by gamesters to elevate what they do to a step above the cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers games I played as a kid.

Added: To return to the original question about the “stigma” of certain activities, ridiculing the activities of others that we don’t participate in ourselves is extremely common. I won’t get into a pop psychology analysis of why that is, but the best way to shut it down is to ignore it. Playing a game that involves chasing a ball up and down a field at least provides some good exercise, but to sit on a couch and watch it on the teevee? And yet spending hours of time doing that (I won’t call it an activity) is perfectly respectable for the simple reason that a lot of people do it.

If I want to do something for a motive that other people find incomprehensible and they have the temerity to call me on it, I simply stop associating with them. And unless they live at a leper colony and spend all their waking hours treating the sick, I’d bet a nickel that I could point to something in their lives that was even less meaningful than my bit of make-believe.




“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
— Plato
 
Posts: 45472 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Loswsmith, you are correct in your literal interpretation of the phrase. I was inquiring about it's use in an often condescending manner, in the firearms and firearms training community. I am absolutely talking about training; what I consider to be very valuable training.

I have noticed a phenomenon that implies there is some imaginary boundary between what most consider useful and practical training, and what many consider "too much" training. If someone crosses outside the perimeter of what is generally accepted as practical, they are accused of making pretend, as in the cowboy and Indian context sigfreund references.

You are hitting on what I am talking about, sigfreund, and it seems as though you agree with me, in that training that some would refer to in a negative manner as LARPing is indeed valuable.
 
Posts: 911 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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If I were accused of “too much” training and it wasn’t because I was doing that rather than doing the things that I had a greater responsibility for, then I couldn’t avoid wondering what my critic’s motive was. To get into the psychology of the motive, my first thought would be what I’ve seen countless times throughout my life: “You’re making me look bad [or at least feel bad] because I should be doing that as well, and I don’t want to. If I can convince you to stop doing it, then I won’t look/feel bad myself.” When I was a junior ranker in the Army, sometimes my peers would even say it out loud: “Hey, you’re making the rest of us look bad.” I recently read a book by the Russian pilot who flew his MiG to Japan. When he was working in a factory making tank parts he quickly learned that he’d better not do things better or faster than his co-workers.

If I’m not at least making someone feel bad about his not doing something he should be, then it becomes obvious that they’re simply trying to influence and control me. As I keep pointing out about many things people do, the desire to influence others is one of the strongest human motivators there is. Focusing on someone’s activities that are unusual in degree or kind is something that many people believe they have a right to do (probably because so many people do it).




“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
— Plato
 
Posts: 45472 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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IMO it depends how someone approaches it. The point has already been made that to some extent, training is role playing. It pretty much has to be, unless you're just going to throw people into the grinder and hope they figure it out "on the job". We do that at work as well in field training, but typically we try to put them through classroom and scenario based stuff before we get to that point, so they have some groundwork and aren't just getting thrown into it cold.

I assume when you reference LARPing you're talking about some of the youtube stuff that's out there from channels like InRange TV, Bloke on the Range, Forgotten Weapons, etc, and their involvement in two gun action matches and the like. IMO, there's definitely training value in some of that stuff, but you have to keep it in context and understand it's limitations.

The physical aspect adds an element of stress that you don't typicaly get, even in most competition environments, so that's definitely a good exercise. It forces you to control your breathing and to focus on the fundamentals to make hits, even when your body is screaming at you to pay attention to what it wants instead. Running the stages in full gear also has training value...IF that's the gear that you're going to use in real life. For cops and soldiers it definitely makes a lot of sense to run it in duty gear...for your average citizen who's more likely to be involved in a CCW event in Wal-Mart than a military combat scenario, they are probably better served wearing what they'd normally be wearing in that setting. But if your goal is to train for what you're going to do when the Russians invade, knock yourself out...I'd say it's an unlikely scenario for us in the United States, but I'm not going to deride somebody for wanting to know how all that stuff functions.

We also have to remember that there's a "fun" element to this as well, and some historical value. I enjoy watching the videos where they take out old mil-surp stuff and put it through it's paces, using the original kit. It provides some context as to what it actually was like for guys to fight with that stuff, and how it stacks up against modern gear in a range environment. No it's not the same thing as combat, but it's at least showing how the gun is manipulated in a dynamic environment under stress.

Finally, I think it matters how seriously people take themselves as they're doing this. You've gotta remember that even with all the extra gear and stress, this is not actual combat. Nobody's shooting back, you're not having to communicate and coordinate with the rest of your team, dispatch, or command staff, or react to input from an enemy, and you're in a range environment with a safe backstop and no innocent people running around downrange. There's also no concern about going to prison if you miss, or shoot the wrong thing, or the right thing at the wrong time. So if you go into this stuff thinking that by doing it, you're going to come away from it at the same experience level as guys who have actually been there and done that in the real world....well, you're not. It's not the same thing, and if someone exhibits that attitude they probably do need to be knocked down a peg and brought back to reality for their own good. But if you're doing it to have some fun, learn your weapon and your gear, and push your performance under stress, then yeah, absolutely, there's value in it.
 
Posts: 5817 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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To me, if I was in the training industry, I would avoid the use of the term LARP in the context of what I provide like the plague. Please don’t get me wrong, I was LARPing (as I described it) before I was out of elementary school, and I send my boys to an outdoor school where they LARP routinely as a way to teach teamwork and team thinking.

But training is training, in “real world” scenarios or on a square range. I would be SUPER hesitant to go to a class where they advertised what they were doing as LARPing. And I have done a fair share of role play training, had a good time doing it, but NEVER would refer to it as LARPing in a million years. Just like when I play HALO I don’t think I’m doing real world tactics.


___________________________________________
Life Member NRA & Washington Arms Collectors

Mistake not my current state of joshing gentle peevishness for the awesome and terrible majesty of the towering seas of ire that are themselves the milquetoast shallows fringing my vast oceans of wrath.
 
Posts: 1454 | Location: T-town in the 253 | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree that words and terminology matter. If “LARP” originated with a group of fantasy players, then we don’t benefit by giving others the idea that what we’re doing is for the same purposes. “Training,” “practice,” and even “competition” have served to describe what we do for a long time and are good enough. As I’ve alluded to before, we don’t have to give criticism or distain legitimacy by paying attention to it.




“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
— Plato
 
Posts: 45472 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The problem is not those who LARP, or training, or training in equipment.

It’s the fact that successful practitioners, in competition and In the special operations field have a certain recipe for success. And that recipe does not include what goes on Instagram or even in a lot of classes. The IG has created an unrealistic light of what is necessary to become successful. It has spawned this silly “train like you fight” nonsense. And it has spawned a whole crop of very cool dressed, very poor shooters that tried to buy a little more skill by purchasing a Crye plate carrier instead of a Coyote Industries.

If you watch special operators, training all kitted up is a small fraction of what they do. Competitors may dry fire in their underwear for hours. But, the subject of the thread is about the playing dress up and not the work aspect.

While the Japanese were right about “behind every blade of grass”, that doesn’t equate to producing gunfighters. I suspect that if urban warfare ever breaks out in an American city, the rate of blue on blue fratricide will be extremely high in the category of the topic of this thread.




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"It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it works out for them"



 
Posts: 35913 | Location: Logical | Registered: September 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't think any training outfit uses the acronym; they likely do avoid it like the plague. In what I have seen, "LARP" has almost always been used as a derogatory description of folks who "take themselves too seriously", according to whoever is using the term. I think that sigfreund's second reply pretty much nails it. Of course there ought to be elements of role-play in many serious realistic training scenarios, but that's not what I was initially referring to. It's the problem that some folks apparently have with people participating in those serious training situations, which prompts their use of the acronym, in an effort to de-value the training and the people participating in it. This is a problem, because I think it discourages people from pursuing meaningful training, for fear of being labeled a LARPer by their peers. Like many other things, much of it comes down to intent. If you throw on some kit to do the same shooting drills you always rehearse, in order to make an instagram video, you may very well be playing dress-up. If you put on your kit to test it's function in relation to your weapon and body while firing from varying positions and pushing yourself physically, and you use that experience to implement changes in your techniques and equipment, you're doing good things. You are very right, jljones, in considering the fratricide possibilities among a population of equipped, square range speed demons with itchy trigger fingers; interesting indeed.
 
Posts: 911 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Good summary, KSGM, and especially about anything that discourages someone from engaging in a validly useful activity.

And of course that sort of general discouragement isn’t new or different. One of the few advantages to being old are the memories of what has gone before. As just one example, I still recall the disparaging remarks many gun owners made about others who practiced drawing from a holster while developing their shooting skills. If someone had an unintentional discharge, a common comment was, “Huh. I’ll bet he was fast-drawing,” and by “fast-drawing” what was meant was any drawing and shooting without a pause.




“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
— Plato
 
Posts: 45472 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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From what I have seen, the phrase LARPing was adopted by “gear queers” themselves. It’s ok to admit that it’s a bit silly to gear up in plate carriers, radios, camo, and practice shooting and other things with friends. I think most of the stigma was left in early 2020 anyways. I’ll bet there are a whole lot of Ukrainians who wished they had a full set of combat equipment, including armor and NODs before everything kicked off.
 
Posts: 9515 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That was precisely my point in the OP. I don't think it's silly to utilize a broader range of equipment while practicing a broader range of skills. I say LARP hard; LARP often; be not ashamed of your LARPing, so long as it's not literally live-action role playing, but practice of practical skills.
 
Posts: 911 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The 2nd amendment was to protect the 1st, and I remind you that it is under assault at the moment. So, let them say what they will, you don't have to agree.
I have had firearms all my life and before I was ever given a live round safety was drilled into my head, but I was never in the military and never had any tactical training, just shown how to hunt safely.
I can go to the range and practice my accuracy, but, I find myself thinking I need to learn real world how to survive a real gunfight skills, you can never be too prepared!
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: March 19, 2022Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think LARPing originally came from the Dungeons and Dragons crowd in the 80s. It's only more recently been misappropriated as a perjorative for the tactical wannabees that seem to be popping up all over social media these days.




"The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford, "it is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards."
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, then the wrong lizard might get in."
 
Posts: 3191 | Location: Two blocks from the Center of the Universe | Registered: December 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In using the word "misappropriate", are you suggesting folks are doing the acronym itself a disservice, in applying it to said "wannabees", or that it's use is in this situation is unfair to the "wannabees"?

Would you hesitate to participate in certain training, for fear of being labelled a wannabee? If so, that is exactly the negative aspect of the phenomenon that I was initially getting at.

There is no doubt that some folks are indeed LARPing, and perhaps deserve some ribbing. I suppose the folks that know they're doing quality training are likely confident enough to ignore any stigma induced by the wannabees. It's the folks who are considering taking steps to progress in their training, but don't yet possess the confidence to ignore the stigma, that I propose are being negatively affected by the use of the acronym in the training "community".

Keeping with the Ukraine example of foreign invasion, and it's relevance in America and anywhere else in the world, we can picture a citizen who, had they only been able to previously see past the LARPing stigma, would have experience with certain "advanced" techniques and equipment that would be quite valuable.
 
Posts: 911 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cowboy Action Shooting
 
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