Expert Weapons Tactics
will you do in a crisis? How can you train to survive? I think the warrior
mindset may benefit from some kind of epiphany. Mine came as a college student
when I was mugged at gunpoint. The horror of the experience helped to open my
eyes to the fact that evil cannot be ignored on the physical plane, or for that
matter, any other. Like the yin and yang, we all have a balance of the pacifist
and warrior within. Depending on the circumstance, there is a time to reap and a
time to sow. While keeping a calm vigilance as a pacifist maintaining all
options of avoidance and flight, the warrior within each of us needs to be ready
in an instant to spring into devastating, aggressive, decisive, no holds barred
fight to the finish. Each one of us needs to find the motivation to train and
flip that switch without hesitation.
While mounting a flashlight on
the gun may have advantages for military and law enforcement applications, it is
not as important for civilian self-defense on the street. Unless you feel
experienced enough to try to clear your own house, that operation is not
recommended without a partner to open doors and provide scanning and cover fire.
The benefits of a gun light include the ability to use the off hand for other
tasks and the simultaneous ability to illuminate, identify, and shoot.
However, the drawbacks to the gun mounted light are quite serious. There
may not be time to activate an additional switch. The light can be a
target and a dead giveaway. Shining family members is also pointing the muzzle at
them. More self discipline and control are necessary. The added bulk and
weight of the light preclude comfortable concealed carry options and slow the
draw. The gun light might serve for home defense, but it's removal is
street carry. A flashlight should definitely be part of everyday carry, and
held away from the body in the off
hand, it can serve as a deterrent as well as a valuable, blinding, defensive tool
and contact weapon.
THE BACKUP GUN
Those serious about personal
safety usually carry a BUG. Some feel that reloading their primary weapon is
not as fast as producing a backup, and it’s sometimes called the New York
reload. A BUG is recommended, but not for that purpose. Using good off hand
technique, extra magazines or speed loaders can re-supply the primary gun more
quickly. After all, the primary is usually more powerful and practiced with.
However, any mechanical device can malfunction, or the strong side, arm, and
hand may be blocked or incapacitated in a fight. Therefore, it is recommended
that the backup be ambidextrous, a double action revolver or DAO semi-auto, and
accessible to the off hand. Keep it separated from spare ammo, knife,
flashlight, and cell phone. The BUG ought to be a 380 auto or 38 Special, at a
minimum, and as small, light, and snag free as possible.
In Massad Ayoob's The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry
he tackles a lot of the issues that prosecutors will try to nail
you on, like carrying hollow points, spare mags, etc. He also
has an entire chapter dedicated to a backup gun, with seven
reasons to carry one.
- The primary gun may be taken away.
- The primary gun may be unusable because it is the object
of a struggle.
- The primary gun may be empty.
- The primary gun may malfunction.
- The primary gun may be struck by an opponent's bullet and
- The primary gun may not be as readily accessible as the
- The primary gun can arm only one good person at a time.
A gun mounted laser or laser
grip makes a great training aid. Use it when dry firing from awkward positions
or around cover to make sure the gun stays steady and trigger manipulation is
correct. Use it to maintain the point of aim while practicing the lateral
blast off the line of force coming from a moving target. Use it to
practice pointing from various stances and angles to help you find your natural
instincts. Use it from behind cover in
the safe room to point at an attacker breaking through the strong door. And use
it to hold an adversary face down, spread eagle, palms up, until police arrive.
Make sure the arriving officers know you are the good guy, and keep your other
hand high holding your identification. Be aware that the laser can create a
false sense of competence. Accurate shooting requires a steady gun hand and
fundamental trigger control. On the street, it is recommended that the master
switch be off. Your firm grip in a tense situation will automatically
activate it, whether or not you want it on. Rely on your training in the
basics and simple, reliable tools, instead of toys or
TOP TEN RULES OF
to it before the shooting starts.
2. Try to know in
advance where cover is, how good it is, and how to use it.
3. Never expose
consecutively from the same spot.
Peek out and duck back in
to scan with minimum exposure.
5. Quickly lean out and
cant the gun if necessary for 1 to 3 shots each time.
6. If you are
comfortable, you are too visible. Resist looking to see if you score.
7. When your position is discovered, use concealment to change cover so
that you can ambush your previous spot or ambush the route your opponent has to
take to get to where he thinks you are.
8. Move away opposite your last exposure only to get to better cover. Make
your opponent do the moving in the open.
9. Stay away from cover,
especially if it can chip or splinter. Stay away from
corners when rounding them and lean out to view little pieces one at a time, like
slices of a pie. Alternate high and low lean outs while slicing the pie.
10. Keep scanning and orienting 360 degrees.
24 Jan 07
Comments on team tactics, from an instructor in WI:
We conducted a large-scale, building-search/response scenario
for suburban officers, which involved most PDs in the county. I
was a terrorist for two days, and observed:
Teams that were aggressive, coordinated, decisive, and that
moved quickly were difficult to pin down and engage
successfully. Conversely, teams with confused, indecisive
leadership, that dithered and hesitated, were quickly and
effortlessly wiped out.
I was monotonously successful in hitting the inadvertently
exposed knees, feet, and elbows of officers who thought they
were using cover competently. When thus struck, officers were
astonished. They had no idea that these body parts were
Officers who were trained to shoot rifles and shotguns off
either shoulder had a significant advantage, as they were able
to effectively use either left or right-hand cover. Those who,
when shooting from left-hand cover, continued to support the
rifle from the right shoulder were easily picked off.
Teams that chicken-walked in the open seldom lived through
the first minute. Teams that bounded aggressively from cover to
cover were usually successful.
Comment: The goal when using cover is not to eliminate
exposure. It is to eliminate unnecessary/unproductive
exposure. Some exposure is going to be necessary, and risk will
always attach to it.
Building clearing is no place for confused dithering! When
you think you must go in, your movement must be coordinated and
aggressive if there is to be any change of success.
Learn to shoot left-handed!
The following article was originally written as a series for a shooting club
newsletter. It is not intended to belittle those who enjoy the action pistol
sports. Rather, it is an effort to create tactical awareness among those who may
use a firearm in self-defense by comparing examples from the different arenas.
The article has been published previously in the SMITH & WESSON ACADEMY
DOUBLE TAPS: A staple of the IPSC crowd, the double tap has two sets of problems
on the street:
When faced with a single assailant the best course is to shoot until the threat
ceases. If the assailant goes into surrender mode after the first shot, the
second shot is no longer justifiable. If the assailant is still charging you it
is foolish to pause after the second shot.
When faced with multiple assailants it makes more sense to put a round into each
aggressor as quickly as possible, then go back and place more rounds into anyone
who is still a threat. About ten years ago there was actually an incident in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area where an IPSC-shooting cop went up against three
assailants. He double-tapped the first two and was shot and killed by the third.
Had he shot each assailant once initially he might have had a better chance of
SCORING BY THE CLOCK: Virtually all of the action pistol sports use a timer.
Speed is certainly a useful attribute in a gunfight, although it is worth
remembering the words of Bill Jordan, “Speed is fine but accuracy is final.”
I’m not trying to discourage people from developing speed in placing accurate
fire on the target. My concern is when rewarding the shortest time over a course
of fire encourages people to do things like leaving cover and reloading on the
move. If the cardboard targets or steel plates were shooting back, would you
want to leave cover with an empty gun? Even if you have a high-capacity gun and
it isn’t empty yet, wouldn’t you rather have the gun fully loaded when
circumstances dictate your move to the next piece of cover? What if you get shot
in the leg and can’t make it to the next piece of cover?
MOVING TO COVER: Most sport shooters try to shorten the distance to the target
to make the shot easier. Couple this with shooting against the clock, then set
up a stage where the shooter starts in the open and has to move to cover which
is somewhere downrange. Most competitors will run directly to the point where
they intend to shoot, on a straight line.
Years ago the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center disseminated a concept
known as the “FLETC L.” If you’re really under fire, you want to get the cover
between you and your assailant as quickly as possible. Move laterally to get
behind the cover, then turn, making an “L,” if you need to move closer to the
DISTANCE FROM COVER: Most sport shooters try to shorten the distance to the
target to make the shot easier. Most sport shooters have also learned to use
“barricades” to gain support to steady the gun. One IPSC-style shooting academy
teaches resting the back of the support hand on the side of the barricade when
shooting from the gun-hand side of cover.
First of all, this technique will usually expose greater than 50% of your body
to the target, but that’s all right when your target is just a piece of
buff-colored cardboard. Secondly, if the target and the cover were real, shots
fired by the target could “skip” off the side of the cover, such as a wall
surface parallel to the direction of the incoming fire, and strike you if you
were within six feet of the cover. For this reason people who train for the real
world generally try to leave at least six feet of space between them and cover
which is large enough to permit it.
LATERAL FAULT LINES: To protect the competitor from hostile fire from cardboard
or steel targets, most action shooting sports which use cover in scenarios place
fault lines to the side of the cover. If your foot strays over the fault line
you lose points. If your head and body hang out there, that’s okay.
Cardboard and steel targets generally stay in one place whereas people intent on
harming you move around. If you’re in an upright position it’s not likely that
your foot will project noticeably wider than another part of your body. People
who train to deal with targets that shoot back will usually “slice the pie.”
This means that if they are approaching a doorway or a corner they will stay
back about six feet, keep the gun in a low ready position of some sort and inch
themselves past the edge of the cover. Every inch yields a new fan or pie-slice
of view and if a threat is found in one of these slices, the gun rises and the
shot is taken. If they were to insist on hiding the feet while incrementally
exposing head and body, they would merely place themselves off balance at a time
when balance might be very valuable.
RIGHT TO LEFT OR LEFT TO RIGHT: Most right-handed sport shooters, when faced
with a bank of targets, will shoot them from left to right.
When faced with real threats, you want to shoot the most immediate threat first.
This is going to be a split-second judgment, but those come easier if you have
dealt with them in training. However, in cases where two or more threats are of
comparable urgency and similar distance, it makes sense to protect your gun side
first. An awful lot of gunshot wounds are to the gun hand, the arm of the gun
hand or the shoulder of the gun hand. Eliminating or reducing the threat on your
gun side increases the likelihood of being around to finish the fight. For a
right-handed shooter this means that when you’ve got a bank of targets it makes
more sense to shoot from right to left.
Stephen P. Wenger
ELEMENTS OF AWARENESS
Successful fighter pilots use a
decision making process called the
OODA loop. The anachronism stands for
Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The goal is to spin the loop fast enough to
penetrate the OODA loop of the adversary and win. Training can expedite the
observation and orientation. Experience is a key to fast decision making.
Effective action requires skill. It can be essential to find the right
compromise between deadly hesitation and the speedy action of reckless abandon.
Perseverance prevails, sometimes with the help of blind luck.
Reset the OODA loop.
Observation begins with the
scan. Most sheeple, in condition white, have a 90 degree cone of awareness in
front of them, if they are not preoccupied. Sometimes they glance ahead, but
they don’t observe. On the other hand, secret service agents are in condition
orange and observe their complete sphere with hard scans that would be seen as
“over the top” in a convenience store setting.
Scanning starts by trying to see into an environment before
you enter it. How many take the extra second to peer
through the glass door before they push their way into what
could be an armed robbery in progress?
Avoid staring or undue eye
contact which may cause confrontation. Rather use unobtrusive scanning to cover
the full circle around you in random cycles. The art of scanning, using
smooth eye movement and peripheral vision, makes the "grey man" invisible,
because others can't tell he's scanning. Observe static points of interest
quickly and then monitor dynamic changes for things that seem unusual,
illogical, or out of place. The static environment assessment looks for avenues
of possible attack or escape, obstacles, concealment, and especially cover. The constant-dynamic assessment catalogues
routinely moving objects, normal traffic, and background scenarios. This
helps minimize extraneous details and confusing stimuli when split second
decisions are essential. The dynamic assessment catalogs the people in the
immediate environment. Among people
near you, estimate who would be a likely subject of attack and from where it
would originate. Note backgrounds that would preclude a shot.
As you assess others, look for
their hands and eyes. If you can’t see them, they should be a priority
concern. While an angry or troubled person will telegraph his anxiety and
intent to assault by his body language, the danger signs of a stalking predator
or psychopathic killer aren’t as obvious.
Watch for thoracic breathing
especially with an open mouth. Watch for the white of the eye showing above the
lower eyelid and a slouched or unkempt appearance. Beware of someone who's
eyes never look down, as he is not emotionally connected with the situation.
Watch out for eyes that flick without a corresponding movement of the head. Notice hesitant but unabated
movement toward a command position or a victim. Watch for controlled,
mechanical, or jerky gestures, especially patting, securing, or protecting
hidden objects on their body. Note darting eyes and rearward glances, or
frequent eye contact with accomplices or a stationed lookout. Beware anyone who
creates a distraction or initiates a conversation with a stranger while
approaching them. Steer clear of self-involved but idle groups that just
appear to be hanging out.
When waiting in lines, angle
your strong side toward the space you leave to the back of the person in front
of you. Brief eye contact with the person behind you should be enough to keep them at
yourself in restaurants so you have a view of entrances or
exits and can seek cover, deploy your handgun, or escape quickly.
In public restrooms, always use
a locking stall, but the clatter of guns and ammo on the tile is
unprofessional. Don’t try to catch a falling gun. Secure it in the cradle of
your trousers or on your handbag in front of you, out of sight. Be careful of
loose speed loaders or magazines, and remember to take everything with you when
While brief, initial eye
contact will indicate to you others around you who are also aware, you still can’t trust even the
most well dressed or innocent looking not to be a psychopathic killer.
Awareness serves as a beacon to ward off common predators who are assessing you,
too. Keep your head up and turning with the nonchalance of calm vigilance.
Keep good posture, poise, and balance. Keep your strong hand free and be ready
to drop everything if you have to dive for cover. A confident demeanor and
purposeful stride will likely keep the bad guys looking to surprise an easier
Speed Vs. Precision
The balance between Speed & Precision might be the
most important thing that a shooter should understand about training for the
tactical use of a pistol.
by Rob Pincus
Use simple tools if you want to survive
Keen awareness and a Colt 45
An attacker will try to surprise
his victim, and he counts on shock with attendant sensory overload to debilitate
defensive decision-making. The element of surprise is minimized by awareness
and prior practice evaluating defensive options in likely scenarios. The shock
of surprise won’t dismay those who expect the unexpected. Sensory overload must
be prevented by ignoring unimportant stimuli and focusing on the essential
problem. When the environment has already been cataloged for escape, cover,
background, and potential threats, decisiveness becomes as natural as the
instinct to focus on the impending threat. Injury will come from an
assailant's hands. Stopping the threat will require focus on the
assailant's center of mass.
Actions must follow decisions
immediately. New decisions and actions will roll seamlessly as observations of
the important facts lead to corrections in orientation. This has been expressed
elsewhere as the OODA loop, Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Decisions can be
made more quickly if, through experience or role-play, the situation is
familiar. Actions, on the other hand, will be limited to skills acquired
Basic skills, those that come
from practicing the fundamentals, are the most reliable and flexible. Shooting
while flying headfirst through the air, or rolling on the ground, should be
delayed until there has been mastery of uncovering the gun, acquiring a firing
grip, drawing safely, and then alignment, retention, point, flash sight, and
aimed fire from cover. Moving targets are not a problem, but shooting while
moving to cover will be a challenge best saved until after exercises of jams,
reloads, and incapacitations from behind cover. Concentrate on the skills that
will apply to the most likely threats based on your lifestyle and common
elements of an attack. Don’t fight against yourself. Keep in mind that soon
after an adrenaline surge, the body will begin to shake as the drug dissipates.
Practice simple drills that incorporate survival instincts, like crouching,
threat focus, and creating distance, which are common stress reactions.
Maintain or create distance for
more time to exercise options. Survival odds are greater when the attack is
slowed or turned by the defender blasting laterally or obliquely back off the
line of force. Sometimes a lateral blast that ends in a forward move can
preempt an attack strike with a knife. Backwards movement has little tactical
value, and it likely causes a stumble. Movement should be part of most
defensive reactions, especially when it’s used to get to cover or concealment.
From awkward positions behind cover, shooting is more difficult, but it is
preferred to being in the open. Of course, it would be best to create distance
before an attack, and any movement of the attacker or defender will cause the
background to change as well.
When awareness and confident
demeanor have not stopped the attacker from choosing his victim, he may try to
test the victim while closing the distance prior to an attack on the head. An
effective defensive reaction to maintain distance might be the use of the
command voice. The command voice is deep, clear, and loud. Alpha, or leader,
commands are short and explicit. Shouted commands can mean stop, keep away,
keep your hands out of your pockets, I can not help you, “Do you feel lucky,
punk, do you?”
After hearing the command voice,
an attacker knows he has lost the element of surprise. If he continues to close
the distance, he may be irrational and under the influence of, or craving, some
drug. If he does not exhibit a weapon, make a scene and create distance to
escape or get to cover. It is recommended that 911 be called anytime a threat
has been perceived, the gun is exposed, the firing grip is acquired, or the gun
is drawn and fired. The first person to call 911 is generally considered to be
the victim, and dispatch will record anything audible. If the cell phone is
holstered on the weak side, keep it in front of a flashlight, OC spray, and
separated from spare magazines so it doesn’t get stuffed into the magazine well
of the gun during a stress reload. Making a call or producing identification
should not expose the gun, especially to an attacker.
If the assailant has a weapon,
explode off the line of force, to cover, during the draw. Keep him out of
contact range if he has a knife or club. If the assailant has a gun and the
victim has the training, point shooting during the lateral burst may be an
option. Although dangerous, if an opening or distraction can be created, or if
the assailant suddenly tries to produce a weapon, it may be an option to speed
rock and stitch him on the spot. The most dangerous defensive situations will
be at extremely close range. Troublesome or unexpected attacks can come from
the sides and rear. Movement may not be possible during the moments leading up
to the need to react with the use of deadly force in self-defense.
By Ed Lovette in the Febuary issue of Combat Handguns. (From the author's
Defensive uses of the firearm
!) Location--vast majority happen in the
victims home or place of business.
2) Lighting Conditions--Victim usually has the chance to get the lights
3) Distance--0-10 feet. Most between 6-10 feet.
4) Duration---actual shooting was over in seconds or a fraction of
5) Physical contact rarely involved but when it did was exceptionally
6) Number of shots fired was often one but an average of three.
7) Movement--movement was usually to retrieve the pistol and then to
confirm the problem.
There was no "pie-ing" or searching, no moving while shooting or lateral
movement to avoid gunfire.
8) Use of security equipment ( OC spray, knife, flashlight etc)..NONE!!!
9) Use of Cover--Almost nonexistent.
10) Firing positions---Shots fired by the Armed Citizen (AC) were most
frequently from the standing position, several were on their back in bed,
only one fired using the bed as cover.
11) Type of Weapon Used.. AC overwhelmingly used a .38 revolver.
12) Response of Bad Guy When Shot---He most often stopped fighting and ran
off, closely followed by stopping fighting and falling down. When the AC
fired a contact shot into the bad guys torso/neck the fight was usually
over very quickly.
13) Verbal Exchange Between AC and Bad Guy---Almost always.
14) Training by AC---Overwhelmingly none, followed by a small number who
had taken a CCW course and a very small amount who had fired a handgun
while in the military.
Some posts concerning movement from Gunthorp and other members of
the defensivecarry.com forum
Every situation is different. Your main defensive tool is your
mind. If you have the proper mind set and are in Condition Yellow and see the
attack before it even starts then you can make defensive moves. (Someone hiding
behind car. Someone in the shadows ahead of you that could be a threat.) Seeing
the attack before it happens allows you to make distance between you and the
perceived threat. Making distance means you have more time as it takes more time
for the Bad Guy to cover that distance. It also may prevent the attack all
together as the Perp knows he has lost the element of surprise and the distance
you have made radios to him that you know he is there and what he is up to. The
distance also gives you more time if he does attach as it takes him more time to
cover the larger distance.
Again you mind set is your best defensive and offensive tool. You must be ready
to use all your abilities in a split second. First you must recognize an attack
and react. If you don’t recognize it fast enough nothing you can do will matter.
Once you recognize the attack you must react. Your reactions are behind the
perps actions so you are behind the curve and reacting. If you are only 5 yards
away from the perp before you recognize the attack the knife he is coming at you
with will be in your chest before you can draw and shoot.
Movement must be a part of your actions. Movement straight away or straight
towards the perp does not change their angle of the attack especially if they
have a firearm. Their point of aim is only getting smaller and is not moving
left or right making them modify their aim in two planes.
If you move straight towards them you are closing the distance and again not
changing their point of aim left and right but you only getting bigger in their
sites. They want you close.
Moving laterally especially at an angle moving left or right and back at the
same time makes it harder for them to hit you with a firearm and if they are
attacking with a knife their direction of attack must change directions and that
gives you more time every time they must change their angle of attack.
You should practice moving and shooting in all directions. You should practice
shooting in all different positions. The more you practice the more apt you are
to react to a threat using what you have practiced.
You could write a whole book on Movement in a self defense situation. This
thread will cover just a small part of it. So don’t stop thinking about movement
and shooting when this thread moves on. Think about it and practice it. That
practice is what will give you the confidence to prevail when that attack really
happens and you have to move and shoot to defend your life.
Training to move and shoot in every direction is the best way to
go. The only thing that I refuse to teach is back peddeling. There are ways to
engage while moving rearward without back peddeling.
I believe that getting off of the line of attack is very important. This
accomplishes getting out of the kill zone as quickly as possible. Moving
straight in or straight back simply does not get you out of the kill zone. But
there are times when moving straight in is a very good idea. If you find
yourself in a position where you can not avoid the situation, but you are in a
dominant position (inside of the BG's OODA loop), due to awareness, distraction,
deception, metsubishi, or ballistic effect moving forward agressively and
stopping the threat has it's place.
Movement needs to have purpose. Getting to cover would be the most obvious
purpose. But many times cover is just not a reality. In this case, movement to
acquire the adversaries flanks is an outstanding tactic. Moving forward to the
obliques or using eliptical movement to try to get behind the adversary is as
solid a tactic as there is.
If your natural reaction (just reacting, with no conscious thought does happen
when you are behind in the reactionary curve) is to move one direction, that
does not mean that you need to keep moving that direction. Direction can be
changed with elipitcal movement or "cutback" type moves. The directional changes
can come out of the visual input of the dynamics of the encounter. You need to
be able to recognize the changes in your position in the OODA loop. Making
adjustments to your movement due to this visual input is something that everyone
should be aware of.
Moving rearward to the obliques while putting accurate hits on board is an
outstanding skill to own. This can be accomplished quite easilly with the
correct training and tools. The LEO's that we have taught in our Integrated
Threat Focus courses have considered these skills "life saving skills" for
officers that have been caught behind the reactionary curve. In a typical
traffic stop, the officer cover, radio, long gun......down right security is
behind him. To be able to fight their way back to the patrol car, while
delivering accurate hits, can be an excellent tool to own.
Lateral movement is the best way to not get hit, but it is also the most
difficult way to get hits. The dynamics of this displacement dictate this as
fact. This is why the ability to make hits laterally, on a full run is the
ultimate goal of Threat Focus courses.
Here is a little something that I wrote on movement a while back.
What am I physically capable of?
I believe that there should be continuity to ones movement. I feel that one
should train to get hits through the entire movement spectrum. There is no doubt
about the importance of "stand and deliver" skills. I have spent hundreds and
hundreds of hours on this skill with tens of thousands of drawstrokes. If my
body chooses this solution to the problem, that skill will be there.
I also see a need for very controlled movement that facilitates a precision shot
on the move. This could include skills such as "just walk", side stepping (crab
walk,) or even the old groucho (duck) walk. All three of these techniques have
there place (however small they might be) and should be something that you can
do on demand, if that demand arises. I practice head shots at logical distances
with this type of movement.
I also see a need to be able to get hits with your toes pointing the direction
that you are moving. This type of movement has your upper body working
independent from your lower body, "like a turret of a tank." Toes point the
direction you are headed, body turreted the direction that you are shooting.
This type of movement brings in your bi-lateral skills. Shooting to the firing
side can be done two handed to a certain point, then you need to go one handed.
The possible speed of this movement can cover the full spectrum, from a walk, to
a jog, to a stride, to a run, and finally to a sprint. This is where you find
what you are physically capable of. This is where the limitations are pushed,
and the standards are set.
Feints, jukes, cut backs and directional changes are also part of the movement
skills set. One should explore there ability to use these skills and the
limitations that different terrain/footing give you.
React as you need to react, move as you need to move, and see what you need to
see to solve the problem that you are confronted with. If you train with these
basic concepts, you will have covered the vast majority of the possible
situations. In covering these situations, your body will chose, with confidence,
the appropriate solution.
"We just give students tools and options....it is their call how well they fit
into their box or plan"
In the world of the gun there are two types of responses to a life
threatening event. The first and most popular is the conditioned response. A few
examples of conditioned responses would be stand and deliver, the controlled
pair, and to always make use of your sights. These are responses that we train
into ourselves with the hope that when the SHTF we will default to our training
and this programming will save the day.
While I was learning the Modern Techniques, (MT) I constantly questioned the
logic behind many of the conditioned responses. To me, there was very little
common sense attached to these conditioned responses. Even as a newbie I knew
that I would never fight in this manner. It went away from the logic of all of
my past experiences. As I trained and trained in the MT, I always held on to the
realization the MT's were just going to be a foundation, a foundation that I
built my fighting style on top of.
As I progressed, I began to incorporate what I thought a common sense fighting
style would entail. I began to seek out people that thought as I did. My
observations were confirmed again and again by highly respected "been there done
that" guys, most notably a Federal Agent that went under the handle 7677.He
would write posts of his real world experience that coincided with my thoughts
and observations As my suspicions were verified, my training progressed into an
area that very few people have explored. I began to embrace the concept of
natural human response.
As I participated in and witnessed FOF encounters, it became very clear that the
vast majority of the people that trained on a regular basis, cast aside their
training when the action was fast and close. They would default to their natural
human response. They solved problems at a sub-conscious level. I witnessed many
people doing things that they had never been trained to do. After the encounter
I would talk to them about their response. The majority actually did not know
what they had done to solve the problem. As I told them what they did, they
would often look at me in disbelief that they reacted in that manner. This
furthered my interest in the subject, which lead me to my next level of
I call this level Fluid Situational Response. The concept is that you can
incorporate your natural human response and your conditioned response and use
them fluidly in the appropriate situation all along, what 7677 calls the
fighting continuum. I know some of you will say that this does not stay within
the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle, or that it does not conform to Hicks
law (the more options you have, the longer it will take to access an option).
IMHO this is just not so. Hicks law applies to conditioned responses, that is
why you should have a mastery of a few essential techniques. Hicks law does not
apply to natural human response. There is no lag time to access these responses.
Your body will choose the solution to the problem in a microsecond at a
subconscious level. Accepting this to be fact opens up a world that very few
My training is now geared to my Fluid Situational Response. The response is
dictated by time, distance, and where you find yourself in the reactionary
curve. The position on the reactionary curve is the most important factor to
your response. This is where natural human response of "fight or flight" takes
over. IMHO you should embrace the "fight or flight" response and train within
that response. One thing to keep in mind, when it comes to firearms "fight or
flight" is also "fight and flight." The direction you move, the speed of your
movement, the necessary visual input to maneuver and to comprehend the problem,
the necessary visual input needed to make the hits, and the necessary visual
input to recognize the situational changes are all dependent on your position on
the reactionary curve inside of the 7677 fight continuum.
There is no doubt that at certain distances, going hands on before you access
your handgun is the very best response. But for now, let's take a look at
responses that are outside of hand to hand ranges.
If you have succeeded in being ahead in the reactionary curve due to awareness,
deception, distraction, or metsubishi (throw something in the face of your
adversary) you are in a dominant position. Conditioned responses are excellent
for this situation. Stand and deliver, sighted fire, aggressively advancing to
are all appropriate responses.
If you find yourself even in the reactionary curve, your response will have to
be different. Conditioned responses may not get the job done as well as natural
human response. The fight and flight response will kick in and you will want to
get out of the kill zone. Move as you draw, put hits on the adversary as soon as
you can using threat focused skills, work towards getting inside of the
adversaries OODA loop by your movement, making hits, and acquiring his flank.
Once you have turned the reactionary curve in your favor, embrace your fluid
situational response and shift from a reactionary position to the dominant
position and eliminate the threat.
If you find yourself well behind the reactionary curve, your response will have
to change even more. A conditioned response could be suicide, your best hope is
a natural human response. Brownies startle response can be use to your advantage
and you must train to be comfortable within your startle response. Flight
overrides fight, because you must survive the initial contact so that you can
get into the fight. Explode out of the kill zone, move to cover if near or
access the weapon on the sprint, put hits on the adversary using threat focus
skills, look to turn the tide, if the situation changes, flow into the next
Once you embrace your Fluid Situational Response you will go places that you
never thought were possible, Where your mind is the weapon and the gun is just
an extension of your mind, and everything flows with no conscious thought.
The inevitable question arises, "what is more important, to get the hits or to
not get hit?" The Fluid Situational Response answers that question. When you are
ahead of the reactionary curve, it is more important to get the hits. You are in
the dominate position....ELIMINATE THE THREAT! If you are even on the
reactionary curve the importance are equal. Use a balance of speed (of movement)
and accuracy to solve the problem. If you are behind in the reactionary curve it
is more important to not get hit. Get out of the kill zone by "thinking move
first." Sprint to cover if it is near or access your handgun on the sprint and
put hits on your adversary. Always look to get inside of the adversaries OODA
loop and progress through your Fluid Situational Response until you are either
dominating the confrontation or have put yourself in the position to terminate
"We just give students tools and options....it is their call how well they fit
into their box or plan"
We train to move off the line of force during the draw, both to the
strong and weak sides. Never move back unless it’s to cover, because it’s too
easy to lose your balance. Drawing from concealment will likely require the off
hand to uncover and necessitate a one hand presentation. You can demonstrate to
yourself how much easier movement is when the off hand is free instead of trying
to maintain a two hand hold. An onrushing BG is probably going to be at very
close range by the time your gun clears on target, and a five shot zipper takes
surprisingly little time. Jelly Brice once sidestepped a shotgun blast during
his draw and killed the BG before he could fire another blast. You have to do
some “what if” thinking as you go through your unique daily routine. That said,
movement to the knife or gun side of the adversary, followed by a forward
component, will take away his strong moves and make his reactions delayed with
regard to your position. Is this the only drill to practice? By no means. If 99%
of situations present cover, use your common sense when designing your drills,
and be safe on the range.
OUR TOP TEN RULES OF COVER
1. Try to know in advance where cover is, how good it is, and how to use it.
2. Get to it before the shooting starts.
3. Never expose consecutively from the same spot.
4. Duck out and back in to scan with minimum exposure.
5. Quickly lean out and cant the gun if necessary for 1 to 3 shots each time.
6. If you are comfortable, you are too visible. Resist looking to see if you
7. When your position is discovered, use concealment to change cover so that you
can ambush your previous spot or ambush the route your opponent has to take.
8. Move opposite your last exposure only to get to better cover. Make your
opponent do the moving in the open.
9. Stay away from cover that can chip or splinter. Stay away from corners when
rounding them and lean out to view pieces one at a time, like slices of a pie.
Alternate high and low lean outs while slicing the pie.
10. Keep scanning and orienting 360 degrees.
Slider (thanks for all your work on packing.org)
+1 Sweatnbullets (your philosophy and common sense agrees with ours)
Your posts are most welcome and will be appreciated here. Thanks, belatedly, for
joining this forum, the only one for which I have had time, lately. The mods are
exceptional, and the opinions of the membership are well considered.
After lateral movement, a forward hook is more likely to penetrate the OODA loop
of the adversary. Whenever it is seen as an offensive move, one’s attorney may
cite the need to avoid background casualties and missed shots. Both tunnel
vision and fixated threat focus are instincts that make balance and shooting
while moving backward tools requiring much training effort. Far better to build
on fight/flight instincts in defensive training, because they will become
difficult to sublimate, even with the warrior mindset.
Awareness can preempt crises reactions by allowing time for decisions and giving
distance for accurate actions. A moments lapse, a slight hesitation, or a
determined surprise attack require CQB drills that count on the survival
instincts of our reptilian brain.
First drill is always movement off the line, while drawing. Once the gun is
clear, the elbow can be thrust down to align the bore. If gross motor skills are
what we have to rely on, we practice locking the wrist and gun to the forearm,
and using the forearm as the pointing tool. If we visualize a gyro stabilizing
the forearm, and put some tension in the shoulder/elbow muscles (no elbow to hip
contact, as is taught by some) then the gun-hand-wrist-forearm makes an accurate
close range pointer. Retention is enabled by angling the off side and defensive
arm toward the threat. Fire control rests with the head and threat focused
concentration. Shooting while moving is the goal. Firing a five shot zipper
teaches the force cadence for confident accuracy at close ranges. Shooting from
the draw to a two hand hold and then to the sights in a fluid dynamic insures
the fastest response coupled with the most accuracy. The smiles on the student’s
faces when they get it are priceless.
Feels kinda weird responding to this because so much good
information has already been posted. BUT...I'm an opinionated SOB and this
thread has got me thinking (shh don't tell anyone) Maybe I'll say something in
this though that will add more value.
As a combatives instructor I talk alot about breaking your system of training
down to three levels, first is your doctrine, or the big picture that allows you
to form strategy for dealing with conflict. A doctrine can be applied to any
conflict where victory is the option. (not necassarily an argument with the
wife...unless you LIKE the couch) For instance, my doctrine has three steps:
1. Break the Midline
2. Close and envelope
3. Fight through the enemy
Once you've established doctrine, you begin working on tactics to achieve your
doctrine. Your tactics are always determined by a principle known in the army as
Equipment, Time Available, Troops Available, Terrain, and Civilian presence. So
based on that to break the midline do I move laterally, obliquely, backwards,
forwards, or use a j-hook. I have to determine why I'm responding...am I in
trouble, is someone else in trouble. Am I armed, and if so what with, how
quickly do I have to respond, is it a hostage situation or an ambush, do I have
back up with me now, whats the police response time in my area, how many BG's,
what is the BG armed with. What are my surroundings, is there cover available,
whats behind my target, whats behind me, wheres my escape route, wheres the BG's
escape route. How many civilians or bystanders are present, whats their
location, whats their acuity. Thes are some questions that you have to ask to
determine your tactics in response to a conflict. This all has to be done
quickly and confidantly without hesitation.
After you've determine what tactics are applicable to the situation you
determine your techniques, am I gonna speed rock and stictch this guy, am I
gonna move laterally and point shoot, am I gonna j-hook back and take an aimed
shot at flaccid paralysis.
I guess the bottom line is that visualization, and preplanning for an incident
is great exercise and a definate asset but you really can't predetermine a
response to a situation without knowing all the factors involved with that
situation. Especially as an armed citizen when you also have to be concerned
with legal repercussions, and more times than not your families safety is
dependant on your judgement as much as your safety is.
This has been an awesome thread I hope I've added to it.
Do not feel like the Lone Ranger. There are those that have an
unbelievable amount of real world experience that state that aggressive,
straight forward movement is all you need. Guys Like Fairbairn, Sykes, and
I prefer to be more well rounded.
I appreciate that you sarted this thread. I have been around on a lot of forums
and have never seen such a large group or obviously squared away individules
with such well thought out opinions. 7677 and I seem to have been lone voices
for so long that it is good to hear others that have headed down the same path
with the same thought process.
Very good thread Glockman17! Be proud of the information that has come out in
Gunthorp, Thank you.
Kikr, nice addition.
Rocky, how can you say so much in so few words?
So much has been covered and it really is all intertwined. Here is another piece
of the puzzle in regards to movement. This is something that is often
When it comes to vision, I see things a little differently than a lot of other
people. There is the necessary vision to make the shot (see what you need to
see) and there is another aspect of vision that people tend to ignore. I believe
that the body will choose the height and the extension of the gun due to the
amount of vision that the brain will require to solve the entire problem.
The visual information the the brain requires is covered in my Fluid Situatonal
The ability to make the hit.
The ability to ID the threat.
The ability to have a field of vision to comprehend the entire problem.
The ability to have a field of vision that facilitates movement that has
The ability to have a field of vision to manuver through and around obstacles.
The ability to recognize the changes in your position in regards to the OODA
The ability to eliminate visual interference and negative visual input.
In my opinion, the dynamics or the chaos of the encounter will dictate the
height, the extension, the positon, and whether you use one hand or two hands,
in regards to your HG. This is why I feel so strongly about the ability to shoot
throughout your draw stroke and from every angle and position. It is my opinon
that this natural act (the body picking the best position so that the brain can
take in the necessary visual information) is a much better idea than a
conditioned act (always bring the gun to line of sight) that is not as well
rounded or versatile and has many negatives connected with it.
I think that the ability to put your bullets right where you are looking is a
very natural and important ability. This is not some skill that takes time to
develop. I could introduce anyone, to their natural ability to do this in a day
or two.......and you would own that natural ability for the rest of your life
with very little need for maintenance.
I believe that natural abilities should go hand in hand with your conditoned
abilities. If your conditoned abilities fail you (such as not being able to get
to your line of sight) your natural abilities can take over. All your bases are
covered due to being wellrounded, you just keep rolling right along.......as
opposed to being flat sided.
"We just give students tools and options....it is their call how well they fit
into their box or plan"
Hate to beat it to death, but movement and shooting while moving
are supreme tools.
Excellent additions, Kikr
Sweatnbullets, again +1 You’re relating so much with few words it bears
rereading. You are observing the whole chessboard.
FWIW we also look at each chess piece in order to avoid unnatural motion or
wasted effort. Good movement habits incorporating natural defensive instinct can
be choreographed like the draw. Fairbairn , like martial artists of old,
realized that the crouch is an instinctive reaction to stress that gives balance
and the spring necessary to produce movement. His idea of a stance can be
likened to that of a tennis player awaiting service.
The tennis stance allows excellent movement options to the right or left, but it
lacks the fore and aft stability to handle recoil or blows from an adversary.
The boxer stance, or weak foot forward, is good for one hand retention and two
hand sighted shooting, and it uses the strong foot to propel the body to the
weak side and forward. On the other hand there is the fencing stance with the
strong foot forward. This lends itself to better one hand sighted shooting and
movement back and to the strong side. All three stances are just a matter of
shifting the angle of the body and pivoting the feet. The idea is to practice
transitions between the stances for a dynamic fluidity of motion. We leave to
the imagination the diving for cover stance, the scared to death stance, and the
falling down after being hit from behind stance.
The two hand hold, while conducive to accuracy when time allows, makes critical
survival movement awkward, at best. Instinct wants to keep the arms out away
from the body for balance, like the man on a tightrope. After one sees how fast
and accurate instinct shooting can be at ranges out to 15 yards, they will
reserve two hand fine sight fire to the brain stem in hostage situations. After
firing five shot strings, the double tap idea, except from behind cover, may
One of our last drills, called the four quadrant drill, involves movement only
to turn the body and bow or sway for defensive shooting against a sudden
surprise attack, our worst nightmare, coming from any or all points abeam and
abaft. The head turns to identify the threat during uncover and grip stages of
the draw. After that, the goal is to put shots on target safely, quickly, and
with the absolute minimum of movement.
Gunthorp, Very nice as usual. To heck with beating this to death,
information like this is a gold mine.
I teach what I call the "Get out of the kill zone draw stroke." It is an
explosive move that gets you off of the line of attack while simultaneously
acquiring your HG. I'm not just talking about side stepping.....it is an
explosive move like a wide reciever starting his pass pattern. To accomplish
this simultaneously one needs to "think move first." If you do not "think move
first", you will hesitate in the kill zone while trying to access your HG. BAD
With this explosive movement, I have found the the closed front garment can be
much more difficult to deal with than from a static position, or with controlled
movement. Here is what I have found to work best for me
Clearing the closed front garment during dynamic movement.
I have been showed many ways to do this. So far none have been completely
satifactory. I came up with this procedure, never seen it, never heard of it,
but I'm sure someone else is already doing it and has named it.
Take the firing side hand and grab the garment right below the gun.
Rip the garment out and up till the garment is held on the rib cage (makes no
different where you wear the holster)
As you are ripping the garment out and up the support side hand is coming to the
chest area as in the four count draw stroke. The support side hand presses the
ripped garment against the torso and holds it in place. (this is done very
The firing side hand goes down and aquires the firing grip and draws the gun.
The support side hand releases the garment and mates with the gun at count three
or it goes out to the side for balance and to facilitate dynamic movement.
The problems that I was looking to solve are simple.
How to get to the gun in a very effective and dependable manner.
A manner that dractically reduces the chances of missing the garment in the
A way to gaurantee that the garment is out of the way and stays out of the way,
so you do not end up with a fist full of shirt.
A clearance that helps facilitate dynamic movement out of the kill zone. With
this type of movement I found that the dynamics of the garment changes. The
twisting of the body, the wind generated by the initial explosion out of the
kill zone, and the natural tendency to swing the arms to help facilitate the
movement tend to leave the garment tighter to the body than from a static
Those were the problems, and I have to admit that it took me about three seconds
to come up with my answer.
The full, firing side hand grasp of the garment is a very dependable motion.
It is your primary hand.
The dependability of "out and up" is a key factor.
It does not require some akward twisting or reaching of the support side hand
that takes away from your ability to initiate your explosive movement out of the
Reaching the support side hand around to your
4:00 is just not
dependable and leaves very little very little room to pull "out and up."
Now what about the support side hand? This is where many people may decide that
the clearance is not for them. As a Modern Techniques guy it is absolutely
perfect. My default drawstroke brings my suppot side hand explosively to my
pectoral region. This indexes my support hand in a position to aquire my count
three (compressed ready.) So my thinking is if my hand is going to be coming
there in most cases, (outside of bad breath distances) why not have it hold my
garment up? I found that it worked perfecty and was extremely reliable and fast.
It worked with appendix, at the 3:00 and at the
4:00 position. The support side hand did have to come further
past the centerline at the
4:00 position. No
big deal, it naturally knew where it needed to go with zero conscious thought.
I also found the the explosive movement of the support side hand to the pectoral
region hepled facilitate my dynamic movement out of the kill zone.
I know, I know, I am still going to have to have a one handed draw. But the
truth be told, there is no one handed draw (from a close front garment) that is
as dependable as a two handed draw. I want to be as sure as I possibly can
within the known context.
I came up with a catchy name, if this if it is indeed my technique.
I call it "clearing a closed front garment." Kind of catchy isn't it? LMAO!
Originally Posted by
Not to be captain obvious but gotta say it:
The ability to Accept the threat. More about mindset than vision. But I
encounter it frequently, where people say "this can't be happening" Or "a
nice guy like that wouldnt hurt anyone" If it feels wrong it is wrong and
denying the danger only increases it.
It is obvious.... but not to many. All of this is intertwined, mindset, vision,
reaction, movement, tactics, and response.
It is obvious....... but look how few people talk about it. This thread started
as a simple movement thread, but there is no way to talk just about movement
without covering the things that are intertwined into it.
Movement must have purpose and effective movement has certain factors that must
enter into the equation.
Away is allways prefered even if it makes it
harder for you to hit them, IMO the only reasons to go toward the BG is 3rd
party protection, thats where cover is, you at at contact distance and need to
get control of their weapon.
Saying the attacker is armed with a knife or a firearm, dosn't
matter. Pressing the attacker is the way to go, offence is better than
It does make a difference a knife is only good at close range and a better
weapon than a gun in the right hands, you have to be somewhat skilled to hit a
motionless target at 21' any idiot can hit you at 10' just by pulling the
trigger, if their gun is out you may not make it 21' or less.
If it was so wrong in the "real" world, why would the US Armed
forces teach push the atacker?
I might consider pressing the attacker with 20 guys behind me with automatic
Your decision for fight or flight will not be a conscious decision it will
depend on the circumstances at the time and on your training which just shooting
at the range may not help with, pulling the trigger is the easy part its your
tactics that will decide the outcome more than anything else.
I'm not saying blindly, but I won't retreat when fired upon.
Stand my ground yes, push foward when the time comes yes, retreat..... NO.
You might be surprised how willing you are to retreat / gain distance when
someone points a gun / shooting at you, its human nature to move away from
gunfire. If the poice are trained to increase distance and they get shot at more
than any other group of people out there it can't be all that bad an idea.
Remember tv is not the real world its entertainment if the hero backed away and
seeked cover he wouldn't be the hero, the news isn't much better they spin it
how they want to get the reaction they want.
Heck you like it so far....check this out....
Four Elements of Accurate Shooting with Dynamic Movement
There are four elements that must be in place to be able to make hits on a full
run with a handgun. They are quite simple, but am very surprised that they have
never been written down before. My definition of accurate is inside of the
(1) Absolute confidence in your threat focused skills. You must have your threat
focused skills down to a subconsciously competent level.
(2) Elimination of negative visual input. The gun must not be in your line of
sight. You must not be able to see the sight alignment. You should only be able
to verify that the arm, hand, and entire weapon is aligned on the targeted area.
(3) One handed shooting skills. You must be able to shoot very well one handed.
Two handed shooting on the run is not effective or efficient.
(4) The ability to use the support side hand and arm in a natural manner to
stabilize the firing side hand.
That is all there is to it. Take it out to the range....play with it for a
while. If you do not have threat focused skills get some training.
"We just give students tools and options....it is their call how well they fit
into their box or plan"
Just to be fair, my plan for actions on is to scoot away from the
family as per my combat doctrine. If my wife is with me then her and the kid are
to find a hole to hide in while I either shield them or shoot and scoot away
from them. Either way she's in charge of getting through to 911.
I will say this, all my training has always stated that planning on have the
significant other clear the area is not a reasonable plan. The significant other
as a general rule, unless they are well trained, or really wants the insurance
money, will not leave.
As far as with my kid, my plan is to cover him with myself as I go E&E and try
to clear out of the danger zone. There is no way I try very hard not to have him
out of my sight in normal situation. In a critical incident like this I wouldnt
want him more than an arms length away.
It's not so cut and dried for me. All the theories and training
don't cover a wife who is wheelchair bound with severe MS. She will be unable to
move herself to a safer place or seek cover if things go wrong . My options are
pretty much limited movement to protect her and enter the fight with a no holds
barred attitude. It really puts me in more of a body guard role than just "self"
defense. While no spring chicken any more I still can shoot, have trained alot
with a blade in the past, fight dirty and use accumulated dirty tricks and guile
accumulated over the years. My primary tactic in protecting her still needs to
be situational avoidance and awareness. Too many scumbags look at the
handicapped as easy victims...
By John Farnum:
Last weekend, in concert with several colleagues, I conducted a Close-Range
Combatives Course in SC. We spent a day in live-fire drills and a second day in
role-playing drills using Airsoft pistols. Scenarios were allowed to
"free-play," and students were confronted with hostage situations, car-jackings,
and numerous other contacts with VCAs.
My observations confirmed what has been observed at the NTI and every other
close-range, violent-encounter drill in which I've been involved. Students
invariably came to the identical conclusion:
When confronted with imminent violence at close range, who (1) aggressively (but
precisely) explode off the line of force, without delay, and continue to move
aggressively, rarely get shot, and unfailingly inflict lethal wounds upon
astonished VCAs. Who (2) move off the line but then stop moving, get shot more
often. Who (3) hesitate, dither, or surrender meekly, seldom live through it.
A precise, but explosive, counterattack, combined with unrelenting and
aggressive movement upsets VCAs' plans so completely that they rarely regain the
offensive. Successful students don't let VCA(s) breath. They finish the fight!
There is little doubt that the longer you allow yourself to be under the control
and domination of a VCA, the more likely you'll suffer serious harm. There are
surely risks involved in acting immediately and decisively, but there are even
greater risks that attach to doing nothing. When they commence their attack,
VCAs are always weakest and most vulnerable. After they gain control over you,
they will become progressively stronger as you become progressively weaker. In
the end, when you're gagged and tied up, all options will evaporate. You'll
perish, wishing you had acted when you had the chance!
"Delay in the use of force, and hesitation to accept responsibility for its
employment, will always be interpreted as weakness. Such indecision will
encourage further disorder, and will eventually necessitate measures more severe
than those which would have sufficed in the first instance."
- United States Marine Corps Small Wars Manual, (1940) page 27, paragraph (d)
Back in the days when US Marines were armed all the time, they served as escorts
on trains delivering supplies to remote outposts. These trains were often the
targets of bandits looking for an easy score. Standing orders for all Marines
so deployed directed that, in the event of an armed assault on the train, all
Marines will start firing immediately! It didn't matter what the odds, every
Marine fired, without delay. Bandits were thus put on notice that there would
never be an "easy score." Whatever happened, whatever the ultimate outcome,
bandit blood would be on the deck, without fail, before it was all over.
Not surprisingly, armed attacks dropped off dramatically and eventually stopped
altogether! A far cry from today's universal "surrender-at-the-drop-of-a-hat"
By Brian K. LaMaster:
For the most part, we would all like to believe that we will act or react in an
appropriate amount of time in a situation. Truth of the matter is, will you
really react the way you think you will?!
Many of us have heard that we are most likely to be confronted within twenty-one
feet. My understanding that one of the reasons this saying started was due to
the distances at which law enforcement encounters occur. Truth of the matter is
that we are most likely to be attacked within ten feet. If I am attacked by
someone who is twenty-one feet away, I believe that it is a good day for me!
The purpose of this article is to hopefully get you to understand just how much
time you do or do not have to react. Personally, I do not feel this has been put
into proper perspective by a lot of instructor's. This information is, in my
opinion, critical to your survival because you need to know how much time you do
or do not have to react in a situation and that your current firearms training
(if any) may not be enough to keep you alive in a situation.
Now, if you have been around for very long in the gun community you have
probably heard of the Tueller drill. This drill may also be somewhat responsible
for the saying of you are likely to be attacked within twenty-one feet. Okay, it
is safe to say based upon the Tueller drill findings that most people can cover
twenty-one feet of ground in about one and a half seconds to two seconds. And
that you can probably successfully react by drawing and shoot the attacker who
is twenty-one feet away and is advancing towards you. So, if you are ten feet
away from an attacker who is holding a knife, how much time do you have to react
to the threat if they make the first move? Well, first of all you must
understand the reaction time continuum. On the average, reaction times can vary
from .4 seconds to .8 seconds. This means you have very little time to perceive
their movement and react to it. Alright, you have about three- fourths of a
second to react to someone who is moving towards you at ten feet away. If your
reaction time is one half to three-fourths of a second, that leaves you with
little or no time to react!
More distance equals more reaction time. When you are close to an attacker and
you move laterally, how much more distance are you really creating? Not as much
as you might think! How much distance you create depends upon the method of
footwork you are using to move. If an attacker makes the first move and you are
able to react and you move laterally, more than likely you are not really
creating much distance away from the attacker in order to survive! In our
training and research we have experienced some not-so-good news.
First of all, our numbers are from our training exercises and are only being
presented for you to begin the process of researching things yourself. In our
research we used people who have not trained in drawing and firing their gun
from concealment. The purpose of this is because a large percentage of people
who have CCW or CHL permits do not train as often as they should. One of the
advantages our participants had was that they knew the other person was going to
move. We did our best at not trying to anticipate their movement. We conducted
each test several times to see if we got similar results. I will try to
summarize the results.
We started with the attacker at twenty-one feet away and the person who was the
defender was able to respond by drawing and firing shots at the attacker. This
was of no surprise to us. However, the defender still got cut and even knocked
down because they did not move off the line of attack. From there we started the
knife wielding attacker out at ten feet. The attacker made the first move and
within one second the attacker was on the victim and had cut him at least once.
After that, we had the defender move laterally by sidestepping. About one-half
second into the attacker's movement the defender started his lateral movement.
On the average, the defender was only able to cover about four feet of ground.
Moving laterally does not created distance away from the attacker fast enough in
order to survive especially when using the sidestepping method of footwork. In
some instances the defender drew their gun only after being cut multiple times
by the attacker. Now, when we placed someone who has trained extensively in
drawing and firing from concealment combined with unarmed combat tactics, we
found that one is more likely to have more positive results.
Starting at the ten foot mark while remaining still, the more experienced person
was able to successfully draw their gun and get at least one shot off. Again,
they experienced multiple cuts and were knocked down as a result of not moving.
When moving laterally the defender used cross-stepping method of footwork which
kept the defender ahead of the attacker and out of reach for the most part. The
defender was able to create about ten feet of ground before finally getting cut.
I might ad that for the most part the defender only received cuts on his free
side arm since he was drawing and shooting one handed! All of this happened in
just a little over one and one-half seconds and it took that long only because
the defender was able to create so much distance by cross-stepping.
Moving the threat even closer, we started the attacker at five feet out.
Needless to say, the inexperienced defender didn't have a chance to even go for
his gun. Not once did the defender get his gun out! You might want to read that
again. He didn't have a chance to move laterally either. At this close distance
you are pretty much toast if you think that you are going to get your gun out
and use it when the attacker makes the first move. So, after several attempts
failed by the rookie, we placed the experienced individual in the same
situation. Well, at times he was successful at getting the gun out of the
holster, but did not get to fire any shots. Again, he knew the attack was
coming. One of the things that gave him the advantage was the attacker's cues.
This is where knowing the attacker's rituals comes in handy. We never did tell
him that defender was picking up on them and what they were. However, everyone
does them! So, you had better learn them! The experienced defender really didn't
have any time to move laterally either without being cut several times.
One thing that a lot of people tend to forget is that you are most likely to be
attacked in low-light conditions. So, for that very reason we conducted several
exercises in the dark just after sunset when your eyes are adjusting to the
lighting conditions. Let me tell you that things change greatly and if you do
not train in these conditions, then you are fooling yourself that you have even
the slightest chance to survive. Not to mention, that you are probably not going
to be able to hit your target if you are able to draw and shoot.
Alright, as you can imagine, the results were not good. Keep in mind that the
participants were previously "focusing on drawing their gun." With that in mind,
we switched things up a little and told the experienced person to respond with
unarmed combatives first and then draw his gun if he was able. Even in the low
lighting conditions the experienced person in unarmed combatives was able to
successfully respond against the attacker who was holding a knife and was five
feet away. We found that you need to move first and react to the knife attack
with an unarmed move and then draw your gun if that is the thing to do. After
several exercises our results were more pleasing when responding with unarmed
combatives than going straight for your gun. Very few times did the defender get
cut where he may not have be able to draw and shoot, or remain in the fight. If
you are able to deliver a counter strike to the knife attack that slows the
attacker down even for one second, that will buy you more time to attempt to
draw your gun or create more distance in order to do so.
In short, responding with unarmed combatives will keep you in the fight longer
than by going straight for your gun. Going straight for your gun most of the
time is not going to be a wise idea. And, if you move laterally or other
directions with a step-n-drag method of footwork, you will not create enough
distance to survive!
There are directions of movement you can utilize that will take you away from
the danger allowing you more time to react, draw and fire. In addition, there
are other methods of footwork that will allow you to traverse ground much
quicker! We will discuss both of those topics at a later time.
When facing an attacker that has you at gunpoint at close distances, things
don't really look any better! In fact, at close distances you are simply going
to be exchanging bullets if you use the sidestepping method of footwork and two
handed shooting stances such as the Isosceles and Weaver. Exchanging bullets is
not a good idea in my book! In order to survive a situation where an attacker
has a gun drawn on you, you need to do one of two things. Become a small fast
moving target creating as much distance as you can. Or, move in on the attacker
past the muzzle of his gun and disarm him or draw your gun as you move in. And
of course, there are good and bad ways to do this. If you want some ideas of
good ways to do this, you might be interested in
Train hard, train often, and train realistically!
Brian K. LaMaster is a blackbelt in Kobudo and trains in firearms on a daily
basis. Brian is a certified NRA instructor and teaches Ohio CCW courses,
Advanced Pistol Fighting courses, and much more.
The Rules of Gunfighting
David E. Petzal
(Editor's Note: Normally, this
forum is dedicated to peaceful pursuits. However, SFC Frick speaks much wisdom.
I am giving him a meritorious promotion to Command Sergeant Major.)
Drill Sergeant Joe B.
Fricks Rules For A Gunfight
1. Forget about knives, bats and fists. Bring a gun. Preferably,
bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring four
times the ammunition you think you could ever need.
Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap - life is
expensive. If you shoot inside, buckshot is your friend. A new wall is cheap -
funerals are expensive
3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast
enough or using cover correctly.
5. Move away from your attacker and go to cover. Distance is your
friend. (Bulletproof cover and diagonal or lateral movement are preferred.)
6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a semi or
full-automatic long gun and a friend with a long gun.
7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance,
or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading,
and running. Yell "Fire!" Why "Fire"? Cops will come with the Fire Department,
sirens often scare off the bad guys, or at least cause then to lose
concentration and will.... and who is going to summon help if you yell
"Intruder," "Glock" or "Winchester?"
9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more
dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.
10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should
have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
Stretch the rules. Always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. Have a plan.
13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work. "No battle
plan ever survives 10 seconds past first contact with an enemy."
14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible, but remember,
sheetrock walls and the like stop nothing but your pulse when bullets tear
15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
16. Don't drop your guard.
17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees. Practice
reloading one-handed and off-hand shooting. That's how you live if hit in your
18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. Smiles, frowns and other facial
expressions don't (In God we trust. Everyone else keep your hands where I can
19. Decide NOW to always be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you
meet if necessary, because they may want to kill you.
22. Be courteous to everyone, overly friendly to no one.
23. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong
commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which
does not start with anything smaller than "4".
25. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an
Angel blows the powder from the flintlock of your musket." At a practice
session, throw you gun into the mud, then make sure it still works. You can
clean it later.
26. Practice shooting in the dark, with someone shouting at you, when
out of breath, etc.
27. Regardless of whether justified of not, you will feel sad about
killing another human being. It is better to be sad than to be room temperature.
28. The only thing you EVER say afterwards is, "He said he was going
to kill me. I believed him. I'm sorry, Officer, but I'm very upset now. I can't
say anything more. Please speak with my attorney."
Finally, Drill Sergeant
Frick's Rules For Un-armed Combat.
1. Never be unarmed."