If you carry a firearm on duty or as an armed, responsible citizen, have you considered what it would be like to engage a threat at contact distance? Maybe you’re thinking that you never allow anyone to get that close because you are always situationally aware and in control of every situation. If thats your line of thinking then you probably never do things like stand in line at a store, go to a movie, attend a meeting, sporting event or social function. All of these examples place others, often unknowns, within arms reach on a regular basis. The fact is you won’t get to choose when, where or how a violent spontaneous encounter happens, the bad guy does.
Watch this video, study it and consider your current level of training:
So what skills will you need to navigate a situation like this? Have you only shot your handgun at paper targets? Have you done any pressurized force-on-force training against a resisting, non-compliant partner or opponent who is actually trying to strike you or take your gun away?
1) What is your current fitness level? Watch the video again and note how long deputy Mitchell had to grapple with, run from, avoid and fight with his opponent; it was awhile. Do you have gas in the tank for that? Getting Back Into Shape
2) Have you trained and conducted live fire from a viable retention shooting position? Viable meaning you have tested it out with simmunitions or airsoft or marking cartridges or some type against someone trying to muzzle avert you or grab your gun and take it away.
3) Where is your support hand when shooting from the retention position? If your support hand is on or near the gun, why? For retention purposes? When the opponent knocks you out because neither of your hands is defending your head no retention position in the world will help you keep that gun. The support hand should be active, up and ready to protect the face, neck and jawline.
4) Is the muzzle flat along your side pointed directly at the opponent or angled downward at a fixed, known angle? As seen in the video above and as seen in pressurized force-on-force training the opponent will more often than not close space and attach to keep you in range for their strikes. A natural reaction is to extend the support hand, push danger away or block incoming blows. If your muzzle is flat, or at an unknown angle how will you know if your rounds are going to strike your opponent or yourself? The higher the muzzle of your gun travels the more chance of shooting your support hand during contact AND the higher the muzzle travels the more of your weight goes back on the heels enabling an aggressor with good forward momentum to knock you over and onto the ground.
5) What will you do if your muzzle is averted or your rounds have minimal effect on your opponent? Do you have standing grappling skills? Are you capable of retaining the handgun against realistic pressure of assault by an aggressive assailant?
6) What will you do if the handgun malfunctions? At extreme close quarters you may not have time or space to conduct immediate action, tap-rack. Do you have other physical defense skills or knowledge on how to utilize the malfunctioned handgun as an impact tool force option?
These are just a few things I thought about when I first watched this video. Training and practice shooting at paper targets and steel is fun but if you never test the skills and techniques you have learned against a resisting opponent, its all just theory. Just because something looks good and puts holes in the anatomical target zones of a paper target doesn’t mean it will work in real life. Train a skill, practice that skill and whenever possible, test that skill.
ECQ, Extreme Close Quarters, handgun, Handgun Retention, pistol, Retention Shooting