I’ve watched about 5,000 gunfights at this point, and the patterns that emerge are pretty clear. Some thoughts you might want to consider that I don’t think that the training community really wants to hear:
1. Most gunfights aren’t entangled gunfights. Empty-handed skills are important, but very rare once the gun comes out. They’re necessary for LE more than CCW, by a long shot. For CCW, empty-handed skills are critical for the 80% of assaults that don’t rise to the level of deadly force response. So go to your martial arts training.
2. Reloads are almost vanishingly insignificant factors in gunfights. I have seen precisely 2 reloads in a real gunfight that weren’t on-duty LEO. And neither of those affected the outcome of the fight. I have seen about 7 or 8 where a higher capacity firearm or the presence of a reload might have affected the outcome. So 0.2% of what I have witnessed. Don’t spend much valuable class time teaching emergency and retention reloads…at least until your highest level classes where all the fundamentals are flawless. I like Tom Givens’ focus on the PROACTIVE reload once the fight is over. That has value in my opinion.
3. He who puts the first shot into meaty bits on the other guy, wins. Not 100%, but darn near, at least partially because of the FIBS Factor. Therefore, training a fast and reliable draw and first shot in the meaty bits is most important, in my opinion. It is THE critical skill to winning the gunfight. The best cover is fire superiority.
4. Follow-up shots are necessary. Seldom do gunfights END with that first shot, so keep at him until he decides he is done fighting. This is where multiple target acquisition is important, because it simulates a moving target to hit. (unless you have a fancy moving target that can move erratically, in which case you are high speed!)
5. People have a crazy tendency to use the gun one-handed, mostly because they have stuff in their support hand. Training people to drop what’s in their hands and get two hands on the gun is a necessary skill for #3 and 4.
6. You simply WILL NOT stand still while someone wants to kill you. Unless you’re counter-ambushing, when the gun comes out you will move. So training students to move with purpose while #3 and 4 are going on is also a critical skill. They’re going to do it, so teach them to use it.
7. Chasing deadly threats is another bad habit that I see all the time. Teach your students to shoot and scoot. Move AWAY from the threat.
8. Concealment ain’t cover, but it works identically in 99.9% of cases. People won’t shoot what they can’t see, so teach your students to get to concealment, and to shoot through it if their threat is behind it.
9. People love cover so much they give it a hug. Reliably. Like all the time. Teaching distance from cover/concealment is an important skill and one that is necessary.
10. Malfunctions happen. They just do. But unless you’re carrying a crap gun, they’re rare. In all my videos I have never seen someone clear a malfunction that needed a tap to the baseplate to get the gun back working again or whose mag fell out when the gun went click…rack and reassess is necessary though. In a couple of instances, a strip, rack, reload would have helped.
Just some random thoughts…I hope we have met your jimmy rustling needs for today.
John’s pretty spot-on here.
Point 5 I think is an interesting one. Something worth conditioning yourself for. But realize it’s not as simple as “drop what’s in your hands” (tho that is a good place to start). You have to consider what’s in your hands (e.g. a sack of groceries vs. an infant).
Corollary to that, if you have someone in your life that holds on to your hand, it’s worth conditioning them to drop your hand. It’s natural when frightened to want to grab, cling, and squeeze. It’s possible a small child holding your hand will continue to (how will you contend with this?). But your spouse ought to learn to drop your hand and move away.
Point 7 is another that may be worth having more training and condintioning. That is, to condition people to move away (perhaps to concealment/cover – Point 8). So many times you see people pursuing and closing in – it’s very natural (monkey-brain), so building in a conditioned response to get away is important.
Good stuff, John. Thank you for sharing.