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Bringing the Fight Back to the Pistol

Bringing the Fight Back to the Pistol

One on one instruction was also available. Here my instructor “Yeager” and I experiment with different stress fire techniques.

Brian J. Stas / SWAT Digest

I had no idea it could get so hot in Maine. It has to be near 100 degrees. The sun is beating down hard on my salty back and red neck as I stare at my target. I’m rubbing my blistered finger tips together listening to the monkeys in my head. My back is sore as hell and I can feel blood dripping down my arms from my swollen elbows. I’m really glad I could be here. The sweat is getting into my eyes and starting to burn. I need to rub…FIGHT!!! One word silences the monkeys and their chatter.

I’m aware of nothing now, except that my pistol is punched out in front of my face. The large front sight jumping up and down as my pistol breathes. I stop shooting as my four rounds have made their exit. I snap my pistol close to me like a baby that needs nurturing, SUL position, as I turn like a tank turret looking for more business. As I turn, I can see some of the other students working smoothly with their pistols. Crisp, precise movements, all with warrior faces., I wonder what they see as they engage their targets?

I complete my full spin and perform a tactical re- load. My pistol slips back in its holster. “Don’t look at it, feel it,” I warn myself.. I look at my target and see the tight holes staring back at me right where they should be. “I could have done that faster, but it felt smooth.” I silently critique myself. I’m doing a lot better then I thought, considering how long it’s been. Before I can start to beat myself up again for waiting so long to do some pistol work, the word barks “FIGHT!!!” Man, am I glad to be here.

I need to step back and explain why I’m writing this. I’m not proud to admit I let my pistol skills drop off. The last year or so I’ve been concentrating on my long guns skills. This is just one of my many excuses for not training like I should, as I’m sure many of you have.

For many years Law Enforcement officers were shunned from long guns. It was rare to even see a shotgun in the arena. Forget about a carbine. They were too scary for the public to see us with them. It seemed only SWAT had them to avail, but that has changed a bit these days. Thankfully long guns are now getting to be mainstream in our forces. Now we have the big guns for when it hits the fan. Now more then ever, long guns are needed to protect the home- land from terror, as well as our bad guy competitors.

At an army base this past summer, I was an observer on a joint SWAT training operation. SWAT units from three different jurisdictions were represented. During the training, I witnessed very impressive sub-gun and carbine work. However, I noticed when pistols came into action, shot patterns went to the galaxy. After a stern debrief to his teams, the team leader remarked, “Our pistol skills suck, we need to get more dynamic live fire drills with them, not just static transition drills.” We had a short discussion about the matter. The Lt. advised me that the teams have been spending a lot of time training with long guns. Long gun overconfidence has caused a bit of a push away from the importance of strong pistol skill set. I admit, I’m guilty. Lets get back to the basics. Pistols are still a respected tool. I should let you look into a bit of my history with the pistol. You may find some similarities.

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  • Christmas_picture_1_max50

    diderr

    over 3 years ago

    66 Comments

    I had to laugh a little at the picture o the guy with a boxing glove on. The best way to simulate increased stress levels is to run. When I was training with SRT we didn't walked. Always run to check targets. Run to the 100 yard target, run back, and shoot your group. Shooting a good group is a lot more difficult with a racing heart rate and a heavy breath.

  • Photo_00002_max50

    Recondo99

    over 3 years ago

    2670 Comments

    The mental and attitudinal aspects cannot be underestimated. Sounds like a great training course. LTC Tom Nugent

  • Clone_trooper_max50

    lkdavis71

    about 4 years ago

    1066 Comments

    True, we must train as if it is real. Train as if you were actually in a fight to be ready when it happens to you.

  • Sany0471_max50

    J_D

    about 4 years ago

    60 Comments

    Good article. I was just at the location in that picture last weekend. The additional training was for Maine's Law Enforcement Pre-service class. I am a CRJ student and CFP holder. I was glad to go over some of the basics with knowledgeable instructors. I learned a few new tricks. Good stuff.... FIGHT!!

  • Img_1086_max50

    gswint

    about 4 years ago

    210 Comments

    You fight how you train. Pretty good article. Switching handds is a good way to practice if done properly, and at the right time. Another aspect that gets overlooked is shooting drills with your off hand. We even started training to draw with the off hand less our strong hand be disabled. We may not all agree on everything, but no suggestions should be turned down. And one thing evereyone must agree on, no matter what the trainig, is Practice, Practice Practice!
    Good luck to all!!---------- "Cry in the dojo, so you can laugh on the battle field"---- Dont know who wrote that, but I stole it.

  • My_kawi_zx6r_jan_2012_-_copy_max50

    leodavism

    about 4 years ago

    30 Comments

    So, I get hit in the kidney's and I'm supposed to instanty react to my training and change hands for my gun as if my primary gun hand is disabled? That's dumb.

  • Csi_squirrle_max600_1__max50

    mmmm

    about 4 years ago

    550 Comments

    You want to experience getting hit get in the ring. I've got over twenty-five years martial arts training. I've experienced being hit a time or two. You want me to accept that allowing somone to punch me while shooting and not react to the threat as a good idea you have a long way to go. You want to simulate being shot, OK break out simunitions. Still I would not change hands just because I was hit. I would only go to my weak hand if my strong hand was disabled. Winning at all costs means not putting things in your training that can get you killed on the street. This could.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    about 4 years ago

    8966 Comments

    mmmm ; The only way to experience being hit "IS TO GET HIT" and you then create a reactionary reflex to change hands with instantaneous "REACTION WITHOUT THINKING" . That is the reason for Basic Training in the Service , to react instantaneously without any thinking because it is "Practiced Reaction in Real World Training". just my opinion based on the Drill Instructors Credo for "WINNING AT ALL COSTS". Attitude and Dedication leads to success , Winning is derived from this philosophy , Second Place in a gun fight gets planted.

  • Csi_squirrle_max600_1__max50

    mmmm

    about 4 years ago

    550 Comments

    ilegworldchamp: That may be the theory but if it's me I know somone is there punching me. If you want to simulate being hit shood me with paintballs, but make sure I'm shooting paintballs because you will be rained on. This is a poor idea. If I am hit in the back I will address that threat as well as the one in front of me. What they are really training is to ignore an immediate threat. If I am hit I will only go to my weak hand if my strong arm is disabled. A bad idea IMHO

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    sfs_operator

    about 4 years ago

    50 Comments

    Practice practice practice regardless of the caliber you carry

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Beauray1

    about 4 years ago

    88 Comments

    This article is on the mark, our sidearm is always with us. Train like it is the real thing, for some day it very well maybe.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    about 4 years ago

    8966 Comments

    The principal behind the boxing glove is when "YOU ARE HIT TO CHANGE HANDS AS IF YOU WERE HIT BY A BULLET IN YOUR STRONG HAND". They did it that way when I went through the Academy at Worcester Police Department back in 1981. Train to win and survive regardless of distractions !

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    about 4 years ago

    23370 Comments

    I must agree with mmmm. If I am concentrating on shooting and someone strikes me wearing a boxing glove most likely that person will require some medical attention to have the glove removed from the area where the sun don't shine.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Im sure he is talking about the SWAT training on Ft. McCoy, WI....a mobilization site for Iraq/Afghan deployments

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    about 4 years ago

    11322 Comments

    IMHO, the most important point is to train hard and well with your primary weapon, which in most cases will be your sidearm. A great all-around article, too !!!

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