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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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