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Bringing the Fight Back to the Pistol: Part IV

Brian J. Stas / SWAT Digest

Mindset – No matter who you train with or how you train, take it seriously. When I train, I try to make it as real in my mind as I can. The targets are not paper. They are the bad guys. Never give up the fight. Weapons break, malfunction or just don’t work sometimes. If it happens to you, think about the task at hand and work through it. If you can’t fix it, use it to break the bad guy up. Remember, a pistol can be one hell of a blunt trauma instrument. The bottom line is never friggin quit! A survivor always starts after he hits his mental switch.

Skill – Without the skill to carry out the task, we may fail. To develop skill we must train. Rehearsal in the mind as well as through realistic training is key. We don’t just default to training. We default to the level of training we have mastered.

Tactics – Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Have plans to back up the other plans. You get the point. We should always have an option for when the poop lands on our plate. How are you going to move? Use your weapon? Use cover? Take that story you saw on the news or that survival story you heard of. Put yourself there in that same situation. What would you do? How prepared are you for it?

Gear – That cool looking pistols with lasers , lights and racing stripes is not going to do the work itself. I have wasted lots of money on gear that I could have used on more training. Don’t get me wrong. Gear is important, but make sure it is gear that only amplifies your level of mastery. Get gear because it works, not because it looked cool in the picture strapped to a ninja with explosions going off in the background. The more stuff we add to a weapon system, the more it can complicate our tactics or cause more malfunctions.


Drills in this course reinforced the above listed. They were realistic and achievable for all students regardless of prior skill level. All of us left with a humble, and confident feeling and rightfully so. In truly bringing the fight back to the pistol, we should be more intimate with it. By that, I mean that every time we pick up a pistol and look at it, it should be a reminder of how much training time we have put into it. It should be at home in our hands like an extension of ourselves.

I can’t write all of the things I would like to on this subject, as it would turn into a book. However, my goal was to get you to at least remind you to look into your pistol skill set as I did for myself. And don’t forget what a valuable tool your pistol is in the fight.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    im curious how academies score firarms training with hand so I can practice at the range before attend academy next spring can anyone help me.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Although I might be revealing my age a bit...I remember strapping on my first police pistol. It was a S&W .357. I felt like I had a cannon strapped to my leather gear and how stiff the new leather felt. It was also like a new car smell too, because everytime I pulled it out and or strapped on that Sam Brown, it had a unique whiff of leather. I will never forget it. I even thought it was a big thing when I transitioned from loading individual rounds to plastic aluminum re-loaders, able to refill the entire cylinder with one move and twist of the thumb with my non-gun hand. Then transitioned to two other police models, each one getting better. But for me, nothing beats that easily sighted .357 magnum for accuracy either in a close quarters fire fight or at the 25 yard mark.

  • Dogs_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Great article, thanks for the training. I'll have to remember about the weapon for blunt trauma. It may come to that.

  • Esu_patch_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Good article, you know when the crap hits the fan that wizzo stuff will probably have a dead battery. Most here will probably agree that we all want to play with the big toys and the pistol becomes the red headed step child. I do find it curious that the guy writes for SWAT digest but wasnt a SWAT guy in the NYPD. Guess it doesnt really make a difference,,

  • Photo_00002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My experience supports the idea that add-on gadgets and gizmos tend to malfunction when you need them the most. A mounted flashlight is always a good idea. Maybe a scope on a quick-detach mount for longer-range Military/Swat type situations. Anything else I''m very leary of. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" LTC Tom Nugent

  • P1010058_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I was sent to a house to check on it and clear the area because an alarm was going off. i grabbed my AR with my new lazer and magnigied sites on it and started clearing. Before i got finished witht eh clearing, my Lazer and magnified sites were loose and wobbly. I thought to myself that all this cool looking gagdet stuff is worthless. I took it off and have never put it on.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I was always looked at funny when i showed up for Qualification in my Duty gear, everyone else showed up in what ever felt comfortable... the problem is, you are not going to get to fight in comfortable cloth's, it will be hot, heavy, uncomfortable and tired when that situation arrives... there is no time out, there is no do-over... stop training like it is a day at the beach and train like you will be fighting.

  • Belgian-malinois-picture_max50


    over 4 years ago


    awesome article..very important to constantly train.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Thank you for sharing it.

  • Orlandoflorida140-1_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Its i so true that our gear should only be used to amplify our performance. So many times it can be turned into a crutch instead of an enhancement and that is a scary thought. Great Article Brian!

  • Scan0004_max50


    about 7 years ago


    I have not heard those terms and skills in a long time to long. Being a desk jokey is better money. But it's true what they say, Use it or loose it.

  • Scan0004_max50


    about 7 years ago


    I have not heard those terms and skills in a long time to long. Being a desk jokey is better money. But it's true what they say, Use it or loose it.

  • Fmf_badge_max50


    over 7 years ago


    Very good article. Reminds me, I need to get out and work with my pistol some more, before I need to use it on one of my expedtions into the back country.

  • Dcheadshot_max50


    over 7 years ago


    Great article, a lot of good advice that should be taken seriously.

  • Dscn3582_max50


    over 7 years ago


    Great article! We all have a bad tendency to get caught up in the "tactical gadget" trap. Maintaining a solid foundation of weapons and hand to hand skills is of the utmost importance and all to easy to over look after we have been on the job for awhile. Thanks for the reminder!

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