Editor’s Note: The following is post is from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 15 Should I Shoot? Carrying a Gun Around the Home for Defense
- Ep. 16 Should I Shoot? Why You Need to Always Be in Condition Yellow
- Ep. 17 Should I Shoot? The War on Police Officers
- Ep. 18 Should I Shoot? Why A Gun-Mounted Light Isn’t Enough
- Ep. 19 Should I Shoot? Software Upgrade
The question of “should I shoot?” is almost 100 percent dependent on you having a gun with you if you should need one to save your life. I say almost because the gun you use might be one you took from the bad guy or acquired as a “battlefield pick up.” The first one requires some skill in disarming techniques, and the second might sound like it’s only going to happen in some foreign land on the field of battle but believe me, it can happen right here at home.
At this point, some of you might be saying, “I carry my (fill in the blank) every day, so I don’t need to know how to manipulate or shoot any other type of firearm.” Well, what if Murphy decides to crawl inside your EDC pistol and cause a catastrophic failure? Murphy is like that sometimes, and you end up having to use a friend’s gun, one you took from a bad guy or one you found on the deck in the middle of a rapid mass murder.
Can you make it run?
I just spent some time working with some pretty squared-away guys. The training block segment included familiarization with all kinds of guns that were later introduced into battlefield pick-up drills. It really drove home how important it is to have a basic understanding of as many different platforms as possible. Taking for granted one gun runs like another is like skydiving with someone else’s rig and not taking the time to learn how it functions. You might get lucky and figure it out in time, or you might end up with a feature written about you in the obituary section of your local paper.
I watched guys who aren’t familiar with handguns with external safeties squeezing the trigger so hard I thought it would fail. One guy actually broke the safety on an M&P. He was so stressed that when he finally figured out how to disengage it, he snapped it with his kung-fu grip.
Grip safeties were also a gremlin interfering with how some guns ran (or didn’t run.) Some guns have different types of magazine releases and it caused more than a few helmet fires while they tried to work it out. Revolvers are simple to run, but keeping them running and shooting accurately is a whole different skillset you won’t be learning under fire. All manners of problems were incurred when the long gun wasn’t an AR variant, and shotguns were another mystery for some.
If there is a weapons system out there you aren’t familiar with, I would bet you have a buddy who is. Better yet, get a bunch of your shooting buddies together and cover as many different guns as you can gather. Not only will it be informative and fun, you might even pick up a skill that could end up saving your life.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.