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. 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
- Ep. 20 Should I Shoot? Why You Must Learn to Use As Many Firearms As Possible
- Ep. 21 Should I Shoot? To Kill or Not To Kill A Dog
While chatting with the boys the other day, the topic of defending yourself from various attacks while at a handshake distance got us to break a mental sweat and then a real one.
Could you — or better yet should you — be attempting to draw your concealed weapon to engage a deadly threat armed with a knife, impact weapon, long gun or handgun while at reach-out-and-be-touched distance? Or should you be using empty-hand skills to make sure you don’t get slashed or bashed — create space if you can and then engage with accurate fire to defend yourself? Let’s just say the conversation went in different directions and moved to some hands-on to see what worked or didn’t.
We started with the assumption we would be armed in our preferred method of carry. A few were carrying appendix, some IWB behind the hip, a couple pocket and another using an ankle rig. All of us carry a pocketknife, either in the pocket or clipped to it, and one carries a small fixed blade (he’s got better than average knife skills and is probably the best prepared for the up-close and personal attack).
What we found using blue guns, training knives and clubs was something we already knew: Action beats reaction every time. None of us was fast enough to get our gun into the fight before we were slashed, stabbed or bashed. When we added in some simple counter measures combined with distraction and debilitating strikes (or going to the fixed knife), we were able to eventually get to our concealed gun and engage as necessary. Pocket carry and ankle carry were at a huge disadvantage — jamming your hand into your pocket is slow and having to crouch or kneel to get to the gun from the ankle puts you in a really bad position (and, by nature, all the extra movement is also slow.)
After twisting each other up and getting to our gun, we took our test one step further and went live fire (though, of course, not on each other). We got up close and personal with the target, worked on blocks and strikes on the pads, and then drew from concealment and shot on paper. When the heart rate is up, the fine motor skills are diminished, and what was normally a distance at which we could put every round in one hole all of a sudden became a lot more challenging.
Our test wasn’t scientific by any means, but it did turn on a few light bulbs for guys who had it in their mind that the “rock-and-lock” technique was going to solve the up-close problem. Regardless of where the gun is carried, you have to defend against the initial attack and not sustain a fatal wound before you can get to the gun and neutralize the threat.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You will fight as you have trained.” It’s not just words — it’s true. Train like your life and the lives of your family members depend on it, because they do.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visitwww.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.