Friday, April 5, 2013

Always Have One In The Chamber...

I post a lot about how Concealed Carry can save lives. BUT... A gunfight is one of the most UNforgiving situations you can ever be in. A single tactical error, and you are dead as Dickens. This is why you can not get enough good training. Listen to those that have been in gunfights, or who gunfight for a living on how to survive a gunfight and how to make the correct tactical decisions.

Recently a CCW holder was killed during a Jewelry Store robbery. It was recorded. This is a graphic video. It shows a man being shot and killed. Don't watch it if you can't stomach it.

This man makes a couple of serious tactical errors.
  • He carries his automatic pistol without a round in the chamber. He must draw, rack a round, remove safe, acquire the target, then fire.
  • He does not make himself safe. He stands straight up, and only thinks about cover when he can't get his pistol working.
  • When his weapon malfunctions, he does not find cover and does not move. He stands right there, just as he would at the range, and attempts to clear the malfunction.
Those that have been in gunfights say that it is the most stressful situation they have ever been in. When the human body goes through the fight or flight response, fine motor movements are all but completely lost. The only way to retain fine motor skills in the most stressful of situations is by repetitive training. This guy seems to have done some good training with his draw. He draws smoothly and cleanly. What happens next is what kills him. He tries to work the slide. His motor skills are gone and he screws up the chambering. He screws up so badly that he causes a malfunction of the pistol. He never gets the gun into the fight. The reasoning behind not having a round in the chamber is a "safety" one. If you don't have a round in the chamber, you can't negligently discharge the pistol. You must first draw, rack, then fire. It is a way of being "extra" safe. In my opinion, this is a way to be extra dead. As a civilian, if you are drawing your gun, it means that you are in a situation where your life is in danger. In the video, the bad guys had their guns out and were looking for people to shoot. If you life is in imminent danger, microseconds count. Why waste them on racking the slide? To me, trigger discipline takes care of this issue. If my finger is not on the trigger, there is no danger of the gun going off. Thus, I can carry one in the chamber. Not having to rack the slide is one less thing I have to do in the most stressful situation I will ever experience. A malfunction of my pistol is the last thing I have to worry about with my first shot. I will also take this time to talk about his choice of carry pistol. He had a standard Double Action/Single Action automatic pistol. It has an external safety and an external hammer. I don't like these types of pistols as carry pieces.

Double Action/Single Action pistol.
The external safety and hammer are on the rear of the gun. After the safety is off there is a long trigger pull for the first shot as the hammer is cocked, the subsequent shots are a very short light trigger pull. I like the "tactical" style Double Action Only pistols. No external safeties, and no external hammer.

No external anything. Same trigger pull for each shot.

With the tactical pistol, there is nothing external to worry about. You just pull the trigger. Each trigger pull is the same weight, so there is consistency in your training, and in real life. Everything is the same all of the time.

For the same reason I keep a round in the chamber, I don't want to be using up time worrying about an external safety, I don't want to be thinking about adjusting aim points for a long trigger pull or cocking the gun if I want the same pull each time. I want to be worrying about aligning the sights on my target and getting safe!

Next, he stood up directly in the line of fire. Always get safe first! He had some benches that he finally took cover behind, but that should have been the first thing he did. Get safe, draw, acquire target, fire. Getting safe can mean simply getting to a position that is unexpected for the bad guys. Going to one knee is a good example of this. Your opponents are thinking about a standing target. You are immediately out of the line of fire and, while the bad guys attempt to adjust their aim points to you, you are shooting.

Finally, when his gun malfunctioned, he stood absolutely still and tried to clear the malfunction. One of the things you should be doing at the range is having someone else loading your magazines. They should be putting one or two dummy or expended rounds into the mag. This will help in a number of ways. It will diagnose flinching and other problems during the trigger pull, but it will also force you to clear the malfunction. When you clear your malfunction, you should be thinking about getting to cover. If your range allows it, when the malfunction occurs, go to one knee to clear it, or, better yet use an adjacent empty lane to quickly move in to, go to one knee and clear the malfunction. This will teach you to get safe before attempting to rack your slide. It will also put a little bit of stress on you so that you can work to control your adrenalin during your shooting.

This guy was trying to be safe. He was trying to help the others in the store. He made some mistakes and ended up paying for it with his life. If you carry a gun, you must train with it. You must not only practice shooting it, but you must also train to be tactically aware. When you walk into a store, look around you, and find the places where you can take cover. Run scenarios through your head to come up with tactical solutions. Think about how you could survive if a bad guy were to come in shooting. Then train so that your reactions are good no matter what the situtation.

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