PISTOL GUNFIGHTING Feed

It seems that lessons need to be continually relearned because either they were never learned in the first place, or they were quickly forgotten due to inconvenience. The topic is weapon lights...and pistol lights in particular. They look very dramatic on those custom handguns in photos. We need to ask why they are there, and secondly if they are an asset on every single weapon. To answer the unasked question about my perspective and authority, all but one of the dozen gunfights I was involved with were in reduced light. The first issue is that if you do add a light, you need to know how to use it. I am always concerned about drawing fire by using a light excessively or inappropriately. If there was no concern over such things, we would simply turn the light on and leave it on like they do on TV Cop shows. I expect that most guys that add a light to their pistol, rifle or shotgun, will do just this and then vociferously defend their tactics online. The problem is that all... Read more →


As we know after the first double action shot is fired, the remaining shots are fired in single action...that is with a cocked hammer. One may well call...and it has been done...one of these pistols a self cocking pistol. In any case, in the early days a great deal was made of decocking. Specially so by the early SIG Sauer trainers (salesmen masquerading as shooting instructors) whose main adversary in the market was Smith and Wesson with its slide mounted safety/decocking levers. The story that the decocking levers were so easy to miss, and then the weapon would rendered inoperative, coupled with Copper's "don't get caught with your dingus down" helped fuels the fire for the SIG-esque decocking levers. Down and up was the mantra...even with Smith & Wessons. But as market-driven instructors pushed decocking ASAP, the lore of the DA pistol became one of "decock as soon as possible after firing". I am against that notion and never adhered to it. Here is my mantra - "Do not be a premature decocker". I recall when I "ran the walls"... Read more →


Back in the 1980s the triggers on SIGs and Berettas and S&Ws were heavier than today...or maybe we are stronger today. I don't know. I came to the DA Semi Auto from the DA Revolver so the first shot was not a big deal to me. One rolled through the trigger in one continual and constant motion on the way out and the shot broke just as the last sight verification was made. But we did work on those DA triggers quite a bit both in dry work and in the gunsmith shop. I tracked down a relatively unknown 'smith named Steve Deladio who ran the Armory at Long Beach Uniforms. He tuned my S&W 686 to ridiculous smoothness and when I used the S&W 5906 I did the same. Steve gave it a fantastic double action pull that could be rolled through like the best revolvers. I never knew that the first shot was so "difficult", or that the transition from double action to single action was such a "problem" until I attended Gunsite and was told as much.... Read more →


Although the Glock (and its emulative systems) tend to be the dominant pistol in the market, I am aware that not everyone selects or prefers it. I recently had a consulting contract where the shooters were using the SIG P226 (don't ask). To prepare I brought out some old DAs I had in the safe and began working with them. Nothing had changed. My first police semi-auto was a SIG P-226 way back in 1988. I shot Distinguished Expert with it and carried it for years. Later when the 3rd generation S&W was selected by the agency I worked with, I used that. It was like a rough Beretta 92. I took that weapon to Gunsite in 1990 and not only shot the top score in the class but won the shoot off against an entire relay of LAPD SWAT with their 1911s and several LAPD HITS instructors with their 92Fs. One could say I know a few things about the trigger system. We will be examining the DA concept to answer the needs of those who use it, and... Read more →


Most students of personal combat today have some understanding of ground fighting and the mechanics of taking down an adversary. Its not a hard thing to learn, and anyone who has a little athletic ability and a partner to work some basic moves can develop some pretty serious skill sets in short order. Most shooters already have a disdain for physical combat of any sort, but bring up the notion of wrestling around on the ground with someone and you will probably be asked to leave. Ignorance is bliss and few people want their bliss upset. These blissful shooters may not like the idea of fighting on the ground, but ignoring the situation is as silly as pretending that knife assaults won’t happen either. Any gun guys who think they are so fast and alert that they can never be taken down to the ground, please send me an email. I have some Brazilian gents I’d like to introduce you to and I will bet you $1000 they will put you down before you can clear leather. I will begin... Read more →


I have little regard for tradition when it comes to winning a fight, or training to do so. Take traditional concealed carry. Much of the common held thought involves a strong side holster with off-side ammo pouches, carried on a heavy leather belt (or Nylon Tactical Belt) hidden under a photographer's vest. Such attire, while technically legal (the gun IS covered), is hiding nothing. Understand that there is definitely a tactical reason to hide the gun far and above the legal requirement to do so. The legal requirements are tactically uninteresting, we want to know the combat reasons why its important. Simply speaking, popular CCW attire marks you as gun carrier, and an adversary seeking to dominate an environment that you occupy will simply shoot you first. Consider a bank or other high profile location. Bad guys come in and look around. There, standing in the midst of a bunch of Gucci wearing latte swilling yuppies are you, bedecked in your Royal Robbins Tuxedo, Wilderness Black Tactical Belt, NRA Cap, and GSG9 boots, with that tell-tale Surefire lanyard dangling beneath... Read more →


The Beretta 92 burst onto the scene in the mid 1980s. It was the gun the 1911 crowd loved to hate. Cats and dogs were predicted to move in together when this was adopted by the US Military as the M9. The "crunchenticker", is what it was called by the Colt 45 devotees, and anyone that brought it to class was met with derision and ridicule by the staff at the prominent gun schools of the day. But nearly 30 years later it is still around. I prefer Glocks, and SIGs if working DA pistols, but a professional man-at-arms can do well with anything that is put in his hands. I never seriously carried the Beretta, but I bought one from the now defunct B&B sales in North Hollywood in direct preparation for a contract in Italy with Benelli.Along with learning Italian it seemed like the professional thing to do. I had carried a S&W 5906 for years so I was not unfamiliar with the system. I trained up with it and carried one just like it in 9x21 on... Read more →


There is something called "a fighter's understanding". The many variables, tempos, intervals of time and distance, and nuances of the fight can take a lifetime to understand fully. Those who have been involved in combative disciplines for a lifetime know all about these. But as a teacher, I have to spend time putting these understandings and these nuances into words so to pass along the knowledge. And as I was working with the Junior Staff on his epee work recently I found myself having to verbalize these, as Sir Richard Burton called them, "sentiments of the sword". The fencing school we attend has not come to terms with the differences of classical execution, and fighting, or in this case, competitive applications. The footwork is different, the parries are different and many of the methods of setting up the attack are different as well. I have seen it all before, in Karate, and in the world of the gun. To see this dynamic again, in a totally different world, makes me think that there is some sort of developmental gap that... Read more →


The hardest gap to traverse in the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) cycle is the stretch from D to A…or decision to action. There seems to be an innate second guess system built in that slows most people down. At a certain level, this is a good thing as it prevents over reaction. However, it is not that “second guess” matter that seems to retard the speed of our act. Rather it is the timing of the Decision, the selection of the correct action, and then the execution of that action. So we are looking at timing, choosing, and executing. Imagine this situation. A good guy sees the bad guy. He notices how he looks, his positioning in relation to everything, as well as his body language and anything that he is currently doing. The observation is inevitably tied to profiling. We almost do both simultaneously. So our good guy profiles him as a bad guy based on his appearance, demeanor, location, and all the other factors that are incoming as information. These two phases of observation and orientation (perhaps... Read more →


Undoubtedly an extremely controversial topic, we used to work it routinely. It involves the concept of shooting an adversary directly through an interior wall. As I recall, and this is back I think early 1990s...a SWAT guy was shot by a bad guy through the wall, which brought up the discusion. In police, and sadly I suspect in your world as well, a great deal of learning takes place once something bad happens. In any case...it was as if nobody had ever thought of that back then so of course, the experimentation was on. The hard part is that urban dwellings may as well be made of paper for all the protection they offer. In fact, if one was to look at it that way it would lead to clearer thinking with tactics. Some guys use that as an indictment of the "stack" tactic, but that is wrong in my opinion. the constraints of the interior environment do place certain limits on how one can move, and specially on how a team can move. Problem = How to keep a... Read more →