THE C.A.R. SYSTEM OF GUNFIGHTING
Q. What is it?
A. It is a gun fighting technique, not a range application.
- It is a strong, stable, and flexible platform for action.
- It allows quick target acquisition and rapid fire bursts of 4 shots to COM in under 1 second with standard pistols.
- It can be used effectively in small spaces and vehicles.
- It is applicable to team assault situations.
- It provides maximum weapon retention, and also serves as a practical and effective base for contact fighting.
The Center Axis Relock Method of Gunfighting utilizes two main positions or stances as bases for action.
THE HIGH POSITION
The first position is called the High position. It is used for working within confined spaces, from cover, and while moving.
It is a very strong and flexible base for using both short and long weapons such as a handgun, baton, O.C. Spray, shotgun, sub-machine gun, and other weapons.
In the High position, the operator is in a semi-bladed stance, with the weapon held or cradled next to the chest.
The position is achieved by blading towards the threat while also drawing and bringing the gun up to the chest. When the gun is drawn, it
should be directed to the threat for firing if needed. Also, as the gun is being brought up, the other hand should be moving to grasp and
This base position reduces the Operator's silhouette, employs a balanced and stable, yet flexible body stance, and works in harmony with gross muscle movements, gross motor skills, and our natural reactions to extreme stress, one of which, is to bring the arms and hands back to the body, not away from it.
The stance with elbows extended, makes up a natural cradle from which the gun can be fired with both hands or with just the gun hand.
Its framework sets up a circle of control and defense that makes it very difficult for an Aggressor to grab or take possession of the
Operators handgun, Baton, or O.C. Spray. That is true regardless of the Operator's shape, size, or gender.
The circle of control and defense is maintained by rotating towards a threat. In a contact situation, strikes with the elbows and the gun
can be made, or the gun can be fired.
The position is comfortable, relaxed, does not pinch or restrict the Operator's breathing, can be used with full combat gear, and it can be
maintained easily for extended periods of time.
Fine motor skills are not utilized or relied on, as they, along with the ability to focus clearly, will be lost to most Operators in a close
quarters life and death crisis situation. That is due to the increase in the heart rate, and the activation of the instinctive Fight or Flight response, both of which happen in such situations.
The stability and ease of movement gained by using a bladed stance, along with keeping the gun at the operator's natural focal point, allows for fast acquisition of multiple targets.
Also, the weak hand is up and ready for use in opening doors,clearing the way, and other tasks.
The thumbs can be placed anywhere, as long as their placement does not interfere with the workings of the gun.
THE EXTENDED POSITION
The second CAR position is called the Extended position. It is used for entry, combat, and assault. It also can be used effectively when
seated inside a vehicle.
The Extended position or stance, allows for high levels of accuracy, as well as very rapid shooting while moving.
The gun is held naturally and close to the Operators true focus point (normal reading distance).
That is an enhancement over stances that employ full arm extension, as doing that takes the sights out of the Operator's natural focus point.
And even more so if the Operator has glasses.
With the CAR system, recoil is reduced greatly. This reduction is achieved through the use of either of two main stances, and by "locking" the muscles and bones of the arms which is accomplished by slightly canting the gun hand.
The canting movement, though slight, greatly enhances stability by changing the alignment and relationship of the muscles and bones in the gun hand arm.
That locking action happens naturally and automatically when we fully extended our arms. At full extension, the wrists and lower arms
automatically rotate slightly inward.
If the wrists are purposely rotated upward, as with the isosceles and weaver, the arms lose the natural stability and control that results from the canting movement. Also, when the arms are held out straight, they form long levers with the shoulder joints being their fulcrum points. As such, they can be pushed up easily by the upward action of recoil forces, and take the gun off target.
With the use of either the High or Extended CAR positions, the length of the "arm bars" are reduced by half. Also, stability is improved
when the arms are held closer to the body. And when the gun hand wrist is canted some, the bones and muscles in that arm will be naturally
and effectively locked and stabilized.
The result will be a great reduction in recoil effects, and a reduction in target reacquisition time.
Also, as the gun is brought up to the Extended position, the gun hand elbow will automatically and mechanically swing out and up, which will
further enhance control and stability.
Reloading, and malfunction clearances should be done close to the body with short movements for enhanced speed, control, and stability.
COMBAT RELOAD STEPS
- The Combat Reload is usual made when the gun is empty.
- Using the thumb and index finger, withdraw a magazine with the bullet heads facing the front.
- The index finger should be along the side of magazine with its tip at the top end of the magazine.
- Use the index finger to guide the magazine to the gun hand.
- Lower the gun hand elbow (not the gun), to rotate the grip bottom towards the other hand.
- When the charged magazine is ready for insertion, operate the magazine release and flick the wrist out and back if needed to eject the empty magazine.
- Use the index finger to guide the charged magazine into the hole in the grip, and press it home with the palm of the hand.
TACTICAL RELOAD STEPS
- It is usual made when gun is not empty.
- Withdraw a charged magazine and hold it between the index and middle fingers like a cigarette.
- As that hand nears the gun, drop the gun hand elbow.
- As the hand with the charged magazine reaches the gun, activate the magazine release.
- Withdraw the partially used magazine with the thumb and index finger.
- Insert the charged magazine and press it home in one flowing movement.
- The partially charged (old), magazine which be top heavy from the remaining bullets at its top, will fall sideways into the palm of the hand.
- Secure it.
As with most things, practice will improve performance and allow the Operator to minimize off target time.
THE C.A.R. SYSTEM LEARNING CURVE
The C.A.R. system learning curve is very short. There is immediate improvement in weapon retention, a great reduction in recoil, and
Operators find that they can make multiple COM hits on targets while on the move and shooting very rapidly.
In a recent session for 30 FBI Violent Crimes task force Agents and Officers, 4 rounds of 00 from a shotgun were placed onto 2 targets set 10 feet apart in under 1 second.
In January 2002, in a basic class in King County, WA, every student put four rounds on center of target in under 1 sec. Many put five rounds on target in under one-second using standard Glock 40 pistols.
Q. Why is there a need for this or systems similar to it at this time?
A. Police casualty rates have not gone down in ten years.
A. Over 90% of handgun confrontations occur under 7 yards.
A. CQB shooting accuracy is under 20%.
In short, tradition shooting methods which utilize the weaver or the isosceles stances, are not getting the job done.
Here is what "GF" Fmr. SEAL 'Team 3 point/Sniper' said about the system: "The C.A.R. system is the first training system I have experienced that has truly been designed around the idea the
Operators must train for Gun Fights. Unlike conventional systems that have evolved into training Operators to address paper targets, from a static line position."
"Paul Castle has recognized what all true Operators know in their heart's to be true. The systems we have been taught (isosceles and
weaver), are fairly effective in a range environment, but, have been proven IN BLOOD to be wholly ineffective in real gunfights."
Paul Castle, the developer of the C.A.R. system, has had a distinguished career in Law Enforcement and training in Europe and America. His resume is both impressive and lengthy. More information on Paul, and the C.A.R. system is available on his web site.
The C.A.R. system was developed over several years in response to, and as a means of dealing positively with the realities faced by Operators
The information presented here, is just a brief intro to the basics of his system. The Course material is extensive, thorough, and includes
instruction and action video tapes.
There are several core skill modules or components which are in turn supported by 20 additional programs designed for specialized areas, such as Counter Drug, Counter Terrorism, Bio Hazard Environments, and Active - Shooter scenarios.
The URL is: http://www.sabretactical.com.
The following statement is from Paul's course materials and sums up what he is about "All I am trying to do is keep Operators from dying in the field, and help reduce the number of possibly unnecessary shootings that occur each year." It is also the main reason for my presenting it.
This material was developed by going over the basic course materials with a fine tooth comb, and spending many hours reviewing the video
tapes that put one right on the training field with the Officers taking the course. The tapes are both interesting and exciting. The shotgun
sequence in particular, though brief, is very dramatic.
Lastly, here is part of one e-mail I received in response to sending out the above info on the C.A.R. system to Police Agencies on the web.
"...I appreciate your forwarding the information on the C.A.R. system to me. By chance Paul and I have traveled the US teaching together.
I have worked closely with him since 1997 and have helped integrate the system into our State's academy as well at many individual departments. The C.A.R. system is sound, and currently used by line Officers and SWAT teams in our state....
Myself and my team of SWAT Officers have used this system since 1997 and it has proven to be the most effective system we have ever seen...."
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