How To Shoot More Effectively In CQB Situations
In the years 1998 thru 2007, per FBI data, 549 Officers were feloniously killed.
57 Officers were slain in 2007. 55 with firearms (of which 38 were handguns), and 27 were slain when they were 0-5 feet from the offenders.
59,207 Officers were assaulted in 2007, and 15,451 of them sustained injuries.
I don't believe those casualty figures are OK, or that the long standing and abysmal Police hit rate of less than 20% in Close Quarters armed encounters is OK. And unfortunately, you can count on them to continue in the future, as most Police are not trained in how to shoot effectively in CQB situations where there is the greatest danger of them being shot or killed.
THEY ARE TRAINED IN SIGHT SHOOTING WHICH CAN'T BE USED IN CQB FOR REASONS WELL KNOWN BY TRAINERS AND THOSE IN CHARGE.
If that seems to be a bit bizarre to you, given the casualty numbers and the hit rate, it does to me to.
On a positive note, there has been a recent trend towards the use of Threat Focused Shooting or Target Focus Shooting (TFS), in CQ shooting situations.
TFS closely mirrors the CQ techniques developed and proved by Fairbairn and Sykes in Shanghai prior to WW II, and by Applegate during WW II. They greatly improved the effectiveness of CQ shooting over that of traditional Sight Shooting, which was ineffective even then.
TFS makes accurate aiming a mostly mechanical process via the use of body indexing, and simple tasks which can be done in very high stress situations. It is quick and easy to learn and retain. (Read that as cheap to teach and learn.) Both the Calif. HP and the Mass. SP provide training in TFS techniques.
TFS is compatible with the things that frustrate the use of Sight Shooting in CQ gunfights such as a crush grip, binocular vision, loss of near vision, focusing on the threat and not on the sights, etc.. That is very important in terms of Officer survival, as according to the stats, if you are going to be shot in a gunfight, there is a 90% chance that it will happen at less than 15 feet.
In short, TFS is reality based.
In a close quarters life threat situation, you will have a crush grip on your pistol which will render your index finger useless for doing anything but pulling the trigger hard. Gone will be your ability to manipulate the trigger, or to smoothly squeeze it deftly to the rear.
And you can expect your bullets to miss low and left, as the gun muzzle will be torqued down and around to the left due to the grip pressure applied by your middle, ring and little fingers.
If you shove the gun out at the threat, as is a natural thing to do, when your arm reaches full extension, your hand will dive down some because of the physical makeup of your arm and hand, and so too will the muzzle of your gun.
And you can forget about using the sights given the distances involved in most life threat situations. There will be no time to align them, even if you could make them out in the poor lighting which is a normal condition of such situations. Also, your near vision will be lost as a result of the activation of our instinctive Flight or Flight response which happens automatically in CQ life threat situations.
Now, with all that happening, plus having a threat who is fast approaching with your murder on his/her mind, its a wonder that anyone hits anything in a gunfight. And that is the case given traditional training in Sight Shooting.
If Officer's knew how to shoot more effectively, Police casualty rates would go down. Also, in situations involving multiple threats, the chance of an Officer being killed increases significantly. And that adds emphasis to the need for a practical and effective shooting method for use at CQ.
The NRA recognizes that Sight Shooting is not practical for use in CQ life threat situations because of the things mentioned above that frustrate its use. The NRA supports using Point Shooting.
In its Guide To The Basics Of Personal Protection In The Home which was published in 2000, the following statement is of particular interest: "...the ability to keep all shots on a standard 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch sheet of paper at seven yards, hitting in the center of exposed mass, is sufficient for most defensive purposes."
Threat Focused Shooting or TFS, attempts to emulate our natural ability to point at things fast, automatically, and accurately using our index finger.
With TFS, the pistol serves as the index finger. And body indexing and the use of simple tasks, which can be done in very high stress situations, are used to orient, index, and aim the pistol.
Basically, it uses the arm as a rifle with the gun at its front. The arm is held down in front with the pistol on your centerline. Your grip is strong and your wrist and elbow are locked.
To shoot, raise the arm from the shoulder, and when the target is intersected, the whole hand is used to pull the trigger.
Once that basic method is learned, other and alternate techniques can be employed, but they require more to much more training for them to be able to be used effectively.
TFS which dates back some 60 years and to much earlier times, WORKS.
It is reality based, and was used for a time at the FBI's training site, and then discarded. And not because of a change in job requirements, but because of a change in personnel.
That left a void which gave rise to the Modern Technique and competition-based target pistol shooting, which was soon equated with and called combat handgun shooting. It served as the basis for the vast majority of U.S. Law Enforcement Agency training programs for well over thirty years, and the resultant, well known, and dismal hit rate of less than 20% of shots fired.
THE DETAILS ON TFS:
Below are several text selections and pictures obtained via the U.S. Marine Corps Publications of the two main works on TFS: Shooting To Live by Fairbairn and Sykes, and Kill or Get Killed by Rex Applegate.
The text and pictures address the points made above, and in considerable detail.
The book Shooting To Live was written in 1942 by Captain William E. Fairbairn and Captain Eric Anthony Sykes, both of the Shanghai Municipal Police department.
It was re-published in 1990 by the U.S. Marine Corps as Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP)12-81, Shooting To Live. The FMFRP was publicly available in pdf format on the U.S. Marine Corps web site, from which it was acquired.
(p 1) By "Pistol" is meant any one-hand gun....Excluding dueling..., there seem to remain two primary and quite distinct uses for the pistol. The first of those uses is for target shooting (i.e. deliberate shooting with a view to getting all shots in the ten-ring on a stationary target). Its second use is as a weapon of combat.
This book is concerned solely with the latter aspect, but it must not be inferred on that account that we in any way decry the sport of target shooting, On the contrary, we admire the high degree of skill for which it calls and which we personally cannot emulate.
We recognize the great amount of patient practice necessary to attain such skill, and we can see that in suitable circumstances the inclusion of a target pistol in the camper's equipment would not only be a source of pleasure but might be useful as well. Target shooting has its place and we have no quarrel with it.
There probably will be a quarrel, however when we go on to say that beyond helping to teach care in the handling of fire-arms, target shooting is of no value whatever in learning the use of the pistol as a weapon of combat. The two things are as different from each other as chalk from cheese, and what has been learned from target shooting is best unlearned if proficiency is desired in the use of the pistol under actual fighting conditions.
These views are the outcome of many years of carefully recorded experience with the Police Force of a semi-Oriental city in which, by reason of local conditions that are unusual and in some respects unique, armed crime flourishes to a degree that we think must be unequaled anywhere else in the world. That experience includes not only armed encounters but the responsibility for instructing large numbers of police in those methods of pistol shooting which have been thought best calculated to bring results in the many shooting affrays in which they are called upon to take part.
There are many who will regard our views as rank heresy, or worse. We shall be content for the present, however, if in the light of the preceding paragraph we may be conceded at least a title to those views, and we shall hope to fortify the title subsequently by statistics of actual results of shooting affrays over a number of years.
At this point it would be advisable to examine very carefully the conditions under which we may expect the pistol to be used, regarding it only us a combat weapon. Personal experience will tend perhaps to make us regard these conditions primarily from the policeman's point of view, but a great many of them must apply equally, we think, to military, and other requirements in circumstances which preclude the use of a better weapon than the pistol -- that is to say, when it is impracticable to use a shot-gun, rifle, or sub-machine gun.
In the great majority of shooting affrays the distance at which firing takes place is not more than four yards. Very frequently it is considerably less. Often the only warning of what is about to to take place is a suspicious movement of an opponent's hand. Again, your opponent is quite likely to be on the move. It may happen, too, that you have been running in order to overtake him. If you have had reason to believe that shooting is likely, you will be keyed-up to the highest pitch and will be grasping your pistol with almost convulsive force. If you have to fire, your instinct will be to do so as quickly as possible, and you will probably do it with a bent arm, and possibly even from the level of the hip. The whole affair may take place in bad light or none at all....
(p5) ...the necessity for speed is vital and can never be sufficiently emphasized. The average shooting affray is a matter of split seconds. If you take much longer than a third of a second to fire your first shot, you will not be the one to tell the newspapers about it. It is literally a matter of the quick and the dead. Take your choice."
Instinctive aiming...is an entirely logical consequence of the extreme speed to which we attach so much importance. That is so for the simple reason that there is no time for many of the customary aids to accuracy. If reliance on those aids has become habitual, so much the worse for you if you are shooting to live. There is no time, for instance, to put your self into some special stance or to align the sights of the pistol, and any attempt to do so places you at the mercy of a quicker opponent. In any case, the sights would be of little use if the light were bad, and none at all if it were dark, as might easily happen. Would it not be wiser, therefore, to face facts squarely and set to work to find out how best to develop instinctive aiming to the point of getting results under combat conditions ?
It can be done and it is not so very difficult.
Everyone is familiar with the fact that he can point his forefinger accurately at an object at which he happens to be looking. It is just as easy, more-over, to do so without raising the hand so high as the level of the. That he can do so may be coordination of eye and hand or just plain instinct, call it what you will.
Please try this little experiment while sitting at your desk. Imagine that you am holding a pistol in your right hand. Sitting squarely and keeping both eyes open, raise your hand from the level of the desk, but not so high as the level of your eyes, and with a straight arm point your extended forefinger at a mark directly in front of you on the opposite wall. Observe carefully now what has taken place.
Your forefinger, as intended, will be pointing to the mark which you are facing squarely, and the back of your hand will be vertical, as it would be if it actually held a pistol. You will observe also that you have brought your arm across you until your hand is approximately in alignment with the vertical centre-line of your body and that, under the directing impulse of the master-eye, your hand will be bent from the wrist towards the right.
The elements of that little experiment form the basis of the training system which is elaborated in succeeding chapters. We cannot claim that the system produces nail-driving marksmanship, but that is not what we look for. We want the ability to hit with extreme speed man-sized targets at very short ranges under the difficult circumstances which have been outlined already. Nail-driving marksman-ship will not cope with such situations.
(p7) The records of the particular police force of the semi-Oriental city referred to earlier, show that the force consistently trained in the methods or this book, has to its credit in twelve and a half years no less than 666 armed encounters with criminals. The following table, referring only to encounters in which pistols were used by the police, gives the results:
Police. Criminals. Killed. . . . 42 260 Wounded . . . 100 103
(p 10) [This is a FYI note regarding their choice of a pistol and carry condition:] Let us consider first the case of the detective or plain-clothes man. Here the weapon must be carried concealed and the wearer must be prepared for the quickest of quick draws and an instantaneous first shot, most probably at very close quarters. For that purpose, our own choice would be a cut-down revolver of heavy calibre....
The weapon shown in the illustration started life as a .45 Colt New Service double-action revolver with a 5-inch barrel length reduced to 2 inches, the front part of the trigger-guard has been removed, and grooves have been cut on the left side of the butt for the middle, third and little fingers.
[This idea is attributed to Mr J. H. Fitzgerald of the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing company.]
[To prevent confusion when using the Colt 45., they pinned down the safety-catch on the left-hand side of the pistol in the "unsafe" or firing position.]
(p 18) ...the pistol, when carried on service, should have a charged magazine inserted but that it should never be carried with round in the breach. [It is possible to draw, load and fire by this method with extreme speed, and it eliminates the fumbling and uncertainty inherent in the use of the safety-catch.]
(p 19) (a) On taking the pistol in hand, we recommend, as an aid to accurate pointing, that the thumb be fully extended and pointing forward in the same plane as the pistol barrel.
(b) Stand square with the target, gripping the pistol now as if it weighed twenty or thirty pounds, pistol arm straight, rigid and across the body. Bend the hand slightly to the right, to bring the pistol exactly in line with the vertical centre-line of the body.
(c) Raise the pistol (pistol arm still rigidly straight and pivoting from the shoulder), keeping it exactly in line with the vertical centre-line of the body until it covers the aiming mark on the target.
Both eyes are to be kept open and the recruit simply sees the target surrounding his pistol, making no attempt to look at or line up the sights, or to let the master-eye control the aim.
(d) Immediately the aiming mark is covered, pull the trigger and lower the pistol to the position shown in Fig 3 (the "ready" position).
Paragraphs (b) and (c) in conjunction with Fig. 4 reveal a deliberated attempt to eliminate conscious control by the master eye. Instead the aim is controlled by the combination of the square stance and the manner of holding the pistol, i.e. in the centre of the body, with the hand bent over to the right, elements which were employed unconsciously in the experiment on page 6. The mastery of this combination is all that is required for effective aiming at short range, a point which will emerge more clearly, perhaps, in the next chapter in discussing shooting with the pistol held well below the line of sight.
Trembling due to the firm grip will not cause a wild shot.
The trigger must be released, not by violent pressure of the forefinger alone but by increasing pressure of the whole hand. The combination of the very firm grip and the pressure of the fully-extended thumb are of great assistance in the proper release of the trigger.
The firm grip helps also in two other ways. It ensures smoother action in raising the pistol from the "ready" (Fig. 3) to the firing position (Fig. 4) and it counteracts the tendency to raise the pistol higher than the point of aim.
3 shooting positions:
The book Kill or Get Killed was written by Rex Applegate and published in 1943.
It was re-published by the U.S. Marine Corps as Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP)12-80, Kill or Get killed. The FMFRP was publicly available in pdf format on the U.S. Marine Corps web site, from which it was acquired. The following portions of text and photos are from Chapter 5.
Chapter 5 COMBAT USE OF THE HAND GUN
(p 98) In World War II, contrary to early predictions, there was a revision to close-quarter, individual combat. It was evident in street fighting, in house fighting, and in the jungles, woods and mountains. And there was in increased emphasis on night attack and night combat. All this underscored the need for skilled, close-quarter combat use of the pistol or revolver.
Early in World War II it was found that target shooting skill with the hand gun was not enough for the soldier in combat. It was proved that a man trained only in the target phase of the hand gun was proficient up to the point where he could kill an enemy only when he had time to aim and fire, and providing he could see the sights. Unfortunately, such ideal conditions were found to be the exception in most combat situations....
(p 99) ...In reality, after the target, aimed-shot phase of training has been completed and the shooter becomes familiar with his weapon, he is only about 50% combat efficient, because the conditions under which most combat shooting occurs are entirely different from those presented in the bulls-eye type of training. In a gun battle, the utmost speed, confidence, and ability to use the hand gun from any position, usually without the aid of sights, are paramount. The man who can instinctively handle his weapon quickly and accurately, in varying degrees of light, under all terrain conditions and while under the physical and mental stress and strain of actual combat, stands a good chance of avoiding becoming an object of interest to the stretcher bearer.
Visualize the first class target shot in the following combat situation: It is dark, he is in an alley, a poorly lighted street, or a room in a building. He can hardly see his gun at arm's length, to say nothing of the sights. His muscles are tense, his nerves keyed up to a fighting pitch. Suddenly the enemy starts shooting at him from an unexpected quarter. Even if he could see the sights, would he take time to line them up and fire at the enemy's gun flash? Does he take up the trigger slack and squeeze off the shot as he has been taught to do in target shooting? Will he make sure that his feet are properly positioned and that he is breathing correctly? He certainly will not!
He will grip his gun convulsively, raise it, point or shove it in the general direction of the enemy, and pull (not squeeze) the trigger. That is the natural, instinctive thing to do. Most of the formalized styles he has been taught, for making good scores on paper targets, are dropped by the wayside and forgotten. In daylight he will do exactly the same thing, for it is still a matter of "getting there fastest with the mostest lead." Of course, when there is time, when the enemy is moving away from him, when he is lying in ambush, or when the range is great, the sights should be used; but when being fired upon at close quarters, few men, unless they have the attributes of a superman, will take time to use their weapons as they are trained to do on the target range.
(p 104) What is meant by close-quarter combat shooting? It is a matter of record that the average hand gun shooting affray takes place at a distance not exceeding 20 feet. Any distance not exceeding 40 feet can be considered as close quarters in the combat use of the pistol or revolver. Beyond that distance the capabilities of the average individual and of the weapon show a marked decline.
(p 105) The best-descriptive term for using the hand gun in combat without the aid of sights is shooting by "instinctive pointing." This is a close-quarter method and should not generally be advocated for distances greater than fifty feet. Combat proficiency at ranges of fifty feet and less will be attained by using this technique, Almost all pistol shooting affrays will take place within this distance.
(p106) Combat Firing vs. Target Shooting. Three basic differences exist between combat firing and target shooting:
(1) in close combat work, the sights will not ordinarily be used, due to lack of time, darkness or poor light conditions, enemy fire, or other considerations. To shoot without the sights, consider the frame of the gun merely as an extension of the hand, and the barrel as an extension of the forefinger, which you are able to raise and point instinctively, accurately, and naturally at any close object. In other words, all that is being done, is to add a gun to the hand, the barrel being an extension of the forefinger. If, when looking at an object, you instinctively raise your hand, point the finger toward the object and sight along your finger, you will find that the forefinger is pointing at it accurately. This is a basic principle in combat shooting of the hand gun without the aid of sights.
(2) The basic position for all combat firing is with the body in an aggressive forward crouch. When a man is in combat or subject to enemy fire, he will instinctively crouch...
(3) The grip on the weapon in actual combat, when firing, is extremely tight and convulsive, and double action is always used when the revolver is carried.
The grip on the weapon must be extremely tight, as it is in combat. The wrist must be locked, since any flexing will result in extremes in elevation, even at close range. The pistol or revolver must be gripped in a vise-like manner in order to have control when more than one shot is fired.
When a man is in combat, his muscles and nerves are tense, because of the excitement and danger to which he is being mentally and physically subjected. There will be no inclination to take a stance, raise the weapon, line up the sights, and squeeze the trigger when the enemy is firing or about to fire at him. The shooter will grip his weapon, exerting great pressure when he fires it.
The Convulsive Grip. The extremely tight grip used in combat has a decided effect upon the accurate application of the weapon in the fire fight. This is due to different pointing qualities of various weapons when gripped convulsively.
There are two general classifications of these weapons. The first is the .45 Colt Automatic Pistol, the official Army issue. It is in a class by itself with respect to pointing qualities. In the second category will be found the two well-known makes of revolvers, Colt, and Smith and Wesson, both of which are generally favored by our law enforcement organizations. Then there are two popular German military pistols, the Luger and Walther.
The .45 cal. pistol has pointing qualities unlike those of any other weapon and it is because of these pointing qualities that inaccuracy often results in combat. When the .45 pistol is gripped in a vise-like manner by the shooter, the structure of the weapon affects accurate firing. The combination of the convulsive grip and the general structural design causes the barrel to point down when it is forcefully shoved out at the target, as it will be in combat when used by an untrained combat shooter. This fact, although long known in sporting circles, was not considered until recently in training for its combat use.
Note how the muzzle of the .45 automatic is pointing down, not straight. This is what happens when the average shooter, engaged in combat firing, shoves the weapon at the target and instinctively uses a convulsive grip.
From this carrying position, the weapon must be shoved toward the target in order to bring it into action. When the weapon is shoved forcefully, as is done under combat conditions, the barrel will point down, not straight.
Shoving Weapon at Target. When the hand gun user carries his weapon at any degree of a raised pistol position, which is a habit he acquired on the target range, and he is suddenly confronted with a target at close quarters, his natural reaction is to shove the weapon at the target and pull the trigger. When he does this with the .45 automatic, the barrel points down and a miss usually results, sometimes even at distances of less than 10 feet.
Any shooter can test this fact for himself by grasping the .45 convulsively as he would in combat, holding it in a raised pistol position, picking out a target a short distance away, closing his eyes, and shoving the pistol forcefully in the direction of the target. Upon opening his eyes, he will see that the barrel is pointing down at a decided angle.
This structural effect of the weapon must be counteracted from the outset. It can be done in two ways: One is by equipping the gun with an adapter which will cause it to point straight when shoved forward forcefully, and the other is by developing a slight upward cocking of the wrist to compensate for the barrel slant. The latter method is used in target shooting when the arm is outstretched, but will not be used instinctively in combat without a great amount of practice.
Neither of the above expedients will be necessary if the weapon is carried pointing toward the ground at about a 45 degree angle from the body. Then, if the individual will have his arm extended and will raise the weapon to a level with his eyes and fire it, he will do so accurately, without having to compensate in any manner for the gun type.
When the Colt or Smith and Wesson, and the two German automatics mentioned, are tested by the convulsive grip, raised pistol, shoving method, they point more squarely at the target, and the barrel remains more nearly para1lel to the ground. These weapons will point satisfactorily, if not shoved too forcefully toward the target. This does not mean, however, that they should be fired in combat by the raised-pistol, shoving method, although this method is commonly accepted as a way of firing without the sights. It is not always accurate and results in loss of control, particularly when the target is in any position except directly in front of the shooter.
When the gun arm is shoved forcefully to the front, the structure of the arm itself and the effect of the momentum of the forward shove upon the wrist, when the arm becomes fully extended, will cause the wrist to drop and the barrel to point downward, regardless of the structural design of the weapon. This effect in firing will occur with most individuals, regardless of the good pointing qualities of any hand gun.
However it is not so apparent with the revolver, as with the Colt .45 pistol. The combination of the convulsive grip, the structural design of the various weapons, and the effects produced when shoving the weapon forcefully forward, are such that few men can use hand guns instinctively and accurately in combat, when firing them in the above manner, without a prohibitive amount of practice.
The size and structure of the shooter's hand and arm and the design and size of the grip of the weapon will also affect accuracy when the weapon is fired by the point-shoving method. If possible, all weapons should be selected so that they fit the individual's hand, whether it be large or small. However, in the Army and in large police organizations, such practices are not always feasible. Rather, the hand must fit the gun, not the gun fit the hand.
Position of the wrist. Because one of the basic fundamentals of combat firing is shooting with the weapon grasped convulsively, the position of the wrist will exercise great influence upon accuracy. At the time the trigger is pulled, whether it be a single shot or a burst, the wrist must be in a straight locked position and should not be flexed or "cocked." The slightest variation of the wrist up or down from its straight locked position creates a difference in elevation of the barrel of the weapon which is translated into extremes in the impact point of the bullet, even though the target is very close. Any cocked and locked, up-and-down position of the wrist, which is developed to compensate for the effect of the convulsive grip upon pointing qualities of a particular weapon, such as the .45, is not advisable because it cannot be used instinctively in combat without an extreme amount of practice.
Another disadvantage of the habit of cocking the wrist to compensate for the downward pointing qualities of a specific hand gun, such as the Colt .45 automatic, when it is fired by the pointing method, is that all gum do not react in the same way to the cocked wrist position. Once a certain style of wrist cock has been developed for use on a particular weapon, it will instinctively be used on all types of hand guns thereafter. Because of different structural characteristics of hand guns and the effect of the convulsive grip on them, their pointing qualities react differently to a certain wrist adaption or "cock," developed for use on one particular make and model of gun.
Forward Crouch. The best all-around method for combat firing without the aid of sights is as follows: the body is in a forward crouch; the feet are in a natural position, permitting another step forward. To fire the weapon, the shooter will grip the weapon convulsively and with a straight locked wrist and elbow (the pivot point being the shoulder joint), raise the weapon from the ready position to a level with the eyes, and fire. The weapon always should be raised high enough so that, at the time the trigger is pulled, the gun is directly in the shooter's line of vision to the target. Do not let the shooter pause before firing, once the gun is at eye level.
The weapon should be carried in the ready position, with an extended arm pointing downward at about a 45-degree angle from the body. This does not mean that it will always be carried with a convulsive grip and the arm rigidly extended. It will ordinarily be carried with the arm and hand relaxed and the elbow slightly flexed; but in all cases the arm and elbow should be well out in front of the shooter.
From this natural, relaxed, carrying position it is very easy to assume the straight-arm, locked-wrist position before or while raising the weapon for firing, This will be done naturally by the shooter; no special emphasis will have to be placed on it after initial training.
At the outset, the straight, locked-wrist-and-elbow ready position should be emphasized, so that the student can develop accuracy and will understand the shooting principles. Later on, after proficiency is acquired, he can be allowed to carry his weapon in the more relaxed ready position in which he will normally carry it in potential combat areas when not actually firing.
Looking at the carrying or ready position from the front, it will be noted, in the training stage, that the gun arm ideally should be swung in toward the body center and that the wrist of the gun hand should be flexed slightly to the right, so that a perpendicular line could be drawn from the belt buckle, through the muzzle of the weapon, the tip of the nose, and exactly through the center of the forehead between the eyes. If the shooter carries his weapon in this basic ready position and raises it straight up until the gun is between his eyes and the target, as he would in raising his hand to point at an object, windage automatically takes care of itself. The elevation will always be accurate as long as the shooter raises the weapon so that it is at eye level when it is fired.
The basic position, with the gun is held in body center and the wrist slightly flexed to the right, should be maintained throughout the early training stage. Later, as proficiency develops, the shooter will adapt his own particular ready position, which may not carry the weapon as near to body center as the ideal. However, if he still gets the weapon up to the firing position so that it is in line with the eyes and target, and if he is making hits, no correction need be made.
Pointing the Body. The individual who shoots in this manner is directly facing the target and firing in the direction his body is pointing. In other words, with the wrist and elbow locked and the arm extended and maintained in the same relationship to the body center and eyes, he will shoot where he looks. In firing at a target directly in front of him, it will be necessary only to raise the weapon from the ready position, using the shoulder as a pivot point, and fire.
Whenever the shooter is forced to fire at a target which is not directly at his front, he need only wheel his body so that he is directly facing the target then fire. In other words, the body points the weapon, and as long as the same relationship between the weapon, the body center, and the eyes is maintained, accuracy will result. He will shoot where he looks if he points his body at the target instead of swinging his arm.
When the shooter wheels his body to make an angle shot, the gun hand should be brought up to eye level while the body is changing direction. The shooter should not raise his weapon to eye level and then wheel; nor should he wheel and then raise it. To make either of these movements prior to, or after, the actual wheeling of the body complicates the action and makes the shooting more difficult, since a separate movement must be mastered. Most shooters, when making angle shots, will automatically raise their weapons gradually upward in a curve so that the gun is at eye level at the time the body comes to a stop in the new direction. It is usually not necessary to stress this in practice since most shooters do it automatically.
Naturally, a correction will have to be made for those who are observed trying to make two separate movements (body and arm) when the change in body pointing direction occurs. A few shooters, when they change body direction, will force the arm separately, so that the body and arm are not synchronized. When this occurs, the basic body-center weapon relationship will not be maintained.
To demonstrate the desirability of wheeling the body instead of swinging the arm, to shoot at a target which is at a right or left angle, place yourself so that your body is facing at a right or left angle from a chosen target. Instead of turning your body to face the target, and raising the weapon to fire, merely turn the head and swing the arm forcefully from the right or left toward the target. It will be apparent that it is very difficult to swing your arm horizontally in a new direction and stop it in time to obtain the proper windage for accurate firing. This is especially true in combat. Ordinarily, two-thirds of the shots will be fired at the target either before the weapon reaches it or after it has passed across it and is on the other side. You can't make your arm stop in the same place twice without excessive practice. After this simple demonstration, the advantages of using the body to do the actual pointing of the weapon at angle targets should be apparent.
There is another slight variation of the method of shooting by instinctive pointing which is used successfully by a number of shooters. However, it takes considerably more practice to acquire the same degree of accuracy and proficiency. The only difference between it and the method discussed above is that at the time of firing the arm is not in a straight locked position, but rather the elbow is slightly bent and locked. The arm is still well out in front of the body. This method is favored by certain shooters because it brings the barrel of the weapon to a horizontal position at a point half way between the ready position and eye level. This allows the shooter to bring the weapon into play a fraction of a second sooner than if he raised it the remaining distance, as he does in the straight arm method. Although some shooters favor this method because of the time element the fraction of a second saved in bringing the weapon into play is not enough of an advantage to justify its adoption by the average shooter.
Shooting from the Hip. Although the method of shooting by instinctive pointing has been called hip shooting, it is not. A pure definition of the term hip shooting is: "the type of shooting done when either the wrist or the elbow is pressed or held tightly against the side or center of the body at hip level at the time of firing." There are many who can shoot accurately at targets on a horizontal level from the hip position, but it is not a method by which the ordinary individual can achieve proficiency without a prohibitive amount of practice.
There are numerous disadvantages in the hip method. Facing the man who fires from the hip, it will be noted that the barrel (gun hand resting on hip) is usually pointing about eight or 10 inches to the right of the body center, hence to the right of the line of vision. This does not help accuracy and will have to be compensated for in practice. The hip shooter will also be unable to fire at targets above his natural eye level from this position. He will be forced to extend his arm and raise it to shoot at high targets. It is awkward and impractical to shoot from the hip position when the body is in a crouch. In this position, the shooter is forced to extend his arm. Bulky clothing, ammunition belts, and such, interfere with placing the elbow or wrist firmly against the hip in the same place each time the weapon is fired. All such minor considerations cause changes in elevation which will influence accuracy, especially at distances greater than 10 feet.
Combat Shooting. A very successful means of introducing combat shooting is to line the students up against the butts and have the instructor, from a distance of not more than 10 feet in front of the group, fire a foot or two to either side, or above their heads. This will demonstrate the effect of muzzle blast and will give a picture of what a gun looks like from the receiving end. Naturally, this must be carefully executed by reliable shooters; but it will serve better than anything to put the student in the proper frame of mind for an introduction to combat shooting. Then it is only necessary to ask any dyed-in-the-wool target enthusiast in the group if he would have deliberately raised his gun and used the sights against an enemy who was shooting at him from close ranges in such a manner.
The question of how he would react in the face of firing directed toward him, and of whether his reactions would be the same as in practice, has often arisen in the shooter's mind. The answer is Yes; the reaction will be the same, because practice will make firing instinctive and he will not realize that he is actually being fired upon. This is best shown by the following example: A spectator watching one of the famous Army infantry assault courses in which live charges, live grenades, and live rounds of ammunition are fired around the men participating in the course-asks himself if he would actually be able to take such a course. From his viewpoint, it looks very spectacular; and the element of danger thrown in by live ammunition striking close to his feet, charges bursting around him, and all the other battle effects, is very real. The same spectator, once he enters upon such a course, is so intent on firing his own weapon, throwing his own grenades and reaching his objective, that he does not notice the various charges bursting around him. In general, this explains a man's reaction in combat. He is so intent on his own job that, after the initial effect, he is not bothered. He does not think about what is going on around him but concentrates on his mission.
In combat shooting, the shooter should always fire his weapon from a stationary position. To attempt to hit a running target while the shooter himself is in motion is foolhardy. It generally would be just as well to throw a handful of rocks. Aimed shots fired at moving targets (such as a man running down a dimly lighted alley) can best be done using any of the various two-handed positions described in this chapter. The free hand and arm can be raised simultaneously to support the gun hand and make for a steadier, more accurate aim. This is particularly true when the shooter is out of breath from running or under the stress and strain of the combat situation.
This is a revision of the original article with this title.
In the original article, info. on AIMED Point Shooting or P&S which can be used to enhance TFS, was included. I also included pics and links to tests and videos of it being used.
As P&S is well covered in other articles, I dropped the text, pics, and links in this revision to focus on TFS.
SOME INTERESTING NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
I sent the original article to a variety of magazines and online sources for publication. And when I did, I used the title: How 2 shoot 2 Kill More Effectively, as I felt that would gain attention and because it is true.
Well, I received negative feedback from a Police Publication Editor and from a Police trainer about that. So I changed the title to what it is now, to nuance its reception and perception.
As others may have a similar concern, below is the Editor's comment followed by my thoughts.
I regretfully decline to use this article in the IALEFI magazine. The title, "How 2 Shoot 2 Kill More Effectively" is not consistent with the message we as professional law enforcement trainers try to convey to our students. Police officers shoot to incapacitate an immediate hostile threat to themselves, another officer or civilian. We do not train officers to kill. Conveying such a concept to our officers would be disastrous from both a community relations as well as civil liability aspect. Thank you for taking the time to submit the article.
Assistant Chief ____ _______, IALEFI Editorial Board
His response was puzzling to me.
To me, guns are lethal weapons. And a lethal weapon by definition is made to cause death. That is, guns are made for killing. Sad but true.
I also believe that there should be rules of engagement such as a force continuum that governs the application of force levels. But that is not the issue here.
The issue at hand is: WHEN A DECISION HAS BEEN MADE TO USE DEADLY FORCE, THEN WHICH METHOD OF ITS APPLICATION IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND SAFEST FOR THE OFFICER AND ANY BYSTANDERS.
Also, the variables of CQB situations and our human responses to them, do not allow for choosing or controlling the precision of its application, or its outcome. That is reality according to the scientific study of CQB situations.
So, along with the application of lethal force, goes the very real possibility that it may result in the death of the receiver. That is a fact which can not be ignored, or dismissed, or wished away.
What can be done to help the good overcome the bad, is to know WHEN AND HOW to most effectively apply levels of force, and in turn, to teach that. And to not do that, is to unnecessarily if not recklessly, endanger Officers and members of the public alike.
So, we are not talking about teaching Officers to kill, but how to defend themselves in CQB situations (to stay alive - to shoot to live).
Sadly, training programs have not been doing that job, and with the result over time of the death of hundreds of Officers, and injury to thousands of them.
If there is fault to be found, I suggest that if you are a mayor, politician, chief, sheriff, representative, trainer, or gun maker, you should look in your mirror. Don't look to the trainees. They are not in charge. You are.
Click here for an article on the recent RAND Corp. study of the NYPD. It addresses the failure of Police firearms training at length.
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