Thursday, August 7, 2014

5 Key Skills For Winning A Firefight (pt.2)

Following my recent blog titled, "Don't Be A Victim - Firearms Training With Reston Group" I've pulled from my experience during the Concealed Carry Deployment course to put together 5 Key Skills for Winning a Firefight. This is by no means an all inclusive list of firearms skills. 

The difference between winning and losing a firefight may be a matter of fractions of a second. Performing the basics very well can be the difference.  You don't need to be fancy, you just need to perform the skills required faster than the other guy.

I hear so many people brag about their skills at the range but they aren't practicing real life scenarios. Jared Reston, founder of Reston Group Critical Solutions says if you're going to the range, "Go with a plan that is structured and quantifiable". Follow Reston Group on Facebook for tips and shooting range training plans.

5 Key Skills For Winning A Firefight

1 - Deploy From Concealment

Deploying from concealment
You may be the best shot in town but if you can't tactically deploy from concealment your shooting skills are worthless. You must be confident in doing multiple things well, under pressure, and simultaneously.

  • Identify the threat 
  • Clear away concealment garment(s) 
  • Draw your firearm (while not shooing yourself in the groin or leg or some other body part you wish to keep intact) 
  • Keep your eyes on the target

2 - Grip Firmly
7 yard multi-target drills
Obviously grip is important but overlooking the minor details can be deadly. Here are some key pointers: 

  • With your shooting hand grip firmly but gentle enough that your trigger finger moves freely. 
  • Use your support hand to balance out your grip.
  • Don't leave space between your hands on be back of the pistol grip. The firearm will try to fill that empty space.
  • Thumbs together and pointed forward.

3 - Extend Your Arms

I have a tendency to keep my elbow slightly bent but extending your arms greatly helps with recoil management, keeping you in control of the firearm, not the other way around. Don't lock your elbows out but the insides of your elbows should be facing each other.

Fully extended firing position

 4 - Prep The Trigger

Ready for drills to begin
To "Prep the trigger" means to gently pull back on the trigger until you are just shy of firing. For example: if your pistol has an 8 lb trigger, as you extend your arms finding your target you should have 7 of the 8 lbs pulled back. As you lock onto your target, gently pull it through. Pulling the trigger all the way through too quickly will only serve to pull your firearm away from your intended target.

5 - Find Your Sight Picture

What you should see the instant your firearm goes bang, that is your "sight picture". Finding your sight picture requires practice, practice, and more practice. 

Once you have drawn and have your firearm just below eye level with a solid grip, as you extend your arms you should be finding your target and aligning your sights. As you confidently place your target's center mass behind your front sight pull the trigger.

Jared Demonstrating Finding A Sight Picture

There are many more techniques to practice. Ultimately shooting is a fleeting skill. If you don't practice you can't expect to be effective when the time comes.

Bonus Takeaway - For A Really Bad Day

6 - Reloading

If you carry a concealed weapon and encounter a situation that requires you to deploy it's a bad day by any standard. But if you have to drop your mag and reload it qualifies as a REALLY BAD DAY!

Do you carry additional magazines? Most non-law enforcement carriers don't. But even if you do it won't do you any good if you can't reload with speed and under pressure. Again it's important to be able to do multiple things at once.

Reload drills
  • Drop your empty mag
  • Retrieve your reload mag
  • Insert your reload mag
  • Unlock the slide
  • Prep the trigger
  • Find your sight picture
  • Bang!

Don't waste time fidgeting with your empty mag. Firmly press the mag release inward (rotate the pistol if necessary to get a better position), and keep the pistol vertical allowing gravity to pull the mag down. 

Finding your concealed reload mag with one hand can be difficult, so practice. Turning your shooting hand palm up to see where you are placing the reload mag is important. Look where you are putting it! You can't afford to miss and lose time. Push it in and if the slide doesn't release automatically press the slide release or pull the slide back quick and firm.

Michael talking me through proper reloading technique

- David West

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