Color Codes? No thanks–I’m trying to cut down.

Read a very excellent book – “Left of Bang”, I recommend it to you for your study. In that book the writer uses what I know as the Cooper Color Codes in a paragraph, which reminds me that I no longer like to use those terms for levels of awareness any more.

Thing is, I’m not even sure why. I just don’t like them any more. And because I don’t like them I don’t use them when speaking of situational awareness states. As regards SA, I just try to apply it. I don’t worry about what color I’m walking around in. I worry about maintaining good to excellent situational awareness. When I notice something I don’t shift colors, I don’t go from Yellow to Orange or higher. I just increase or change my level of or state of attention and alertness.

That’s all I do and all I believe is needed. No colors need be involved.

I’ll still talk about Color Codes if you want. Just don’t expect me to like doing it.

Stop Focusing on Center of Mass

You want to make the attack stop as quickly as possible, right? Somebody trying to kill your or somebody else, you want to stop them from doing that right freakin’ NOW, right?

Two ways to do that: Make them decide to stop (by threat or application of force) or inhibit their physical ability to continue the attack (by threat or application of force).

We can’t depend on our action making them decide to stop. We have to plan on the basis of disrupting them physically.

Surest way to do that is to hit them in the Central Nervous System (CNS).

CNS hits are the gold standard for combat accuracy. Train, plan, practice to focus on hitting CNS from wherever you’re at when the fight starts.

Center of Mass? That’s what you get on the way to hitting CNS.

CNS first.

Combat Accuracy Evaluation

A question has come up on a forum I participate in about combat accuracy, who defines it, what it is and what it means, that sort of thing. It’s a question that does come up periodically and one I occasionally think about. In my latest episode of thinking about it, I have come up with a simple test of whether someone has achieved combat accuracy:

Did the target or bad guy do what you wanted them to do when you shot them? (Yes/No)

(For most of us in the US, that means did the bad guy stop attacking us. For military it would probably mean did the person they shoot die or otherwise become combat-ineffective.)

If answer = Yes, you have achieved combat accuracy. Well done.

If answer = No, you have not achieved combat accuracy and should shoot them again until you have.

Results-oriented testing: Gotta love it.

Tactical, Schmactical

I was looking at a video on the website of the range I run courses at. In the video there’s someone saying about how great the facility is (it is a very good training facility, much more than a simple firing range) and showing video of some of the training he was doing there. Everybody is kitted full-up and running carbines and handguns with lights on them from drop-leg holsters, whole ‘tactical’ ball of wax. As far as I know, this was a course for those without military or LE jobs who, I would bet, don’t walk out of their house with a slung carbine and load-bearing equipment set up with four to six magazines for that carbine on them. (Actually, I’m willing to bet that very few law enforcement officers day-to-day work clothes involve chest rigs or thigh holsters and slung rifles as a normal thing.)

I don’t run courses that require you to kit yourself out. I design my courses of instruction to what–to the best of my current knowledge–most of us will have on our persons or be able to get into our hands when we won’t have much if any time to get something out and ready to face an attack with.

I’m not going to think of you with disdain if you show up for my rifle class without at least a chest rig or a warbelt on. Unless that’s what you normally wear, that is. Otherwise, I design instruction to fit those situations–the majority of most of our time, in other words–that we won’t have that on or where we can put it on in a few seconds.

I’m not going to care if you come to a pistol class without a weapon-mounted light or a low-riding holster for your pistol, either–again, unless that’s what you normally wear day-to-day. I’d rather you come with what you normally wear and carry so I can help you learn to fight better with that.

I don’t want to make anybody more “tactical”. I just want to make it easier for them to be the ones still standing after the fight is over.

At least in my area that’s beginning to look like an somewhat odd-ball attitude among instructors. But it’s mine and I’m going to keep it.

Straight On, Straight In

I’ve been focusing on this lately: Gun out of holster, goes level in target direction, moves to extension in a straight line. That line doesn’t have to be a level one, it just needs to be straight. I don’t personally pull the gun to a strict pectoral/number two position before extension usually. I level and extend from where it comes out of the holster.

I stress that level gun a lot. You want to be able to take a shot at any point from the holster to extension. You may have to if the attacker is close or closing. You won’t always start shooting from that position but you want to be able to if you need to.

So…level gun in-line with the target and extended level to final shot/shooting position.

A lot of you do that. What I’m asking you is do you practice to do that from anything other than a forward direction?

When you draw, you don’t want to sweep someone around you who’s not a target. If you have to draw without being able to turn to face the attacker you’re drawing to, you need to be able to level the gun in a different direction at the same time you move it in a vertical plane to get it on-line to the shot.

If you haven’t practiced that, you may not do it. If you haven’t practiced that, you may end up leveling to the front and then having to turn the gun horizontally to the direction of the attack. Depending on where you’re at and what and who is around you or very close to you, that could be a problem you don’t need and don’t have to have.

So while you’re practicing the drawstroke–dry-practice or live fire, doesn’t matter–take some time, set yourself up facing some direction away from the target (when I’m doing it in detail I do an eight-direction series) and look at what it takes to get the gun level and onto target that way.

Don’t always do this square-on…you may not have a chance to get that way before you have to shoot.

Be ready for it.

I Wonder Now About the Weaver

The stance, that is.

It used to be taught a lot. Not sure how much it’s still done formally nowadays.

What I’ve seen some of and what I’ve been told is that even those who trained a lot with the Weaver stance abandoned it in a New York Minute once they started getting actually shot at.

That said, I’m pretty sure there are shooters that were trained with the Weaver that did not abandon it even under threat against their lives.

I think on it now and wonder something about it, to wit–

The Weaver was developed by a man named Jack Weaver who used it to win competitions. The competitions were being run by Jeff Cooper in large part as a way for him to research about the best way to run a pistol in a fight. (That’s one of the criticisms offered about the Weaver, that it was derived from competition and not from actual fight experience.) The competitions were man-to-man draw-and-shoot, fastest hit wins. Until Jack Weaver, the competitors were point shooting, often from the hip. Jack brought it up to eye-line and got on the sights and was beating everybody else. So the Weaver became The Thing To Do for quite a while.

I suddenly find myself wondering, though:

Did Jack Weaver use the Weaver when he was reacting to a threat on the job? He was a Sheriffs Deputy, and would have faced threats that develop suddenly in close proximity just like law enforcement officers of all kinds do today. When a contact went wrong on the job without or on short notice, did Deputy Weaver get himself into the stance and position that Competitor Weaver did? Or did he do what I’ve seen and still seen other LE do in videos and hear about them doing other ways–get the gun up to the eye-line, maybe get on the sights and maybe not, and get rounds on target, sometimes one-handed and not in any ‘official’ stance or posture at all? What did he do when he didn’t have a chance to set up for the possible need to shoot someone?

I find myself wondering about that.

Pistol vs. Rifle, Round Three

I’m reading people on forums saying they wouldn’t have much of a chance of fighting two rifle-armed terrorists with “just” a handgun. Getting tired of that meme of “rifle beats pistol, period”. So let me try beating on it one more time:

In a building or as someone approaches the building, a rifle only has two advantages: Power and additional points of contact. Other than that, it’s not some mystical magical totem that renders pistols inoperable for a hundred yards, neither does it inject fog into the operator’s mind and/or cloud their sight. And once you get inside the building the pistol gains one advantage in it being easier to maneuver with in small spaces. Unless you have decided that their rifle trumps all, you have a better chance than any of the cartoonists and editors targeted at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris did. You, after all, have a gun.

Besides that: If you’re going to get shot and die anyway like some here seem to be thinking they will in the back of their minds, are you going to have anything to lose by setting up and taking some shots? Wouldn’t you rather die fighting back? Or is hiding under the desk a better way for everybody else to know you went out? What picture do you want entered into evidence (assuming you die, which is–sorry to disappoint some of you–not a certainty)? You in a fetal position on the floor with gunshot wounds in your back and your blood soaking your clothes? Or you lying by at least a magazine’s worth of shell casings, your pistol near your hand where it slipped out as you lost strength, with those holes in your front soaking your clothing with blood?

Which one do you want?

I’m Not A Gun-Guy

Don’t want to disappoint anybody, but there it is.

I’ve been described as a ‘gun guy’, a ‘gun enthusiast’, and a ‘gun nut’ from time to time or at least lumped into those categories.

Problem is, those labels are incorrect.

Yes, I engage in the study of the use of arms. Yes, I instruct others in this subject. Yes, I maintain interest in current technology and manufacture of firearms. Sometimes, I see one or another weapon and I think it’s neat and that I’d like to have one. Or I find some feature or modification of a weapon to be interesting.

I don’t like or dislike any particular firearm or class of firearms for their own sake, though. I don’t get any given gun just so I’ll have it. And I’m not particularly loyal to any particular firearm or class of firearms just for what they are.

Guns to me are what I use as part of my study of the use of arms. Guns to me are what I might have to use some time to preserve my life of the life of another person. Guns to me are things that are of use to me for certain and specific reasons. If they don’t serve some purpose, they usually are sold off sooner rather than later. Guns to me are rather mundane on that level.

No, I’m not a ‘gun guy’. I’m just a guy that uses guns to do his work with.

It’s as simple as that.

They Already Know

In the opening of a book the author states that he’s going to be vague about certain details of tactics because he doesn’t want any bad guy that reads it to learn something they can use against good guys.

Despite the great respect I have for this author and everybody else who has done what he did and who does what he does, I think he’s being a bit naive if he really believes that.

Because bad guys are not all stupid.

Bad guys go into and through the military and get training.

Bad guys pay for classes and get training. (Most instructors and schools attempt to filter them out ahead of time, but no filter is 100% effective.)

Bad guys rent and buy videos and watch them.

Bad guys read books and learn from them.

Some bad guys are trained by our own good guys as part of military aide and foreign training programs.

Bad guys also learn from their own experience and from other bad guys’ experiences.

All of this from all these sources is exchanged between bad guys on a continuous and ongoing basis.

Because bad guys are not all stupid.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that them knowing what we know already doesn’t make them equal to us. At least, it doesn’t have to. We can still come up with new wrinkles for things already known. We can and do execute the things already known better than others that know them do. Besides that, not every bad guy is completely up to speed even if they happen to be more motivated that the run-of-the-mill criminal is to keep their skills up to date.

You shouldn’t underestimate them, though.

And you shouldn’t think like the writer of that book implies he does that we know something they don’t still.

Could get you killed if you do.

“In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh
The enemy more mighty than he seems:
So the proportions of defence are fill’d…”