You Might Find Drawing Challenging In A Fight
From the shooting world, we talk about the importance of having a quick and effecient drawstroke. How important it is, how much effort we put into developing this in training and practice, but we also over looking timing and space.
Stakes Vs. Odds
The biggest thing to understand is every deadly force encounter will be different. It is dangerous to try and lump them all into boxes. You might hear folks talk about statistics and you should pay attention to them. The problem is building your whole system on something out of your control. You cannot control the time of day, location, distance or even the number of violent criminal actors. All you can control is yourself, the equipment you have chosen and the training completed. So, when someone talks to you about statistics, ask yourself do I have control over them or not. Another way of looking at statiscs is to consider them the odds. Odds are you will find yourself at this distance, this time of day or with this many VCA’s. I am more comfortable with this approach, but I counter with what are the stakes.
Its Okay To Acknowledge Weak Areas
What are the stakes if you invest all your time, talent and treasure into the odds you have selected. While I understand the need to prioritize what folks often forget is your prioritizing is simply to address the initial phase of your development. To give you a foothold, not to be your go to or be all. Instead, you need to be well rounded enough to manage just about any situation you face because remember, you are not in control. When you need to prioritize because your time, talent or treasure is in short commodity, just remember you are leaving gaps in your defenses. There is no two ways around it, you have weaknesses you are choosing to overlook and that is okay…for the moment.
Observable Vs. Surprise
When we start talking about a fast drawstroke, realize the situation has to support that as the right choice. The other piece to this equation, is it has to be at the right time. Here is where we see a lot of disconnect. If we subscribe to the odds are you will be at close to contact range for most of your deadly force encounters (DFE) then we have a problem. The problem is most DFE’s are either observable or suprise in nature. Meaning, you are either ambushed and caught off guard. Or, you recognize cues that indicate something bad is about to happen and are able to take action. Let’s focus on the observable types since this is what most of our training, particularly training from the holster constitutes. It is only in these types of incidents a fast drawstroke is relevant.
First Response Is Not A Gun Response
The first thing to consider is what type of distance are we dealing with, how far away is the suspect or person of interest. We break distance up into four zones, contact, close, intermediate and extreme. Contact is within double arms reach and close is inside the three yard line. Intermediate is outside the three yard to the ten and extreme would be beyond the ten yard line. Observable type attacks generally fall within intermediate to extreme zones, where you have some control over the events. However, the odds favor close range and in where timing and space are questionable. Will you have the time and or distance to effect a quick draw. Harder question to answer, so when we find ourselves in these zones we need to consider the very real possibility the first response will not be a gun response.
Disrupting Their Plans
Anytime we find ourselves in these close range and in zones we need to have other options available. We need to consider first, strike weapon and weapons of opportunity as our immediate response. These types of weapons allow us to weather the immediate attack with the idea we have been able to create timing and space to draw our gun. In this case, our primary carry handgun is not our first response even though we put so much training time into it’s mastery. Very little time is spent on empty hand, edged weapon and improvised weapons. Truthfully, they may be out of range since most of them fall into the “contact” weapon category. Which means you may have to create a cover for action to get closer or distract to close the distance. Consider these two scenarios, you are far enough away you cannot disrupt their weapon system. These means you either try to out draw a drawn gun. Or, you have to create the timing and space to disrupt their plans. This can be in the form of weapon block (knocking and holding the gun off-line) or employing your first strike weapon. Of course, these are not your only response, compliying is also an option you may have to consider.
I’m a big believer in first strike weapons. These can be just about anything, but the three most common are a phone, cup of coffee and car keys. Any of these objects alone may seem benigh, but when considered first strike weapons they take on a new life. Any of these objects can be used to create a reactionary gap that allows you to either disengage or if deadly force is justified to draw and fire. The real question is if the likelihood of being within close range is so high, wouldn’t you expect your efforts towards first strike weapons to be equally high. Yet, it is often overlooked or dismissed. The point is you need an integrated combatives approach to your self defense needs. One that takes into consideration a broader approach to included empty hands, edged weapons and improvised weapons.
Instead of playing the odds, consider the stakes and how can you revesrve the setting to shift the momentum onto your side. It is definitely worth considering since so many DFE happen within close range.