Close Range Gunfighting. You can shoot it, but can you fight with it?

With Rights come responsibilities and the most fundamental Right is the Right of self defense. How and even if you decide to defend yourself is a personal decision. Ultimately it is one you have to live or possibly die with.  The handgun is arguably the best tool for self defense currently available, but that should only be one item in your tool kit, right next to mindset and tactics.  The question is, can youfight with your handgun?
What happens when you have no choice and you are backed into the proverbial corner? You saw the potential threat 25 yards away and the BG didn’t deviate his course.Self defense can be as simple as seeing a possible threat approaching and because you kept your head up and looked it in the eye from 25 yards away, your potential adversary decided to choose a more oblivious, or softer, target.
They attempted to distract you by asking for the time or some other seemingly innocuous question and you were unable to verbally dissuade them or get them to alter their course. What then?
As a good guy, you can’t just go whipping out ‘yer Roscoe on a hunch this guy is up to no good. Perhaps this person is just some oblivious and harmless “close talker” who is simply clueless. For those scenarios we try and devise numerous steps that any normal person would understand and stop their actions. Things even the most clueless person would realize and immediately back off.

You’ve done everything right. You’ve seen the possible BG. He knows you saw him and he is still closing in on you. You attempted to verbally dissuade them from a distance with no luck, you changed your location and they immediately matched yours. You’ve put up your ‘fence’, a tactic used to let him know you aren’t oblivious, hands up in a defensive yet not overtly threatening manner, verbal indications you don’t want anything to do with him, ultimately you tell him to stop, get back. You move off of his angle and he changes direction to continue to close the gap and get within arms reach of you, again.
The game is now up and you are in a fight for your life. You have your carry gun, you can shoot it but can you FIGHT with it? Now isn’t the time to find out for the first time. This is where your training will help you carry the day.
The most recent training class I’ve taken was Close Range Gunfighting. This class is considered the “Flagship” course from Suarez International which is a training school based out of Arizona. The class I attended was in Indiana and Michael Swisher, founder of Paladin Combatives, was the lead instructor.
In this class you move beyond learning how to simply present from a holster and fire from a static position. In this class you incorporate movement, dynamic movement, into everything you do in a close range situation. Need to draw? Move. Need to reload? Move. Malfunction clearance? MOVE!
Moving is a simplistic way to put it, you are taught proper ways to move and maximize your movements while minimizing the down sides of movement. Simultaneously drawing and moving and shooting can be done quickly, efficiently and effectively with the proper instruction and practice.
Balancing speed vs accuracy. It’s amazing how fast you can land accurate hits while moving and you are pushed to move faster each time your groupings get too small.Other important topics are also covered such as close contact encounters and whether or not you always need a sight picture. Flash sight picture, aiming down the top of the slide, “Metal on Meat” and indexed fire are all valuable abilities to have in your kit and are covered in this class. Principles of point shooting are also introduced but point shooting is really for another class all of it’s own.
Is there an innocent person behind your assailant? Moving can change the background behind your target and allow you to safely engage it. It’s truly amazing what’s possible once you break the static ‘square range’ mentality.
The biggest thing I took away from this class was the confidence that if I am ever in a position of needing to defend myself against a bad guy or group of bad guys under 10 yards, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be dynamically moving during the encounter.
I urge all of you to get quality training from competent instructors and learn not just how to shoot with your firearms but how to FIGHT with them.  Your first defensive pistol class can be eye opening as you start to realize all the things you “didn’t know that you didn’t know”.  It may sound like a cliche but one of the first things that was impressed upon me in the fire academy was “The things you don’t know that you don’t know WILL KILL YOU faster than anything else”.
While I do not advocate mandatory training to be allowed to carry a firearm, I do think everyone should take it upon themselves to become as skilled as they can because, as I said in the beginning of this article, with Rights come responsibilities.
Below is a video review I compiled of my Close Range Gunfighting class from last weekend, if you have any questions feel free to ask me and be sure to subscribe to my channel as I’ll be covering more classes both here in print on TheBangSwitch and in video as I’m able to attend them.


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