No Time Outs
“Come as you are affair” – time, date, lighting and number of attendees are to be a surprise. Maybe birthday parties, anniversaries and assorted family and personal events are fun or thrilling when they are a complete shock, people jumping out and yelling, “Surprise!” Unknown circumstances stink, for instance, when someone is trying to seriously hurt or kill you. *Let’s put forth a notion here at the onset, someone trying to stomp a police officer or citizen’s head in after they’ve been knocked to the ground, a violent suspect trying to bash your brains in with a ball bat, or eviscerate you with assorted cutlery, are lethal threats, no less deadly than a hyper-violent criminal attempting to place a 9mm projectile in your torso.
So, we scan our environment and the people/things which come into it, as to the threat they present to us – thank you Col. Jeff Cooper for so eloquently communicating this concept.
We pay attention to verbal communications – tone, emotion, volume, content, profanity, threats, and indicators of emotion – in our immediate vicinity to gauge pending violence (barking dogs do in fact bite). We understand that “non-verbal leakage” in the form of pre-attack postures and body sets – fighter’s stance, pacing, handsets, pointing, posturing – are often subconscious suspect responses to an SND – Sympathetic Nervous System reaction in a subject’s brain and body. People have physiological changes as their brain readies themselves for battle.
But as much as we prepare, scan and are attuned to our environment and potential antagonist’s words and actions, bad things can and do happen and, you’ve gotta be ready!
A fireman wouldn’t try to fight a fire with little to no knowledge, skills or proper equipment. “Turn out gear” including standard personal protective apparel, lighting, air system, etcetera is industry standard. Depending on their mission this may include specialty equipment giving them the ability to extinguish or limit the spread of flames and fire. You wouldn’t want to show up with nothing more than your good intentions to combat a raging inferno.
So too, minimal equipment for the LEO and armed citizen exists as well. A five shot snubbie is insufficient for the “come as you are” affair. Once run dry, a small capacity revolver or semi-auto in .38 or .380 makes a poor club, and a lousy boomerang. How much ammo do you need? Dunno, but considering 50% hit rates under stress are considered good, a couple mags are easily carried and minimal needs in a gunfight. Back-up guns have become passé in the modern age due to the proliferation of high cap semi-auto pistols. That said, “Onion Field” insurance as a BUG – Back-up Gun is known, still have a place for when things go south. I’m partial to a BUG carried inside the uniform shirt in a Galco leather holster on duty or in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster off-duty or in my Training Bureau uniform.
Knives? Yes, last time I worked on patrol I carried three – a Benchmade folder for handgun retention, Blackhawk folder for routine cutting, and a small Blackhawk folder in a shirt pocket for cutting seatbelts and/or breaking glass.
Redundancy in lighting equipment, “Two is one, and one is none,” is required. On-duty I’ve been carrying a Streamlight Stinger LED Dual Switch light as primary and a Strion rechargeable from the same company as back-up. Off-duty I usually carry a small AAA battery light in a jacket or vest pocket. Lights can be used to navigate, locate suspects, identify their threat status and, if necessary, neutralize a deadly threat when used in conjunction with a pistol. Additionally, high lumen lights can momentarily disorient a subject. I’ve been in dark environs without adequate lighting equipment. I was young and didn’t know better. I obtained good flashlights as well as weapon mounted lights as I gathered experience. Save yourself the aggravation and lack of illumination, purchase and carry good high-lumen lights.
I have a love for my Brothers & Sisters in Blue, but I am also constantly confounded with many of my fellow officers who tread the thin blue line with a lack of preparation and skill development in firearms and suspect control. Oh, they may pass their pistol qualification but considering that quals are a display of minimal performance skills, it is hardly the measuring stick for the ability to win a gunfight. Motor performance programs such as drawing and accurately firing a handgun from a holster, must be maintained by regular practice. Consider the professional shooter. With no lives hanging in the balance, they engage in regular practice hoping to win or perform well in a shooting competition. Recently a couple videos of Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves training with three gun champ and master class shooter Taran Butler in preparation for a film. While watching Reeves run a carbine, shotgun and pistol I was confounded by the fact that the vast majority of law enforcement officers have never “run the gun” in such a close-quarters, dynamic training conditions delivering accurate fire at speed. With movement, cover and close quarters battle techniques stressed this actor, in an attempt at a realistic portrayal of a professional gunman, was engaging in skill development that was much more street relevant than standing on a static line shooting 2-rounds on whistle.
Can we all train with Taran Butler? No, but we can bring much more realism to our skill development. If money is an issue, and where is it not, then we can use S.I.R.T. pistols or airsoft. The idea is to take the fundamentals of marksmanship and apply those as best we can under varying conditions of stress – time constraints, movement, poor lighting, and incorporating striking at close quarters with firearms, on and on. Many of these skills can be tested and developed while training for and engaging in competition. IDPA and Three-Gun competition may not be completely street relevant but they test your skills under stress and that is a good thing.
Games Versus Fights
In athletic competitions conducted on matted surfaces, clean gymnasiums, or manicured lawns there are rules of conduct, safety equipment, time limits, and referees to ensure proper conduct as well as medical personnel in attendance to treat injuries.
On the street, the fight comes based on the actions/attack of the suspect in an environment you have little to no control over. There will be no time outs – no time to: equip, train, plan or prepare. It is strictly a “come as you are” affair. Far from the controlled training environment it will be intense and chaotic violent encounter and will test you like no confrontation simulation can.
To win the day you must be focused, driven, skilled and intent on winning. You must have the ability to overcome the attack regardless of the circumstances with the tools you brought to the party.
Hit them as hard as you can – knock em on their heels with a focused counterattack.
Now, go out and train to do so…
Kevin R. Davis