The Fundamentals of Gunfighting

Practice shooting at the chest area or center mass of an attacker’s body. Follow up with a shot to the pelvic girdle. When taking cover, understand that there are more materials in the world that are bullet resistant rather than bullet proof. Even cinder blocks can be pentrated by certain calibers and catridges, so choose defensive cover wisely.

Practice shooting at the chest area or center mass of an attacker’s body. Follow up with a shot to the pelvic girdle. When taking cover, understand that there are more materials in the world that are bullet resistant rather than bullet proof. Even cinder blocks can be pentrated by certain calibers and catridges, so choose defensive cover wisely.

Thinking

Violent confrontations—attacks—are sudden, dynamic and unpredictable. Remember, high-speed problem solving. When and where will your fight take place?

Answer that and you could avoid it completely, or prepare to face your opponents with overwhelming force. We don’t know how many threats will be involved. Statistics say there will be more than one; they’ll be at close range and moving.

Over 70 percent of fights occur in low-light environments. What will we do to win? Whatever it takes.

If you’re not thinking about solving the problem then all you’re doing is reacting to what’s being done to you.

Reacting means you’re always behind, a really difficult place from which to win a fight. In order to focus on your problem, the fundamentals—moving, communicating, using cover and shooting—have to be applied at a subconscious level.

These skills are the result of training, where you are introduced to the techniques, practice and learn through repetition.

Your weapon runs empty. You reload efficiently, getting the weapon back into the fight without delay. There’s no time to think about how to reload. It just has to happen. Ditto for clearing malfunctions if they occur, and they will, moving, using cover and shooting accurately.

These skills must be practiced until they can be performed at a subconscious level. Functioning at the subconscious level frees the conscious mind to think about the fight.

After the threat is down you still have to mentally stay plugged in. One threat is down. There may be others. You still want to get to a safer place or move your “team” towards an exit. The fight isn’t over until everything is locked down, secured and there’s no chance of anything else occurring. Then you’re facing a completely new set of problems to solve.

Make a Strategy

Start the fight with plan A, but when it doesn’t go like you think, have plan B and C ready. Plan X is for the unexpected.

No two fights are the same, so remain flexible and adapt as the fight unfolds. Fighting is part science, like the geometry involved in using cover, and part art. Sometimes something completely unorthodox is exactly the right solution.

To be truly prepared you must train, practice and learn to apply the fundamentals on demand. It’s great to read about it and become better informed, but until your response is ingrained in your nature, it’s only untested theory that will likely fail you should you ever face a true dangerous encounter. Don’t leave your survival to chance.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama and found on the web at shootrite.org. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, writes for several firearms/tactical publications and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD, Fighting With The 1911.

This article appeared in the January 27, 2014 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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