Janes: 'A technique which helps armed officers stay alive'

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Thread: Janes: 'A technique which helps armed officers stay alive'

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Janes: 'A technique which helps armed officers stay alive'

    As featured at Janes:

    06 January 1999

    A technique which helps armed officers stay alive

    The handgun for law enforcement purposes is given to an officer as the most effective means of delivering deadly physical force. In this capacity it is used for both offensive and defensive shooting. The use of deadly force demands that an officer has the utmost level of confidence developed and maintained in his ability to deliver hits on target over that of his criminal adversary.

    Records show that the vast majority of life threatening encounters involving officers take place at 20 feet or less.

    In his treatment of the safe use of firearms in South Africa, author Hilton Hamann points out that Uniform Crime Reports published in the United States prior to 1990 demonstrate that the average police officer killed in the US 'is hit at a distance between 30cms and 1.7m ...73 died at distances of 1.7m or less.' The FBI's 1992 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, detailing the deaths of officers killed by firearms over a 10-year period, shows that out of 650 killed during this period, 367 were shot at a range of five feet or less. Another 127 died within ranges of six to 10ft, 77 more at 11 to 20ft, with only 79 officers in 10 years killed at a range of 20ft or more.

    With these painful facts in mind, the challenge for today's law enforcement firearms trainer is to research and create a practical foundation of shooting and tactical skills responsive to the real world.

    After the Second World War handgun instruction for law enforcement can be best described as traditional in both concept and execution. As most serving police officers of that era were exempt from military service, war-won life-saving lessons and advances in training were either unheard of or ignored at the conclusion of hostilities.

    Returning veterans with extensive close quarters pistol fighting experience taking up careers in law enforcement found little support from entrenched police firearms instructors, many favouring theory over reality. Even today, range firing and qualification is essentially determined by the minimal amount of ammunition a department can provide each officer during training because of budget restraints and civil litigation considerations.

    A half century's ingrained post-war habits has likewise led many instructors to adopt handgun training programmes developed by professional shooting theorists. Such programmes have become especially popular since the 1970s, when the use of deadly force by police came under enormous social and legal scrutiny. Today, despite it being well documented that close quarters pistol instruction can reduce police death tolls, traditional training and techniques continue to find favour.

    As one of today's top authorities on both shooting and tactics, Major John Farnam (retired), has noted: 'There is so much information out there on this subject... Sadly, material which is absolutely wrong, in many cases dangerously so, is being routinely taught and promulgated by the ignorant, every day. The results are dismally evident: too many gun accidents, even among those who are supposed to be "trained", too many missed shots, even when accurate shooting is critically necessary, (and) too much irresponsible and unskilled gun handling.'

    Where 'the modern technique' of pistol instruction and its variants has been used since being introduced in the US by Colonel Jeff Cooper (retired), many of its adherents appear to either overlook or minimise Cooper's admonition that 'the firing of a shot in a fight is the last step in a long list of means to an end'.

    Practical law enforcement handgun training is perhaps the epitome of this long list of means. So what is critical to sound police handgun training is not which 'shooting guru' or school of thought is most popular at the time, but rather which techniques, when combined with proper tactics, give the greatest degree of officer/public safety while bringing the situation to an acceptable end.

    The resurrection of point shooting with its pre-Second World War origins is providing a sound foundation for 21st Century police handgun training.

    Developed and refined by Captain WE Fairbairn and Colonel Rex Applegate (retired) in the 1939-45 conflict, point shooting was proven by Fairbairn to save police lives during shoot-outs with some of the world's most desperate gangsters in Shanghai, China.

    Extensively researched, experimented with, and tested under real conditions by police officers, point shooting owes its documented viability to Fairbairn and BA Sykes, of the Shanghai Police.

    0136 Point shooting's basic premise is that both sighted and unsighted fire is effective and should be taught. But documented case studies as first recorded by Fairbairn in Shanghai and then by Applegate and his staff at the Military Intelligence Training Centre at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, provide indisputable evidence that a well rounded offensive/defensive pistol programme must be grounded in the equally well documented realities of close quarters combat.

    The research and training conducted by Fairbairn, Applegate, and their staff demonstrated, via direct feedback and written documentation, that 'instinct', or point shooting does exist as a combat pistol technique and that an acceptable level of ability, that is, fight-stopping hits placed on target at ranges from contact to 20ft under circumstances of surprise and extreme stress, can be achieved.

    In brief, point shooting:

    * Allows for the engagement of hostile targets at unknown ranges from a multitude of shooting positions and under a variety of shooting environments. This includes subdued light, an environment and period of time during which the majority of officers killed in gunfights are engaged

    * Takes into account observed stress and documented physical reactions in responses the officer undergoes when under fire

    According to the late Col Applegate: 'There is a tremendous difference between shooting methods that work well when you're simply trying to put holes in the target and those that work well when the target is trying to put holes in you. Failing to understand this difference is a mistake that will get you (the police officer) killed if you ever have to use your handgun in a real armed confrontation.'

    0137 Point shooting became standardised training for both the US elite DELTA and SEAL Team 6 (ST-6) counter-terrorist forces in the mid 1990s. Operators from both units say that extensive shooting drills and scenarios demonstrated an exclusive reliance on front sight shooting alone which was too little, too late at close range under periods of extreme stress. Both DELTA and ST-6 were extensively schooled in the modern technique of pistol shooting prior to incorporating point shooting into their demanding close combat skills training.

    Steve Barron, of Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, is part of an innovative and far-reaching programme that trains law enforcement officers nationwide. Upon examining the shortcomings of front sight only fire and the stance promoted by modern pistol technique advocates, Barron said: 'We have made several observations concerning point shooting during the past two years. First is the speed with which novice shooters develop acceptable skill levels. Typically, the basic recruit can be trained adequately in about half the time as was previously used. The next issue is accuracy. This system of shooting provides excellent accuracy in close quarters (inside 30ft). Third, the speed at which the students are capable of engaging targets is astonishing. It is not unusual to see the first round on target in less than .4 seconds.'

    Point shooting is a documented lesson of the past being reintroduced for the benefit of the future in law enforcement shooting instruction.

    Unlike other so-called modern instruction, point shooting does not discredit additional techniques and their associated tactics. Quite to the contrary, point shooting instruction seeks to provide the law enforcement officer with a valid shooting continuum spanning contact range to two-handed, sighted fire. Where the officer fires along the continuum is based on his distance to the target, the perceived threat facing him, and his ability to control instinctive physical, mental, and emotional responses to stress.

    Wild Bill Hickcock, noted US frontier lawman and gunfighter, killed a number of adversaries in face-to-face gunfights. In a written response to an inquiry about how he was so successful Hickock wrote: 'I raised my hand to eye level, like pointing a finger, and fired.'

    Today's lawmen are again being educated in the same time proven techniques of close quarters pistol shooting as that of men such as Hickock, Fairbairn, and Applegate.

    Progressive shooting instructors can avail themselves of point shooting programmes knowing this technique will continue to save police lives.

    The report can be found at; A technique which helps armed officers stay alive - Jane's Law Enforcement News

    - Janq

    Note:
    I've trained in Fairbairn & Sykes type 'Instinctive Point Shooting' as under Michael T. Rayburn of Rayburn Law Enforcement Training (RLET).

    There are other methods out there like 'Fist Fire' and firing using the hands/back of the hand as an index etc. I will not speak to those.
    As to I.P.S. though as based on the Fairbairn & Sykes method in specific, I am not only a believer but I integrated it into my training and practice it.

    It works. Period.

    With gun drawn from holster but rather than in front of the face or chest kept and held at various points from the waist on up the mid line to just at the sternum. It works. For extreme close engagement purposes out to as afar as 21'. I've seen it done and have done it myself on full man sized targets with combat accuracy.

    Also I've applied it in training and in FoF with Simunitions, and it works. Works for me rather...And not so much for the OPFOR who tried to use Weaver and all other manner of method to counteract same engagement. All experienced law enforcement shooters, no newbies.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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  3. #2
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    Huh. Imagine that.

    I've been beating that drum for years now, even on this board. And some "NRA certified" instructors tell me I'm wrong. LOL.

    This was a good find with a little bit of history mixed in. Thanks for finding and posting.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Sixto I am with you shoulder to shoulder on this subject.

    Problem is that all manner of whatever else than true point shooting gets lumped in and the subject has become a miasma of ehh I saw that once and it's garbage thought & view.

    Meanwhile Jelly Brice and very many other experienced shootists (!) have been applying as much on the streets against real world threats with very high success, following training and continued practice & application.

    See my next post, also in this area, for further support as it relates directly to this matter.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    I'm anxiously awaiting it!
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    Janq, funny you posted this. I was just at Mike Rayburn's class this past Sunday over in the S&W sports center.

    The first thing he did was to grab a roll of black duct tape and tape over our sights. At the end of his class we were smoking the targets with rapped fire in tight groups.

    I'm a firm believer now on point shooting, and to think I was considering buying expensive night sights. NOT!

    I liked it so much I even signed up for Rayburn's Combat Shotgun class.

    For SD point shooting can be a real life savor, it's worth it to learn.

    Point Shooting Instruction - Rayburn Law Enforcement Training
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Jat,

    If you were there then you saw me, briefly, walk in during your break as along with Mike and several other S&W employees as we played around with the new S&W electric Airsoft M&P15/AR15

    I'm a big fan of Mike's instruction method & manner and am a multi-course graduate of his programs.
    You will like Combat Shotgun I as it's more of same.

    Anyway I'm a regular there and train at S&W very often. As well I am an instructor under Smith & Wesson Company (not the SSC...yet) teaching basic firearms education, handling and safety. Also I'm an IDPA safety officer and this weekend per their request I'll be working as a volunteer RO at S&Ws employee picnic and product shoot event.
    Finally I get to try out the 500 (!).

    I spend a fair amount of my spare/volunteerism time walking the halls at either the main plant or the SSC.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    Yes Janq, I did see you I was wearing a NRA shirt with a Savage Arms hat. That Airsoft AR was a blast to shoot, I couldn't resist giving it a go. Thanks for letting me try it out. Next time I see you I'll introduce myself. That Close Quarters Handgun class was a real winner can't wait for the next level.
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

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    Member Array joelg's Avatar
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    Jang, thanks for the post. I was trained in the 60s (law enforcement) to draw and fire from the hip at close range (7-15 or so feet), then some of us moved to point firing with varied stances including falling and firing, and diving to the ground and firing. We learned to move rapidly off center while firing, to shoot in the dark using two rounds to illuminate the target. We kept our Maglights or Kel-lights high and away from the body, apparently in contradiction to what is taught today. I'm not sure what's taught today, but your post awakened a great interest in what's happening. Practice is key...and so is thinking outside the box...
    Semper Vigilantia - Semper Paratus
    NRA Life Member

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    Senior Member Array stevem174's Avatar
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    Great post!
    Don't do things you don't want to explain to the Paramedics!

    Stupidity should be painful.

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    Member Array ECHOONE's Avatar
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    I've been an advocate of the C.A.R system for a year now and think everyone should atleast give it a try before disregarding it!

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I highly recommend Mike Rayburn's courses as well. I took his Instinctive Point Shooting Instructor Course at S&W Academy. It was three days of breaking down the techniques of point shooting and practicing them. About 95% of the class was live fire.

    When practiced and applied properly it is a very lethal technique.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Member Array Jcabin's Avatar
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    LOL and so many people tell me front sight aiming is the way to go.
    "you only need a colored front post, dont worry about the rear sights"

    always sounded dumb and this article reinforces that.

    im going to start training point shooting.

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    which techniques, when combined with proper tactics, give the greatest degree of officer/public safety while bringing the situation to an acceptable end.
    There is a time for sighted fire, and a time for, whatever it's called, non-sighted fire. "See what you need to see," has been said in the past, although I don't recall by whom.

    We can argue until the cows come home over technique, but the end goal is the same. I personally believe in combining all techniques, as they all work and have their advanatges and disadvantages. Besides, the more techniques you know the more tools you have in your Tool Box to draw from.

    Force on Force classes tend to show what works and has a habit of getting real close and personal, IME and opinion. Thank you for posting this, as it tends to bring another aspect of things to the discussion.

    Take care and stay safe.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    "See what you need to see," has been said in the past, although I don't recall by whom.
    That would be Roger Phillips, our own Sweatnbullets.

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