Here is some info on the gunfight we all have in our mind, but the question is do we have it right. Hope it helps someone.
"...Assumptions are awesome when they're actually right, but they sure can hurt when you're wrong......"
by Larry Correia
I've been a concealed carry instructor for five years, I hang out with a bunch of gun nuts, and I've been around self-defense buffs for most of my adult life. In that time I've seen a recurring theme, and unfortunately it can be a dangerous one. Many of us have something in common.
I call it My Gunfight. We've imagined a scene, a violent encounter, in our head. And in this scene, we take decisive action and we prevail and save the day. Many of us have a mental fabrication of what My Gunfight is going to be like.
Most people who chose to carry a gun have done this. I have myself. It isn't anything to be ashamed of. In fact, it really helps develop a proper mindset to be able to realistically assess what kind of terrible things can happen to you and start laying some groundwork about how we want to respond.
The problem comes in when we make assumptions about My Gunfight. Assumptions are awesome when they're actually right, but they sure can hurt when you're wrong.
I have had students tell me that they never practice at anything past conversational distance, because the average gunfight takes place at only seven feet. See, in Their Gunfight, the bad guy will be conveniently placed at a distance that they can actually hit stuff.
Sadly, there's no such thing as an average gunfight. The only thing they have in common is that they all suck. If you only prepare for a gunfight inside an elevator, it will be a bummer when the crazy guy starts shooting at you across the mall. I've had students tell me that if the assailant is that far away, then they wouldn't be justified in shooting. That's also a mistake. There are hundreds of reasons why you might need to shoot somebody out past conversational distance. And if you find yourself in a situation where you need to, you dang well better have practiced.
Another assumption I get from many students is that they will have plenty of time to draw their gun and get it into action. Oftentimes these folks want to carry with an empty chamber. There is a misconception that this is somehow safer, and besides in Their Gunfight, they'll have plenty of time, and both hands available, to get their pistol into action.
In real life, the bad guys may not be as compliant as the ones in Your Gunfight. In real life, the violence may occur so quickly that you do not have time to rack the slide. Or you may have one hand occupied holding the bad guy back from stabbing you in the head with a screwdriver. The point is, you won't know until it happens. Even best case scenario you've added a significant amount of time to your draw stroke (and if you've been in a fight to the death, you know that even a second is a significant amount of time), and one more chance to fumble and screw up.
During my regular class, I integrate a role-playing session. We go through several realistic scenarios with students and actors armed with rubber weapons. All of these scenarios are based on actual cases, and like real life, most of them tend to happen quickly.
Usually after going through the role-plays, nobody is tempted to carry chamber empty anymore. A fatal assumption was pointed out in Their Gunfight, and they adjust accordingly. If you're really worried about carrying with a loaded chamber, get a good, safe holster that keeps the gun secure and protects the trigger. If you still have a mental hang up, switch to a gun that has a heavier trigger or other safety devices. Anything is faster and safer than assuming you'll be in a position to rack a slide.
These are just a few examples of assumptions caused by My Gunfight. One of my personal favorite students of all time was hung up, not only on carrying chamber empty, but he also had a belief that he would "easily" be able to neutralize the bad guy by shooting them in the leg. No, I kid you not. He brought this up repeatedly during class, even after I pointed out that it could be just as fatal only slower, the same lethal force in the eyes of the law, and with the added benefit of not being nearly as effective at incapacitating an actual threat. What did I know? I was only the guy he was paying to teach him this stuff.
During the role-play, he was lucky enough to get a scenario that I use to demonstrate the principles of a Tueller drill. Without going into too many details, I'm playing the part of an obviously dangerous threat, interrupted in the act of committing a forcible felony on a third person, with the ability and opportunity to cause him serious bodily harm, and I just happen to start twenty-one feet away with a rubber knife.
I charged. He went for his gun. Not only did he fail to rack the slide and shoot me in the leg like he had talked about, he managed to draw the gun, fumble, and actually tossed it across the room. I stabbed him a few times, and as a happy bonus, picked his gun up before I fled the scene.
His Gunfight had not taken into account things like speed, adrenalin, or confusion. Last I checked, he was carrying a chamber loaded Glock, in a good holster, and practicing a bunch.
That was an extreme example, but I think all of us need to watch out for the decisions we make based upon our assumptions. Be smart, be realistic, and don't be afraid to keep an open mind. Just because My Gunfight makes sense to me, doesn't mean that the world cares one bit.
Great post and nice you took the time to do so. I think it is good to bring this up as many do indeed imagine what would happen often and when it does it is totally different. Training and real world scenarios are a great recommendation.
I see that alot, the assumptions. I think what helps me with that is my LEO experience. For 6 years I worked the highest crime areas in Ft Worth, Texas on the PD. I responded to 12-18 high priority calls (crimes in progress) each shift. Every call was different, you train and prepare for the worst. Sometimes you get lucky and its not so bad.
Good post Bill. I see by the lack of responses that you may have hit a nerve with some folks. It is amazing how many people are heros in their own minds. You see it here as well, with all the post about not needed to chamber a round, not needing to practice beyond 7 yards. Some how, these people have gotten a false sense of what really goes down.....
Right............"When You Least Expect It........Expect It".
My workout at the range, (just a berm out side of town) is usually starting at 30' and working up to "bad breath range". Are you saying I need to work out starting at 50 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards? If so I'm gonna need a bigger gun! I would think anything that far away could probably be avoided. Bear in mind I have never been in a "shooting" situation. I don't mean to start any ill feelings, just tryin to learn...
It is ugly when you slaughter someones sacred lamb.
In My Gunfight I never miss, I always get head shots (RIGHT between the eyes), and the bad guys barely get a shot off at me. I save all the hostages, and the mayor throws a parade in my honor. Also, I'm sometimes wearing a mask and cape.
That being said, The only thing I take from My Gunfights is where the good cover is that I used in my little daydream. I have My Gunfight every time I walk into a new building, walk into a parking lot, etc. Its a way that I look for cover and concealment and what not.
Learn to hold over. A 9mm should make it out a couple hundred yards (not that I think it likely to be needed unless someone shooting up a mall with a rifle).
Originally Posted by Ksgunner
(And, yes, I look for cover and firing angles in any mall I go to. I'm amazed at how few have been shot up.)
If you are trying to learn, then take a class and learn. Like the post said, you have your Gunfight in your head. You have become one dimensional. You need to have your eyes opened to the speed and violence of an encounter...You said in another thread that you do not see the reasons for going past 7 yards. You need to step outside of what you think the average gun fight is going to be. If all you train for is the average, what happens when the fight is not average?
Originally Posted by Ksgunner
I really liked what the late Paul Gomez had to say, and here, I'll paraphrase.
Mr. Gomez said that living in the continental United States, it's very, very unlikely that we'd ever need to go to our concealed-carry pistol as defense against violent crime against either us or our loved ones.
However, that, when we do find that we need our gun, we will need it "absolutely."
And at that moment, we'll be so far out of the bell-curve that we will become that statistical "n of 1" - a unique example.
I truly believe that unscripted force-on-force training is the best at showing us that anything - truly anything - can happen.
Sorry Harryball, didn't intend pi** you off.
You didnt make me mad...LOL...Sorry if I came across that way, it was not intended..What was intended...Was to get you thinking about how this stuff works...
Originally Posted by Ksgunner
Good stuff Bill MO. There ya go again making us think.
I would say that most CCW gunfights will happen at less than 10 feet. The majority of civillian/CCW fights are a result of muggings, rapes and car jackings and none of those happen much past arms length. For that reason most of my practice is at 10 feet and in. That said, never practicing beyond the mythical 7 yards is a bad idea. As Suarez says, "we don't know what our fight will be". None of us know what tomorrow will bring, if I should have to take 100 yard shot, it would be a good if I had put in some practice.
It may or may not begin at distance;
I may or not see it coming;
It will go down very, very quickly;
It may involve a couple rounds, or it may involve many rounds;
My own injury may be the first indication it is happening;
I will fall to the lowest level of my training when it happens;
It will not be a static event;
My lowest level of training is adequate to see me through;
It will never happen.
I have worked enough to be ready