Just finished SouthNarc's ECQC -- Excellent class but questions on when to draw

Just finished SouthNarc's ECQC -- Excellent class but questions on when to draw

This is a discussion on Just finished SouthNarc's ECQC -- Excellent class but questions on when to draw within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I will post an after-action report later this week once I've had time to collect my thoughts. I really wanted to get some feedback on ...

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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Just finished SouthNarc's ECQC -- Excellent class but questions on when to draw

    I will post an after-action report later this week once I've had time to collect my thoughts. I really wanted to get some feedback on one particular issue though from the folks here (btw, thanks for the recommendation to those of you who recommended it, it was easily worth twice the time and money I spent on it).

    During the force-on-force portions of the class it seemed to me that there was a clear schism between the [ex-]LEO/Military guys and the rest of us 'civilians' or however you want to put it. The LEO/Mil guys waited longer to draw on an attacker, and were more critical of guns being drawn earlier in an engagement (including once when I was the unknown contact/aggressor and I thought the draw on me was justified). There was a long discussion on it when one of the other 'civilians' drew and was critiqued on it and I started asking questions. I would have asked Craig more questions but I didn't want to derail the class. At the end of the class a SWAT guy said he learned something about how civilians really wanted to rush to get the gun out to defend themselves in a way that made me feel rather defensive, though I don't think he meant it as an insult, more as a 'how to train my guys on the civilian perspective' thing, but I still didn't like the reflection I was apparently giving off.

    I am absolutely 100% clear that I need to be in imminent, articulable fear for my life or (perhaps) that of someone else as the result of an attack or attacker to clearly, justifiably make a defensive shoot. Got that cold. I am absolutely not looking to enter that post-shooting world of legal and emotional pain. The feeling I got from the class was that you should be 98% of the way there before drawing.

    I am totally confused at this point about the appropriate point to draw. I know some people say if you draw, you should shoot, which I think is BS. We have plenty of examples of times when a drawn or even shown (holstered) gun has ended a bad or potentially bad encounter, but all the LEO/Mil folks emphasized that 'bad guys' don't stop what they're doing when you draw a gun. My personal feeling on this during the class was that these guys are biased because of their jobs and the situations their jobs put them in, and your average mugger is going to be much more likely to be swayed by finding out he's chosen a hard target. This feeling was supported by an anecdote from the SWAT guy about having his carbine pointed right at a perp who dared him to shoot but both of them knew at that point he couldn't cleanly do so. Now I don't think the purpose of drawing the gun should be to intimidate, but to be ready to use it if a potentially lethal attack appears imminent. However, if it does so in the process of getting it ready to fire if needed, then great.

    I'm not a fighter. I've been in barely 2 fights in my life, both as a teenager, and nobody walked away with more than a bruise. I prefer to keep it that way. I am much more inclined to 'equalize force' against a potentially skilled grappler of an attacker, I think, than these guys that do BJJ, grappling, etc on a more regular basis. Should I be in better shape? Sure. Am I going to work on my grappling skills as a result of the class? Absolutely. However, I really don't feel like it's a great idea to let someone go ahead and start pummeling me before I decide maybe it's time to draw if I can avoid it.

    Ultimately I don't know that there's any good answer here. I believe 100% in the real-world experience of the folks giving that perspective in the class, real-world cops and ex-military guys who were interested enough in doing better to spend their own time and money having the crap beat out of them for 2.5 days. OTOH I just can't get a handle on when to draw, and while I feel much more comfortable with what might happen from 0-5 feet than I did before the class, I feel much less comfortable about 5-21 feet, if that makes any sense. I welcome your constructive thoughts, DC.

    EDIT: I also intend to discuss this on the TDI forum but my account there (new) has not yet been approved to post.
    Last edited by brocktice; January 6th, 2014 at 10:52 PM. Reason: typo fixes
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  2. #2
    JMB
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    If I were you, I would contact SouthNarc with your questions ASAP since he taught the class.

    I know you stated you didn't want to derail the class with your question but if I forked over the money and time to be there, it seems like that would be one of the most essential take-aways to be had.

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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMB View Post
    If I were you, I would contact SouthNarc with your questions ASAP since he taught the class.

    I know you stated you didn't want to derail the class with your question but if I forked over the money and time to be there, it seems like that would be one of the most essential take-aways to be had.
    Yeah that's a good point, and I had hoped to get the discussion started sooner on his forum also, but it's bugging me and I wanted a less LEO-suffused perspective here since there really seemed to be a schism based on background.
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    AOK
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    When you drew your firearms in your evos do you think you could articulate to the court you (and any other reasonable person) were in fear for your life or great bodily harm? If so then you likely made the right choice to draw.

    With that said, while I can't speak on how those with a LE/Mil background view civi's, based in my FOF experience I think those who are new to FOF and have little to no h2h training have a tendency to go to their firearms earlier than they should SOMETIMES. Why do they do it? It's all they really know and the only thing they have had any real training with. So their first default is automatically going to the firearm when the heat is on. With that said, I generally have seen those with a h2h background be a little more confident in their abilities to handle a situation before they need to default to the firearm. That's just my experiences and opinion and it seems to somewhat reflect similar opinions as the other fellow students you mentioned.

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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK View Post
    When you drew your firearms in your evos do you think you could articulate to the court you (and any other reasonable person) were in fear for your life or great bodily harm? If so then you likely made the right choice to draw.
    ...
    It's all they really know and the only thing they have had any real training with. So their first default is automatically going to the firearm when the heat is on. With that said, I generally have seen those with a h2h background be a little more confident in their abilities to handle a situation before they need to default to the firearm. That's just my experiences and opinion and it seems to somewhat reflect similar opinions as the other fellow students you mentioned.
    I could see the second bit of that quote above clearly in SOME cases, especially earlier in the class. What really bugged me were instances later in the class where all the civilians thought there was an articulable fear for life/bodily harm, and the professionals did not. I guess in that case maybe there's a better chance of finding a jury's approval.

    Thanks for putting it that way. I also feel like it was really about fear for one's life and the great bodily harm was maybe downplayed by the professionals? Hard to say. We all agreed to exchange emails and the host said he'd send them out, including SouthNarc's, so maybe I can get some more in-depth feedback from those folks once I get the list.
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    The ROE are different for a professional. They threaten people with their guns out all the time. You simply can't do that no matter how much training you claim, because you don't have a badge, and you're not an officer or a non com. It's called "brandishing" if you do it, and it's a crime (at least in my state). When they do it it's called controlling the situation, and a legitimate escalation of force. While most peace officers never get into a gunfight many draw down on prepatrators, and most all of them put their hands on their pistols if the see something they don't like or get an itchy feeling. All fine for them, and not fine for you.

    Also, training is the best substitute for experience, but it's still just a substitute. Mas Ayoob has written extensively about how different reality is from training, and built his training methods with the assumption that his students are practically panicking and on automatic even down to the trigger pull. I used to think that was crazy. Now have to admit that I was wrong, and his probably IS the best way to train civilians given the odds that it's considerably less than a once in a lifetime occurrence. There is simply an experience gap that is, hopefully, never going to be bridged.
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    This is not a swipe at LE or ex mil. Just observation of human nature. If you have been there so to speak in real life, then are in FOF, with civilians looking on, sure they are gonna push the edge. They no they arent going to get hurt. There is no real theat. So its natural they would push the edge as close as they can.

    Id wager quite a bit they do and will draw quite a bit sooner faced with some 250 lb muscle bound " Im gonna cut out your heart and eat it" felon.
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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost1958 View Post
    This is not a swipe at LE or ex mil.
    It was a 100% excellent group of guys to train with, no doubt. There's not one person that I would rather have not been there. I just hope I met that same criterion for everyone else. I want to understand where my thinking might be messed up on this one. Thanks for your response. I can see where being in dangerous situations regularly might make a street mugging seem less threatening to life and limb.
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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
    They threaten people with their guns out all the time. You simply can't do that no matter how much training you claim, because you don't have a badge, and you're not an officer or a non com. It's called "brandishing" if you do it, and it's a crime (at least in my state).
    There's definitely a continuum of what's brandishing vs. legitimate self-defense (obviously, jacket pocket firing aside, you can't shoot in self-defense without first drawing and an attentive attacker seeing the gun) in different states, with Texas clearly spelling out how it should go down (i.e. "I am willing to defend myself" being declared and so on), and Washington ,DC, well, you're just supposed to pray I guess. To me if you've repeatedly asked someone to stay away, lightly struck them in the face when they got too close, and they're still coming at you, that's pretty clear intent to do you harm. I guess the question then is, how capable are they of harming you? The extremes are illustrative -- obviously if it's a 10 year-old kid, that's very different from if it's a 250-lb muscle-bound guy wearing an MMA shirt, or someone with a visible knife, broken bottle, etc. In the middle is a gray area I hate but I guess I'll just have to deal with.
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    Member Array NightOwl76's Avatar
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    Just finished SouthNarc's ECQC -- Excellent class but questions on when to draw

    Quote Originally Posted by brocktice View Post
    It was a 100% excellent group of guys to train with, no doubt. There's not one person that I would rather have not been there. I just hope I met that same criterion for everyone else. I want to understand where my thinking might be messed up on this one. Thanks for your response. I can see where being in dangerous situations regularly might make a street mugging seem less threatening to life and limb.
    It's not just that. These guys have done tons of FOF and don't get jitters about it. Doesn't mean they would react as calmly to an actual act of aggression on the street.

    I think you will find that the scenarios slow down a bit for you and that your handling of them will improve with additional practice. Just like any other high stress activity like driving on ice or changing mystery diapers.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Hey Brocktice...

    Good for you. My advice is... dont worry about it. The Military is quite different than the police experience. The unsworn civilian experience is different from either. It's all about what works for you. I dont believe there is a one size fits all soloution. The statement that the police threaten people with their gun all the time is not quite correct. The police confront people all the time with and without the use of a gun. (Far too often with a gun when the use of deadly force is not justified)

    As a police officer I probably drew my gun more than most. There is a difference between drawing a gun and threatening someone with a gun. It depends on the intent of the defender, and the kind of a gun, and how the gun is carried. About 75% of the time I unholstered to make ready in case and not to use the gun as a confrontation or control tool. Because you have the gun in your hand dont mean you have to point it at the percieved threat, or even let the threat know you have a gun in your hand. The tactics and equipment of undercover, and plainclothed policing are very similar to those of the unsworn civilian carrier. This is where I've had most on my experience and where I've developed my personal tactics. I remember a so called FOF training cycle where I partcipated as a lone officer who happened upon a robbery with three perps.
    I was criticized by fellow students for being less aggressive than others. One question an instructor asked was why I drew my gun so soon. I told him I unholstered because I might need the gun. Why wait until it might be too late. In these scenario's they always try to kill the officer. I survived the scenario because of my early draw, One of the perps was acting as a victim and he didnt have the chance to shoot me in the back.

    To sum it up... how you pull is as important as when you pull. Equally important is what you pull. If your training with a service sized pistol or revolver your pretty much limiting your options. A smaller pistol or revolver allows for a full on threatening stance, or a un-noticable discreet pull. As a police officer I carried both to allow the maximum effect of either.
    I think you and everyone else should do what works for you.

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    Sounds like an excellent class experience and good for you. That you came away with these questions is a sign that you had your brain "turned on" and likely are receiving the maximum benefit from the class. I, too, suggest you go "to the source" (class instructor) with your questions (you could just send him a copy of your post here). You are exactly the kind of student that good instructors love and may be willing to spend the time outside of class to make sure your questions are answered.

    One last comment is that until doing this kind of training people don't appreciate how "fuzzy" the line between "go" and "no go " can be.
    Last edited by Hoganbeg; January 7th, 2014 at 10:51 AM.
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    I'm fifty-eight years old, in less-than-perfect physical condition and am on my own if and when a ECQ fight for my life comes down. I don't have my SWAT bros there, no two-way communications on my vest, no back-up seconds away, and no OC spray, saps, blackjacks or other equalizers to sway bad intentions. If taken down, I have fifteen, maybe twenty seconds of ground fight in me before EOTWAIKI arrives. I don't hit the gym for thrice-weekly Krav Maga work-outs. In short, a younger, stronger aggressor will cross the reasonable and easily-articulated-fear-for-my-life threshold with me sooner than he will for a younger, better-trained, better-equipped third-degree black belt or SWAT team commander. Given that, I would expect them to feel I shot or knifed them in the F-on-F portion of the exercise before they deemed it appropriate.
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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secret Spuk View Post
    Hey Brocktice...

    Good for you. My advice is... dont worry about it. The Military is quite different than the police experience. The unsworn civilian experience is different from either. It's all about what works for you. I dont believe there is a one size fits all soloution. The statement that the police threaten people with their gun all the time is not quite correct. The police confront people all the time with and without the use of a gun. (Far too often with a gun when the use of deadly force is not justified)

    As a police officer I probably drew my gun more than most. There is a difference between drawing a gun and threatening someone with a gun. It depends on the intent of the defender, and the kind of a gun, and how the gun is carried. About 75% of the time I unholstered to make ready in case and not to use the gun as a confrontation or control tool. Because you have the gun in your hand dont mean you have to point it at the percieved threat, or even let the threat know you have a gun in your hand. The tactics and equipment of undercover, and plainclothed policing are very similar to those of the unsworn civilian carrier. This is where I've had most on my experience and where I've developed my personal tactics. I remember a so called FOF training cycle where I partcipated as a lone officer who happened upon a robbery with three perps.
    I was criticized by fellow students for being less aggressive than others. One question an instructor asked was why I drew my gun so soon. I told him I unholstered because I might need the gun. Why wait until it might be too late. In these scenario's they always try to kill the officer. I survived the scenario because of my early draw, One of the perps was acting as a victim and he didnt have the chance to shoot me in the back.

    To sum it up... how you pull is as important as when you pull. Equally important is what you pull. If your training with a service sized pistol or revolver your pretty much limiting your options. A smaller pistol or revolver allows for a full on threatening stance, or a un-noticable discreet pull. As a police officer I carried both to allow the maximum effect of either.
    I think you and everyone else should do what works for you.

    Here in my book is an outstanding post.

    I post alot that I don't draw until it's time to shoot but guess I should say I don't show the gun until it's time to shoot. There are times having the gun in hand is a good thing. But I am not a advocate of showing the gun in hopes of causing fear on the BGs part.

    As to your OP post I think most of it comes down to how much you've seen and what you perceive as a threat and at what point in the situation. No two people with the same training will see the point of threat at the same time, so throw in training or lack of and there's a big difference.
    It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brocktice View Post
    During the force-on-force portions of the class it seemed to me that there was a clear schism between the [ex-]LEO/Military guys and the rest of us 'civilians' or however you want to put it. The LEO/Mil guys waited longer to draw on an attacker ...

    I am absolutely 100% clear that I need to be in imminent, articulable fear for my life ...

    I am totally confused at this point about the appropriate point to draw.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of the "reasonable" man standard.


    Thoughts ...

    My basic guideline for myself: when I truly and reasonably believe my life or the lives of others are at dire risk, or are almost assuredly about to be at risk. At minimum, I'll prepare myself for what's manifestly about to occur, dealing with it as rapidly and effectively as able once it's imminent. Thankfully, I live in a state where that'll basically do.

    Keep in mind that we each are citizens. We each have independent authority to determine where that dividing line is, so long as it meets the lawful minimum standard codified in the statues that is, and subject to after-action review by others. The "reasonableness" can be sticky, depending on how unreasonable the person reviewing the action is. No real way around that. And so, as a citizen, you judge the best you can, take whatever steps you believe are necessary in the protection of life, and accept that others will attempt to see your justification and agree or disagree with it.

    Can't be much more specific than that, as any specifics will depend on the particular circumstances (proximity, timing, whether AOJ is present, the manner/behavior and degree of perceived indicators supporting our judgment, imminence, etc).

    As for the military/LEO types, keep in mind that they've typically got more-focused training and/or experience that'll dictate how to handle those engage/avoid (or, shoot/no-shoot) responses than the average person. But mostly they've got a very different role. They are generally in the business of finding such situations and coping with them, whereas the average civvie might well not face such a situation in a lifetime. They've also got a different legal defense situation and, essentially, a somewhat differing set of standards to which they are typically held (given the role and the risk and mission inherent in that role).

    I'd suggest as many varied shoot/no-shoot type sessions as you can stomach, from a variety of sources. Different instructors handle the scenarios a bit differently (based on different background, etc). A "shoot" house can introduce some challenges in a particular category of shoot/no-shoot. A 360-degree environment and force-on-force venues can stress-test your decision making ability and responses.

    Consider the "Deadly Force Triangle" principles of A.O.J. (ability, opportunity, jeopardy): click.

    And think through each and every scenario you can review, anything you read or hear about, anything you experience. Imagine what-if, then deal with it. Then, stress those presumed 'correct' responses in a FoF environment, to validate.

    There's no perfect answer, really, so long as it's "north" of the statutory minimum and in your judgment necessary to save innocent life.
    brocktice and ShooterGranny like this.
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