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Time To ROCK ~ The Speed Rock

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Credit for this is to a Gunversation web page. The original page is just filled with ads...terrible! is the text minus the photos.
It's an interesting firearm related "Sunday Evening Read" - I'll post it in bold text so you can leave your "reading glasses" off. :biggrin:
Gather what you wish from it & leave the remainder to decay.
Comments are always welcome.
All information contained in this thread "may or may not be" the personal
opinion of the forum member who posted it. :hand31:

Evolution of the Speed Rock
by Adam Celaya & all credit to him.

From its earliest roots, the primary objective to winning a gunfight, be it in an F15 Strike Eagle or between desperadoes, has been to get your weapon aimed at your opponent as quickly as possible. While it seems that Hollywood made a big deal out of Matt Dillon firing from the hip, and really, probably everyone reading this practiced the same feat as a kid, the concept was just as applicable then as it is now. But, before anyone gets to thinking that I’m endorsing point shooting, I’m not. Although I’ve practiced it, like most people I have never been worth a damn at it beyond three yards. Granted, I have witnessed people who were uncannily accurate at it out to ten or more yards. What Hollywood never seemed to grasp was that the classic quick draw stance was something used when an opponent was at arms reach, not squared off at twenty paces. Death in a western-era saloon (or the streets of modern-day Chicago for that matter) was not about the courage to step out into the center of the street for a fair fight. More often than not it was about one drunk, pissed off cowboy spontaneously shooting another drunk, pissed off cowboy just as soon as his gun cleared leather. Frequently the shot came from so close that the victim was clearly marked by powder burns.
What I’m talking about here is known currently as the speed rock. Sure, most of the famous gunfighters who lived past thirty were known to draw, go to an offhand stance and use sighted fire to stop their adversary. But romanticizing aside, most of the gunfights of the Old West were between nobodies in heat-of-the-moment altercations that occurred at contact distance where the winner was the cowboy or lawman who could get his 1860 Army upholstered and leveled the fastest. No finesse, just shoot the thing before the other guy gets his out, too.

The speed rock gained new use in the late fifties and early sixties with the competitive quick draw fad. Because of the simple requirements, shooters refined this sport far beyond practical (or historical) use in the name of winning. Whatever could be done to draw and bring your weapon to bear was tried. Low-slung metal-reinforced tie-down holsters, half pound trigger jobs, short barrels, and even peculiar body angles were employed to shave off every last nanosecond. But at its heart, competitive quick draw was all about a shooter getting in the first shot, accuracy be damned!

Eventually the Matt Dillon fad faded and most police agencies that had used any type of point shooting began to return to various forms of aimed fire as the Weaver stance gained following. Oddly enough though, reexamining the average statistical gunfight or assault showed more and more that they occurred at incredibly close range. At the same time, police agencies, through collective data, were realizing that two of the biggest killers of peace officers were the high speed pursuit and officers who were killed with their own weapons. The buzzphrase for the decade became "Weapons retention."

As seen here, the weak arm is pulled back against the body to get it out of the fire zone as well as providing shielding to your upper chest cavity. The strong hand and weapon are rotated to the firing position as soon as the muzzle clears leather. Use of a standard interview stance will put the strong side farthest from the attacker. This move should be done at a full retreat. At this range you are only exchanging wounds, put some distance between you and your attacker while those bullets soak in.
By the eighties, a revamped version of the quickdraw stance was being seen outside of elite weapons schools. Designed to allow a shooter to draw a weapon from a strongside holster, rotate it to firing position as soon as it cleared leather, and fire while keeping the weapon relatively safe from a gun grab, the Speed rock stance was reborn.

...compact weapons like the Detonics 45 and later the Glock subcompacts absolutely disliked being fired from a true speed rock
While many professionals had long ago (my father switched in the early sixties) taken to carrying autos, most police and security still clung to their revolvers. But as times changed and Hollywood made high capacity autos seem almost magical, agencies began to switch over to magazine fed weapons. Where this caused an evolutionary change to occur in the speed rock was in the fact that the trusty revolvers of the frontier would feed reliably regardless of how they were held so long as you pulled the trigger.

The obvious answer was to bring the weapon higher until it aligned with the wrist and forearm. Once linear, there was a better springboard for the slide to operate properly. With the shooter’s arm braced against their side and the sights held level, a defender had only to turn their body to align horizontally with an attacker. The weak hand was brought back flush against the upper chest to keep from inadvertently shooting off your own fingers.
During this era, there was a lot of press on just how the weak hand should be used. Some advocates recommended drills where the attacker was pushed away while the other hand drew. There was considerable merit in this method---provided that it was accompanied by a significant amount of redundant training to the point that muscle memory was fully developed. Otherwise, the system was bound to dissolve under the chaos of real world combat and leave you missing fingers.

Another theme that emerged was to use the weak hand to shield the upper chest from a knife attack. Although it is doubtful that it would provide much cover against a large caliber handgun, an arm would be helpful in slowing or stopping many of the smaller cartridges. As for a knife, the bone of your arm would provide at least a few seconds of leeway for your defensive weapon, now in the speed rock, to do its job. There is nothing good about having your arm slashed or mauled by an attacker, but I’d take a clipped wing over a thoractic penetration any day. At minimum, you’ll have far better luck staunching arterial flow from an extremity than an internal hemorrhage. With the defender standing at an interview stance, or 45 degrees relative to your target, your gun arm is recessed enough to protect it from injury. Having your weak hand slashed is one thing, but loss of your gun hand will leave you defenseless.

Use of the speed rock has also found a niche among special weapons groups as the ‘point man’. Though this hold differs from the speed rock in that it is more of a stance than a speed draw, it consists mainly of an armpit level port arms carry. The virtues of the stance are weapons retention, ease of aiming, and a close knit hold that provides breathing room between you and an opponent as you round a corner or enter a doorway. I have found this tactic to be sound and have included it in building clearing training for security officers who are contracted to provide alarm response services. In one town I lived in, private security accounted for the majority of these responses and were commonly required to clear the premises before returning to duty. Although most are false alarms, either pets activating the motion sensors or systems triggered by electrical storms, the officer has to be wary nonetheless. Every corner or dark room is a potential criminal laying in wait.
Short barreled autos like this Glock 26 require a modified stance employing alignment of the forearm and weapon in order for their slides to cycle against their heavier springs. Practice sessions should include a shooting retreat.

It may seem like we have come a long way since flintlocks, but a fight is a fight. Be it with bare hands or firearms. They are extremely fast paced with victory going to the most furious. When a pistol is involved, close quarters combat will invariably regress to firing just as soon as you can clear leather. We may have refined it a little with the modern speed rock, enhanced it with variations, and cemented it with training, but a rose by any other name is still a rose.
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· Premium Member
25,596 Posts
Not sure the label appeals to me! Speed? yes - gotta practice that but not sure about the ''rock''!

I'll stick to my version of what I find works for me - and hope like heck I never have to put it to the test for real. I am not Mr Lightning Fast compared to some but I can get into the business quicker than some too.

I'll hopefully bow out from this lil' planet we call home - never having had to find out for sure :smile:

· Registered
17,530 Posts
Chris im kind of like one of the guys in the movie el diablo .. Might not be fast but i cheat real good...

Actuall qoute is im not as fast as i used to be but i cheat real good ..

Has 2 pistols on hips 2 in vest pockets 2 behind the back ..

· 1952 - 2006
1,375 Posts
I have frequently practiced the 'speed rock'. The way I do it is exactly the way you see Tom Cruise do it it the clip on this site from "Collateral". It is meant for distances out to arms length and not much more, tho I have found I can hit something reliably out to about 15'.

· Administrator
50,184 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Same with me

I am good out 15 to 20' & then practical defensive accuracy (for me) really falls off quite quickly past that.
Certain pistols work for me much better than others.
SIG & 1911 really do point exactly where I look.
That's the main reason why I usually always carry one or the other.

· Super Moderator
14,335 Posts
First, +1 on what P45 said, and then, the pictures I have seen of the speed rock normally involves an arched back, with basically your "you know whats" arched out in front of you. Is that the speed rock we're calling a "rose"?

Also, I got the impression that the article is talking exculsively about arm's length distances. My question is why do I want to rock when I need to be rolling? Rolling meaning making distance while I'm drawing.

Another thought, and this may sound a bit odd, but drawing against another guy who is drawing within arms length may not be the best option. It may be better to block his gun, while stepping off the centerline of attack and pivoting to gain a surprising amount of distance and position advantage.

I have never quite understood a shooting position that has poor balance, no mobility and by definition keeps you in tight to the BG. Plus if he so much as lifts his knee I think you'll be out of business for a while.

· Administrator
50,184 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How Can You Guys Resist?

Yes, Tangle that would be the original you know whats "2 rocks forward" Speed Rock. :rofl:
How Can You Guys Resist not playing cowboy/gunfighter with the original "Speed Rock"? :biggrin:
That's a TRUE milestone in THE history of defensive shooting.

· Registered
796 Posts
One of my favorite instructors (Randy Cain of Cumberland Tactics) showed me that if you give someone a lever, they will use it! Rather painfull lesson I might add. So I dont use any motion other than placing my lft hand over my guts as I do at the beginning of every draw. The rest of the rock is there, but I dont present anyone with my arm (lever).

1 - 9 of 9 Posts
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