Immediate threat

There is a discussion concerning the use of lethal force as a default when coming from the holster. In training, when we are practicing the draw stroke, we go from the holster directly to the target ending with shots fired.

The question from one student was do we want to program our draw stroke to always end with lethal force? My response was we were practicing a mechanical skill drawing and delivering accurate and effective fire to a target on command. The question he was asking had more to do with target discrimination and the process we used to identify an immediate threat. Before you can employ lethal force you have to first locate then identify and then employ force if necessary.

This has a lot more to do with situational awareness and being able to recognize the pre-fight cues that could lead to a lethal force encounter. We also discussed the difference between a flash and a boiling event. A boiling event, is an event that slowly deteriorates or de-escalate’s to the point that action is required. A flash event, is an ambush or surprise attack. There’s very little warning and you generally are playing catch-up to be effective. If we had to break down the amount of shots fired in class from the holster versus shots fired from the ready it would be heavily in favor of the holster. Think about it, you are not going to walk around in the ready position all the time, but hopefully you are carrying concealed.

So, are we doing a disservice by practicing so much from the holster ending with shots fired? Going back to the discussion above, if this is a flash event, or an ambush you will have very little time. Working from the holster best simulates your response to a flash event. Sure, there are probably other actions you can take such as fleeing, seeking cover or employing other counter assault techniques, but we are in a pistol class so we are reinforcing our response with the use of a pistol.

We still do a lot of work from ready positions and we favor the High Ready as our default. The scenario here is we are dealing with a boiling event. We have been able to observe pre-fight cues, decide on a course of action and then execute the tasks. In this case, that means drawing to a ready position. Yes, there are other options for you, but again you are at a pistol class. When the drills call for working from a ready position we still have to get the pistol from the holster to the ready. In this instance, the scenario is depicting a boiling event so we have time to first draw to the ready and assess.

One of the reasons why we carry pistols is because they are convenient, concealable and portable. It is hard to say which is “more” important, firing from the ready or firing from the draw. Since we will more than likely be in the holster, we practice delivering effective and immediate fire as the default.

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