We just finished a Close Quarter Combatives class with my good friend Tony Blauer and our final drill was a culmination drill encompassing much of the material we covered over the two days.
Everyone expects to step up and perform, but you have to remind yourself that you will default to your level of training. The comment I try to emphasize is you “have to best the bad guy’s best.” As we worked through the drills there was a lot of self discovery going on. Here are a few lessons learned.
Going to guns as your default is not always the best choice, but that’s what is taught at an institutional level. Typically it has been taught that a street gun grab should require an immediate response. Usually that response is both hands moving to trap the suspect’s hands. I’m not saying it doesn’t require an immediate response, I’m saying the traditional response is suboptimal. The major lesson learned is staying calm and not panicking. If they are trying to get your gun out of the holster it’s going to take some time. The average shooter takes about 2.0 seconds to draw and fire one round at 7 yards. While you may not have that exact time, you have some time to focus on other options. Options such as blasting him in the face with a palm strike or an elbow will help add more time for you. No matter who you are, someone smashing your face in is going to add time to the drawstroke, even if it’s not you drawing the pistol.
A major point to consider is you may only have one pistol, but you have several weapons available. Both weapon by design and improvised weapons. Those weapons need to be accessible bilaterally so as you strike or defend with one you may have access to weapons with the other. The paradigm shift is realizing that pretty much anything you have can be used in some way shape or form.
The key though is you cannot be too concerned about getting to the next phase or weapon in that instance. You have to have balance in the engagement before you can move to the next phase. That balance gives you perspective that allows you to employ your next move. Everything we do is either to improve their weaponry or positioning, but once you have balance you have the best opportunity to exploit the next step.
Another major lesson learned was thinking you would have access to some weapons and ending up realizing you don’t. Some carried certain weapons in certain location expecting to be able to get to them. As soon as we put them on the ground with someone on top of them, all of sudden gaining access to a pistol or a knife become more difficult. Again, that all goes back to the first comment which is going to guns may not be the best first move. You may find that another weapon is optimal, but it may also be unavailable.
Being placed in a worse case scenario and having to validate your techniques is invaluable. You not only learn what to do, but what not to do.