After a recent article regarding close quarters combat I got a lot of great feedback and a few questions. The feedback is always great to hear and the questions offered an opportunity to expand on the topic of close contact shots.
Close contact shots are by nature, not contact nor are they shots fired from conventional stances. They are almost exclusively seen in close quarters combat because of the nature of the engagement, speed and reaction time. These types of engagements are happening at break neck speeds. There is also little to no warning of the impending attack due to the close proximity of the attack. Granted, if you were out on a football field you might have a fighting chance of seeing someone sneaking up on you, but since most of live in a public setting it is more likely their approach could be either concealed or blended. Concealed in the form of low light setting, hiding in the shadows or blended in they use the existing landscape, such as people to mask the oddity of their approach.
Really expensive hammer
If you do decide to go to guns you more than likely won’t have the space to go to full extension without potentially creating a gun parry or gun grab scenario. Both of these are pretty bad, but even worse is the gun takeaway. These all happen because the gun is in close proximity to the bad guy at this point. He either is lucky or good, but the situation causes a few unique problems. First, I’m all for contact shots when possible. The biggest problem with contact shots is the possibility of the firearm experiencing a failure to fire because the internal safeties engages at the slide comes slightly out of battery. Or, clothing and other debris cause an obstruction that renders the gun inoperable until cleared. While not ideal, they are still workable in a close quarter fight.
The primary response would be once the stoppage is identified, usually as a result of failing to fire, resort to using the firearm as an impact tool. While many will suggest an immediate action drill, this generally requires some stability to preformed one handed and more than likely both hands to be preformed reliability. While you can perform a one-handed clearance it really requires some stability, I have seen a high failure rate during force on force and suggest against it if the fight is still clearly on. That goes the same for the two handed method. Instead I recommend you immediately transition to impact strikes at the closet targets in an effort to create a window to recharge or clear the firearm. From there, assess and re-engage as necessary.
Don’t shoot yourself
If you go with a close contact shot, you greatly reduce the possibility of a stoppage. One thing we remind students is to be aware of your body parts while considering close contact shots and tangled up with the bad guy. Shot through of extremities is possible and if you are in the way of that shot through that will probably leave a mark. We try our best to avoid grabbing, clinching or holding on to the chest, abdomen or waist area simply because they are the primary targets for close contact shots. Not to say other parts of the body aren’t viable, these are the high percentage targets is all. Keep the muzzle in this area and your hands outside and it will generally play towards your favor. Once things heat up, things will get moving so be prepared to adjust and if necessary check your own fire.
Common sense would remind us that we are social creatures and as such we have the need to interact with our fellow man. That usually means we are standing pretty close, if you have smelt someone’s bad breathe, you are in close contact range and better react accordingly.