If you had to make a choice between going with something new and unproven versus going with something familiar and proven; which would you go with? The answer should be obvious: go with what you know.
There are great lessons to be learned during flow drills, one that I observed recently was the likelihood of students employing the “bad guy’s” gun or foreign weapon (in this case, foreign to you) during simulated gun take-away drills. During the scuffle for a firearm, there are times when the counter should be the deployment of your own firearm after you have cleared and controlled the immediate threat. It should go without saying, but before you holster up to carry concealed on a daily basis one of the basic practices should be to perform a “weapon’s check”: a systematic review of the weapon to ensure it is fully loaded and ready to go. It should be so habituated that you do it almost without thinking. But the purpose is to ensure your firearm -if needed- is going to perform to your expectations. Then there is the access to your own firearm. It is possible that during the scuffle, the bad guy’s firearm became disabled or wasn’t functional to begin with. Rather than spending precious moments learning the hard way that the firearm has malfunctioned or is otherwise disabled, going to the known you carry on your body would be the preferred option.
No need to second guess
Going to your own firearm also provides a level of familiarization that in a critical incident is, well critical. The function, grip and sights will hopefully lead to a higher level of success should you be required to employ lethal force. Think of it this way, you are already behind the power curve and need to play a wicked game of catch-up. So rather than catch-up with something unfamiliar, go with what you know. In our experiences it is the preferred option that once you recover a foreign weapon you first require a firing grip, then preform an immediate action drill. The purpose of the immediate action drill is if the foreign weapon was disabled, rather than wonder if it will function, you are assuming it is disabled and will immediately get the firearm combat-ready yourself.
Working with SHO as a default
There are a few negatives with this viewpoint. The most obvious is do you have your own firearm to go to on your body? If you don’t in this incident or don’t carry concealed, then you are pretty much forced to go with the foreign weapon. Just one more plug for the everyday carry of a concealed firearm. Your drawstroke should be clean and smooth, so the time it takes to draw versus the time it takes to recover and perform an immediate action on the foreign weapon will favor your drawstroke. The other negative we have found is what do you do with the foreign weapon you recovered? What we teach is to assume you are going to have to fight with your Strong Hand Only or SHO. While you control the foreign weapon with your weak hand, engage any lethal threats SHO. The benefit to this as your default is it forces you to practice your SHO skills more regularly, which is a good thing, as well as better negotiate the close quarter fight. The fact that this is a close quarters fight also will mitigate the advantages or more likely the need for a standard grip.
In the end, going with what you know will offer you far more advantages than the foreign weapon. It’s one less thing to worry about in an already crazy compressed time period.