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Thinking (and Practicing) Outside Of The Box – Defensive Handgun Deployment, Part II

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Last week, I talked about putting three tools to work to increase your survivability in a gunfight: Those ideas were movement, combatives, and proper weapon deployment timing. This week, in Part II, I want to show you three set ups to drill movement, combatives, and proper weapon deployment timing in your own training. Don’t forget, these drills can all be done dry-fire or with some sort of training handgun like a S.I.R.T. or airsoft gun to ingrain the skills without shooting live ammo.

Guest post by Mike Seeklander, owner of Shooting-Performance LLC.

Drill One: Very Close Range Threat/No Cover or Obstacles Available

Stimulus: Threat at close range

Response: Use combatives and create distance, then draw.

Target: IDPA or similar cardboard target. I suggest mounting two targets as securely as possible for striking. Set them one yard away from your starting position.

Goal: To ingrain the stimulus of responding with strikes and movements before creating distance and drawing the handgun. At this range, the habit of just reaching for the gun first is a bad one, as the threat will often reach for the gun as well. Learn that always drawing right away is not always the best option.

Actions: Load and make ready. Start one large step (one yard) away from the target, but make sure it is within striking distance or “one-step” striking distance. Practice throwing several palm strikes to the target head, then stepping largely (two or more steps) to the rear, left, or right, and then draw and engage with several rounds. Make sure you get just outside of arms length! Scan your area and re-holster. Reset and repeat.

Drill One trains the shooter to create space between yourself and the threat before reaching for your gun.

 

Drill Two: Medium Range Threat/No Cover

Stimulus: Threat at medium range, no cover to move to.

Response: Move offline while drawing

Target: IDPA or similar cardboard target set five yards away from your starting position.

Goal: To ingrain the stimulus of movement offline during drawing the handgun. If you imagine yourself in the center of a clock, moving offline means traversing to 2, 3, 4 and 8, 9, 10 o’clock angles. At this range, the threat is too close to strike, and there is no cover available. Moving offline (left or right) aggressively might buy you a second or two and increase your survivability. The key is to move aggressively and get the gun out as fast as possible.

Actions: Load and make ready. Start five yards away from the target. Practice moving aggressively to the left or right while drawing. Engage the target as fast as possible while making hits.

“Moving offline” means that if you imagine yourself in the center of a clock, you move toward 2, 3, 4 and 8, 9, 10 o’clock angles. Photo courtesy of Mike Seeklander.

“Moving offline” means that if you imagine yourself in the center of a clock, you move toward 2, 3, 4, and 8, 9, 10 o’clock angles.

Drill Three: Medium Range Threat/ Sprint to Cover

Stimulus: Threat at medium range, with cover to move to available.

Response: Sprint offline, then draw from cover.

Target: IDPA or similar cardboard target set five yards away from your starting position.

Cover: Set up two barricades or something that can simulate a piece of cover. Set each barricade four yards to the left and right of your starting position.

Goal: To ingrain the stimulus of sprinting offline to get to cover, and then drawing the handgun. At this range, with cover several steps away and available, you increase your survivability by moving aggressively first. Aggressive offline sprinting gets you ahead of the action cycle the threat is going through. If you try to draw and move at the same time, you slow your movement and compromise this technique. This movement should be an aggressive sprint left or right to the cover.

Actions: Load and make ready. Start five yards away from the target. Practice sprinting aggressively offline to the left or right to the cover you set up. Once behind the cover, draw and engage the target with as little exposure from behind the cover as possible.

Seeklander recommends running to cover before trying to draw your weapon. Photo courtesy of Mike Seeklander.

Seeklander recommends running to cover before trying to draw your weapon.

 

Once you’re behind cover, then draw and shoot from a less-exposed position. Photo courtesy of Mike Seeklander.

Once you’re behind cover, then draw and shoot from a less-exposed position.

There you have it, three separate drills that work a stimulus/response pattern that are different than you might be used to. Add these drills to your practice sessions to ingrain proper responses that will increase your survival chances in a dynamic fight for your life!

Which drill or drills would you recommend for other readers to add to their training? Share your answers int he comment section.

Mike Seeklander is owner of Shooting-Performance LLC, a full-service training company, and the co-host of “The Best Defense,” the Outdoor Channel’s leading self-defense and firearms instruction show. Previously, Seeklander was Chief Operating Officer, Director of Training, and a Senior Instructor at the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was directly responsible for the development of more than 50 firearm-training programs. Prior to that, as an employee of the federal government, Seeklander served as the Branch Chief and Lead Instructor for the Firearms division with the Federal Air Marshal Service as well as a Senior Instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training. He’s currently a nationally ranked competitor on the practical-handgun competition circuit, and the author and producer of several instructional books, DVDs, and lesson plans specifically related to both basic and advanced firearms training. Seeklander is the current I.D.P.A. BUG (Back up Gun) national champion and winner of the 2011 Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships production division title. The United States Practical Shooting Association currently ranks Mike as a Grandmaster.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!



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