15 February 2016

MCS Correspondence Course Lesson 005- when to deploy your pistol

Whenever you are choosing a defensive tool, there are four things you need to consider: selection, carry, deployment, and use.  Whether you are talking to people in person, or reading magazines and forums, most of the talk is about selection, carry, and use.

Deployment, the when and how of deploying your pistol is messy, sticky, and gray.  When deployment is covered, they are usually talking about the draw stroke and not about the possible need of having to get someone off of you, or the legal ramifications for brandishing.  The reason why is that most instructors are police, military, or both, including me, and never had to worry about when to draw their gun.

No matter who the instructor is, or how notable they are, whether they be military, police, or not, ask them if they have ever drawn their pistol on someone as a civilian and what the outcome was.  If they look at you funny, it is because they have not put much thought into the ramifications of drawing a gun on someone in public.  Many police will go through and entire career without ever drawing down on someone while off duty.  This is true with me as well.  The closest I have ever gotten was lifting my shirt to display my pistol and order verbal commands during three robbery set ups.  Once when I was still a cop and twice since I have been retired.  In all the incidents, I had cover and could see all the suspects hands.  In all three cases, it was enough to stop what was happening.  In each situation, based on my experience, I knew that drawing would be justified but wanted to avoid doing so, if at all possible.  Again, a decision based on my personal experience.

Much of the instruction post 911 is coming from Veterans, especially SOF guys.  There is no doubt that they can teach you to rock and roll with a a rifle or pistol..USE.  The problem is whether or not they understand your needs as a CCW holder and not a warfighter.  If most police have never drawn their gun off duty, how many warfighters have?

The vast majority of police training is qualification masquerading as training.  The goal is to get everyone to qualify with an agreed upon score and agreed upon course.  The only people qualifying in plain clothes are detectives and bosses, and I cannot tell you how many of them show up that day and qualify with a duty rig instead, or how many never carry a reload.

During my career, without exaggeration, I drew my gun hundreds of times, sometimes on suspects, and often just entering situations like clearing buildings.  Acting under the color of law, not one of those times did I ever hesitate since I knew that I was in uniform and in most cases would not have to justify me drawing my gun. This could not be any further from the truth for the CCW holder.

Also for the CCW holder, about 90% of your range time should be from the holster, not shooting at a target with a drawn weapon.  Police are given the discretion of drawing down on people even with slight justification.   Even if they are stopping a car or pulling someone up, they often get to choose the when and the where.  A citizen will be selected by the predator and the predator in most cases will select the when and where of the "stop".  They are driving the action and you will just be responding to it.  Like I referenced earlier, I saw the robberies getting ready to brew in very subtle ways that at first I probably did not consciously process.  An attack on a citizen will most likely be spontaneous requiring you to shoot as you draw.  During a career of drawing my pistol, often several times a shift, I fired it once during my career.   Before firing that round, I had already drawn my pistol and was looking for the suspect.  It was later followed with four rounds of OO buck.

As you sit reading this, especially as a citizen, think about the feelings that would rush over you if you had to draw your handgun in public.  How about if you have your family with you, something else uniformed police do not have to worry about.  If there are witnesses,  will you look like an off duty cop, a regular guy, or a bad guy?  Not just if you shoot, but when you draw your gun.  People are going to freak out.  Especially if it is in reaction to something subtle they did not see. In my case, these days I look like a biker and have to take that into consideration.  Since you have never done it "live" before, you will likely be freaking out just a little.

In all those times drawing my gun in the line of duty, there were a few other times when my finger was on the trigger taking up slack and things changed and I did not have to shoot.  My shooting was the only time that I experienced the tunnel vision, audio exclusion  (muffled sounds), tachypsychia (the distortion of time), intrusive thoughts ( I remember reminding myself that I had to pick up milk on the way home), associated with a life or death situation.

The funny thing about training for the "when" of deployment is that it is the cheapest of all things to train for. Keep in mind that on of the biggest issues with square range training is that it often uses a whistle or buzzer to provoke your fire and there is no noise in the world that can justify you to pull the trigger.  Search Youtube for videos of robberies  and police involved shootings.  Watch them with the sound off and watch the actions of the predators.  The furtive movements of a predator do not match those of any other types of human interaction.  The second is with a Blue Gun, or a clear pistol with barrel insert.  Have a friend mimic the movements you saw on the videos as well as having them draw training weapons such as guns and knives. Practice issuing verbal commands and stepping to cover.

Police have bells that go off in their heads or mental lines drawn that make them draw their weapon.  After time, those bells and lines are more fine tuned from experience.  You need to develop your bells and lines and that cannot be accomplished with all the square range training that there is.

Part 2 of Deployment will be the how to deploy your pistol.

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