Once a gunfight begins there are certain human factors that frame how short or long they last. Due to these factors most gunfights are short in duration. Gunfights are usually interpersonal distance. We either run out of bullets or we run out of blood, will to fight or have gained so much distance from the bad guy that we have effectively left the fight.
The examples I will use is a typical and atypical robbery. I am using robbery because statistically that is the most likely crime a law-abiding citizen will encounter. I also use them because they place us as the good guy on each side of the action/reaction curve.
A typical robbery sounds something like, “Give me all your money.” The bad guy assumes compliance due to his weapon.
An atypical robbery is often called a strong armed robbery or a mugging. This is where the bad guy uses force against you first and then takes your money by going through your pockets. We can easily replace this example with a forced rape, angry spouse with weapon, terrorist shooting, etc.
A robbery allows you to surprise the bad guy by producing a weapon instead of money. They are now on the downside of the action/reaction curve. The speed or your draw is not as important unless your presentation to first shot is slow or you miss.
A mugging forces you to do something quickly to gain time to protect yourself and to end the fight quickly. You are now behind the action/reaction curve. That same movement and quick shooting allows you to gain distance and/or keep it while drawing the pistol and shooting.
What most instructors start with is how to defend yourself from a typical robbery. I agree with this. But I also believe in progressive training where you have made the easy gains in shooting accuracy, speed, moving or using cover. Doing this allows you to survive a typical robbery but it also allows you to use the same tactics in most of the muggings.
Instructors have studied thousands of shooting over the years. Its been shown that for a typical robbery a victim can take a simple side step while drawing and shooting. They have very little chance of being shot by the bad guy.
Our chance of being shot goes down even more if we have a smooth and fast pistol presentation to the first shot. It goes down even more if we have made the easy gains in shooting multiple shots and have trained to end the fight with a head shot if necessary.
What do you control that ends the gunfight? The bad guy might become frightened by the sight of your pistol or missed shots. But that is not up to you. Ultimately to end the gunfight you have to put bullets in the bad guy. That is all you control. You are also fighting against time. The bad guy controls this time. How long does it take for them to overcome their reaction and move the weapon to kill you? So progressively gaining speed with accuracy in your shooting and moving allows a person to use the same tactics for both types of gunfights. This may seem like a, “DUH!, comment but it will become painfully important when talking about movement in part II of this post.