At what point can or should we use a planned action for a lethal force encounter?
This was a question I posed in the last post. One of the answers is that no one tactic can work for all encounters. That tactic might work most of the time but not 100%. I like to start using a tactic when I have proven that I can actually hit the target while doing it.
The second thing I look for before using a tactic, is when I have another tactic to use if the first one doesn’t work.
Using a robbery as an example. Moving while drawing often produces the ability to have a normal presentation without a chance for the bad guy to grab my pistol. But sometimes the person might move with you. At this point your planned full presentation must change to some type of retention draw. If you have both those procedures stored in your brain it is possible to switch tactics on the fly.
As with any tactic, if you practice it becomes easier. It should come as no surprise that if you practice switching tactics, it becomes easier. Sadly, most people never do this. What makes it sad is that it is so easy. In the above example one does not even need equipment. You can use your finger gun in the back yard while playing tag with your spouse or friend.****
**** AT THIS POINT IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT YOU HAVE NO WEAPONS ON YOU. Much like a dryfire procedure where you make doubly sure your pistol is empty. Here you must make doubly sure you have no guns, knives, etc. The life you save might be your family or friend.
Have your friend/spouse stand still. Practice a few times moving and going to full extension with a draw that ends with your finger pointed like a gun at their chest or whatever you are targeting. Then ask them to move with you while reaching out and slap your extended hand. The only surprise is which way you will move. Sometimes you might still be able to go to extension. Sometimes they can guess and you can practice moving and getting in a retention position.
Doing this drill is also where you notice that there is a range of retention shooting. Yes, there is the elbow pulled back and pistol by your chest retention shooting. This is great when you are wrestling with a bad guy. But if the person is not touching you but close, retention shooting might be a two-handed grip at the #3 of your normal presentation. You might realize the person is too close and not extend the gun, leave it parallel to the ground and fire from there. You might pull the pistol back to your chest as you extend your support hand out to the bad guys arm or face. It can and should change depending on the distance.
If you try this with someone who doesn’t know what you are going to do, the action/reaction curve will be pretty clear. The answer will be that almost always you will be able to go to full presentation and shoot. I like to have the person helping me anticipate my movement. This allows me to practice retention shooting while moving.
This tactic and drill works for pepper spray and other non-lethal hand to hand uses of force. It is also useful to show transitions from pepper spray on a key chain where you have to drop the spray while drawing a pistol.
Lastly, this drill shows how the standard movement training is inadequate for moving away from a face to face encounter. When practicing this drill one might consider the sidestep to back step for three to four steps then transitioning to turning and moving away from the scene while moving forward.