The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Lessons from Force on Force – Volume One"
We have long touted the benefits and necessity of engaging in gritty, sweaty, banged up force on force training with a dedicated training partner. This is increasingly the position of CCU, and this week we bring you the first of many lessons we ourselves derived from our own personal training.
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Hello and welcome! I am Patrick Kilchermann, founder of Concealed Carry University, and your host here in the Guardian Broadcast.
The Guardian Broadcast is brought to you free, thanks to the continued success of our complete at-home concealed carry education and training curriculum, particularly the Complete Concealed Carry Guide, and Master Handgun Accuracy DVD programs.
Okay, this week I’m going to begin a series that I’ll be focusing on here for the next few weeks, containing some real gunfighting wisdom, derived from the Force on Force exercises conducted between my research assistant and I, Mr. Caleb Skaggs.
So, this weeks’ broadcast is called: Force on Force Gunfighting Lessons, Volume 1.
And the lesson for this week? We must work on our discreet handgun draws…. And we must develop the ability to be discreet with our handgun presentation, right alongside the ability to be explosive and fast with our handgun presentation.
Okay, so what am I talking about?
Well, we know that in most defensive use of force situations, the attacker begins with the initiative, because he ambushes his victims. And in those situations, we’re going to need to be able to access our weapons from a variety of body positions, and as fast as possible we may need to go from clearing the holster to beginning to fire. That’s the traditional approach, and I personally always prefer to err on the side of teaching this method, because it’s harder. Few people actually practice it, so I like to urge people to do so.
HOWEVER… Both logic and reviewing lots of deadly force videos and hearing interviews from survivors has taught me that there are going to be times when our lives depend on fighting with our handguns, but in a situation that is a lot murkier than this traditional blitz attack. Because in those situations, it’s easy. Your cue to try to draw and fire is when someone begins trying to kill you.
But sometimes it's murkier.
For example: The multitude of situations where you suddenly find yourself with a gun to your chest, to your back, or pointed at you from across the room. Or a knife, or whatever. You find yourself being threatened with deadly force, but the attacker is not actively trying to kill you at that exact moment. The likelihood of running into a situation like this is probably higher than most people think, because remember the big lessons you learn from the Complete Guide regarding what a criminal needs in order to carry out a crime: compliance, time, and privacy. In many situations therefore, a criminal is going to use deadly force as a threat to get you to reveal the location of valuables, or to pass off valuables, or more likely, to get you into a position of privacy to where they can commit their crime. "See this gun? Walk. Drive. Get in. Lock the door. Be quiet. Get down. Turn around."
In situations like this, you have two choices: to comply, or to fight. Compliance is a beautiful strategy IF you can trust the word of this criminal, and IF you believe that he will leave you in peace if you do what he says.
That makes me uncomfortable, because it keeps him in complete control, keeps you as a pawn following his plan, and almost as a guarantee, his plan is taking you from having lots of options to ultimately having NO options. For example, he knows that when he gets you in his car, or if he can get in your car, or if he can get you down on your knees, his chances of getting what he wants are much higher.
I don't like that, and even though I do recognize that compliance can be a good strategy to get you out of the situation without having to shoot somebody and risk getting shot, for me the point of carrying a concealed handgun is to maintain options. And therefore, regardless of how simple the request may be of the person pointing a loaded handgun at me with his finger on the trigger, I’m not going to allow myself to get into a position where self-defense is no longer an option.
If he is willing to stay back 4 or 5 feet, and if he is willing to take his finger off the trigger while I reach for my wallet or keys so I can toss them to him, then absolutely, I'm going to try compliance. I don’t want to shoot, and I don’t want to get shot. But otherwise, I’m going to take the first window I get where I believe effective self-defense is possible – effective meaning, where I have a chance to end this uninvited attack against me without getting hurt too badly myself.
However, this presents a great big problem, because if an aggressor gets the drop on us like this, then how in the world are we ever going to be able to even reach for our guns, much less deploy our guns and shoot them!?
Because if somebody is already pointing the gun at you with their eyes on you, if you try to draw your own handgun there is an extremely good chance that that is going to work out very badly for you. I'm talking about a 95%+ chance, with the 5% remainder being either pure luck or an extremely unmotivated threat who turns and bolts at the first sign of noncompliance. But those are terrible odds.
So, what do you do? The solution is the discrete draw and deployment: Learning to draw your handgun so that your attacker has no idea what you're doing UNTIL AFTER you have already shot him.
Let me tell you a cool story.
Caleb and I ran one of these types of situations a few times with force on force equipment, taking turns trying to successfully survive a situation where an attacker has an extreme drop on us. And again, true to the 95% terrible odds that I mentioned, we found that it was simply impossible to survive trying to draw against a drawn gun when the attacker had his eyes on us, even with lots of movement. Before we could get our first shots off, we would be pegged six, seven, or eight times – and those are real hits on target, not just the number of shots that the other guy got off.
Well, we ended up figuring out a formula that gave us a lot better odds. It was by no means fool proof, but we were able to get it down to where the situation was probably survivable, and even in some instances, where you can go from having a gun to your back to having shot your adversary to the ground without ever being shot yourself. Pretty remarkable!
And all hinged on this ability to discreetly draw your gun. Picture this. I've got a gun to my back, and the muzzle of that gun is maybe 18 inches away from my back. The aggressor is in my home, demanding my valuables. He follows me to a dresser, where I begin fumbling around with my left hand in one of the drawers. While doing this, I keep my right arm plastered against my body, and I quarter away from him so that my pistol is on the ‘dark side of the moon’, so to say - completely out of his vision. While creating lots of motion with my left hand and while keeping up a barrage of vocal pleas and confusing requests toward this aggressor, and without giving any sign of contrast to show that my right arm is moving, I get under my shirt with my right hand and slowly, slowly ease my handgun out of its holster. And then slowly, slowly I plaster it against my body, sucked into my gut, pointing forward – still out of his vision. And then, while amping up the distraction with my left hand and while increasing my vocals toward this guy, I take a least-threatening half step toward him as possible, backing up, until I feel the muzzle of that gun against my back. All the while, I'm slowly turning around so that I am almost completely bladed to him, and the moment I feel that muzzle on my back, I explode. My left hand flies back and slams his gun arm as hard as I can. I was hoping the gun would go flying, but it didn't – Caleb has a good grip. Still, now the gun is pushed away from me for a critical second, and I spin the final 10 degrees or so, and I began firing from retention. I fire is fast as I can while pushing my body into his, staying ultra-close, inside his gun, up against his body. I fire as fast as I can, and then push away from him while running away from that gun of his.
In a situation like this, even though this could certainly go poorly, this formula seems about as successful as anything we could come up with, until you start getting into fancy disarming tactics that require a lot of practice.
Everything that I did there is stuff that we taught in the Complete Concealed Carry Guide – with the exception of this concept of the discrete draw.
So, get to work! How do you practice your discrete to draw?
First, as with any draw stroke, always begin with either an unloaded gun or a blue gun. You don't want to get shot.
Always practice it one handed. Practice doing it while creating distractions, and while acting as casual and loose with your body as possible. Practice it with both your primary hand and your offhand, in case your primary hand is tied up metaphorically or physically.
Work on being as smooth and silent as possible, creating as little contrast as is possible with your drawing arm. And while you're practicing, keep in mind that at any moment you may be discovered. They may either demand to see your other hand, or they may simply begin firing or stabbing you. In either of those situations, you're probably going to need to finish drawing and firing as fast as possible, so practice jumping into action at each and every point.
I do this with my stick shift car. Taking off at a very relaxed pace while shifting at low RPM's, and practicing having to jump into a hard acceleration from every possible point – especially the least convenient points, say right after a premature shift into 4th gear while pretending to take a sip of coffee - because we are all familiar with Murphy's Law!
If you have a blue gun, your spouse or training partner can help you out with this. Have them play the role of the criminal and have them call it out if they ever see enough movement to warrant suspicion. Practice it until they are surprised that you have managed to get your gun out.
When you do this, you know that you have mastered the discrete draw, and now you can continue your physical or visualization practice using this new tool that you have at your disposal.