Your Line in the Sand Part 1

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

Your Line in the Sand Part 1

You could ask me a hundred questions about strategy and tactics  and I could probably answer each one in the most logical and accurate manner with just two words “it depends!” Once this fact has been set down it becomes very clear that “the line in the sand” (the point where you are willing to use lethal force) is not the most correct way to look at a tactical situation. “Your line in the sand” is the only way that tactical scenarios can be looked at in a well thought out, well researched, and well-educated manner. The situation is the dictating factor and the biggest factor inside of the situation is YOU. It is the situation and who you are that needs to be taken into consideration when you look to develop your very personal line in the sand.

When we look at all of the varying state laws across this country, it becomes very clear that a guy from Texas cannot tell a guy from California where his line in the sand should be. A guy who lives alone, with no wife or kids cannot tell a family man where his line in the sand should be. A person with extremely advanced training and a ton of experience cannot tell a person with virtually no training or experience what his line in the sand should be. A person that has an overwhelming desire to always do what they believe to be “right” cannot tell a person that has a different perspective on “right” where his line in the sand should be. Yet, we see that all of the time on the gun forums.  Some people may feel that they must fight evil every time they see it, while another, just as righteous of a man, may feel that “discretion is the better part of valor” makes more sense for his ability to continue to take care of his loved ones and fight evil for the long run.

Having been on gun forums since 2001, it still amazes me when I see people forcing their feeling and beliefs of tactical situations on others, as if they are the only ones that are right  and everyone else is wrong. This is either a stance that is contorted by ignorance or by arrogance.  If the situation is the dictating factor (and it is) and the individual is the largest factor inside of that situation (and they are) then it is clear to me that no person has the right, or the ability to adequately judge another man’s “line in the sand.” Until you are standing in his shoes, knowing everything that he knows, you have no clue what perspective he is coming from, you have no idea why he has made the decisions that he has made. His very personal line in the sand is as foreign to you has Ancient Hebrew.

Recently, I read a comment that there seemed to be “no consistency” in my teachings when it comes to “the line in the sand.” The problem is not that there is no consistency, the problem is that there is no easy answer, due to the fact that it is all situational and all very personalized to the person inside of the situation. This means that there is no perfect formula for the perfect line in the sand. That is not a reality! Cementing your line in the sand takes work, time,  effort, and thought. Even if you do everything right in preparing your line it can all go very wrong. Fighting evil, especially all by yourself as a lone civilian, is very dangerous stuff that is fraught with risk and danger, not just to yourself, but to your loved ones, your freedom, and your financial security. I am not telling you to not take the risks, I am telling you to put in the work, train, research, and learn as much as you can so that “your line in the sand” is as solid as you can possibly make it. This is “YOUR” line in the sand, make it yours! Take ownership of it, because when it is all said and done these are the decisions that you may live with for the rest of your life (possibly, very short life.)

Be very careful about listening to the two extreme points of view on each side of this debate. Remember you will be the only one looking at yourself in the mirror. You can screw your life up by doing way too little and by doing way too much. Use your head! This is not a black or white topic! There are many shades of grey! Moderation, preparedness, and thoughtfulness will do more for you than extremism, bravado, or cowardice.

We need to accept the fact that there are very good men willing to put everything on the line to do the right thing……and they are mentally and physically prepared to do so. By the same token, we often see people with zero experience who fantasize about becoming a hero that are not prepared in any way whatsoever. Both groups may preach a “holy than thou” sermon to those that may use more discretion. The biggest problem is that unless we know the men personally it is hard to tell which group they are preaching from. We can call these guys “The Righteous Fighters.” There is nothing wrong with being one of these guys if you have what it takes to actually be one of these guys…….nothing wrong with that at all. Heck, it is their life and they have made their decisions. We often see guys like this in the Military or Law Enforcement, but it is not exclusive to those lines of work. As many of you know, there are many civilians that have what it takes to be one of these guys. It is also a fact that there are plenty of “Want to be Righteous Fighters” that do not have what it takes and take a stance on this subject that they have no right to take. They are not prepared, they have not thought it through, they have neither the experience or the physical/mental make up to preach about something that is well beyond them.

It does not matter whether you are a “Righteous Fighter” or a “Want to be” it is wrong for you to assume that the decisions that you make are better than those that use more discretion.

“What is your mission?” is a question that is as personalized as it gets. A man who feels the need to fight evil, and does so, is not better than a man who feels the need to fight evil, but has to constantly try to control his need in order to fulfill his mission. There is more than one way to fight evil!  You can fight it head on, without any restraint, and in a possibly short-term manner. You can also fight evil in a more discretionary manner that allows you to fulfill your mission and possibly fight it for the long-term. Both groups of men are good men, just with a different mission to fulfill.

 When we talk about discretion and fulfilling the mission, we are most likely talking about a good man’s desire to provide for his family.  A good man provides many things to his family that goes well beyond finances and security. The absolute need that the family has to have a good man around needs to be part of the equation when it comes to understanding your need to do the right thing.  What is the right thing in your eyes may be very different from what the right thing is for your family and in your loved ones eyes. This understanding and willingness to compromise your need to fight evil, in order to take care of your loved ones for the long-term  is a very honorable and admirable thing to find in a person. To think that there is no honor in this type of thinking, preparation, and understanding is the sign of somebody that has not experienced what it is like to grow up without a father, it is the sign of ignorance of a reality that many know to be as real as anything can ever be. When you see “me and mine” written out when it comes to the line in the sand, unless you are standing in that man’s shoes and know his reality you have zero right to be the judge of it.

We are all creations of our experience and our experiences will guide our decisions. I have been “The Righteous Fighter” and I can tell you that it can be a tough row to hoe. In my eyes, I was already dead, I had nothing to lose, and nothing to care about. That is not my world anymore! I am still the same man, but my perspective has changed. My experiences have made me wiser, my family has shown me that I am not already dead and that I do have plenty to live for. I will still fight evil, but I will do it for the long haul, using experience, knowledge, training, ability, and the understanding that one battle is not the war. The war on evil has many battles, from many fronts.

Use your head and choose wisely!

Your Line in the Sand Part 1

Fundamentals of Fighting in Low Light Environments (Revised)

This is one of my very first articles and it is now newly revised to keep up with my learning/teaching progression.

Many people may not know that I had two training obsessions before I got to my point shooting/dynamic movement obsession. Low light and CQB were my focus for nearly four years before I added point shooting and dynamic movement to my tool box and specialties. I have been teaching my low light curriculum’s since 2005.

I consider my low light courses the most valuable and essential courses that I teach.

I will be teaching one August 17-18, 2019 at The Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club right outside of Las Vegas.

Fundamentals of Fighting in Low Light Environments

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

In my humble opinion, the basic concept for fighting at night is that “darkness is your friend.” If you are in the dark, stay in the dark. If you are in the light, light up the dark. Night vision would be of the utmost importance in this concept. As we age, our night vision may be negatively affected by the aging process. It is very important that you know your night vision limitations and that you tailor your tactics to your specific circumstance. Older eyes may also affect your ability to use night sights, keep this in mind and know your limitations.

The eyes are made up or numerous sensitive nerves called cones and rods. The cones are at the center of the retina and are best used for direct vision during lighted situations. They detect color, detail, and far away objects. The rods encircle the cones are best for peripheral vision, movement and low light situations. In low-light it is best to not use direct vision, but to use your peripheral vision in a slow sweeping manner to pick up shape, silhouette, and movement. Look just “off of center” to get the most out of your night vision.

Obtaining your maximum night vision takes nearly thirty minutes, but it can be lost in the blink of an eye. After approximately 5 to 10 minutes, the cones become adjusted to the dim light and the eyes become 100 times more sensitive to the light than they were before. Nearly 30 minutes is needed for the rods to become adjusted to darkness, but when they do adjust they are about 100,000 times more sensitive to light than they were in lighted areas. After the adaptation process is complete, much more can be seen, especially if the eyes are used correctly. If you have achieved your maximum night vision, protect it as much as possible. One trick to preserve night vision (if you have no choice but to go into the light that will negatively effect your night vision,) is to close your dominant shooting eye and protect your night vision in one of your eyes. The temporary blinding affects of having your night vision suddenly taken from you can cause illusions, after images, vertigo, dizziness, and loss of balance. This is something that needs to be known to understand how important protecting your night vision is. In a fast pace, chaotic, self-defense situation, dealing with any of these negative factors could be the difference between victory and defeat. But on the other hand, this is a double edge sword and can be used to your advantage against you adversary.

In most urban environments there will be ambient light sources, some brighter than others. As you are working these irregular brightness levels, keep in mind the preservation of your night vision and the use of darkness and shadows in this regard and as a form of concealment. Your movement should be dictated (in part) by theses simple concepts. The three basic rules of camouflage are very important here. The understanding that they are double-edged swords that work both ways is absolutely vital. The three rules are Shine, Shape, and Silhouette. These rules must be understood from the aspect of both the predator and the prey. Tactics such as “keeping low” and using the horizon or ambient light sources to back light the adversary’s silhouette are crucial. You also need to remember that the adversary “in the know” will be trying to do the same thing to you. You should try to use this tactical advantage to benefit yourself, while at the same time mitigate the chances of it being used to your detriment. This may require you to look/search lower than you would during lighted situations. You may want to start you’re looking/searching at about knee level first before you raise your search level. While it is important to look/search at all levels during lighted situations, keep in mind that a lower search levels are even more important during low light situations. Other tactics such as the use of your hearing can be a real asset, while working in the dark, do not under-estimate the tactic of just stopping and listening.

Shooting in low-light/ambient light

As in anything that we do in regards to self-defense, there is a continuum/progression/matrix of fighting at night. IMHO this continuum is even more prevalent and important in the dark. In my basic philosophy of “react as you need to react, see what you need to see, and move as you need to move,” the continuum is very clear. In the dark it is even more pronounced due to the loss of visual input. The lessening of visual input negatively affects all three parts of that basic philosophy. In the reaction phase, you absolutely need the visual input to understand the situation. Awareness and threat identification are both compromised in the dark. The reaction to these two things, in turn is also compromised. On the necessary visual input, this is pretty self-explanatory. Every aspect of this concept is affected in low-light due to your ability to not see as well. On the necessary movement, I have found that all of the movement is toned down due to the “safety considerations.” Since you are not able to see the terrain/footing as well, there is the huge desire to not go down. The balance shifts slightly towards insuring the hit and slightly away from “not getting hit.” I do not see this as a problem because once again we are talking about a double edge sword that both combatants are dealing with.

On pure marksmanship in low-light, the necessary visual input is affected all along the sight continuum due to the loss of light. Your limitations on each sighting technique may be affected by the loss of visual input due to darkness. Since absolute knowledge of your limitations is in direct relationship to your confidence, knowing your limitations at each lighting level is extremely important. Confidence is important due to the fact that there will be even less visual verification that your hits are good. Your ability to see the hits or call your shots will be severely hampered. Therefore you must have absolute knowledge of your limitations. Although, you can use the muzzle flash for hit verification, this is not really a sighting aid…it is an aid for verification or calling your shots. If your muzzle flash is centered on the targeted area, and the silhouette of the gun is centered inside of the muzzle flash (very much like metal and meat) you are getting the hits. This verification could be key, especially if the adversary is wearing body armor. If you have absolute knowledge of good hits and there is not the desired effect, you can transition to the head quicker for the fight ending shot.

In my teachings situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques. I teach my students the exact same necessary visual input techniques at night as I do during the day. It is up to the student to know which tools they prefer for each specific situation. But, I believe that in low-light situations that you should always get as much visual input on the gun as the specific situation will allow. Obviously, this may not be the best solution during the day. In low-light there is a definite need to examine the balance between speed (of the draw stroke, movement, and trigger) and accuracy. This balance may not be the same as the day due to less visual input due to darkness.

The Floating Light

I prefer to only use a flashlight when, it gives me a tactical advantage or when I absolutely need to use the light. There are times when it is absolutely necessary, so these tools should be in your skill set. Some of you may have recognized that I am a huge proponent of fluid transitions between skill sets, that are dependent upon the situation. I do not see these transitions as being overly complicated or complex. To me, they fit into the KISS principle, but more importantly, they cover all of my bases. Keeping it simple is important, but I see being well-rounded and versatile as being just as important. My basic concept for the flashlight is the versatility of what I call the floating light. I really do not have a default flashlight technique. My technique is all situational dependent. The positions that I use flows from one to another seamlessly, giving me the best tool to use on each job. The positions that are incorporated into my system are the FBI, modified FBI, neck index, center-line index, and the Harries. They all have their place and I transition through them as situations arise. I tend to keep my handgun in a one-handed compressed ready. This gives me a good retention position, one that I can fire from immediately, and a position that I can shoot accurately throughout my extension.

I like the FBI and its modified positions for searching in large areas, due to the fact that a light source is a bullet magnet. These techniques keep the light source away from the body. If someone is to shoot at the light the chances of a solid hit are reduced dramatically. I really like this for searching, while incorporating “wanding and strobing.”

Wanding is a search technique that incorporates the old “light on/light off/move” principle, using irregular stokes and arches of light, much like painting a desired area. The random strokes/arches give enough light to see an area to maneuver through or to identify a threat. They also make it harder for an adversary to determine your position or your direction of movement, if they do not have a visual on you already. Wanding works best in large areas. I strive to never have my light on for more than two seconds. Along with that, I strive to move constantly during the “light on” portion. I try to make sure that I have used the light in a manner that lets me see what I need to see, before the light goes back off.

Strobing is random, quick, bursts of light that are manipulated in both direction and angle. Strobing is best used when you are approaching a corner or a doorway that must be taken. The concept of strobing is to use the bursts in a random pattern that makes it more difficult for the adversary to know where you are or where you are going. If done correctly you can “take” the corner or make entry into the door in a manner that is much more unpredictable by your adversary. If you use the old light on/light off/move without wanding and strobing, you are telegraphing your position and your movement by setting down a recognizable pattern, where the movement of light and the shadow gives the adversary useful information.

The neck index is an outstanding position. It works great with the fourth eye principle. As you maneuver/turret your body your flashlight and your gun are pointed the exact same direction as your eyes. The flashlight is also in a very good position to be used as impact weapon. The horizontal elbow is an outstanding platform to launch an offensive impact weapon attack from and it gives some good protection to the head. There are very good retention properties in this position and a lot of very good options out of this position. Where this technique really shines is its use with dynamic movement. The body mechanics of the position just seems far superior to all of the other options. Of course there is the balance between making the hit and not being hit. The neck index brings the flashlight closer to your center-line and right next to your head. This could be problematic if the adversary is shooting at the light. But on the other hand the position facilitates excellent dynamic movement and accuracy. I am leaning to the fact that the dynamic movement and the accuracy outweigh the lights possible problematic position. This really gets deep into the study of the fight continuum, the balance of speed and accuracy, and the perfect balance to hit and to not be hit that I have mentioned, many times, prior to this.

The center-line index brings the flashlight out of the neck index and positions the flashlight on the center-line right next to the gun in the compressed ready. The exact position of the flashlight is fluid on the center-line; it can be used center ,to the right, or to the left of the gun depending on the angle of vision/lighting that is needed. This position also gives you a better field of vision than the neck index. It also brings the flashlight elbow in closer to the body, cutting down on the chances of “leading” with the elbow. This is also a very good position for taking corners and doors in conjunction with a quick and easy transition to the vertical elbow.

The Harries position is the long-established and preferred “two-handed shooting from full extension” methods for most people who have trained with a flash light. It is a very versatile position that fits into many portions of the fight continuum. There are some issues due to it being fatiguing over long periods of time. This issue can be alleviated by making slight adjustment in the concept of the isometric tension that is required in this position. Another issue that must be recognized is the phenomenon of the sympathetic response and contra-lateral contractions, that is compounded by the crossing of the hands.

For pure marksmanship, The Rogers technique has many advantages. It is about as solid a two-handed position that a flashlight will allow. This is often called “the cigar hold.”

Be versatile, flow from one response to another, have all of your bases covered, and have the best tool for the job at your disposal.

With that said, does it make sense to be bi-lateral in your flashlight system? I believe so. Here is the flashlight transition that I use. Extend the pinky of your gun hand. Place the flashlight, bezel up, in between the pinky and the ring finger. Curl the pinky around the flashlight. Acquire the back strap of your handgun with your support side hand and transition over, reacquired your flashlight grip.

Necessary use of the flashlight

I believe that the biggest asset of a good flashlight is in making the threat identification. Many aspect of the fight can be dealt with, without the use of a flashlight, but the threat identification can be the very hardest thing to achieve. As in during the day, it is the hands that kill, but that is not the only thing that needs to be identified. One of the most important things that one can stress in a low-light course is “shoot/no-shoot situations.” Of course FOF is the very best way to do this. The problem is that this type of training is not as prevalent as it should be and a full course can be a logistical nightmare due to the time limits imposed due to most people wanting to be able to sleeping at night. Often the instructors are stuck with doing the best they can on the square range. This is definitely a problem that needs to be examined and alleviated. Square range training will only take you so far, and seeing firsthand the effects of a good flashlight in the eyes is an absolute necessity.

On making the threat identification with a flashlight, there are three ways to go about this if you are in a reactive gunfight. You can keep the light on, move, and engage. You can turn the light off, move, turn the light back on, and engage. You can turn the light off, move, and engage with ambient light. This will all be situational dependent on the amount of ambient light, and the user’s skill level. If the user is dependent on a maximum amount of visual input to get the hits, they will have to use their flashlight. But, if the user needs minimal visual input, going at it in the dark can be a huge advantage.

Once again “darkness is your friend!”

Come on out to Las Vegas on August 17-18,2019 and meet me at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club and I will show you that this is not about point shooting…..this is about what is possible because of point shooting. Come on out and pick up some of the most important skill sets, techniques, and concepts and you may ever need. Come on out and learn how to win while fighting at night.

Combat Accuracy

Combat Accuracy

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

 There are many varying opinions on what accuracy is needed inside of combat. Who is correct all comes down to who you believe. The definition that I use when it comes to combat accuracy is as follows, “any hit on the adversary that effects change in the adversary in regards to the OODA loop.” In reality, any hit on the adversary is good for you and bad for them.

 The generally accepted nation wide hit ratio for law enforcement officers is 15-25%. This is with guys that have to qualify often using fundamentals of marksmanship skill sets. The question is why is this hit ratio so low while the qualification standards are so much higher?

 When we look at combat accuracy we need to factor in the balance “to hit and to not be hit.” The reality of not wanting to be hit simply has to be factored into the equation. This is why we see such a low hit ratio. Fundamentals of marksmanship skill sets are not the mythical “end all, be all” inside of combat situations. The situation is the dictating factor…..not the technique focused fundamentals of marksmanship. When we understand the physiological desire to “not get hit” it becomes evident that inside of combat, misses happen. They happen even more readily if you do not train within reality…… the “to hit and not be hit” reality. Once we accept this reality and begin looking at skill sets beyond the fundamentals of marksmanship the hit ratio improves dramatically. There are many police departments across the Nation that have proved this to be fact with their increased hit ratio.

 Let’s look at some of the things that have been taught as acceptable combat accuracy in the recent past.

 The Pump House

 The pump house is that fist size group into the heart. By all means, this is a great area to target. It is my default, but it is not the “end all, be all” fight stopper that many would have you believe. There are numerous stories of dedicated opponents that fought well and continued to kill even after taking hits to the pump house, just because the adversary may very well die, does not mean he is dead yet. Many times people will refer to these guys as “he did not know he was dead yet” guys. I see them more as “I am going to take as many of you with me as I can” guys. There is a huge difference in the mindset and danger level between the two. Shots to the pump house are not a guaranteed immediate fight stopper. In fact there is no guarantee that the adversary is going to eventually die due to the shot to the heart.

 On the square range, there are those that teach the following. “You will be half as good in a life threatening encounter as you are on your best day at the range.” They teach a fist size group, in the pump house, on the range telling you that it will turn into a hand span group in a life threatening encounter. While this all sounds great, the generally accepted hit ratio numbers simply do not back up this claim. In my humble opinion, this would be due to not training within reality

 The Thoracic Cavity

 This is the hand span group that covers the heart and the upper lungs. There is a lot of good stuff in here to cause substantial bleeding and breathing problems. While my default may be the pump house, I would be more than happy with any hits in the upper thoracic cavity. A very good representation of the upper thoracic cavity is a nine-inch paper plate. Good stuff? You bet! Although, the thoracic cavity is not the guaranteed fight stopper that some would have you believe. Not only is it not an immediate fight stopper many people survive chest wounds.

 Cranial Ocular Band

 This is the credit card width band that wraps around the whole head. This targeted area is delineated by the soft tissue around the nose and the eyes. It is also delineated by the thin skull around the temple, the ears, and the base of the skull. Some portray this as a “turning them off like a light switch.” This is simply not so. There are cases of people fighting through hits to the cranial ocular band. The only way to “flip the switch” to turn a person off is with a direct hit to the medulla oblongata or the “apricot” as the snipers call it. The medulla oblongata is part of the “Reticular Activating System”. The RAS is the portion of the brain stem that keeps someone awake. That is one of the reasons that a shot in the medulla literally “flips off the switch”.

 Training With in Reality

 These first three are very much what is taught in the recent past inside of the Modern Techniques based schools. While these targeted areas do offer excellent hits inside of combat, they are not the only alternatives to excellent hits. There are other areas that offer excellent combat hits and many of them are combat proven and come to us from the “old timers.” They come from gunfighters who were in a very substantial number of gun fights or from guys that documented a substantial number of gunfights. We need to face the facts that the Modern Techniques is a competition based system that put a high priority on a successful marketing strategy and an ability to “score” to help perpetuate that successful marketing strategy. The fact is that forcing the students to only target two distinct areas made targets much easier to score. It is the improvement of the “score” that led people to take the exact same course over and over and over again.

 The introduction of Air soft guns to the general public changed all of this. All of a sudden the general public could test everything themselves. This power of testing was no longer solely in the hands of people with an agenda. The information on the realities of a fight that had been held back could no longer be protected. The flood gates were now open and nobody could stop the changing tide. For the critical thinkers out there dumping the status quo was simple. Heck, they were already half way gone just out of common sense. For those people looking to be the best that they could be this often led them back to studying the history of gun fighting and the vast amount of knowledge and combat proven skill sets.

 Let’s take a look at some of the things that the “old timers” considered “combat accurate.”

 Center of Mass

 The definition of center of mass is as follows, “targeting the center of whatever mass that is available.” That means if only a foot is available, target the center of the foot. If only the elbow is available target the center of that exposed elbow. This is all about making a hit. If you target the center and you are slightly off, you will still get a hit. This also means that if you are in low light and both you and the adversary are moving (as a high percentage of gunfights actually come down) you should target the center of mass so that if you are not perfect inside of this difficult situation you will still land a hit. When some of the old timers talked about center of mass, you would often hear them discussing targeting the belt buckle. We need to realize the difference in where they wore their belt buckles. They were not at waist level they were at abdomen level, very close to center of mass. These guys knew the realities of the fight and they had no competition based dogma ingrained in them. Focusing in on the belt buckle gave them a very nice “focal point” at center of mass to lock in on. They understood the seamless integration of sighted fire and instinctive fire and the correct context inside of the fight.

 In “Shooting to Live” Fairbairn and Sykes documented six hundred and sixty-six gunfights inside of a twelve-year period. They saw this one phenomenon so often that they put it in writing “If you shoot a man in the gut, he will most likely drop what is in his hand.”

 In a reactionary gun fight, with decent distances, and dynamic movement, I teach targeting center of mass. We need to take back the lost initiative with our speed, movement, and ballistic effect.  We need to put a hit on board! The best way to insure this is targeting the center of mass. As we settle into the fight, our movement, and our increasingly accurate marksmanship, we can begin bringing the shots up into the thoracic cavity.

 The Central Nervous System (CNS)

 In my Modern Techniques training of the past they always scoffed at the CNS stoppage for anything short of the cranial ocular band. They use to hold their pinkie up and bob it back and forth while saying “go ahead try to shoot it” all while laughing. While entertaining, it was not the truth of the matter. For a CNS stoppage you do not have to disrupt the pinkie size spinal cord, you can often disrupt the CNS by making a hit to the spinal column. A good representation to the size of the spinal column is a 1 1/2 inch side of a typical two by four. When you look at this way, the CNS stoppage is not near as difficult as the Modern Techniques portrayed it to be. But once again we get into the whole “scoring” philosophy and it’s misrepresentation of the facts.

 When we train the CNS should always be taken into consideration, just as center of mass needs to be taken into consideration. The CNS stoppage is a prized and worthy goal. For a squared up adversary, by all means target his center line and his CNS. If the adversary is bladed we need to balance our targeting of the CNS with our targeting of center of mass.

 The old timers recognized this and even developed tactics and techniques to target the CNS. The zipper is all about targeting the CNS. We are looking for a five to six shots, vertically stringing right up and on the CNS from pelvis to cranial ocular band. The level of “stoppage” is dependent on the height of the hit to the CNS. Hit them low and you take their mobility. Hit them higher and take away their mobility and their arms. Hit them even higher and you take oh so much more. There is very few shots better than a CNS stoppage. Only the “apricot” could be better.

 The Pelvis

 I am not even going to get into this old tired debate. I will just repeat the advice of Jelly Bryce given to Dave James. “Son, if you shoot a man in the nuts…..he will leave you alone.”

 I have not had one male student question the validity of that statement.

 There is so much time spent on debating “the pelvic girdle.” What is usually missing from the debate is the huge number of blood vessels in that area. This brings up another old-timer philosophy, “more holes in, more blood out, lower the blood pressure and win the fight.” You may not break the pelvic girdle and take away mobility, but you are putting holes in and lowering the blood pressure.

 If we look at pure speed of the draw and the irrefutable law of physics and economy of motion, the very fastest that you can be is a draw stroke right out of the top of the holster straight to the adversary’s pelvis (Elbow up/ elbow down.) Combat proven!

 More Reality to Think About

 Resetting the OODA Loop

 The OODA loop is the decision-making process that all human being make. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. It takes the average person .2 -.25 of a second to cycle through this decision-making process. The old timers used this phenomenon for everything that it is worth. The old timers proclaim that any hit on an adversary will buy you .2-.25 of a second. Each hit resets the adversary’s OODA loop. This goes right in line with Fight Focused Concepts philosophy of “Any hits on them is good for you and bad for them.” This also goes hand in hand with shots to “less then optimal” regions of the body, such as the pelvis. We are not worried about the effects of one hit we are looking at the cumulative effect of five to seven shots, within the first two seconds of the fight, dispersed out all over the body. We are using the phenomenon of the resetting of the OODA loop to get as many hits on board as possible until the threat has been stopped.

 Multiple Traumas to Multiple Systems

 The “old timers” were big on staying away from tight groups. They believe in multiple traumas to multiple systems. When the reality of the fight becomes clear this philosophy happens naturally. The biggest thing about them is that they did not worry about a perfect group. They were fight focused not competition focused. This is why this article is a lecture in every one of my Point Shooting Progression courses. So many times I see that concern about the loss of a tight group when we begin pushing the limitations, so many “shaking of the heads” and “looks of disgust.” That is until things are put into perspective. Once the “Combat Accuracy” lecture has been given all of the marksmanship based egotistical nonsense just melts away. Only then can we get down to the serious business at hand.

 “Face” the Facts

 While targeting the cranial ocular band has some benefits, the major down fall is that this requires more precision than most situations will allow. We need to accept the reality that any hit on the adversary’s head it a darn good hit! Sure, make your focal point the bridge of the adversary’s nose, but realize that a slight miss is still a great hit. When we talk about resetting an adversary’s OODA loop any shot to the face has to be a major reset. While I have no proof of this, common sense tells me you just bought yourself more time than just .2 – .25 of a second.

 The Neck

 In my Modern Techniques school I was shooting a drill at twenty-five yards. When we walked up to the target I had one perfect shot dead center into the throat. As they marked it a “three points down” I could not help to think how absolutely stupid that was. Here was a perfect fight ending shot and it was scored as a “peripheral.” Where is the reality in that? I blew out the esophagus and the spinal column.

 I do not know about you all, but the last place in the world I want to get hit is square in the neck. Common sense tells me that a neck shot is a winning shot in most fights.


 It’s simple, any shot on them is good for you and bad for them. It may not be a fight winning shot, but there is a whole lot more coming and it is coming fast and accurately. Stay fight focused, not score focused, spread the love, and shoot them to the ground.

 Combat shooting is nasty business. You are not going to be perfect, you are going to fight within what ever the situations allows you. You will need every edge that you can get to be the very best that you can be. You need to be able to fight inside of the realities of the fight, not inside of the made up realities of the recent past. Learn from the very best that had no agenda…..look to the history of the gunfight and seamlessly integrate the best of the old with the best of the new.