Being a Slave Too Your Grip Chapter 15

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

Back in 2005, when I first started teaching dynamic movement to every direction on the clock, I would often witness the same thing over and over again, within a certain cross-section of the students. We would be moving to the right rearward oblique (the 5:00) and the right-handed students would inevitable end up in a back pedal. It was odd, I simply could not figure out why they kept doing it, and no matter how many times I would demo it easily and successfully, they would still end up back peddling.

I was teaching a course in Georgia and a very squared away student and friend was running the drill and he kept back peddling. Since he was also an Instructor, I felt as if this was the point that I had to figure out why this phenomenon kept happening. I had him run it over and over again trying to see what he was doing. Finally, it dawned on me that I was analyzing the wrong person. The correct question is not “what is he doing?” The correct question is “what am I doing that he is not doing?”  So, I had the class gather around to analyze what I was doing. As so as I put the training gun in my hands to walk through the drill, it dawned on me like a bolt of lightning. There I was staring at this grip on my handgun that I had never even realized that I was using. Here we were, thinking the back peddling problem was a footwork problem and all along it was a grip problem.

Finally, I figured out what the difference between what I was doing and what they were doing.

I tend to be very fluid, I accept very few hard rules, and I am very comfortable just doing whatever needs to be done to get the job done. Within this fluidity, I found that I would alter my grip on the gun to relieve tension in my body. By relieving this tension, I never felt the need to unwind from it and back pedal. I found that the students that were having a problem with back peddling did not know that they could alter their grip. They had one grip and they were slaves to that one grip. This left them in a position where they had no choice but to unwind the body and back peddle inside of the designed drill.

As soon as I figured out the problem I started looking at what I was doing. I was adjusting the support side hand into a Center Axis Relock (CAR) like grip. I had never been trained in CAR. but I had seen demos on the internet before. As soon as I diagnosed the problem and began teaching this modified grip, the back peddling went away. This epiphany came out of no where in Georgia and is now a permanent part of the curriculum. I also teach it as a “defense against car jacking grip” from the driver’s seat to the 9:00 through the 7:00.

Do not be a slave to your grip. You can make the hits with some pretty major adjustments on the support side hand.

Understanding the Fluidity of the Grip

We can post videos and pictures, but they do not portray the fluidity of the grip that I am talking about. Once again it is not a “this or that” type of technique it is one fluid concept. If you would like to understand what I am trying to convey, check this out “dry.”

1) Unload your handgun and verify unloaded.

2) For a right-handed shooter, point in to your 12:00 with a standard two-handed grip.

3) Now with as little pivot of the feet or the waist as possible slowly start bringing the gun around counter clock wise towards the 7:00.

4) Keep you support side hand fluid and let it slip around the firing side fingers that are on the front strap.

5) As you do this, the gun will continually move close and closer to your face, until you are in a full CAR like modified grip, with the gun about six inches from your face, pointed in at your 7:00.

On the Trigger Reset

By ninpo_student from The Ready Line and Deus Ex Machina

The problem isn’t trigger reset as much as how it’s taught. Done properly, the end goal is the trigger resets under recoil, allowing you to pick up the sighting system and press off the next round as soon as the sights settle to an acceptable picture. We as an industry in general do a piss poor job teaching that, same with the draw stroke. Both, the way they are taught, are done so the student learns the proper motions in the proper order. We fail to explain to them that the end goal ( for trigger reset ) is to reset the trigger as the slide cycles so the followup shot ( if necessary ) can be taken immediately, without the extra step of resetting the trigger prior.

Both trigger reset, properly executed and slapping, for lack of a better term, the trigger both work to shoot fast. The key with both of them is a firm grasp of the fundamentals ( specifically grip ) and the ability to apply them at speed. To successfully “slap” the trigger and make good hits, you need to grip that gun like a 14 year old discovering masturbation for the first time or the sights will bounce all over hell and back. To reset the trigger at speed, the gun almost needs to float in your hand a bit and reset off a firm trigger finger if that makes sense. It’s easier to show than explain. The guys who came to Roger and I’s carbine class last year got a demonstration of what I’m talking about, albeit with a carbine vs a pistol.

All of which begs the question, how fast is fast enough ? The answer, like nearly everything in the application side of training, is it depends. The speed I need to successfully win a match is not the speed I need to win a gunfight. While the two are similar in that I need to engage a target under stress against the clock ( the bad guy in a fight and competitors in a match ), the other variables are vastly different. In a match I know I’m firing a certain number of rounds from this position at theses targets, and barring a miss or malfunction I’m off to the next firing position. In a gunfight I’m constantly evaluating the environment, the effects or lack thereof my rounds are having on target, the relative positions of my teammates or other bad guys, non-combatants in the mix, etc. those additional environmental details require time, however minuscule an amount, to process and act upon. Those factors control the speed you can engage at.

The shooting part of gunfighting is only 10% of the game. It’s a foundational 10%, obviously, but only 10%. Those other factors I mentioned above and a thousand things I didn’t are all in play too. If it’s your first gunfight you’ll have the added stress of that. That’s why we should be continually building up our foundation. Now, as a shooter, I’m never satisfied with where I’m at, I’m always looking to improve my game. I’m never as fast as I want to be, never as accurate as I want to be, etc., simply because I don’t know what particular sub-skill will be required to win my next gunfight ( my wife says no more, but I’m not too old yet…… ).

The other part of the problem is that we tend to isolate speed and precision when in reality they exist together as two sides of the same coin. Part of the issue is the YouTube and Instagram heroes who spend an afternoon shooting so they can post the one good run they had that day, or speed up the runs they did to make them appear faster. If you notice, most of them rarely show the target they are shooting at, for the simple reason at it either looks like a shotgun patterning at 25m or they flat-out missed. Speed is the byproduct of smoothness and accuracy. It’s the end result of eliminating excessive motion and ingraining a solid neural pathway for the skill in question. When speed is our end goal, we sacrifice smoothness and the elimination of excess motion to do it fast.

Watch dudes trying to go fast who don’t have it down and they look like they are having a fucking seizure. Now watch Leatham, Defoor, Chapman, etc shoot and it looks slow as fuck until you check out the timer. That’s what the proper combination of speed AND accuracy looks like. It’s what we should be striving for. Unfortunately it’s hard work and past a certain point gains are increasingly incremental and harder to come by. It’s so much easier to just rip it out of the holster and slap the shit out of the trigger and explain away the shit show the target is displaying…….

Some Things in the Works for 2018 with Deus Ex Machina

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

I just finished my last few courses for 2017 and have begun looking at 2018.

I ran a pretty light schedule in 2016 and 2017 due to having some family issues that needed my attention. Those things have fallen into place and I am looking to pick up some lost momentum. I have been looking at the market and trying to figure out what moves need to be made to regain that momentum. I just kept coming back to the same thing over and over again……the basics, marketing, and creating a new student base. The market is flooded with the guys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and selling out courses across the nation is a thing in my past. I’m not saying that I can never get back to that, what I am saying is that it will take a lot of hard work, a really good plan of action, some definite adjustments, and a strong relationship with really good people.

The basic courses and the building of a new student base has always been an obstacle that I had trouble with. The biggest problem was actually having a facility to make that happen. On the most part, my range has always been good to me, but that is not the facility that I am speaking of. What I am talking about is a place with a classroom, an indoor training area, and a place that is professional and functional. What I am talking about is a place to get out of the extreme weather conditions of Las Vegas, where the newer students can be comfortable enough to invest the time to get a proper introduction and for older students to gather, network, train, and build a community.

This one issue has dogged me for years. This one issue is an obstacle that has held me back from being able to do what I know needs to be done.

Tonight I went to check out Deus Ex Machina’s new gun smith shop and met with a couple of the founding business owners Ben and Kerry . While being showed around, it became clear that a mutually beneficial relationship between us could be very good for all parties involved. Small classes can be held in the conference room, large classes can be held in the large shop. Gun smith service, armorer courses, training groups, knife courses, CCW courses, seminars, lectures, women’s introductory courses, medical courses and UTM training, can all be done here.

This is something that we have talked about for over a year, but all parties involved have been very busy. It look as if things may finally be falling into place.

Here are a few photo’s showing the facility. The one photo that is missing would be the 2 large roll up doors and the spacious training area.

We are in the beginning stages of coming up with a plan on how to make a huge impact on the Las Vegas Market. I will keep you apprised as we hopefully nail it down.