By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Many students come to me in order for me to teach them to becomes as deadly as they can possibly be inside of a reactive gun fight. Many of these same students still refuse to ingrain some of the most fundamental aspects of reactive gun manipulations.
Here is a fact that I tell nearly all of my PSC students. “There is no way to be the very best of the reactive gun fighters if you do not have the very best of reactive manipulations.” The very core of this failure comes down to not getting the gun up into your work space and up into your line of sight.
It still amazes me the number of students that want to hold their guns down at hip level, with their eye balls out of the fight, while manipulating their guns like it was nothing more than an administrative issue. I know for a fact that FFC has covered this extensively inside and outside of the courses. I know for a fact that we have explained why we believe that this is so very important. I know for a fact that we have opened the floor to debate the merits of “gun up and eyes up” compared to “gun down and eyes down.” This is a debate that I felt was put to rest, yet I keep seeing people inside of “gun fighting” courses acting as if it was a “target shooting” courses. Since I have never heard one reasonable explanation on why “gun down and eyes down” was a better way to do things, it has become clear to me that there must be an issue with complacency for this problem to continue to occur.
In my opinion, it does not matter what the so-called experts of the past have said about there being two or three ways to manipulate your gun. It is my belief that there is only one way to manipulate your gun and you should do it that one way every time. This method should be exactly what you would do in the deepest of the trouble. “Get that gun up” in front of your face, frame the adversary while looking past your gun, use your peripheral vision to manipulate your gun, and glance at the gun if you need to. Anything short of that is ingraining failure.
Sometimes gun fights are chaotic events with innocents interspersed among the adversaries. If you look down you could lose the adversary and come back up on an innocent. I have seen this time and time again inside of non-chaotic training drills such as the Zigzag Drill. The student is shooting at his target while moving, the gun goes down, the eyes go down, then the gun comes back up on the wrong target. Somewhere around 50% of the student that have run the Zigzag Drill and takes their eyes off of the adversary have come back up and shot the wrong target.
“Get that gun up!” is the term that I use to remind you that you have fallen back into your administrative thinking while training to become a reactive gun fighter. The two simply do not go together.
The situational awareness of “gun up and eyes up” is not just about keeping track of your adversaries, it is also about keeping track of your teammates and insuring that you do not cover them. If my gun is up and my eyes are down range I dramatically reduce the chance of covering my team members.
How many times have you seen the gun go down, the eyes go down, and the muzzle begin to drift off of the line of attack? Inside of training this is absolutely unacceptable! If I set down a general guideline that states “I am only allowed to cover the dirt around my feet, directly to the threat, on the threat, and above my threat” the chances of me covering my friends drops substantially. This is a very important concept while training inside of teams. The last thing that I want to do is train with a teammate that holds his gun at waist level, pointing in varying directions, with his eyes down and on his gun, while taking car of his manipulations. It is one thing if we are taking incoming fire and he is holding his gun down to manipulate so as not to flag his position, but training is another deal.
Last weekend I taught an “Introduction to Team Tactics” course and this safety concern is one that has to be addressed before you can progress into the more advanced drills. When we are running bounding drills you simply have to “get that gun up” in order to take care of your teammates. It is this context that simply demands that you ingrain the proper way of doing things. If you do not believe it to be a big deal, you may change your mind when we send you packing because you can’t stop pointing your gun at your friends and team members because you have ingrained a bad habit of being lazy and complacent.