Calling Out All Fight Focused Concepts Alumni

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

You guys know who you are and you guys understand the levels that we reach. What most highly trained people believe to be impossible, is ordinary to you. There is a reason that in the past we sold “PSP Alumni, Team Infidel T-shirts” and that is because we are a group of people with a higher understanding and skill level than the vast majority of highly trained people out there. My student base has forced me to write new curriculum’s in order to continue to challenge them, because the study of “the amazing human machine” has proven that there are still no limitations in sight.

100_2355I have nothing but the deepest respect and immense pride for my Fight Focused Concepts (FFC) Alumni,   but there is one thing that bothers me. It is a simple question……straight to the heart of the matter. You know me, I say what I believe and that question is;

“Are you really as good as you think you are?”

In my honest opinion, if you have not taken your FFC skills into fighting at night you may not know what you do not know.

70% of all gun fights are in low or no light situations. The vast majority are reactionary in nature. If you think that taking the FFC courses in the day light has adequately prepared you for those situations, you may be sorely mistaken. LLPGFMarch5-62011103[1]

If you are a FFC alumni and have wondered what the next level is, I have been teaching it for ten years now……….in the “FFC Fighting at Night” Courses. Three years ago, I added Force on Force – Fighting at Night to the mix. These two course are some of the most advanced handgun training courses in the world.

Until you can do in the dark, what you can do during the day, you are not as squared away as you think you are.

If you want to be the best that you can possibly be, that means that you have to make sacrifices. The night fighters that I train sacrifice by training till midnight, by taking an extra day off of work, and by doing whatever it takes to get the most valuable training that the training world has to offer. They do not find excuses, they do not look for reasons, they plow through the logistical problems and do what has to be done.

“When the sun goes down the entire battlefield changes.”LLPGF March 5-6, 2011 015

Are you as ready as you think you are?

If you cannot run the FFC movement matrix in the dark…….with no flashlight……using only your ability to drive the gun to the focal point and shooting off of muzzle flash, at the same level as you do during the day light……..you may not be as good as you think you are.

You are not an advanced level fighter unless you are a night fighter!

Come on out to Las Vegas on March 21-24, 2015 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 dominate while fighting at night.

The Double Edge Sword and Force on Force Fighting at Night

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

LLPGFMarch5-62011220

 “You do not know what you do not know!”

 This has been one of my top catch phrases. The reason for that is because it has been the absolute reality of the firearms training industry since the middle of the 1900’s. When we see skill sets or tactics that are staunchly defended, beyond any common sense, that we know does not work against a living, thinking, and resisting adversary “you do not know what you do not know” is the very core of the discussion.

The difference between Fight Focused Concepts student base and most of the other students of the gun is that we accept the fact that everyone is ignorant about something. We understand that the word “ignorant” is not an insult…….it is an obstacle that most be surpassed…….it is a challenge that must be met and conquered.

Unfortunately, there is some training out there that is so difficult to get, that even our students have not stepped up to the challenge. This leaves many of them in the position where they may not be as squared away as they think they are, and you know what that means.

”You do not know what you do not know!”

One of those training opportunities that are often missed out on would be low light force on force (FOF.) The reason for this is clear it can be a logistical nightmare for the student and for the instructor. But really, is inconvenience a legitimate reason to miss out on some of the most important training that you can possibly receive?

When we look at the “most likely” of a civilian encounter it is going to be a reactive event in low light conditions. If you have not tested your skill sets against a live, thinking, and resisting adversary you are not near as ready as you think you are. I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but I am not here to baby my students, hold their hands, or powder their little tushies, I am here to make them as deadly as they can possibly be. My students know that I will tell them the truth……good or bad! I have been running low light course every year for the past seven years. I know how many students have actually trained with me in low light. Straight up, the numbers are not good considering the quality of students that we have.

One of my biggest concerns is that the student base has not had a chance to experience “the double edge sword” of FOF and fighting at night. “The double edge sword” is loosely defined as “what works on you will work on your adversary and what works on your adversary will work on you.” This means that we must experience everything that is in our war bag, from the bad guy’s perspective. We must also know everything that is in the bad guy’s war bag so we know what may be coming, along with its effects that it may have on us, so that we may steal his tricks and skill sets and use them against him. Whatever they can do…..we can do!

As Sun Tzu said in “The Art of War”

“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”

There is no way to experience these invaluable lessons unless you take them into low light FOF. Without this firsthand experience as the good guy and as the bad guy it is nothing more than speculation and theory.

In the past we have seen flashlights marketed as tools just short of laser beams that can immediately blind, disorient, and vaporize the adversary. How can you possibly understand the effects of a good flashlight or your ability to fight through those effects if you have not personally experienced them? You have probably heard that “the flashlight is a bullet magnet.” How would you know whether this is true if you have not been on both the giving end and the receiving end of the confrontation? We have heard that if you have good point shooting skills it is best to fight in the dark because you have superior skills over your adversary. How would you know if your skill sets are good enough to meet that challenge if you have not put them up against a resisting adversary?

How do your dynamic movement skill sets hold up against an adversary that is moving dynamically……in the dark? Do you know the best way to use your flashlight after you have made the ID? Do you keep it on and engage? Do you turn it off and engage? Or do you use something in between those two concepts? Do you know the tricks that bad guys use to hide their accessed weapons? Have you seen those tricks used at night and do you know what the tattle-tells are? Have you learned how to do it yourself? How do you handle a profile individual at night? What are some easy tricks to help you remember how to deal with a profile individual? Do you know what flashlight position is best for each situation? Do you have your handgun/flashlight manipulations down pat? Have you figured out all of the body mechanics to be as good as you can possibly be with a flashlight in one hand and a handgun in the other? How do you search with a flashlight? How do you take that corner? How do you engage after you have clear that corner? How helpful are your night sights in a reactive situation? How does the RMR compare to the nights sights?

I could go on and on!

If you do not definitively know the answer to each of these questions, you may not be near as deadly as you think you are. Over 70% of all gun fights happen in low light! Have you trained properly for this reality? This is not target shooting……this is not a bright sunny day at the range! This is the down and dirty reality of fighting for your life or the lives of your love ones.

If you have not trained for a reactive gunfight at night, you have trained for substantially less than 30% of the fight!

Reality is ruthless.  Train accordingly!

Come on out to Las Vegas on March 21-24, 2015 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.

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. This is the ninth year that I will be teaching my low light curriculum.

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

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 March 21-24, 2015 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.

Flashlight in the Hand

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

Avoiding the Profile Individual/Deterring the Profile Individual/Dominating the Profile Individual

“The flashlight in the hand” philosophy is the tactic of carrying a small, powerful, tactical flashlight in your non-dominant hand whenever you are in a risky area after the sun has gone down. Whether you are walking the dog, exercising, or making a run down to the grocery store/Wal-Mart, if you are going to be in a public place after sundown, it is the tactic of always carrying your flashlight in your hand.

The main reason for you to do this is because the vast majority of the times that you may need your flashlight, in a self-defense situation, if it is not already in your hand you will most likely never get it into your hand. The number one reason for carrying a flashlight is for making the identification (ID) of the hands and the waistbands for weapons, since our visual acuity is cut in half in low light. It is the hands that kill and the waistband is where bad guys (BG) usually keep their weapons. The number two reason for carrying a flashlight is to disrupt the vision of the adversary. A bright light in the eyes not only disrupts the adversaries vision but it allows the good guy (GG) to work behind a wall of light. When the adversary can no longer see you, that causes doubt and uncertainty. This uncertainty may be all that you need to deter an attack.

A flashlight is not necessarily a fighting tool. I do not need the flashlight to make the hits. It is much more valuable as a physical deterrent (BG cannot see GG) and a visual disruptor (BG’s vision is 5% of what it was just a second before.) If you need to fight with the light on you are creating a constant focal point to attack. If you can disrupt that adversaries vision, turn the light out and move, there is no focal point to follow, there is only blinded bewilderment! Even if they recover, you can take their vision again. We have all heard “A flashlight is a bullet magnet” but this does not have to be the case if you “see what you need to see” and “blind as you need to blind” then turn the flashlight out. If you remove the constant focal point the liabilities of the bullet/knife/club magnet decrease. It is the lessons of when to use the flashlight and when not to use the flashlight that are the most valuable of the lessons. Being able to shoot with the flashlight in conjunction with the gun is mildly interesting, that is entry-level knowledge. Knowing when to blind, when to turn the flashlight off, when and where to move, and when to turn the light back on is the advanced knowledge. This knowledge is not possible without thorough testing inside of low light FOF and from both sides of the coin. You have to be both the GG and the BG to learn the lessons as they need to be learned. The reality is that all of this knowledge is useless if your flashlight is at home, in your car, or even in your pocket. If it is not in your hand when you spot the profile individual, it will probably never make it into your hand.

The term “profile individual” (PI) speak for itself. This has nothing to do with race or sex. Trouble and danger comes in all races and in both sex. Trouble and danger has a very distinct look and feel, if you have been around the block a couple of times, you know what I am talking about. If you cannot recognize trouble and danger you may just need to be removed from the gene pool. Recognizing trouble and danger starts with profiling. Forget about all of those politically correct idiots out there and let’s get down to the bottom line. If you do not profile you are a fool! There is a very low danger level from a well-groomed man in an expensive business suit or an elderly couple taking a walk in a park. But there is a higher danger level from groups of urban youths, especially in bad parts of town or where poverty is rampant. This is all just common sense here.

If you are out at night, doing whatever it is that you have to do, and you see a PI that is going to cross your path here is a very quick overview of how to handle the PI.

Profile; It always starts with profiling!We must profile who is in our general vicinity while we are out after sun down. BG use the cloak of darkness to hide themselves and to hide their intent. Without profiling everything else that follows is worthless. Making the ID on a PI is the first piece of your back story. Back story is very important stuff, nothing happens inside of a vacuum. Collecting and building good pieces of back story allows you to build the information to facilitate making the decisions that you are going to have to make. The more pieces, the better the back story, the better the back story the quicker you will be able to work through your OODA loop. If you make a PI and he has orientated to you, the next thing that you need to do is as follows.

Avoid; Make a directional change to your movement and begin looking for other players. Choose a direction that will require the PI to reorient to you. If there is no re-orientation, that is a good thing, but keep your eye out for any other players/accomplice’s along with the original PI. If the PI reorients to you, you have just succeeded in forcing the BG to show you his hand. You have created the second piece of the back story to further facilitate your decision-making process. You now know the BG is keying on you. There are not coincidences! In low light you cannot allow the BG to close ground on you. You must stop his ingress! Here are some basic concepts to help stop the BG from closing ground you. The next two thing listed may need to be put into action simultaneously, but they are set down in order of importance.

Command; With a commanding voice and in conjunction with a flashlight in the PI eye’s order them to “Back off!” In low light, with a quality flashlight the PI will see nothing but the light. You will have disappeared to him and all he will see is the source of the light and you will be cloaked behind a wall of light. If the first “Back off!” and blinding does not work, that is the third and another huge piece of the back story. Give them one last chance (the fourth piece of the back story) and get louder and more “street.” Sometimes the street only understands “street”………“BACK THE F**K OFF! While the commands and flashlights are being used you will most likely want to doing two other things simultaneously.

Move/Monitor; It is my opinion that you should mitigate the urge to stop and square up to your adversary. I feel that you should keep moving in order to disrupt the adversaries ability to begin working through his OODA loop. By continuing to move you take away the adversaries ability to take a snap shot of the battlefield which is very important to developing a plan of attack. As you command/blind/move you should again monitor the area for any other accomplices. Since you are hidden behind a wall of light to your primary adversary, you should be able to look around quickly for other players, without the primary adversary even knowing that you have taken your eyes off of him. If the PI is still reorienting to you, you probably have enough back story (fifth piece) to articulate reasonable fear. Some people feel that they need to ID the weapon, but FOF training has proven that action beats reaction. If you are unable to ID that something is very wrong, with all of the back story that has taken place, you may be deep into the very worse of positions…….denial! This is where all of your training comes to the forefront. This is where you find out if “your line in the sand” has been thought through well enough. This is where all of your “what if” mental preparation has really prepared you well enough. This is where you find out about the reliability of your gut feeling, and your ability to act on it. This is where it gets as personal as anything that you have ever dealt with.

If in your mind you can articulate that it is go time, then it is on.

If the threat or weapon has been identified that leads us to the next phase of the fight.

Access; When the line in the sand has been crossed, keep moving, access your weapon, and get to work. It is time to fight with everything you have. Accessing your weapon, from concealed carry, with a flashlight in your hand is a skill set that you must own. There are two methods that you need to know, the one hand draw stroke (circular flagged thumb) and the clearing of the garment with the flashlight hand (three digit crab claw.) Which one you use is situational and user dependent. This draw stoke from concealment is the most likely thing that you are going to blow, your “flashlight in the hand” draw stroke needs to be to the point that you have it down cold while moving. With these two draw stroke methods you have the option of keeping the flashlight in the eyes or turning if off. Either way, the adversaries vision is going to be extremely limited. If you keep the light on and draw, everything that you do is cloaked by the wall of light, but the direction and pace of your movement can be tracked through the visual connection to the light source. If you turn the light out, you cannot be tracked periodically, but the adversaries vision will eventually return. Of course you can always give him another blast of light and take it away again. Once you have accessed the weapon and driven it to the focal point it is time to take care of business.

Negate; Negate the threat with fast and accurate hits while either hiding behind the wall of light or under the cloak of blinded darkness. I cannot possibly express how important it is to have the “double edge sword” knowledge and experience of fighting from both sides of this confrontation. Without this firsthand knowledge and experience, you have no clue of the true dynamics of the fight and the power and the limitations of the “flashlight in the hand” philosophy. Experience leads to confidence, confidence leads to absolute knowledge, absolute knowledge leads to total domination. This is where you want to be, anything short of that means that you have not put in the work and you are not as ready as you think are. Fighting at night is a skill set that can only be obtained through proper preparation to prevent piss poor performance. If you have not put in the time……face that fact for the fact that it is. Reading this article is simply not going to get it done!

Once the primary adversary has been negated and determined out of the fight it is time to move on to the next progression.

Scan; BG’s tend to travel in packs. Just because you did not make any accomplices early on does not mean that there are none. You are going to need to scan 360 degrees to make sure that there are no other players that may need your attention. Scanning may best be done while moving to a place of cover or tactical advantage. Whether you scan with your flashlight or not depends on the ambient light and the presence of darkened areas. Remember the rule of thumb, “if you are in the dark, stay in the dark, if you are in the light, light up the dark.” Once you have verified that there are not other players to engage and verified that the primary has not reanimated it is time to move onto the next step of the progression.

Reload; Now that there is a lull in the fight it is time to top off your gun. If we accept the fact that “if the flashlight is not in your hand at the start of the fight, it will not make it into the hand” philosophy then it would seem wise to be able to load your gun without stowing your flashlight. The “three digit crab claw” allows for a “reload with retention” all while keeping the flashlight in your hand. If you are concerned about the effects of the adrenaline dump, you can stow the flashlight for your reload. Either way, get that gun topped off.

Evaluate; The next step is a medical evaluation of yourself. Since the fight is still not guaranteed to be over I would try to mitigate lighting yourself up or putting away the flashlight. The “three digit crab claw” can still feel the body for wet spots. Another option is to shove the flashlight in between the pinkie and ring finger of the gun hand, bezel up (consistency across categories) A quick lighting of the ground for blood droplets may be acceptable. If you find a wet spot in the groin area, you are going to have to ID the color of the fluid. If you find yourself to be ok medically, it is time to proceed to the next step.

Proceed/Police; Due to the fact that there are some places that if you do not get the heck out of there immediately , you could be fighting the whole neighborhood. It is not always as clear as “call the police and wait for them.” Sometimes you are going to have to get the heck out of there, then call the police and arrange to meet them somewhere. Unfortunately, it can be even worse than that. You may have to get out of there and never say a word to anyone. There are places in this great Country that do not allow good people to defend themselves or their loved ones from evil. In this case, since you primary mission is to get home and continue to take care of your loved ones you may just need to proceed on with your life without bringing the police in. It is a shame that there are places in America that are like this, but it is what it is! A good person needs to make it home to his/her family and not allow laws that are contrary to God’s law from keeping you of fulfilling your primary mission in life.

Much of this information has been around for a very long time. I have just put my spin on it from within the “flashlight in the hand” philosophy. If we look at these ten things that we need to do to make it through dealing with a profile individual, it may look like it is next to impossible to remember. Using a mnemonic device, to help aid this philosophy into being easier to remember, is a very good idea. Most mnemonic devices are a little cheesy, but easy to remember…..this one is no different.

PACMANSREP

Pacmans rep was, if you were smart enough and fast enough you could succeed in life and avoid all of the goblins. From the very start of the encounter……and all the way through the encounter, If you can remember this cheesy little mnemonic device, you can avoid the profile individual, deter the profile individual, and dominate the profile individual.

Come on out to Las Vegas on March 21-24, 2015 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.

Point Shooting and Fighting at Night (Revised)

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

It is a well documented fact that the vast majority of gun fights (70%-80%) happen in low light situations. Obviously, the criminal element prefers to operate under the cloak of darkness. It is also pretty well documented on how much more difficult it is to make the hits in reduced light. The documented drop in hit percentage during well-lit gun fights compared to reduced light gunfight is 20%-25%. This could be for two very distinct reasons, difficulty in getting to your sights while fighting at night, and the brain starving for the reduced visual input of the entirety of the encounter due to lack of light. Even with the advent of night sights and the usage of a flashlight, having the ability to point shoot is an absolute must own skill set for advanced level fighting at night.

It is my opinion that night sights have severe limitations. The most obvious (at least to me) is your ability to actually be able get to them during a reactive encounter. If we can agree that the ability to get to the sights is very difficult in a reactive day light encounter, then it is clear that the ability to get to them in low light is going to be even more difficult. Another obvious limitation comes down to speed. Sights take time to line up and from my experience night sights take even longer. Lining up night sights also require the gun to be at line of sight, which does not work well within the fluid reality of the retention concept. If 50% of all gun fight occur inside of 3 yards that means that well over 50% of all gun fights have a retention problem that must be dealt with. Another “line of sight” problem comes down the necessary visual input of the entirety of the encounter. This is a very important point! The necessity to be at line of sight while the brain is starving for the visual input of the entire encounter, due to darkness, can be very detrimental. Having the ability to work “below line of sight” becomes even more important during low light situations, than during the day. This is obvious due the lack of visual input that can be taken in during low light situations. To further hinder this lack of visual input by having the gun up in your face can be very counterproductive.

Another dramatic limitation of night sights is the fact that their niche is when you have enough light to ID the threat but not enough light to see your standard sights. In an outdoor environment with no artificial light, night sights are really only good during the waning light right after the sun goes down or as it is about to come up. So the reality is that night sights are only good for a small period of time or under a small percentage of lighting levels. To think that all you need is “sighted fire” skills and night sights is a huge mistake. Night sights have their place! Night sights and their usage are just another tool to own inside of your tactical war bag. There are places what you can significantly benefit from night sights, but they are not nearly as valuable as the marketing will lead you to believe. They are by no means the “be all, end all” that some companies will lead you to believe.

Do I have night sights on my “go to” self-defense handguns……..you bet I do! But they are only pieces of the puzzle in my night fighting strategies and tactics.

I have had night sights on my self-defense guns for years. I have trained with them at night extensively. I have never been very happy with my performance with the night sights. I am not sure what the problem is, whether it was me, my eye sight, or the sights, I was just never satisfied with my performance while training to fight at night, even with over 200 hours of formal “sighted” low light training. Learning and refining my point shooting skills changed all of this…. and changed it dramatically. I found that I did not have to line my night sights up, I could use them as aids for both my sighted and unsighted fire.

As a civilian and predominantly as a civilian trainer, I am a firm believer of “only use the flash light when you have to use the flashlight” school of thought. For me this is primarily for making the ID. There are some other uses of course, such as being able to see the terrain, additional threats, finding cover, lighting up the sights, and adversely affecting the adversary’s vision. But all of these have to be weighed carefully with the fact that your flash light is a target indicator which can make it (and you) a bullet magnet. This weighing of the pro’s and con’s is something that has to be considered and worked in your training and not something that you find out while you are fighting for your life. You need to know the difference between the performance and effects of your flashlight while fighting against a gun or fighting against an edged/blunt weapon attack. This knowledge and information is absolutely critical because there is a huge difference between the realities of these differing encounters.

The combination of the use of night sights and a flash light is better than either of them alone, but still does not cover all of the bases that need to be covered. The trifecta of night fighting is the combination of point shooting skill, flashlight skills, and night sight skills (in that order.) This is the only way to have all of your bases covered. This is the only way to have all of the skills/techniques to be able to have the tactics that you will need to prevail while fighting at night. Without all three of these skills, your techniques will dictate your tactics. This is never a wise idea! You must have the skills and techniques that allow you to use the very best tactic to make your strategy work for your specific situation. It is my firm belief that fighting at night without sound point shooting skill or flash light techniques or night sight skills is like fighting with one arm.

It is my opinion that point shooting really shines in five separate arenas.
1) When behind in the reactionary curve
2) Low light
3) Dynamic movement
4) Integration of H2H
5) For those with physical limitations

It is my firm opinion that without quality point shooting skills you will never take these five separate arenas to their full potential. When we look at the extreme possibility of the fight happening when behind in the reactionary curve, in low light, while needing dynamic movement, during the integration of H2H, and while dealing with physical limitations that affect a significant number of us, point shooting is an absolute must own skill set.

“It is not about point shooting, it is about what point shooting allows us to do.”

When we look at the true dynamics of night fighting it becomes very clear that point shooting must be taught to the highest levels possible. High quality point shooting skill sets are even more necessary than a good flashlight and good flashlight skills. They are even more necessary than good night sights and good nights sight skills. The three together is the trifecta for the civilian defender and fighting at night.

Come on out to Las Vegas on March 21-24, 2015 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.