June 2-3, 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Fight Focused Rifle I – The Fundamentals $100 for first day and $200 for both days

June 2-3, 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Fight Focused Rifle I – The Fundamentals $100 for first day and $200 for both days

Fight Focused Rifle I – The Fundamentals

This course covers the fundamentals of fighting with your rifle and will give you the option of taking just the first day or the full two-day course. It is designed as an entry-level tactical training course for those that already have a basic understanding of their rifle, but want to actually begin to apply that basic understanding to the idea of fighting with it, from 5 yards out to 100 yards. This course will be taught in a very safe and controlled manner. A basic knowledge of you rifle, sighting system, and a correct zeroing of your rifle will be mandatory before taking this course. This is not an introductory course.

500 rifle rounds (100 handgun rounds for two-day course only.) As always, bring more if you want to shoot more.

Topics covered in this course include;

  • Safety and basic used of the sling
  • The application of a fighting rifle
  • The correct context of the fight
  • Mindset
  • Loading and unloading
  • Basic manipulations
  • The fighting foundation
  • Grip
  • Fundamentals of marksmanship
  • Use of  your sighting system
  • Sight offset
  • Recoil control
  • Consistent recovery from recoil
  • Working from the sling and various sling positions
  • Ready positions
  • Balance of speed and accuracy
  • Balance of speed and control
  • Failure to stop
  • Basics of shooting from cover
  • Basic positional shooting
  • Reactive manipulations (handgun transition)

Further Reduction of Recoil Anticipation

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts.

There is no way for a live human body to stay perfectly still for any significant amount of time. Simply breathing brings muscles into play and any time muscles are put into action, there will be movement. This is why high level precision shots are taken from braced/supported positions and during the respiratory pause.

While shooting off-hand with a handgun, there will be movement in your sight picture across the targeting area. That is an absolute fact! I call this movement “the inevitable infinity pattern” to make sure people understand just how absolute this movement is. We should attempt to mitigate this movement, but mitigation is all that we can honestly hope for.

Poor marksmanship and the biggest cause of poor marksmanship, recoil anticipation, are all effected by this inevitable infinity pattern. This movement is not the problem. The problem is in the preconceived notion on what is the solution for this movement. Very often, shooters believe the solution is to break the shot as the sight picture passes over the targeted area. This is usually done with the mind screaming “NOW!” at the shooter. This will lead to a jerking of the trigger and very often a recoil anticipation due to the fact that the shooter is not getting a surprise break. The mind screaming “NOW!” at the shooter is a huge issue in regards to poor marksmanship.

The trick to solving the problem is to mitigate the inevitable infinite pattern, accept the inevitable infinity pattern, and press the trigger through the inevitable infinity pattern. At the entry-level to quality marksmanship, we need the surprise break. In my “Recoil Anticipation” article I taught people “a tape” that was taught to me. It is the running of this tape, while accepting the inevitable infinity pattern, and allow you to press off a shot without the brain screaming “NOW!”

As a reminder, the tape is described as this in the “Recoil Anticipation” article;

“Shooter is told to begin applying a small amount of “straight to the rear” pressure on the trigger…..put don’t let the gun fire! Hard focus on the front sight and slightly more pressure……but don’t let the gun fire! A little more pressure……but don’t let the gun fire! Hard focus…..perfect sight picture…..a little more pressure……but don’t let the gun fire. A little more pressure ……but don’t let the gun fire BANG!”

Since 2005, I have successfully cut down the size of “the one hole drill” by over 50%, in my students who have a marksmanship issue with this one simple lecture.



Thumbs Forward/Locked Wrist Grip

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

The grip that I am going to be discussing in this article is nothing new. It has been around for a while, has been taught by some of the best Instructors in the world, used by many of the very best Competitors in the world, who have in turn taught it to the very best Fighters in the world. While it is nothing new, I have found that a very large percentage of my student base does not know about this grip or if they do know about it, they are not using it to its full potential. It really is this “not using it to its full potential” that this article is all about.

The place where I made a name for myself has been about advancing the art in regards to the reactive gunfight. That was my focus for years, well after putting years of study into the proactive gunfight using Col. Copper’s Modern Technique. After bringing the reactive gunfighting pieces of the puzzle up to a decent level and witnessing the world around us changing, my focus switched to a seamless integration of high level reactive and proactive gunfighting. I started teaching handgun courses that were geared towards high level, fight focused, sight fire skill sets. While teaching one of these course in June of 2015, I overheard a couple of very advanced guys discuss the fact the they were getting flyers on their third or fourth shot. This surprised me because I had not noticed that problem and did not know there was an issue. Since this course was a small advanced course I thought it was a perfect time to try to work shop some stuff that I had heard and seen from some of the top Instructors and Competitors in the world. As soon as the three of us started using these grip enhancements, the groups tightened up significantly and the flyers went away. To a man……all three of us improved substantially within minutes.

Since then, I have been studying, using, and teaching this thumbs forward/lock wrist grip. Every time I work with the grip I learn something new. I identify something that I had not identified before and I make connections that I had not made before. This is a very important fact that people need to understand. There is a true learning progression to this grip and just because you were taught it once before, you simply may not be getting all of the benefits out of the grip because you may not be taking it as far as it can be taken, both physically, mentally, and intellectually.

As an Instructor, my job is to provide facts and knowledge so my students can make well-informed decisions. In other words “train the brain and the rear end will follow.” In all of the years that I have been teaching and with all of the controversial stuff that I teach, I have never asked for the student to “do it my way.” I usually accept the toolbox that the student has arrived with. I help add tools, I help organize the tool box, and I teach them how to be better fighters with their newly stocked/organized tool box. But this grip has changed all of that. I now ask the student base if they are willing to give me 2-4 days doing exactly what I am asking them to do. I ask because I feel that it is that important! For the students who come to me, because they know who I am, what I think, and how devoted I am to the advancement of their skill……the answer has always been “yes.” As a matter of fact every student so far has said “yes.”

The teaching of this grip is usually asking somebody to hold their gun like they have never held it before. It is a serious habit change! It is so serious that I usually repeat “new habits” at the start of almost every string of fire as a reminder……because “habits are habits.” Giving this new habit the consideration it deserves takes serious commitment. It is hard! It is uncomfortable! It can be straight out painful! But the significance in the improvement of skill level simply can not be denied. It is a game changer!  Out of all of the important things I have ever passed onto my students, this grip is as important, if not more important, than anything they have ever learned from me……….and I say that earnestly and without hesitation.

It is that important!

Verify an unloaded handgun.

Master Grip

I am going to steal some Bob Vogel quotes here to make sure that we understand that we are changing more than just our support hand. The master grip needs to be high! High under the tang and high under the trigger guard. As we grip the gun with our firing side hand, we are not gripping it like a “monkey holding a hammer.” We are using a “pinching” like motion…….like we are trying to squeeze toothpaste out of 3/4 empty tube. This pinching motion puts forward pressure on the upper portion of the back strap, at the web of the hand and rearward pressure on the lower portion of the front strap, at the little finger. It also puts our firing side wrist into a very flexed downward position. This pinching motion raises the web of the hand at the tang and gets us as high as possible. Guys with ham hock hands may even get cut by the slide at the top of the web of the hand. If you are getting cut…..you are taking the concept of the “pinching” master grip as far as you can take it.

When I first started working with this grip, I was surprised to see that I was better at shooting one-handed than I used to be.  I could not figured out why, because in my limited understanding, I had not made the connection between what my locked support wrist was doing to my master grip. The locked support wrist was forcing me to no longer use my master grip “like a monkey holding a hammer.” The physical change on the support hand was forcing physical change in my master grip…….the concept of the locked down support side wrist was forcing a conceptual change in my master grip. This conceptual change in the “pinching” grip of the master-hand was reducing recoil and allowing me to recover from recoil more consistently. BAM! There it is……I am now better at shooting one-handed just because I changed the way that I used my support hand while shooting two-handed. Oh, and that applies to sighted fire and point shooting, at full extension and in retention positions. This is something that has to be seen for what it is…….something that makes us much better across many portions of the fight continuum. You know how I always say “it is not about point shooting……it is about all of the things that point shooting allows us to do!” Well, guess what! “It is not about a thumbs forward/locked wrist grip……it is about all of the things that the thumbs forward/locked wrist grip allows us to do!” I will be getting even deeper into that fact later in the article.

Locked Down Support Side Wrist

It is my opinion that your new habits should be built around this one aspect of your new grip. This is the most important factor and this is where the vast majority of people do not take it as far as it can go. There are three main reasons that this one aspect of the grip is not taken as far as it can.

  • It is foreign, it goes against what you are already doing, it feels awkward, and it uses muscles and tendons that we are not used to using
  • It is uncomfortable because these seldom used muscles need to be worked into shape and you will get blisters in places you have never gotten blisters before
  • Lack of understanding of the obvious benefits and wondering why you would put in so much work when what you do already works

These are all training issues and every once in a while you need to simply “trust the process.” You need to trust that the guy that you are paying to show you the best information that he can find and that he is teaching you something that he knows will make you a significantly better fighter.

Hold your support side arm straight out in a blade hand, with the thumb on top. Pronate your wrist downward to its full extent and lock it there. Point the thumb straight forward. Your fingers should be pointed roughly at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Your support side shoulder should have risen when you pronated your wrist downward This is your starting point. This is the foundation of your grip and you build the grip from this foundation.

Verify an unloaded gun, pick it up into your “pinching” master grip and mate it to your pronated support side locked wrist. This will give you a thumbs forward grip with the support thumb extremely extended forward on the handgun. Do not worry about having a “full purchase” on the handgun. There may be gaps here and there. The concept you are looking for is “both hands has high as possible with support wrist fully locked downward and firing side wrist firmly flex in your pinching position.”

This locked support wrist will move your support side fingers significantly forward under the trigger guard. There are some things that need to be figured out due to your body/hand type and preference.

  • You will notice a competition for space around your trigger finger that you have never had before. You need to figure out the placement of your fingers so that you are “high and forward” and the trigger finger is not impeded. Please understand that the tips of your index finger is not essential to your grip.
  • You need to figure out your support side fingers “high and forward” under the trigger guard. Some people stay under the trigger guard, some wrap the index finger around the front of the trigger guard. Whatever you find, make sure it is significantly forward. If your support side fingers are not significantly forward, you do not have a locked down wrist.

One Unit

Hopefully at this point you have your hand positions correct, but it is not just about your hand positions…….it is much more about creating one unit. Two hands, plus one handgun, must equal one unit! During a string of fire, there can be zero separation in this one unit. All three components must be one robust unit. This is achieved with the addition of the inward torque put on the top of the grip by rotating the elbows outward. If the elbows are down the inward torque is at the bottom of the gun, where it is not needed. The locked down wrist is taking care of that recoil management. The torque needs to be inward at the top of the gun to hold everything together as one unit. If both hands are not staying securely on the handgun during recoil, you have not mastered making it one unit.

Staging for the Grip

Habits are tough to break and to do so takes  a lot of hard work. To work on ingraining new habits during an explosive sub-one second draw stroke is going to be even tougher. One of the tricks to implement these new habits at a high percentage rate is to stage the support side hand in a manner that best facilitates the correct mating of the hands in the correct new position. If we stick with our old habits of placing the support side hand flat against the diaphragm, on our count one of the draw stroke, you are going to end up in the very same support side grip you have always used. New habits begin with a new staging of the support side hand in the count one. The best way to find this staging position is to reverse engineer it. Start from full extension of your optimal thumbs forward/lock wrist grip, then bring it back to the point where the hands first come together, notice the position of the support side hand. That will be your new staging position for your count one. For me, it is a knife hand with the palm positioned upward, pressed against my diaphragm.  On the firing line, when I am working on ingraining my new habit, my mental focus is all about getting to my new staged position. The new habit is only possible if I nail my new staging position. My new habit is impossible if I do not stage correctly.

The Concept

To commit to the necessary work to go from what you have always done, to something better is hard work. But, I guarantee that it will be hard work well worth the commitment. Remember, this is what the very best Competitors in the world are teaching to the very best Fighters in the world. This is what the very best Fighters in the world are using. That is simply a fact that can not be ignored. If you think you know a better way, all I can say is, if I wanted to commit suicide I would climb your ego and jump to your IQ.

This is all about being faster and more accurate through recoil control and consistent recovery from recoil. I have consistently witnessed a 50% reduction in muzzle flip in my students after I taught them this grip. Better recoil management means we are ready to press off the next shot sooner. That is the speed portion of the equation. The consistent recovery from recoil  is the accuracy portion of the equation. We are able to press the trigger quicker and the front sight has landed in the rear notch in a much more consistent and reliable manner due to dropping back down into a locked wrist position.

I know that there are going to be some people who simply can not do this grip for various reasons. They either can not do it at an optimal level or they can not do it at all. But, what is really important is that we honestly evaluate why we can not do it. Is there a physical reason? Has there been an intellectual decision to not make the changes in habits because it is seen as not needed or not worth the time? These two reasons are totally acceptable. The problem comes when you decide to not try something because it is different, feels awkward, or does not make sense due to your lack of understanding. This is the point where your mind is the limiting factor, where you are holding yourself back from possibly learning something amazing. This is the point where the new information is not the problem……your closed mind and fear of trying something new is the problem.

The Diagnostics

An Instructor regurgitates what he was taught by somebody else. I teacher teaches you how to solve your own problems and how to teach yourself.

When I first stated learning this grip, I watched for a number of things inside of my follow through. Here is my list of things that I look at to diagnose myself whether I am doing this at my optimal level, after a string of fire.

  • Was I able to track my front sight barely leaving the rear notch and did it drop back into place consistently.
  • Is my support wrist locked down to its full potential?
  • Is there any desire to re-adjust my grip after the string of fire?
  • If I open my support side hand, do my fingers point to the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle?
  • Is my support side shoulder higher than my firing side shoulder?
  • Are my elbows out and am I putting inward torque at the top of the handgun?
  • Am I high under the tang with my master grip?
  • Did it feel as if it was all working as one robust unit?

The Amazing Unidentified Benefits

This is the newest and the most important of the intellectual connections that I have made while working with this grip. I firmly believe that 85% of all marksmanship problems come down to one major factor…..recoil anticipation! Recoil anticipation is the absolute bane of a huge majority of shooters that I  have seen or trained. It rears its ugly head at a level that no other marksmanship problem even comes close to. To solve that problem in a “recoil anticipation problem shooter” is the Holy Grail of training…..and I know this from direct experience due to having to fight my way through one of the very worst recoil anticipation problems I have ever seen.

As you read this article, I imagine that many of you have questioned the locking the support wrist down to its full limit. But it is this locking of the wrist that will allow a student with a recoil anticipation problem to help mitigate this nightmare of a problem to the fullest of potential. If the wrist is already locked down to its full limit, how are you going to counteract the inertia of the felt recoil? Where is the “counter acting of the inertia” going to take place? We all know it takes place in the wrist, but now, with this grip, the wrist is maxed out  and has nowhere else to go. The physical act of recoil anticipation becomes very difficult……if not impossible if the support wrist is lock down to its full extent.

I also believe (no actual proof here, but it makes sense to me as a guy who has fought recoil anticipation for my entire life) that it is not just about making it physically difficult (if not impossible) to anticipate the recoil. It is also about absolutely physically dominating the unnatural explosion in your hand and the felt recoil. The psychology of  visually seeing a 2″ muzzle flip drop down to a 1/4″ muzzle flip leads to confidence in recoil management that leads to an understanding that the recoil is something that does not have to be counter acted……something of no concern…..something that is a non-issue.

The True Point of this Article

Nobody taught me this stuff. I mostly heard of it in passing. Many of you have work shopped this with me as we tried to figure it all out, without any formal training in it. It’s a concept that makes sense and most of us see it as a puzzle that is worthy of taking the time with. As I studied this, along with many of you, It became clear to me that people (including myself) like the concept, but it is so foreign they do not embrace it fully at first. What they seem to do is slowly move in the optimal direction as they get more and more comfortable with it. It’s like we move to the optimal use of it, in small increments. This could be just the way that we are wired.

What I would truly like to convey to everyone reading this, is if I could just give you one piece of advice, it would be to forget about how we are wired and jump into the deep end with both feet. Take this concept and push it to its limits. Do not waste your time doing it in small incremental steps.  Lock that support side wrist down to its full limit and take the concept as far as you can take it.

I’ve learned a lot of good stuff, I know a lot of good stuff, I teach a lot of good stuff. This is as important as anything that I have ever learned, known, or taught.

Bottom line.


Turning Fear into Anger and Anger into Fear, Lessons From 1994

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

This was written in response to all of the fear mongering after Sandy Hook. It applies today as much as it did then.

“The best defense is a good offense.”

I am sick and tired of seeing the fear from the Second Amendment proponents. With embarrassment, I have witnessed people who I respect turn into people devoured with fear and worry. I have witnessed so much fear, over the top speculation, hand wringing worry, and straight out tinfoil embracing that I feel that it is time to discuss turning that fear into anger and then channeling that anger to go on the offensive against those that would attack our ability to take care of our families.

We have a very big club in our hands, we do not need to be fearful. We need to make sure that those that oppose our freedom know, without any doubt, if they come after our families security that we will come after their families financial security. In 1994 we swung that big club and we made those that put our families security on the line pay by going right after their families financial security. We fired them, left them jobless, and made them seek another path in life.

In 1994 the Second Amendment proponents helped facilitate a 54 seat swing in the House of Representatives.

Every Republican incumbent standing won re-election. Thirty-four incumbent Democrats were defeated in 1994.

Here are the people that we made pay for turning their backs on our families and make no mistake about it…….they went after our families security and in return we went after their families financial security.

Karan English
Dan Hamburg
Richard H. Lehman
Lynn Schenk
George “Buddy” Darden
Clete Donald Johnson, Jr.
Larry LaRocco
Dan Rostenkowski
Jill Long
Frank McCloskey
Neal Edward Smith
Dan Glickman
Thomas Barlow
Peter Hoagland
James Bilbray
Dick Swett
Herb Klein
George J. Hochbrueckner
Martin Lancaster
David Price
David S. Mann
Ted Strickland
Eric Fingerhut
Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
Jack Brooks
Bill Sarpalius
Karen Shepherd
Leslie L. Byrne
Maria Cantwell
Jolene Unsoeld
Jay Inslee
Speaker Tom Foley
Mike Kreidler
Peter W. Barca

Their names are here as a reminder on just how personal this is.

Remind your representatives at the Local, State, and Federal levels just how personal you will take this attack on your family and remind them about how personal it will affect them if they are on the wrong side of “right and wrong.”

Fear is a killer! Turn your fear into anger and make those that oppose us fear for their families financial security.

March 17-18, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV. Fight Focused Handgun II – The Fundamentals – $100 for first day and $200 for both days

Fight Focused Handgun II – The Fundamentals

This is a two-day fundamentals course that simultaneously teaches sighted and unsighted fire as one connected concept. Most schools teach either sighted fire or point shooting inside of separate courses. Through my extensive experience as one of the top point shooting specialist in the nation, it has become perfectly clear to me that this is not the best way to learn fight focused handgun skill sets. In order to be as dangerous as you can possibly be with a handgun there needs to be a seamless integration of these two distinctly different skill sets into one “just shooting” concept. This course is designed to give you the essential skills that will allow you to excel inside of many varying situations. Along with the skill sets you will also ingrain a confidence that can only be found when the correlation between the two skill sets are worked and understood. Whether it is a proactive gunfight or a reactive gunfight you will learn the skills, knowledge, and the confidence to rise to the occasion inside of the situation that you are confronted with.

You will be given the solid fundamentals that are the essentials of being able to fight with your handgun. This course is designed for those that are seeking the fundamentals of being able to fight with their handgun and for those that are ready for the full commitment level of a full two-day course. This course goes well beyond just an “Introduction” and is designed to take you as deep into the concept of fighting, as is possible inside of a full two-day format. This course will prepare you to safely, effectively, and efficiently proceed into the more advanced courses taught by Fight Focused Concepts.

AMMUNITION: 500 rounds (minimum): As always “Bring more if you want to shoot more”

  •  The mental aspect of the fight
  •  Fight focused handgun manipulations
  •  Eye/hand coordination draw stroke
  •  Study of efficient and effective body mechanics
  •  Fundamentals of marksmanship
  •  “See what you need to see” concept
  •  Physiological effects of a life threatening encounter
  •  The reality of the fight
  •  Fundamentals of combat shooting
  •  Combat draw stroke
  •  Perfect balance of speed and accuracy
  •  Intermediate levels of precision shooting
  •  Introduction to positional shooting
  •  Introduction to shooting from behind cover


Gun Safety Rules and Working in a Team

By ninpo_student of The Ready Line and Deus Ex Machina

Safety is one of those things that is misunderstood as it relates to gunfighting. I hate the term “Big Boy Rules” because it is invariably followed by some retarded stuff that has no business on a range at the level of students its being taught to. We used the term frequently where I used to work, but it was understood there, that it didn’t mean a complete lack of safety for “reality based training”. It simply meant that we were aware that tough realistic training can have severe penalties should something go wrong and you were expected to bring your A game to work everyday to mitigate those risks as much as possible.

Here is my take on the traditional safety rules popularized and simplified by Col Cooper

1. You are responsible for knowing the status of your weapon 100% of the time. We know that all guns are not always loaded, you are required to give it respect due as an instrument of lethal force. People get killed by others doing dumb stuff with “unloaded” guns all the time. Be responsible about it.

2. Keep your finger off the trigger and the safety engaged until your sights on target and you’ve made the conscious decision to shoot. Every round you send downrange in a fight has to be the result of a conscious action on your part. If you don’t want to buy it, fix it or be responsible for it, don’t shoot it.

3. Never let the muzzle sweep anything you are not willing to destroy. In the real world, this is very difficult if not impossible to do, nor is it necessarily desirable. Sometimes you have to point your weapon at someone until you’ve determined if they are a threat or not. If they are, get to work, if they are not, stop pointing your weapon at them.

4. Be aware of your target, its fore and background and what is surrounding it. In a fight, there is going to be screaming non combatants running frantically in all of those areas. Understand the environment you are fighting in and adjust your position in relation to your target to ensure you’ve got the cleanest background you can get and don’t miss.

As you can see there is a great deal of ambiguity in those rules, just like a gunfight. They are a good system, and if you were to break one of them while maintaining the integrity of the others, you will be ok should something bad occur. Break more that one, and all bets are off. We had a couple of absolute no go’s that would send you packing from the assault teams if you broke them. Number One was do not muzzle a teammate. You muzzle should never come closer to a teammate than 1 meter. You generally have about a 15 degree spread off the muzzle to work with, depending on the environment. Muzzling a teammate was a quick trip to the job fair if you did it. Number Two was disengaging the safety without a target or sight picture. It was ( and probably still is ) common for new guys to try and shortcut the system to keep up with veteran assaulters by disengaging the safety when entering the room for the perceived speed advantage of doing so. This one you may survive the first time someone caught you, depending of whether or not they thought you were salvageable. There would be some painful and humiliating punishment to remind you of your failure to reinforce that this is not acceptable. Do it again and you were looking for a new job.

CQB is a thinking mans game, much more like chess than checkers. In addition to the safety rules ( always in effect, you have to fit them to the environment you are working in ), there is the structure, your teammates, non combatants, potential IED threats, victims, enemy combatants, and a thousand other things. You need to internalize the safety rules ( or principles really, because that’s what they really are ) and understand how to apply them and when. Put in the work to do it right, spend the time thinking about the principles and what they are designed for. Avoid the commercialized version of “Big Boy Rules”, it usually means something with little to no training value with a severe penalty for failure. Big Boy Rules simply means you understand the application of the safety principles and are ready to bring your best game to the show, while understanding the penalty for failure……..

Get That Gun Up!

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.

Complacency kills!

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.