Combative Pistol, Part 3

By Ian Strimbeck

02/19/2018

In the previous articles in this series, we have gone over the integration of a combative draw stroke with pistol use. The pistol is traditionally used with our target at distance but most violent encounters are unforgiving and chaotic. Therefore, we should understand how to utilize the pistol in a combative sense where we may not have the benefit of distance and need to create it, or we are forced to compress the gun due to situational or environmental hazards. This final installment will go over effective integration of off-hand fending techniques and the often omitted concept of safe re-holstering. As with my previous articles, the following information is credited to Craig Douglas and his efforts with Shivworks, the Shivworks Cartel, and my personal experience teaching these concepts to my students.

The pistol is traditionally used with our target at distance but most violent encounters are unforgiving and chaotic.

When it comes to fending positions there are two that serve a specific purpose, whether offensive or defensive. Both are to be utilized while our pistol is still in the #2 position with the thumb pectoral index. The vertical elbow shield serves the role of a defensive fending position. This is when we take our non-dominant arm and wrap the hand around the back of our head. This will place our forearm covering the temple of the skull and have our elbow pointed out. It is a decent block to protect our head from a blow, and to ultimately keep us upright and conscious. Everyone quickly realizes after being in a fight that it is the over rotation of the head that leads to a knockout. By keeping the head braced against our forearm we can create a makeshift cradle to prevent any additional trauma. Furthermore, if the situation presents itself we can use the point of the elbow to crash back into the target. The elbow while extended is an extremely weak joint in the human body, but when bent it is on the strongest. Hence why you see elbow/knee strikes in Muay Thai being so devastating.

... if the situation presents itself we can use the point of the elbow to crash back into the target.

Next up is the horizontal elbow shield. This is a fending position that should be looked at in more of a combative, or offensive, application. The idea is to once again have you non dominant arm horizontal and then bending the elbow so your fingertips touch your opposite shoulder. Therefore, your elbow should create a point near the center of your chest. The arm you're using for the horizontal elbow shield should be protruded and extended out of the shoulder. The reason for this is to have a solid point that we can make contact if need be. The crown of our head should be covered with our eyes looking down. This is a valid example as why we need to have a consistent and verified #2 position, we will not have visual referencing of the gun with these fending positions. The horizontal elbow shield is more or less a biomechanical battering ram that can be used if we're either compressing the gun from #4 to #2 due to approaching unknown space with a hallway or a doorway. By entering this unknown space with the gun in a registered #2 position and a horizontal elbow shield, we can not only protect and retain the gun but also use our elbow in an offensive role if need be. Think about how bad it'd hurt having someone slam into your sternum full speed with the tip of their elbow. Anyone who's been muzzle thumped with a rifle in training knows what I'm talking about.

The horizontal elbow shield is more or less a biomechanical battering ram...

The re-holstering procedure is often an over thought process due to many thinking of it as being "administrative." Whether pre, during, or post fight nothing is administrative especially post-shooting when we may be processing additional information all the while with an elevated heart rate. If we think about re-holstering in confined spaces either to go hands on with a suspect or that we have deemed the area safe and under our control, muzzle awareness should be at the top of priority. Especially if we have our loved ones next to us or partner with us, we shouldn't be pointing muzzles at people who we care about. Often with strong side carry people re-holster in a poke/prod method, and end up either pointing the muzzle inboard and flag their torso or completely miss the holster, cant it outboard and flag someone else. A simple fix is to keep a neutral/locked wrist as we reverse the draw stroke process, raise the elbow as high as possible in the #2 position and it should simply go right back into our holster. For appendix carry, people often flag people to their weak side during the reholstering. Similar to strong side, we should keep the idea of a locked wrist if coming back to the #3 position. Instead of breaking the wrist to re-holster, which will unintentionally induce the flagging to our weak side, we need to think about turning the pistol flat while bringing our arm horizontal almost in a "chicken wing" fashion. This will not only keep the muzzle oriented downrange, but also create distance if re-holstering with someone to your strong side. From there you simply orient the muzzle downward to your holster while still maintaining a locked wrist.

Especially if we have our loved ones next to us or partner with us, we shouldn't be pointing muzzles at people who we care about.

So now after having a formal understanding of the #1-#4 draw stroke method along with the utilization of off hand fending techniques, all that's left is a basic understanding of where and how it can all be applied. As originally stated in part one of this article, defensive handgun shooters need to get out of the "always going to full extension" mentality. Now obviously, if we're purposely shooting outside of clinch range there's no reason to compress the gun. Although, it'd still be in your best interest to somehow integrate compression>extension or extension>compression based shooting. We can do this by starting with our forehead on the target and drawing to the #2 position with either of the fending positions and working our way to extension. Counter to that we can start in reverse by starting outside of clinch range and walking towards the target simulating they're crashing into us and finishing in the #2 position with a fending technique. As with any form of combative training, trying it in real time, safely and under a trained eye is extremely important and ultimately for your survival.

... all that's left is a basic understanding of where and how it can all be applied.

Article By Ian Strimbeck
Hand-to-Hand, Grappling, Edged Weapons
I am constantly evolving how I teach so as to bring the best knowledge to my students which will therefore allow them to be better able to answer the call if violence is the only option.

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