Today, I was forwarded a technical video regarding some close range gun handling. The instructor in the video is a police officer and presents his information using a variety of buzzwords. He talks about pressure testing, 'reality based' technique, and force on force.
These words used to mean something, but as we'll see, they really don't anymore.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the "g-wrap". This technique basically suggests that at clinch range, we draw the pistol, grab it by the muzzle, and swing our elbows to create distance. In the instructor's view, this allows you to throw elbows, and quickly rack the slide after getting off one solid shot.
Let's take a look at the video:
I have several major issues with this:
- REQUIRES BOTH HANDS
It dedicates both of your hands to controlling a weapon you never should have introduced. In contact range engagements, you need both hands to establish and maintain postural and positional dominance. Those are absolute, non-negotiable pre-requisites for in-fight weapons access. Trying to bring the weapon in first does two problematic things;
a. It makes it a lethal force encounter, and;
b. It turns a fight into a fight over a gun.
- REQUIRES FINE MOTOR SKILL
It relies on accepting that you’re able to grab your pistol in a certain and precise way under pressure. Any minor variation of that means your hand is potentially going in front of the muzzle, which is a recipe for self inflicted gunshot wounds. If an opponent sees the gun introduced, which way is he likely to pull? Towards him, away from you, moving your appendages into the line of fire where you have the least control and he has the most.
- INTENTIONAL MALFUNCTION
It intentionally induces a malfunction and assumes you’ll be able to clear it once distance is created. Here’s the thing: can you bet your life on the fact you’ll be able to create distance? Depending on your sphere of violence, you’re almost certainly going to start this kind of altercation at an initiative deficit, you may be going up against multiple attackers, and they very likely have weapons, too.
- FAULTY RISK/REWARD MATRIX
It assumes that getting one shot off is worth the risks inherent in drawing and producing a firearm in which you intentionally cause a malfunction. The author does, in his defense, state that a single gunshot isn't likely to have the desired effect, so we can agree on that much.
- MISUNDERSTANDING OF FENDING
They misapply the rationale behind the ‘vertical fend’, and show videos of guys doing it wrong to prove their point. Fending for a weapon is an incredibly dicey situation, and it takes hours of practice to do efficiently and in context. As a part of the ongoing gun pageantry, guys display techniques that they fundamentally don't understand - and fends are a BIG one. From the rearward lean to the backpedaling to full extension, "real world" gun-fighting is about as realistic as reality TV. These demonstrations are scripted, edited, and presented. They're not 'raw' examples of how these kinds of fights really unfold.
Fending isn't a way to allow you to shoot while you're being physically attacked; it's a way to retain your pistol from that attack once you've already committed to the weapon being in the fight. Let's be clear: That's a bad situation. It's not something you *try* to do. It's just an option for making a really bad situation winnable.
Thinking back on it, I've run into problems like this on 3 or 4 occasions in which I was in a physical fight while retaining a handgun. It's not fun and the best option is "don't commit to a draw". Depending on your sphere of violence, shooting a guy in this situation could be a life sentence. You need to be absolutely sure that it's a lethal force encounter *before* you draw and fire. If you establish positional dominance, you need to reassess to make sure it's *still* a lethal force encounter. That means the guy you're fighting has the motive, capability, and opportunity to kill you, or cause serious bodily harm.
In the end, this video does exactly what I expect from gun culture: solve a grappling problem with a gun solution.
The answer is not “find a way to bring your gun into play”, it’s “fight your way out of this situation using grappling or (opening a new can of worms) edged weapons, which don’t jam or require fine motor skill to operate, and be used to carve out some positional dominance.
As usual, we intend no disrespect to the instructor, but our critiques of this technique can be summarized as follows:
- It's a weapons fixation task when we need a physical solution. Fight your way to a position in which you're not being beat, and you can reassess to determine if it's still a lethal force encounter. As soon as you introduce that gun, you're playing for your life. Be thinking of controlling that adversaries limbs, and not getting blindsided by an accomplice.
- Using two hands to control a tool that is being introduced at the wrong time is a bad tactics in a dire situation.
- It doesn't take into account three critical elements of close range fighting: disparate numbers, unequal initiative, and disproportional armament.
We hope this is thought-provoking and helps guide you towards best practice for this near 'worst case' scenario.