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Pistol GunfightingWinning The Aftermath

Brief History Of Close Quarters Combat

I want to give a brief discussion of the history of CQC, or close quarters combat. I am hardly an historian so if I have missed something, please let me know here.

The first thing I will say is that you will never see more animosity, petty bickering, or jealousy outside of a teenage cheerleader locker room than you will see in the martial arts community or firearms training community. Everyone steals from everyone and everyone reinvents things for their own benefit. Recently I read an article about a trainer's discovery of "P.A.D.E. or Perceive, Analyze, Decide, Execute". No mention of John Boyd or the OODA. Inevitable discovery or theft? I don't know...moving on.

While I am certain the CQC matter was thought of my the gunmen of the old west, their lack of education did not lend itself to writing books about such things. As well...the classification of what the fight was is also unknown. For example...if you hip shoot someone in the back while they are pissing, and initiate the fight that way, you won in spite of your technique and not because of it.

I suspect that many of the fights that had the old timers firing from combat crouches and below the eye-sight-line were those types of fights. If you have the initiative...in other words if you start the fight, it really doesn't matter what you do does it? That does not make the technique the winner...but rather the fact you ambushed the guy.

We first hear of any sort of organized answer from Fairbairn. His works are intended for a very basic level and there isn't much detail in the description of the various gunfights...other than there were many. He taught a sort of close quarters shooting position with the pistol where the arm was slightly extended as pictured above and fired. There is no mention of shooting while moving in any of his works that I recall. Most of his work involved bringing the weapon up to the eye-sight-line before shooting. And his material was watered down for ignorant conscripts with little interest or time in skill development.

The long gun CQC involved keeping the weapon back under the arm, parallel with the deck and again...in line with the eye. This was later adopted by Applegate. A few years later it was "rediscovered" by Chuck Taylor and vainly renamed - wait for it - the "Taylor Underarm Assault Position".

Next came the era of the Jordans and Bryces. Lionized today by devotees of the past, they suffered from many of the issues of the old west gunmen. Namely a lack of education and the subsequent ability to articulate events.

Jordan's book has fewer pages than a magazine on the newsstand today. And no...it does have value, but is hardly the manual of the gunfighter one would think. Knowing what we know based on fifteen years of street work and over ten years of force on force work, and what it actually takes to beat the other man to the draw, and how hard it is to actually kill another man with a single or even a pair of shots, we wonder about the initiative in these events.

Remember...if you have made up your mind to draw and kill the adversary, and he has no idea of your intentions, and then you blast him as he is saying "Hello", that fight was not what we call a gunfight today...nor would it even be a legal thing to do.

In any case...Jordan never fired while moving in any of his fights as far as I have read, and Bryce's only comment on the matter involved the gunfight at the whorehouse where he "jumped to the side" as he drew. McGivern's book however goes into a great deal of detail about shooting while moving, but again...McGivern's writing style is a cure for the insomniac. Little is known about McGivern's gunfight experience. If he had it, he did not elaborate. And with any of these guys, we don't know about the proximity of the fights either.

The whole matter seems to be ignored in the writings of the modern technique guys and although it was paid lip service in the Gunsite pistol programs, it was not really taught as a technique. When Taylor left Gunsite in a huff (he despised Cooper and the feeling was mutual), he began teaching the "Taylor Speed Rock". He told me that it was due to one of his students being attacked and bent over backwards on the hood of a car.

As a life long martial artist I asked about other solutions to that problem but I was told that there were none...that was the solution we were discussing and that was that.

Fellow police officer Marc Fleischmann and I discussed this and he offered up his agency's Close Contact shooting position. This involved drawing the pistol and bringing it up angled slightly, and canted so as not to catch the various items hanging from a 1990s police uniform. Properly memorized, that position would place all your shots perfectly during the LAPD qual that required it. There was no involvement of the support hand at all.

As the age of the internet dawned and the spread and exchange of information expanded to unprecedented levels, many of these agency/school solutions began to be tested by others and revised. Some notable changes.

In the age of Jordan and Bryce, few men had actual hand to hand combat training. Sure they had a fighters understanding, and maybe some rudimentary fighting skills...but it is the same discussion we had about people not fighting the same today due to the spread of information.

Take a gun man...a man with only rudimentary hand to hand skills and a gun-focused view of the world that is not only quite legal but acceptable socially, and tactically available due to open carry or whatever, and the solution to the killer at arm's range is to stand your ground and draw. Go get a physically fit guy with twenty years in Karate, BJJ, or MMA and give him a gun, hidden as required today, or in a retention holster, and give him the same problem. You will not get the same solution...you will get a hand to hand answer befitting the hand to hand problem...and secondarily the access of the pistol.

Unless we study deeply, and have practical experience, our program becomes a mile wide and an inch deep. We see this in the statements by soldiers that have many deployments when they say that they never fired on the move and always used their sights. I don't doubt them, but that tells me they have very deep experience in one-sided, proactive shootings and little or none in reactive unexpected fights. So it is with the CQC envelope.

Our premise is this - Control the distance. You do this via command presence, command voice, and physical maneuvering. In short, you avoid the need to do any CQC by not allowing the situation to devolve into that. If one cannot control the distance it is likely due to an attention deficit, and that in itself nullifies all the methods requiring a mental prep. We teach you to flinch toward the action, sweeping the arm to set you up for an outside position. Then and only then do you worry about getting the gun out.

In force on force I have seen guys try the stationary hip shooting..like Bryce - and get their asses handed to them. Like Jordan, and get their asses handed to them. What works? Here is what that sort of thing looks like.

A very very long way from Jordan and Bryce, and elbow up/elbow down hip shooting stuff. But the above solution, unscripted, full pressure, and full speed is far more effective, applicable and realistic for the guns we carry, the way we carry them, the nature of our fights, times we live in.

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