Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shooting Car Glass in Training

Bullet. Angle. Glass. Just some ramblings on our car-related shooting scenarios. Where the bullet goes, whether shooting into or out of a vehicle, depends on the caliber, the angle in which the glass is set, and the angle in which the glass is struck, and the kind of vehicle glass itself.

If you know me, you know I am a GIANT proponent of interactive, simulated ammo shooting. That is all I teach, leaving marksmanship and live fire to those quibbling, debating experts, who never seem happy with each other. For me, it is hard to debate a sims round to the forehead.

Every time we run our simulated, vehicle-related, gun modules around the world, like the Miami-Dade Shoot-out module, the WalMart Madness one, or the VIP Escort one, or the Police Traffic Stop one, etc, the subject of shooting through automobile glass must and should come up. The various levels of simulated ammo we are often stuck with using will not blow and crack auto glass like real bullets. So it effects reality.

For one example - the Miami-Dade Shoot-out “reenactment” we do (a very basic shoot-out with two heavily armed bad guns in a lead, stopped car versus two carloads of "FBI" agents parked behind them, classically armed). We insist that the side car windows are all down, to suggest the gunfire blew them up. In the many variations of this drill, people are sometimes gut-shot or head shot right through these windows. But alas! the windshields must remain (unless we are lucky enough to be an auto junk yard).

Junk yards? A perfect set up for Miami-Dade Shoot-out training is Simunitions ammo with three junked cars. And I just can’t get that every weekend, all over the world. Instead, I just do the best I can with what I got. Resources, resources, resources. Of course, in our car exercises we are usually stuck with shooting Airsoft guns, and using participants' vehicles.  By the way, common electric Airsoft does not hurt cars. Attendees can bring some blankets and drape the front, back or side of their cars if they want to feel better about the whole thing, because even “bigger” Airsoft guns can be more powerful, but they should be fine. Step up to gas guns? Or more? Then start worrying about the cars.
But in the average locations I go too, (back lots of academies and schools) we do not have three cars we can utterly destroy. So we just do the very best we with what we got. People can get some great exposure to all the other good experiences and learning with these important modules.  

While the side windows are down, as they would be blown in a gunfight, but, but, but, as I said, we cannot do anything with windshields. Just can’t. Invariably, during this and other car simulated shoot-outs, people are instinctively peeping though the windshields at each other, and doing some dangerous, brief, “windshield-related” moves, or even finding  themselves taking sudden, emergency positions behind open car doors. Cover is better than concealment. Concealment can be better than nothing, you know...sometimes.  People get briefly stuck behind car doors because its the only and best place to be for a few seconds.

Bullets bounce in simulated ammo auto fights,
at least emphasizing some real possibilities

Gun range lords can critique parts of these parking lot and stopped car performances, grimace at the car door cover and windshield antics and declare certain, brief events they see as “WRONG!” But, they are not the ones on the ground being shoot at and going and doing very desperate and brief things. All we can do is talk about these “mistakes” in pre and post briefings. 

I have seen “it all” doing these drills, these last 20 years (yes, oh yes, way before it was hip and cool) watching people run through these exercises, with vet soldiers and cops and citizens. One time a woman who sold Amway products beat everyone, including war vet soldiers who were still on active duty, in the Walmart Madness shootouts. Crazy stuff that worked. Crazy stuff that didn’t. Mistakes you do or don’t pay for. Trips, falls. Dropped, lost guns. Dropped and kicked across the lot! Seen it! Folks don't plan on dropping and then kicking their pistol ten feet! Just a lot of stuff that really happens as you fight for your life and, or mission…all in, around, over and under cars and trucks. Vital stuff that you will never see, learn or think about on the shooting range with live fire.

Some live fire range instructors do drive their cars onto the range. Shooters get to do a variety of drills shooting from the car windows or launching out of the car and shooting...yes...at more paper targets. Never ending paper targets. (Oh, the great varieties of targets and their positions.) This live fire version is an important step, but "graduation," or the last two hours should be interactive combat, with the opposition alive, 3-D, improvising and SHOOTING BACK!  Why don't they do this? Test this all out?

As with such shooting, you are a far, far, far, far, far  better off running through these interactive  scenarios with simulated ammo of some kind than not, than forever just shooting paper targets.

Auto glass plays a part we cannot often replicate with simulated ammo training, so witnessing demos of auto glass shooting on the range is a good experience too, and reading up on the subject is good stuff. Shooting live ammo through not one but two windshields can have some interesting results, just like shooting through not one open door, but two open car doors can also. But with glass?  It all comes down to the bullet, the glass and the angles.

Well, enough of this rambling about shooting vehicle glass. Here is some video and article info-

Shooting In, Out and Around Cars - the Training Video

Get the DVD

Get the download now!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Tale of Two Trigger Guards. With and Without

     Just below is a picture of two training guns. One with a trigger guard and one without. In my travels, I am in all kinds of schools, academies, and gyms. I see lots of gear. In martial arts schools and some Krav organizations, I see rubber guns without trigger guards. I have seen these guard-less, training guns here and there for about 30 years now. The only reason for their removal I’ve ever been told is that during disarm training, the trigger guard “hurts” the fingers of the students. And, of course, the classic story ... "once, one guy had his finger broken" inside the trigger guard by that infamous "overzealous" training partner.

     Shucks. Okay. Well, catching the finger inside the guard is the whole point on that one. How can you possibly practice and experiment with that move without a solid trigger guard? (I have been teaching that disarm for about 30+ years and never had a broken finger. Even with very hard rubber guns and wooden guns.) How?

     But there is something far more important at play here than just disarms. The main issue of this essay. When people are handling these training guns, they simply need to have trigger guards. A solid handgun training program has “students/attendees/whatever” moving around terrain with these handguns. Drawing. Searching. Responding. Chasing, etc., and fingering or not fingering triggers.

     The “rule of thumb” is to keep your trigger finger off the trigger until the very last possible second. This is a safety issue, even a "friendly fire" issue, understood by probably 99.9% of the shooters of the world. You say, 99.9%? Yes, there are few strays that think they can run, jump, fight, sneeze, crawl, climb, and yell with their fingers placed right on the triggers. I won’t bore you here with the numerous tests done for decades and as far away as Germany with pressure sensitive equipment catching people’s trigger fingers, applying unsafe pressures on their triggers while performing various chores and running obstacle courses. (“Sympathetic body movement” is often a named culprit.)

     Also, at times, tested people swore they never even put their fingers inside the trigger guard in these tests, least of all touched the trigger, yet sensors proved they indeed had. So even with trigger guards, there are still plenty of problems.

     It is imperative that students become familiar with, even on a subtle and subliminal level, the feel of their finger on the side of the gun and its relationship with the trigger guard and getting inside the trigger guard, and out again, while running through chores and scenarios. You get this subtly by running the guns and running with the guns.

     As far as a way to practice that finger-catch disarm - my friend, Florida instructor Frank Ehnle, captures a training process well:

     "During some Hapkido disarms, the finger would be broken or seriously damaged during the disarm, the trigger guard is used for that finger attack specifically. Our training weapons are perfectly molded and weighted replicas including the guard. We have students do them at realistic speeds with the trigger fingers elongated and not in the guards (as you would safely carry a real weapon). Then they practice the disarm slowly with the fingers in the guards so they can feel the stress and pain of the actual finger lock that occurs during the disarm. When they feel that pain and stress, they better understand the technique. The training weapon without a trigger guard would be of no use to us." - Frank

     Please cease and desist from clipping off the trigger guards from your training handguns.


     Update:  This little essay has already gotten around the net, and numerous people (a minority) think I am wrong. One said I was "dead wrong." Without much explanation either. Just “wrong.” Also as an aside, some of the people in the FB universe, which is vast, are responding to the idea that you keep your fingers off the triggers until the last possible second - you know, that .01% who think they can and should keep a finger on the trigger all the time. And, by the way, I am not advocating for that particular disarm; it’s just one of many.

     In terms of doing disarms, I can’t see how you can practice that particular pistol disarm without a decent trigger guard to experiment with. How? 

     Well anyway …"hand" people or "Kuraty" people never consider this gun issue and usually don't even know the aforementioned important nuance of the proper trigger guard on training guns. Gun people get it instantly. Hand people just want to do disarms. Hand, stick, knife, and gun people want to do it all.

     But to clip off the guard on the idea based on the principle that “one guy - once - hurt his _____ policy, so we did such-and-such.” Here’s the deal; where else do we use this policy in a school or training course? Is it a real policy? One guy hurt his finger once doing disarms, so we clipped the guard off. This “one-guy policy.” What if this policy were a real policy for everything? What if one guy was hurt doing a takedown,  so we stopped doing full takedowns? Or one guy – once- was hurt by a punch, so we quit doing full punches.

     At any given time, just "one guy" can be overzealous doing anything and hurt a training partner. I mean, if the one-time incident was really lethal or really, really bad, then make changes. Sure. But does this “One Guy Hurt” policy work across the board for ALL training or just for some odd reason, it only counts with one finger and clipping rubber trigger guards off of training guns?

Force Necessary TV! Many video clips 

Police, Military and Civilian Pistol Retention Methods

Get the DVD

Get the download right now!

Click here for the info: Police, Military and Civilian Pistol Retention Methods

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mission Death Messages

"If I die before I wake"… Mission Death Messages

     I see these martial-artsy memes with ninja art or samurai art freely talking about dying for the day, the makeshift mission at hand, the ... cause, etc. That death/warrior message thing. Usually posted by people who have never faced death or “near death.” It ain’t like “near beer.” Then I have heard some military guys, but not many, say much the same at times. "If I die today," "I am prepared to die today," “The mission...." "Good day to die," "I will die today, and it is okay,” etc.

     Every time I see that sort of death message? It irks me somehow. I mean, I kinda get it. I kinda see what they are trying to say. But I just don't buy it. I was a cop for two decades. I was in Korea when they sounded the war sirens in the 70s. I know the potentials. The risks when I signed on. The sacrifices. Sure. Sure. But for the generic, quick message of “warrior, mission death,” I like Patton's version best.

     I broadcasted this message, and tons of agreements followed. But one said:

    "Doesn't really explain the dead from WW1, WW2, etc. Is this saying their deaths were meaningless? Yeah, you win by generally killing more of the enemy than they kill of you, I get that."

     Deaths … meaningless? Meaningless? Of course not. Many men died under Patton. War is such hell. They did die for an ov
erall cause. War and crime are always a question of numbers and percentages … and breathtaking loss.

     The message is – no day is a good day to die. No “warrior” should be ever so esoterically dedicated, pleased, proud, and willing to die like these martial arts posters suggest. Just … no. The Patton message is a smarter strategy and simple semantics. A subtle message to outsmart, to out-think. To survive to win as a goal, not die as a warrior. 

     Others talked about their friends taking care of all their paperwork and family business before leaving for war or hot areas. The military will make you do that. They claim their friends said they were "good." And "ready." "Everything in order." Having your “life business” in order before you march off to war is not worshiping death, like in the posters, which is my point. It’s just smart and cautious and realistic to prepare. I am talking about “worshiping death as some glorious benchmark." Instead, worshiping survival is the benchmark.

     Yeah, you might die today as a cop or a soldier. Yeah. Does that mean we are willing to die? Willing? I guess, to some extent? Just don’t be so damned pleased and proud about it. Time and history are fickle. One hundred years of passing time kills off the history of most individual sacrifices. The public is ignorant. Most don’t even know what the "4th of July" means. Or any historical event in any country for that matter. 

     These are the questions that often plague real soldiers and cops who have survived and suffer. Violence can be quite a negative experience. It can hurt the mind and the wallet. But it brews and churns in the blood of 17- to 30-year-olds (thus these posters?). But at some point, ya gotta grow up and face these negative facts. Worry and fight to survive it; don't worship it.

     People will always be interested in crime and war and gear. I am, probably to an unhealthy fault. Maybe like an addict? I don't know. But we do all this to fight the bad guys, whoever they are. It's a necessity. People pour over this stuff and study it to create the better, smarter tactics so that you can "make the other dumb bastard die" for his cause or country. Doing this is not worshiping violence. It's trying to end it.

     There is a lot of psychology here to knock around, essays full, but this blog isn't really so deep. Not at all. It's just about a simple choice between two posters. The Ninja poster glorifying your death or the Patton poster putting off your death for as long as possible with smarter tactics. I think that the folks with these martial arts posters (17- to 30-year-olds?) might eventually close the reality detachment gap as they get older and wiser. 

        That death in combat. There is a lot of talk about partying in Valhalla, all that ale-drinking and maiden-chasing or meeting up with all those vestal virgins. Or the citizenship in the heavens. I hope all that works out for you. 

     If you have to die, die fighting. Sure. Still, no day is a good day to die.

Force Necessary TV! Many video clips 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Good Left Hook

     I made the following comment on Facebook awhile back and it was roundly shared and commented on within my small world of disturbed contacts. (Yes, if you are reading this, you are one of those.) But there is so much more to this simple, zen-like quick message.

"Some people can go thru their whole lives with just a damn good left hook. Live a long, prosperous and healthy life. But in training doctrine, better said is - the theory of "best training doctrine" - you need to box. If you need to box then you must kick box. If you need kickboxing, then you need to know take downs. Then you must ground wrestle. BUT! If you ground fight, you also need to add "ground n pound" to it. Then, of course, you need to really worry about weapons. BUT ... but, certainly ... there are indeed people ... who manage to go through their entire lives, successfully with just a terrific, left hook."
     Lots of laughs and thumbs up because its true. Not one single negative response? Which is actually quite amazing. But, but, but ... one might then ask, why then bother working on all those other subjects when a theoretical "left hook" is all you need? You just need a one-trick-pony? 

     Honestly if all you ever known in life is one left hook and you have hooked some bad guys with it and always won? You are probably quite lucky in life also. I personally have always felt you needed a little stable of trick-ponies, not just one. One of those ponies would be athleticism for example. Athleticism can cover over many sins. But the same could be said for single-studies like Brazilian wrestling, or Aikido, or...whatever it is.  With a little luck, you could live a happy life and survive with all these single study things and single moves.

     But the real end message to the zen-like-riddle observation above is, you need to study all these things mentioned so that you can pick your favorite and functional tricks, based on your world. The above lines are like a mantra. I think that instructors must be free thinking so that they can teach their students a plethora of options, so that in the end, the student selects - out of experiments and experience - their own personal list of "left hooks" for their world.

     Their world? Your world? Your world is based on the "who, what, where, when, how, and why" questions. I don't care what you pick as your favorite survival moves as long as they are educated selections. You might indeed end up with a mighty, left hook after all, but you did it the smart way, not the stupid way, with many side benefits.

The last six Hock's books:

Don't Even Think About It
Blood Rust
My Gun is my Passport
Be Bad Now
Impact Weapon Combatives

Click here for books