By Mark James
Rule #1 in gun fighting: It is more important not to get shot than it is to shoot; shooting is extra credit. A gun fight is nothing more than a fight that involves a gun. In a hand-to-hand encounter (fist fight), whether you have combative skills are not, moving to not get hit is typically instinctive. Then you look until you hit your adversary as hard as you can as often as you can until you neutralize the threat. The strategy in a gun fight is the same, whether moving to 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11 o’clock to avoid getting hit. These encounters are dynamic and rarely predictable. Effective fighters learn to go with the flow and let the situation dictate their response. Very rarely, if at all, do you stand in place, you move to get off the line of attack as you simultaneously or nearly simultaneously launch your counterattack. Remember many of these encounters happen inside of 10 feet and most at bad breath distance.
“When a crisis occurs, we very rarely rise to meet the occasion in truth; we merely default to our training!” In a prior life, I often heard many amateur athletes say, ‘I am a better game day player than I am a practice player.’ Truth is if you don’t practice exploding in practice, you can’t explode in a game, as your quick twitch muscles are not conditioned to respond that way. Shooting while moving is a learned skill, and if you don’t practice it, you won’t be able to call upon it in a tactical encounter. Therefore, it is imperative we incorporate dynamic training into our practice.
Stat•ic – adjective
1. Pertaining to or characterized by a fixed position
2. Showing little or no change
3. Lacking movement, development or vitality
Static training is typically helpful in assisting your building fundamental firearm skills. This is the type of training most people do at most indoor and outdoor ranges. While it helps build basic skills, it rarely simulates the environment most people face in personal protection situations (moving, getting off line, working from cover, working from concealment, presentation/the draw etc.), as most ranges restrict or severely limit that type of training for safety reasons.
Dy•nam•ic – adjective
1. Pertaining to or characterized by energy, or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic
a. of or pertaining to force or power
b. of or pertaining to force related to motion
Dynamic training is designed to help you advance your firearm skills and better simulate the type of environment you might actually experience in a firearm encounter. When you point your gun at someone or someone points their gun at you typically one or more of the below four things are going to happen:
• We or they comply (either actual or faux compliance) with the commands of the person holding the gun or the one who got their gun in the fight first
• We or they attempt to move (trying to move to cover or execute a tactical escape)
• We or they attempt to return fire while moving or drawing from concealment
• Someone or both gets seriously injured or dies (I don’t like the idea of trading rounds)
So unlike the static training we do at most ranges, the adversary will probably be moving and we will probably be moving or some combination of the above. So limiting your training to static range training will typically give you a false sense of your abilities. As an EP Agent, in addition to learning to shoot on the move, it is equally important to learn to draw from concealment, as that is how you work everyday. Going to the range and practicing from exposed carry is not how you go to work everyday. Remember amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong. Professional criminals practice drawing from concealment everyday, don’t let them out work you. Stay aware, stay focused and stay safe!
Mark “Six” James
Panther Protection Services
For firearms training contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Director Mark Six James I continue to benefit immensely from every single article you have written on BC. Survivng an active shooter, perpetrator down now what, Importance of firearms dynamics, selecting a handgun for EP and videos Understanding Patterns of a shotgun, CQC balancing an attack.
As an EP Agent you have become my mentor! When I read and watch your materials it feels like am a classroom with you or out in the range literally with you!
If you have anything you are planning to do in Africa please incorporate me.
Agent KD Maxwell
R. E. Wantland
Like everyone above has said, Mark “Six” James has it right. Having personally trained with him I can attest that he practices what he preaches. Stand still in a fight and you will lose!
D. B. Brockport
Having trained with M.J.”Six”, I am witness to the validity of the points he’s made in this article.
The ability to return fire on-the-move engaging a threat and (most importantly)while shielding your client and/or yourself from injury is a fundamental skill for the serious EPA to master. It should be practiced until it’s instinctual and then practiced again. I appreciate the “real world” truth behind this article and the approach to effective EP firearms training Mark brings to our profession.
Thank you sir!
“Train Well, Fight Well, Play Hard!”
In this country where American bad guys have become proficient at “drive by” shootings and are embracing the return of the Al Capone era– including criminals ‘gone wild’ with court room shoot outs and high profile take outs of VIPs in their own familair surroundings — it is good to know someone is capable of sharp shooting whether standing or moving!
Mark your points are right on once again , the training you have provided the team and i are skills and knowledge we will forever take with us , as you have said the training doesn’t stop there , the points that you make are right on time and being out of the u.s a lot, using the skills and knowledge that you have taught us makes me a lot more confident with myself and my actions,,with great thanks……..Maurice
Good job Six; the advice is on target (no pun intended). Relevant practice and continuing refresher/in-servce training lead to competency. Similar to what you teach, I always tell students that if Tiger Woods doesn’t hit golf balls every day, then he’s not going to win tournaments.
Even for instructors, I recommend a “jam-session” a couple of times a year so that we stay current of new techniques and products, and don’t in-breed inferior methods.
Have a safe holiday season!
Once again Mark you on point. Recently retired from the military ( Airborne Ranger and Infantry Instructor) training is the key. The Crawl, Walk and Run method is essential and foremost in all training aspect of the game. Everyone must find out what work for them and master those traits and move on to the next ie… shoot on the move, being able to switch weapons quickly, hand technique,off course who’s to your left and right. Keep up the good work Mark. Your dedication and training is top notch and your company definitely stand alone.
Rangers Lead The Way
“… professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”
That sounds like A LOT of practice!
But training with that level of proficiency in mind separates the boys from the men, so to speak. It goes without saying that if, and when, your skills are called “up to bat”, then you do not want to live in regret; Lamenting over all the times that you COULD have, and SHOULD have practiced.
And from the understanding that you should, “practice the firearms skills that simulates the type of environment that you might actually experience in a firearms encounter”, I am understanding that it is a good idea to get a few, if not all, of your suits dirty as you practice at the range. Makes sense in a lot of ways. I can honestly say I have never trained that way at the range, although I have heard similar philosophy before. And come to think about it, I have never seen anyone else dressed like that at the range as they practiced either. But 09 times of 10, you will not be in your 5.11 gear, but your business casual, if not your suit and tie. And you will be wearing your casual or dress shoes, and not your military style boots.
Thanks for the insight
Leonard C. Holifield
Mark “Six” James is fast becoming the “Go-To-Guy” for realworld, no-nonsense firearms training. This article on Dynamic Firearms Training further validates his vast knowledge and expertise in the field of firearms training. As usual, always on point!
Prof. Leonard C. Holifield, CPS
International Academy of Executive Protection Agents
This article is right on point. Standing at the firing line at your local range is no subsitute for practicing drawing your weapon from concealment while on the move. Your ability to neutralize a moving or static threat while moving yourself is essential for your survival and the survival of your principle. As Mark points out no attacker is going to stand still and let you shoot them. They will most likely be moving or be behind cover. You should be too.
Great information, which if practiced diligently, could save your life. Good Job.
Dave’s comments are right on as it pertains to practice. People often say they want to work the big high profile details, make a lot of money, but rarely prepare themselves to succeed. Professional athletes practice 5 times a week; professional singers sing everyday; accountants do accounting everyday as EP professionals we must ask ourselves what have we done for our career today? Did you do any advance work today…did you practice hand to hand today…did you go to the range today (can you change your magazines in 1.5 seconds)…did you practice doing j-turns in your automobile…did you do any research on the laws in the state or country you are traveling to next week? Spontaneous combustion doesn’t just happen you got to light yourself on fire!
I wish everyone a safe and prosperous thanksgiving and an even better 2010!
As a Ret PO, Firearms and DT Instructor, your points are well made. I have been doing EP work both inside and outside the U.S. now for the past 15 years. Every protection specialist needs to find the correct gear based upon what works best for them…..then PRACTICE – PRACTICE – PRACTICE……and don’t forget training with flashlights, low light, and NO light conditions…..flashlights can break, get dropped, or even lost hours before you need them. Nothing less than a 9M/M and at least 1 spare mag…..everytime. Train hard on fast & accurate reloading drills – no more than a couple of seconds EVERYTIME you reload…….and one more tip……combine and practice all this from behind the drivers seat.
Once again Mark great forcus points on the subject. I can attest to the facts pertaining to the amatuer atheletic example.
Me once in my past life being a professional full contact fighter. And from the aspect of a Master martials instructor.
You may tell yourself one thing but the way you’re going to perform or shhould I said react it the way you have be trained to.
All truth is parallel. Training oneself the proper way in dynamic firearms movements does give one a realistic foundation.
Such as with all of our EP training that we must stay on point and profient at.
Strong points…”Dynamic Firearms Training” no doubt an area to stay sharp on.
Great job Six!
Second Shadow Close Protection Services
Once again great information Mark. I appreciate the training oriented information that we all can benefit from. I personally can appreciate the transition to dynamic movements in that it gives you a real applicable training platform for real world situations.