The other day during one of my very tedious physical therapy sessions, I took my mind somewhere else since the session was not particularly pleasant and started pondering 'What gaps do I have in my current skill Set's?"
The one that came to mind the quickest is what we called in the details "Listerine Combat" or Bad breath distance shooting. The reason I say that is it is a skill that most folks like to shy away from..the reasoning..it is unpleasant and brutal. I learned while in the Marines, that the guys who survive the longest are typically the ones that are willing to put the time in on the stuff that sux..the drills that absolutely suck to do, the drills that are painful and cost you something after you are done, sometimes a bucket of sweat, sometimes a little blood.
When we capture a mind's eye picture of combat with a pistol, most folks picture a nice "reactionary gap" between them and the BG..because we are always in "Condition Yellow" and no BG is going to catch us unaware..right??
We picture ourselves executing the perfect draw with no fouling and putting shots on board with outstanding combat effectiveness. The funny thing is, I actually thought this exact thought, until the first time a maniac tried to knife my principal coming out of a theater at 2am one summer night OCONUS...Then, suddenly, my whole plan and concept of "CQ" Combat went down the crapper.
I remember vividly the stench of this guy. He wreaked with with the odor of stale beer and urine. His eyes bloodshot and wild, the 3" blade in his right hand, glimmered in the streetlamp.. and all the time I was thinking: THIS GUY IS RIGHT ON TOP OF ME!! Where was my situational awareness? Why did I not keep a stable reactionary gap? All that crap went out the window...you see he had reset my OODA loop..he had caused me to react and not act..he now had the upper hand. In this minuscule moment of time is where life and death happen.
The neurons in my brain fired wildly..my right hand starts reaching for my Glock, but this guy is so close he fouls my elbow. The 3" blade now looks like a machete. I reach out and grab the wrist with my right hand, almost losing my grip because of the sweat on this guy. My Principal, behind me, clutching to my leg, is screaming her head off, complete chaos takes over. The BG grits his teeth, intent of sticking that blade in my principal. I shove down on his wrist, with my right arm but I can get no momentum due to my elbow being jammed. I try to move my left arm for a elbow strike, but it is pinned by this mob surrounding us, including members of my detail trying to stop this madman.
The only move I had was my head, I swung it back as hard as I could and planted it in this guys nose. I felt the cartilage in his nose move upon impact, his head jolting back, his eyes closing and leaking with water at the same time, his nose spewing blood all the way. I felt him release my right elbow and like a heat seeker it went to my Glock in a AIWB. When I cleared, all I still saw 3 ft in front of me was that 3" blade imitating a Machete..in my peripherals I saw my wing men and behind me was my principal..behind the BG a tunnel of space had formed from people trying to get away from this idiot..all this information calculated in a nano second.
I fired 3 rounds in quick succession when I cleared up.. the gun completely sideways, due to not being able to execute a full draw within the confines of this mob. All the rounds struck him in a 2" circle center of the sternum, on top of the Xiphoid. I remember his eyes went wide and he exhaled loudly as he hit the deck..he was done. This all seemed like 5 minutes, but in reality it was more like 5 seconds.
In retrospect, I remember thinking while this was happening the headbutt should have knocked him on his ass..that was a mistake..NEVER think empty hand no matter how brutal is going to trump knife. Always be prepared to go guns immediately after creating a gap. This type of thinking causes a delay in the swift Violence of Action necessary to win.
What I always take away from that night is no plan survives contact with the enemy...NO PLAN. We talk allot about resetting the BG's OODA loop, but talk little about when ours gets reset. We drill according to HOW WE THINK it is gonna go down, but often, that plan gets shelved. We drill on distances that we feel comfortable with, but shy away from ones that push us or make us uncomfortable.
My Short List:
1. Tight Force on Force with fouled draws at distances well under 5 ft.
2. Empty hand combatives that force you to think outside the box. (Head butts, ear/nose biting, eye jabs, nut smash etc..)
3. Firing from AIWB one handed 3-5 rounds off balance at 0-5 ft distance. (After this, we started drilling on the Jack knife, both initiating it with pistol and the counter)
4. Firing through presentation to tight compression at 3 ft in tight quarters.
5, Point Shooting from a sideways "gangster" draw under 5 ft (forgive the term)..I have found this is a shooting position I found myself in alot in tight spots.
Part 2 Coming Soon