Armed Self-Defense Beyond the Basics

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As the fifth
in the “Armed
” series intended for both long-time shooters
and the many new gun owners created by the Obama administration,
this segment examines slightly more advanced techniques as taught
by veteran instructors Tom Iradi and Scott Mauldin of Eagle
Rock Training Systems

Previous segments
have discussed decisions in buying
for self-defense, getting basic
, getting concealed handgun
, and basic defensive

This course,
“Practical/Tactical Phase II” (P/T II), covered:

  • Turns and
    pivots intended for threats to the side or behind;
  • Movement
    while shooting, including forward, aft and laterally;
  • Use of
    cover on both strong hand and support hand sides; and
  • Complex
    exercises encompassing most of the above plus emergency reloads.


P/T II was
the second day of training, and drew a number of shooters not in
class the previous day. Accordingly, Scott repeated the safety briefing
on “hot range” safety rules for an environment in which
guns are generally kept loaded but holstered between exercises.


We started
with a review of press-outs
to the target from a high ready (with shots delivered at or slightly
before extension), presentation from the holster, reloads, and tracking
the firearm’s sights through increasingly shorter intervals
between shots.

Although initial
shooting was done on IDPA-style
cardboard silhouettes, the instructors quickly changed things up,
shifting to 8” steel plates mounted atop 2x4s and moving us
back to the 10 yard line consistent with safety when shooting steel.
(Note: Even at this range, expect to receive occasional splatter
from jacketed bullets.)

Among different
types of targets, the ring of steel plates provides instant reward
for shots delivered correctly … and instant punishment for
those that miss.


Next, we addressed
threats to the side and rear. Here I learned something valuable:
When pivoting toward the support hand side (left, for right-handed
shooters), I had previously rotated on the ball of the support hand
foot, causing me to over-pivot and requiring me to rise while pivoting,
further slowing the shot.

Instead, after
taking a “ready” position – eyes turned toward the
threat, hand on holster – Scott taught us to simply step out
with the strong side foot, then pivot the hips square to the target,
resulting in much faster hits. Threats to the strong side were even
easier, as the support side foot simply steps forward for the pivot.

Next, we addressed
rearward threats using pivots on either the strong side or support
side foot, depending on direction of turn (slide
show #1
). In the interest of range safety, students were instructed
not to draw from the holster until facing the target.


Next came drills
in moving forward, backward and laterally. Unlike years past, when
training consisted of standing and shooting, current doctrine stresses
movement – particularly to cover – to minimize exposure
to the aggressor.

the rest of the article

30, 2009

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