GUNFIGHTS Part 2 (This is a continuation of last week's newsletter, which had an article from Handguns Magazine):

What Really Happens In A Gunfight?

Handguns Magazine

This week we have John Perkin's comments on shooting methods under adrenaline.
What Really Happens in a Gunfight?
In most cases chaos:

After reviewing the article from Handguns magazine written by Dave Spaulding I wish to make the following comments.

First, Dave Spaulding is an interesting writer and is well respected. He has taken, in this case, a small sample of incidents and has allowed us some basis for looking into a subject that is of paramount importance when it comes to staying alive during deadly armed confrontations.

He begins his article by stating that eye witnesses cannot be depended upon to recollect clearly what actually transpired during violent events. I totally agree with Mr. Spaulding on this point. This is why I depend on obtaining the information found in the forensic reports that are available to me.

As a forensic expert on the dynamics of violence who has worked on scores of serious violent crime scenes I can attest to the fact that eye witness accounts quite often would lead one to believe that many different actions transpired at the very same time and place. Upon the
reconstruction of the crime scenes by the various scientific experts a more reliable picture of what occurred often comes to light. This information can be
used later as a guide to the investigators when there is a need to track down a missing killer or just to get the pertinent information for court purposes.

During my years of training as a firearms expert I had the opportunity to study thousands of shooting cases. The majority of these cases were homicides and the information from these thousands of cases contained
the information from various eye witnesses including the winners of these confrontations. Mr. Spaulding stated that he got his information from the winners of the confrontations that he reported on. Did they produce the
original crime scene reports which would show the actual distances and other variables involved which the forensic teams would have found? He concluded that most gunfights that are won are won from a longer distance than those which were lost which occurred from a closer distance. Generally speaking, in my opinion, this is true. If there is time to prepare for a gunfight and you
have your weapon in hand as you approach or suddenly are involved in a violent scene then it would seem that you or a trained officer would have more time to engage a violent attacker and in many cases more distance to
shoot from which would allow time for obtaining even a rudimentary or fleeting front sight picture.

I have also found this to be true personally when, as a street cop, I was called to the scene of a shooting or armed incident which was about to go down or actually in progress. In many of these cases just the show of superior force was enough to end a confrontation. If any shooting occurred there was usually more distance to shoot from because the officers were not surprised. Here often they had the advantage of cover and distance
which allowed them, in many cases, to easily get a sight picture.

My greatest concern is for the individual who doe not have the luxury of knowing that a violent encounter is about to happen until the assailants are close up on him or her and there are only fractions of a second in which to deal with such an attack. This is where, as Mr.Spaulding points out, is where lag time occurs which most attackers or assassins depend upon.

In paragraph 15 of his article the author states that some sort of point shooting training should be taught, period! He also states that his witnesses were, in most cases, able to get a sight picture during the
violent events.

Most police officers and military students that I worked with who have had the occasion to be involved in shooting incidents with proper preparation will tell you the same. My study of the forensic evidence of thousands of crime scene reports, however, showed something quite
different in the majority of cases with regard to distance between antagonists. Here again, I am working with only a fraction of the gunfights that have
occurred in the entire country because most of my crime scene reports are from the New York metropolitan area.

In most of these cases, including some police shootings, the distances of the shootings were within conversation distance, often at touching distance, but usually well within 10 feet. A large number of those killed had more than one projectile in their bodies which tells me that the one shot stop studies may be somewhat flawed, but that is another subject. It does, however, show the possibility as presented by Mr. Spaulding that
many of the combatants may have just kept on pulling the trigger until the threat was neutralized.

In the scores of violent shooting incidents that I personally worked on most of the action happened within 10 feet. Most of the victims were ambushed or surprised in some way. In most of these cases awareness of
an impending gunfight may have changed the outcomes greatly. In the scores of violent incidents that I personally have been involved as a police officer
that transpired at close distance the one factor that worked in my favor was awareness and very specific and intense training for close up

The most deadly confrontations for police and some military combatants take place close up. So why not practice how to survive the most deadly attacks. The speed, chaos, and sheer ferocity of a close up violent
attack does not always allow for the acquisition of a sight picture. When the muzzle blast of an attacker is exploding in your general direction you will not be able to put a gun sight in front of your eyes thus blocking your vision.

With the proper adrenaline scenario based training in hand to hand combat coupled with close combat point shooting taught by experienced trainers who have experienced close up action or those who have trained
with an experienced person has a better chance of coming out on top of some of these situations.

Yes, according to the approximately 200 people that Mr. Spaulding bases his report on, the majority of winners from the police and military and some civilians won shooting from distances of closer to 20 feet and they had some time to prepare for the encounters which, I feel, allowed for a sight picture to be acquired.

I and many of my students and the students of some of my favorite handgun trainers agree that if you have time to prepare you will also have the advantage of having more distance to shoot from in a confrontation. This also allows more time to prepare mentally. We have also saved
ourselves at close contact distances with the techniques found in close combat methodology which employed hand to hand fighting and point shooting.

Point shooting does not exclude seeing the front sight
peripherally. It just does not emphasize the use of taking a deliberate front sight picture at very close range where time is of the essence.

Remember, there are so many variables such as poor lighting and just plain being thrown off balance alone that it is important that you train for
as many types of confrontations that you can.

If the majority of police killed were killed at very close range then you should learn what to do at these ranges and how to prevent being so close in the first place.

Again, along with learning to take a front sight picture while practicing at high speed you should learn strong hand to hand principles along with using sighted and unsighted shooting skills.

I am not overly concerned with percentages of who was too close and who was far enough away to get a sight picture. Since the majority of deadly incidents happened at close ranges of less than 10 feet and gave no time for preparation, I feel that is enough to justify developing the ability to read situations beforehand and learn serious hand to hand combat which includes
how to access and protect your weapon as fast as possible and strike down your assailant before he takes you down.

Take care out there, JP


"I know that several of you have practiced tai chi and similar arts, as do I. Do you have any experience or thoughts on the role of standing meditation. Do you think it has any value in your current practice? Thanks in advance for your response."


"Standing meditation, if you find it comfortable and relaxing is great in
itself. As far as KCD practice goes any well adhered to and valid method of
alpha meditation is good. KCD extreme slow movement is one of my favorite alpha meditation forms. When done with a partner as in extreme slow contact flow many of my students and instructors find that the high feeling generated is of a nature that is somewhat different from still or lone
meditation. I guess that it is like another flavor.

Meditation, I feel, is fundamental to a healthy physical and psychological life style. It is not a small thing..... For a warrior's development it is essential. I found that it was not necessary to include meditation as a major part of ATTACK PROOF because if a person just follows the drills a meditative mind is developed automatically."


Home of Martial Realists:
"A true link between Internal and External Martial Arts"