Principles of Close Quarters
Pistol Combat

Fighting within arms reach is close quarters combat. Such fighting may involve wrestling, boxing, knife work, or striking with an object. The following suggestions are for the person who has a pistol, and who may be engaged in up-close combat. If you are a Kung-Fu master, then you won't need these suggestions. Also, these suggestions are particularly for "civilians," not law officers, who operate with a different set of duties and obligations. Also, I make no claims to any expertise, but there are some common sense considerations.

1. Think ahead, and simply avoid combat situations if at all possible. Don't frequent places where fighting occurs regularly. Just don't go there!

2. Stay alert wherever you are. Don't walk around in "condition white." If you have a legal permit to carry a firearm then you are duty bound to focus on your environment and the people around you, wherever you may be. Don't day dream. Don't forget you have a weapon. Don't be stupid.

3. Remember the Five Rules of Concealed Carry. You are not allowed to draw and use your weapon unless your life or the lives of innocent people around you are in deadly danger.

4. If a combat situation is materializing under your nose MOVE. If someone has drawn a weapon on you, MOVE. If someone is ABOUT to draw on you, MOVE. If someone is already firing at you or others, MOVE. Move to cover. If there is no cover, move to the "strong side" of the person firing the weapon. Moving sideways is probably better than moving toward or away from your opponent. Draw your own weapon and shoot to stop the danger. If you spend your precious time shouting "stop," or "drop your weapon," etc., the shooter then has more time to shoot again. If the deadly danger is in front of you, don't talk, SHOOT.

5. If the "bad guy" is standing in front of innocent bystanders, drop to a kneeling position to shoot at him, angling your shots upward and thereby missing people behind him. (This is assuming you have TIME and SPACE to drop to one knee. Don't risk your life to assume some sort of range position. Split seconds count.)

6. If you are extremely close to your opponent don't actually touch him with your semi-auto pistol as you are shooting, as that may interfere with the proper operation of your weapon.

7. Take care to retain your firearm. You don't want the bad guy to hold on to it, or snatch it from you. A revolver that is firmly grasped around the cylinder will not fire. Keep your firearm close to your own body, not held out at arms length. You are not at the shooting range. This is close quarters combat. Here's a link to a discussion on weapon retention.

8. If the bad guy has the drop on you, try to distract him. Throw your wallet or money to the ground at his feet. Throw your coffee in his face. Drop your car keys. Pretend you are sick. Do anything you can to give yourself time and opportunity to draw your own weapon. Then move fast. If you are really up close, grab his gun and use leverage to take his gun away from him.

9. Carry a secret very small back up gun, in case your primary gun mal-functions, or is taken away from you. Carry a secret knife. Don't be without resources.

10. Don't under-estimate the deadliness of non-firearm weapons in the hands of your opponent. Up close and personal a knife or a lead pipe is just as deadly as any firearm.

11. Give it your ALL. If your life is in danger, then get serious! Be violent! Put your heart into it! Don't be considerate of the bad guy. He is trying to kill you, so fight back! This is real life, not some TV show where the hero always bends over backward to give the bad guy one more chance to kill him. Don't quit shooting until you are sure that he's not going to get up and come after you again.