Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Combat Vision

We are visually oriented creatures, with eyes in the front of our head. We rely on our vision to inform us on what is happening in our environment; 90% of our environmental awareness is gained through sight. We need to visually assess a situation in order to determine what our response should be. The problem is our natural instinct to intensely focus on the source of trouble. Our field of focus narrows, mentally and visually, concentrating on the immediate danger. To fight effectively, especially with firearms, you must train and practice to overcome this natural reaction.

You’re walking through a parking lot when you cue in on possible trouble. You keep an eye on the potential threat, but at the same time you need to be looking for an escape route and objects you can use for cover. You also should be scanning for other threats, because as Clint Smith says, “Bad guys travel in packs.” And not all the bad guys are dumb, so they may not all be bunched together. Check your flanks and rear for accomplices.

Maybe the situation degrades to the point that you must shoot to stop the threat. You’ll probably be armed with your pistol, which has iron sights, so you have to shift your visual focus from the threat to the front sight, to the degree necessary required to make the hits. While firing, although focused on the sight, we still have maintain awareness of our environment. What are the people around us doing? Pay attention to any other possible threats that may be present. If there are bystanders in the area you must keep an eye on them as well. You don’t want to injure someone who decides to run between you and the threat while you’re shooting. And yes, this does happen.

Once the threat is down or gone, you’re moving and scanning for other threats. Remember every time you take a step, moving to cover, creating distance, or withdrawing from the area, you’re point of view is changing – in a 360 degree arc. Your head should be on a swivel, with the eyes quickly scanning anywhere that could contain a threat.

Our visual skills, just like any other fighting skill, can be improved with practice. For example you can look at one object, and still pay attention to your peripheral vision. It’s like those 3-D pictures, where you have to un-focus your eyes to actually see the object in the pattern. By looking at nothing, I see everything. It’s also important to pay attention to reflective surfaces. Next time you’re out somewhere, look at all the shiny stuff around you and you’ll be amazed at what all you can see without even turning your head.

September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Concealed Carry, Defensive Mindset

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