Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy


When your primary weapon stops functioning you transition to your secondary weapon. The most common transition would be from rifle to pistol. The rifle runs empty or malfunctions – I really don’t care why it’s not firing – all I know is when I press the trigger it doesn’t go bang. I’m within handgun distance, so immediately I transition to the pistol. You may also transition from your primary handgun to a second handgun because of a stoppage, jam or breakage, or you lose the first pistol so you present your back-up weapon. It may be a situation where I’m fighting with a pistol then have to transition to an edged weapon. There are a variety of “transitions” and you need to consider and practice them all.

There are also tactical transitions that occur due to environmental factors. It’s daylight outside, but you have to enter a darkened warehouse. Now you’re using a flashlight, apply low-light tactics, using the light to navigate, locate possible threats, or communicate with partners. It could be dark outside and then you enter a well-lighted interior area of a building. Remember the environment dictates what tactics and how you apply them.

The ability to perform mental transitions is most important. The fight starts with you in a defensive mindset, responding to the actions of the threat(s). As soon as possible you transition from a defensive mindset, where you’re reacting to the threat, into an aggressive mindset, forcing the threat to react to you. This is the way to end the fight as quickly as possible, either forcing the threat to make a mental decision to stop fighting, or inflicting enough damage that they physically can’t continue the fight.

To perform physical, tactical, and mental transitions requires plenty of practice. Normally we only practice with one weapon at a time. Your practice should reflect the reality of what you carry. Work on flowing from one weapon to another, and back, always trying to keep your most effective weapon in the fight. Just because the threat goes down doesn’t mean the fight is over, and if it does kick back up I wouldn’t want to be standing there holding a pistol when I did have a chance to reload my rifle. Learn to make decisions based on time, distance, and the environment.

Start working on transitions now, remembering that “unarmed” is a mental state; there are a multitude of weapons surrounding you. In the beginning of the fight I don’t have time to present my pistol so I use a chair to hammer one bad guy, then present my pistol to deal with any other possible threats.

Regardless of what happens, you can’t afford to freeze up. Do something immediately, and be ready to improvise your plan as the fight unfolds. Victory in a fight usually goes to the artist, not necessarily the person with the best technical skills.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15, Auto Pistol, General Training

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