Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Games vs. Fights


Fighting against an armed threat intent on puttin’ the hurt to you is a long way from competing in a game. Both will probably involve shooting, moving, using cover and manipulation of your weapon. The difference is in a game you can lose and still go home. Losing in a fight is a permanent problem.

There are some techniques that cross over between the two, then there are also skills that may work in a competition but don’t fit for fighting, and vice versa. For example in a competition you don’t have to worry about anyone trying to grab your weapon to disarm you or take advantage of the time spent performing an empty reload. Maintaining visual contact with a target in a match may not be a factor. In a fight losing sight of a threat the situation can make a dangerous even more so.

There is a lot to be said for time. Time is a determining factor in a match, and normally a precious commodity in an armed confrontation. But time isn’t our only consideration when determining what technique works best. Reloading technique “A” is a fraction of a second quicker than technique “B.” This method of reloading the pistol works well in a match because it’s faster, in a fight we want to be quick, so this is the technique to use. The problem with this logic is that technique “A” is quicker but puts the pistol, hands and arms in a bad location and difficult position to defend against a disarming attempt by the threat. We know most fights occur at close distance so being able to prevent a threat from taking your pistol away, or keep them from gaining physical control over you, is important.

There are situations in fighting where time isn’t the only consideration. Your techniques have to apply in close quarters confrontations. The skills must work under adverse conditions like low-light environments, or when you hands are slick with sweat or blood. In fights wounds to the hands and arms are common, so your techniques for operating the weapon with both hands must translate over easily for manipulating the firearm with only one hand.

This isn’t to say competing in matches is a bad thing. When I used to have time, which wasn’t very often, I enjoyed the scenarios and shooting. I rarely won because I concentrated on tactics as opposed to time, but it was great practice. Any shooting is good shooting; just remember to keep all things in perspective. Just because a technique works well in a game under controlled conditions doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for fighting.

When lives depend on your actions you must make sure your skills are chosen considering every angle. Practice, and plenty of it is necessary to learn, especially when trying to reprogram a response or technique. Always be ready for the unexpected, which occurs constantly in a fight. Prepare, practice, and perform.

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September 15, 2011 - Posted by | General Training

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