I’ve heard some accounts from trainers I’ve talked to, and some I’ve read, and others I’ve listened to. These accounts are shocking, but they are simply reality. In almost every one of these accounts, someone met with harm. They met with harm because they forgot that everything is a weapon.
The stories almost always play out the same way. It doesn’t matter whether it is a soldier with a rifle, a cop with whatever weapon, an armed civilian, or an unarmed civilian.
The individual is preoccupied mentally. They are not entirely aware of their situation. They cut a corner too tightly, and are caught unaware. Their adversary ambushes them.
You can see how this is bad for the unarmed civilian, but how is this bad for the other men? How is being at bad breath distance bad for them? A bullet has the most power at the muzzle.
The OODA Loop
The ambushed individual is preoccupied mentally, so they are surprised. Their OODA Loop is short circuited. By the time they observe the new data, and orient themselves to it, they decide too late. This led to an improper action.
We will get to this improper action after we discuss WHY people of all stripes are reacting with an improper action.
Simply put another way, they didn’t train for this situation. When your OODA Loop is short circuited, you will default back to your training. If you didn’t train for the situation at hand? Bad news.
Cooper’s Color Code
How about Cooper’s color code? Shouldn’t a soldier or LEO with rifle in hand be in Code Red? Well, yes and no.
The mind reacts differently to an open firefight and clearing a house. The above situation doesn’t occur on open ground (barring historical examples like trench warfare) nearly as much as it does in Close Quarters Battle. In terms of the number of times this kind of ambush occurs, it is likely LEOs see more of them than soldiers.
When you are breaching a home and looking for a specific dangerous individual, you aren’t in Code Red. Code Red is “The fight is on”. The fight is not yet on, but the hunt is. Instead of being in Code Red, the individual is in Code Orange.
The soldier or officer is aware of the presence of threats, but not the location. They are seeking the location of these threats. The individual’s body attempts to help with this goal, but can hurt more than it helps.
When you are in a dangerous situation, part of the body’s response is tunnel vision. Your body does this to allow you deeper targeted focus at the cost of peripheral focus. Movement that crosses from your peripheral to focused vision seems to come from nowhere.
Train As You Fight?
Finally, there is the shock of finding what you are seeking. Hunters know this all to well, and we call it “Buck Fever”. It feels as if you’ve been searching for this thing for eternity, and here it is. The dissonance is deafening, and short circuits your OODA Loop further.
This all delays the moment at which your training (if you HAVE trained for this) can be defaulted to.
You can train for everything under the sun, but if you have not inoculated yourself by training under stress, you will react too slowly. “Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast” only works when you already know you’re in a fight.
Now that we’ve covered WHY people of all training levels and occupations are susceptible to this mistake, let’s discuss the actual action. What do people typically do when confronted with this ambush? Why is it the wrong thing to do?
Everything is a Weapon, Including You
Whether it is a pistol still in the holster, a firearm held at low ready, or an unarmed and unaware civilian, people forget themselves. They try to manipulate what they believe their weapon is, if they even have one, when there is not enough time.
For sake of discussion, let’s say we have an officer with a rifle who turns a corner without slicing the pie. His rifle is at the low ready. One of the men he and his fellow officers are searching for is concealed immediately on the other side of the corner. He is now at bad breath distance and to the officer’s right, 2-o-clock.
The officer realizes what is happening, and attempts to turn his rifle on the individual. There simply isn’t enough room for this to work. The upper receiver of his rifle will butt up against the other man’s arm, the muzzle cannot cross him.
This is a nightmare of a situation that can lead to, at best, a takedown or a few broken ribs for the officer. At worst, he could lose his life. The worst part of this is that it is incredibly preventable.
A modern rifle isn’t just a projectile delivery system. It is also a 5 to 8 (hopefully no more) pound hunk of metal, polymer, wood, whatever. That makes for a damn fine blunt weapon.
If there isn’t enough room to get momentum for a strike with the rifle, as in the example of the officer above, what else can be done?
What does a martial artist do when his opponent circles into his space?
He circles outward with the front leg, then the back, and delivers a preemptive strike. This can be with either hand, with either elbow, the head, the shoulders, absolutely anything.
The purpose of the strike is not incapacitating the target, the purpose is in short circuiting their OODA Loop. This buys time to put distance (the gun-toter’s friend) between you and the hostile individual. Then an arrest can be made, or whatever the goal is.
If it’s me, my goal is in cessation of hostilities by whatever means. Then getting that bastard arrested and getting a lawyer to ensure he doesn’t claim I did to him what he did to me. You do whatever the hell you’re going to do.
None of the above is legal advice. I’m not a damned lawyer. If you want a lawyer, go hire one. None of the above is a recommendation, or a consultation, and I accept no obligation or responsibility for your actions and their consequences. That’s on you. That’s called being an adult. If shit goes south, that’s between you and your attacker(s), your lawyer and the law, and any god(s) you revere. I am not involved. – Ed.
I don’t believe in dying on my knees, even if I have to claw and bite to keep it from happening.
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