This article on EDC gear is part of a multi-part series on tactical pistol shooting. To read part 1 on the fundamentals of good handgun ownership, click here. To read about the art of shooting itself, click here. For information on practical EDC gear, click here.

Many shooters who get serious about practical self-defense usually want to find a range where they can do more than just stand or sit while shooting stationary targets. In the real world, you can be attacked at any time and in any place and you won’t always be ready to respond with a proper shooting position.

Sergeant Tim Bulot, Ellis county’s deputy SWAT commander and founder of the Strategic Weapons Academy of Texas, says “the streets are the best teacher” when it comes to practical pistol shooting, and his numerous encounters with bad guys over 40 years of law enforcement experience have taught him various techniques that he passes on to both civilians and other law enforcement agencies at his weapons academy in rural Ellis County.

The first way to ensure your safety from local gun violence, kidnapping, robbery, or assault is to avoid it in the first place. Many victims of violence usually put themselves in danger by going to dangerous places. For example, a 24 year old tourist from Delaware named Tariq Loat tried to buy drugs from a shantytown near a popular seaside tourist destination in San Juan and was warned not to take photos. The hapless Mr. Loat ignored this warning and took a photo anyway. He and his friend were attacked, but his friend managed to escape while Loat was beaten to death with an exercise weight, a piece of wood, and a deep fryer before his body was set on fire. If Loat had trusted his best judgment and sense of self-preservation, he would not have been in such a dangerous place doing dangerous things, he would still be among us today.

With that being said, in this current climate you could be the victim of a shooting at church, at the grocery store, in the mall, at school, or at home. It is in your best interests to carry a self-defense weapon, preferably a firearm, anywhere you are allowed to carry it.

Even as an armed citizen, you must accept the fact that there are impending dangers, and it is your responsibility to take them seriously. There is no amount of self-defense training that will prepare you for every single conceivable threat, and it’s also important never to be overconfident in any training you might happen to have.

Picking up your weapon

One might think that the simple act of picking up a gun might not need to be taught. However, in stressful self-defense situations and moments of panic, people fumble with their weapons and pick them up with improper grips or drop them on the floor. Sergeant Bulot’s time-proven remedy for this is to pick up the weapon by the slide instead of the grip. By doing this, you can raise the weapon to allow you to get a proper grip.

This is useful for drawing from tabletops, drawers, or briefcases.

Shooting from a Seat

You may be required to respond to a shooting from a seated position. In this self-defense situation, Sergeant Bulot teaches that the best practice is to swing your holster leg out of your weapon’s line of fire before you draw, so as not to shoot yourself in the excitement. This unorthodox position allows you to steady yourself as if you’re in the isosceles stance and the chair’s stability reduces hip movement and gives you more recoil control.

Self-defense Shooting from a seated position step 1: Pulling the trigger too quickly from this draw position puts the shooter's leg at risk.
Self-defense Shooting from a seated position step 2: Brushing the holster leg to the side and leaning forward prepares the shooter to assume the proper seated shooting position.
Self-defense Shooting from a seated position step 3: The shooter is ready to fire.

In these tense situations where every second matters, if you focus solely on your sights or your target, you’ll miss what’s happening around you due to tunnel vision. An innocent bystander might run into your line of fire or a second threat might appear out of the corner of your eye. In scenarios like this, it’s best to have a red dot sight. A red dot allows you to aim with both eyes open and gives you wider peripheral vision, making you aware of incoming threats or dangers. Not only will you be able to use both your eyes while aiming, but you also won’t need to spend precious seconds aligning your front and rear sights. What’s more, with a red dot sight you’ll only need to line up your target with the bright red dot in your sight without having to experience front sight blurring like you would with iron sights. However, a red dot can also fail. Glass could break, fog up, get stained by a fingerprint or, in worst case, by a blood splatter. Sightmark’s Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro recognizes this problem and offers a solution by providing rear sights which cowitness with any pistol’s front sight post. A red dot also allows you to shoot targets from further away.

Strike and Fire

For situations when your threat is right on top of you, for example, if a someone walks up to you at a gas station and decides to produce a weapon from six feet away, your best self-defense option is to “strike and fire.” It’s good to remember old adage “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” by Field Marshal von Moltke or, if you prefer, “Everyone’s got a plan until they got punched in the mouth” by Mike Tyson. Sergeant Bulot states that people were created with two hands, and if one of those hands is drawing your weapon, then the other one can be striking your opponent in the face. In fact, by extending your non dominant hand towards an opponent to strike, you are rotating your torso so that your shooting hand is in a better position to draw your weapon.

3D diagram of a man in a self-defense situation palm strikes another man with a knife

When your weapon is drawn in this unorthodox position, you don’t need to present it in a proper aiming position, since doing so would give your opponent an opportunity to grab it. Instead, as your target is directly in front of you, you may immediately fire from the hip after your weapon’s muzzle clears the holster. Your target is so close that a hit to the abdomen, hip, or lower extremities is guaranteed.

Any position you find yourself in is a position you might need to shoot out of. Whether you’re at a restaurant or in your car, you never know when you’ll need to draw your weapon to defend yourself or others.

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