Extreme Close Quarter Shooting – Handgun Training

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Reality wise armed encounters occurs within 6 feet or less, unless you’re patrolling the red zone at Khabar, Afghanistan. In this scenario you’re in a situation that physical confrontation with firearms are in play. Through the dynamics of motion you can’t help it but have to deal with what’s in front of you.
This segment is an add-on to the “FBI Handgun Training” segment that we ran. In that article the information shared was on the emphasis of close quarter shooting and actual course of fire with little mention of the actual dynamics of close quarter confrontation and the methods of training. When you dig deeper into the incident that entails the shootings, prior to the shooting there were evidence of melee in progress.

This segment will shed some light into this training aspect that all agencies have been embracing before 9/11 and slowly instilling into their training program. This comes from all the major Law Enforcement agencies/Military down to the local police agencies. (Note all agencies will have their own method of training and branding terms, but this is the core of CQB training.)

The best way to practice the following drill is not with a live handgun but with an “airsoft pistol” and put this through many different types of close quarter scenarios.
Unfortunately, most of us will not have access to this kind of training due to our job. This article addresses the dangers and appropriate actions if taken can increase your chance of survival. These defensive measures applies to cover concealed and open carry.
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Precursor Strikes to Shooting
When at this close distances, you may need to clear the obstruction in front of you. So when we mention clearing an obstruction we don’t just mean shoving the attacker arm out of the way, but striking their face with an open hand to their face pushing upward.

Drawing the Handguncqb_shoot_pos
As you are clearing the obstruction your other hand draws your weapon. As it clears the holster you don’t bring it to the front as you normally would. You just keep the handgun near your side rib area. From here you can discharge your firearm rapidly to center mass near stomach – pelvic. From this position it will be harder for the handgun to be breached.

The tactics is to fire multiple shots then stepping diagonally away to increase the distance so that you can assess to follow up with more shots or disengage if the attacker goes down.

scenario_trngScenario – Role Playing
At the beginning we talked about implementing this training using “airsoft pistols” in a role playing scenario. That means replicating an office setting, classroom, home, parking lot with and without cars, hallways with varying width, and bathroom (public & private). Use your imagination, but know the objective of the drill.

In this case its having to draw at a very close distance with a live person that will react in a lively manner. Meaning when you apply your initial strike precursor to drawing your handgun. The would be bad guy isn’t going to stand there, they will react either by trying to pull their weapon out or punching back at you. So the simple principle of striking to clear the obstacle and drawing at close quarter will be taken to the limit.


Only your skills will tell you if you can get the weapon out in a safely manner to stop the attack. If you find that you’re having a hard time getting enough clearance to consider drawing your handgun. That means some more of physical hand to hand training needed to up your game.

Here are some other things that you will encounter in the drill prior to drawing, this is not the definitive list but some that you will encounter:

  • Attacker gets in a punch prior to your initial strike
  • Attacker pulls on your front arm
  • Attacker pulls and kicks you at the leg
  • Bear hugs you
  • Grabs and punches you and pulls out their weapon

The list goes on to “what if’s” reaction from the attacker, what do you do? The answer is you keep training with this form of aliveness from the attacker (trainer). Just like target practice the more you do, the better you get at it, condition response. But always, know the objective of the drill.

Source:FBI.gov – FLETC.gov – WA Training Criminal Justice Training – Black Tiger Tactical – Arrestling.com

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