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Old May 17, 2005, 05:09 PM   #1
Doug.38PR
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Revolver/pistol tactics of old school and new

When I took my CHL course, my father and I were the only two people in there who chose to use one hand at the range instead of the modern tactic of bracing the gun with both.

Personally, I handle the gun easier with one hand. I've seen old police training films and see that they used to use the same method. I personally like it better 1) you're standing primarily to your side and not exposing the whole front of your body as you do in two hand stances and are thus less exposed as a target 2) you have more mobility in moving around if you are handling the gun with one hand and 3) if you can hit the mark right on with one hand then you will do that much better if you ever feel the need to brace both hands for extra support.

Interestingly, the two different methods resemble two different fighting art stances with the sword. The old gun stance is nearly like fencing with saber/foil with one hand with your right foot pointed forward and your left behind you pointing to the left for support and using nearly the same posture and movement while fencing.
The new method is more like holding a broad sword or eastern samuri sword with both hands using the same posture and movements.

Any thoughts on why the change? Anybody like one or the other better
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Old May 17, 2005, 05:38 PM   #2
payne
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Hummmmm.......... Well, the way i see it the stance with two hands is giving you better control and is better suited for the police gun use. This to me is because if they heve their gun drawn usually their approaching a person that is not to make any movement unless told. And if they do this allows for a quick accurate shot. This is used before the bullets start flying everywhere. That's how i see that stance used more often b/c most situations don't escalate with an officer approaching with his gun pointed at your chest.

Now with the use of the one hand, yeah it lessens you area of exposure but it also decreases your stability after firing the first shot. I see this as a combat stance. I take that back b/c i would probably be firing with one so i could be running faster the other way to find cover. So I guess it would be a running position . That's because I probably wouldn't be standing in combat (bullets wizzing by), I'd be just firing their general direction to keep them down while i head for COVER!
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Old May 17, 2005, 08:02 PM   #3
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Doug, . . . I kinda chuckled when I read your post, . . . you bring up some good old memories.

But in answer to your question, I guess I just always gravitated to a two hand hold for any possible combat scenario. I never had to use my .45 in 'Nam, but I probably would have used both hands. I well remember the one night we got flushed out, . . . I had that old .45 clearing the outside of our main admin building, . . . and I sure had both hands on it. 'Course, . . . some of that coulda been to keep it from rattling as much as I was shakin.

It is even more so now that I am up in years and sometimes kinda get a bit shaky without any bg's around.

I think Payne is right on the money with the comment about LEO's starting out that way as a deterrent to violence escalation.

Anyway, . . . thanks for the post & the memories.

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Old May 17, 2005, 09:51 PM   #4
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Doug, I use two hands. My revolver is a 6 inch .357 with a heavy trigger. I can't shoot the gun all that well anyhow, but with only one hand I'd be as good throwing my gun. If you can hit consistently with one hand then you have an edge. I hope to become able to hit while moving, one handed, weak handed, etc. Every advantage I can get, I'll take.
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Old May 17, 2005, 11:07 PM   #5
BillCA
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The "old fashioned" one-handed methods of shooting were actually adaptations of shooting methods used by single-action shooters through the early part of the 20th century.

With the advent of double-action revolvers towards the last part of the 19th century and their gaining popularity into the 20th, the FBI began teaching their agents and other police the one-handed method of "crouch" shooting in the 1940's. The crouched position -- with the weak hand raised so that the wrist was right over the sternum, body slightly crouched and right arm extended out and about 6" below eye level -- was claimed to reduce your target size, provide some protection to the heart (your weak-hand forearm!) and allow you to see the gun with your peripheral vision to adjust your shooting.

In reality, this never worked very well, but it did provide officers with a technique that permitted a fast draw & shoot, plus from the crouch the officer could move sideways fairly well. Only when the officer was well practiced or lucky did he prevail as police are usually reacting to the BG's threat.

Later the Weaver stance and the isocolese triangle methods were taught, using a two-hand hold (with a number of variations of grips). It was found that in a police gunfight, the officer could draw & fire with two hands just as fast as the older "crouch" method but that his accuracy on the first shot was improved (something like 12%) and the 2nd shot accuracy was up over 30%.

In the late 60's, the famous Bill Jordan (USBP) advocated "point shooting" (aka Hip-Shooting) where you draw and fire with your shooting forearm about 3" above your belt line, arm only partially extended and with one hand. Jordan believed that this was more realistic for police as they were often called upon to fire "in one hellva great hurry" to save themselves. I think Jordan was right, but police trainers, the FBI and NRA thought otherwise.

At ranges up to 15 yards, point shooting can be remarkably accurate and effective with a little practice. It takes much more practice to be reliable at 25 yards however and this is where the two-handed hold comes in.

For civilian shooters, I think knowing the two-handed shooting technique is a "good thing"(tm), however you should also practice one-handed "hip shooting" for close range encounters (in home, parking lots, etc). The reasoning is that CCW holders will most likely fire only when confronted by an assailant and that is usually at a very personal distance. Imagine being accosted by a knife-wielding BG. To be a threat he has to be close enough to make the threat likely. If he comes at you it's unlikely you'll have time to take your stance and raise your weapon to eye level for sighting. It will be draw and shoot, usually with your weak hand outstretched to fend him off or working pepper spray. The gun fires upon presentation a little above belt buckle height.

Hollywood - Muzzle up or down?
You've seen 'em do both in the movies and TV. Hero using a two handed hold with either the muzzle up or down as he seeks out the BG. So which is better?

Police are trained to keep the weapon pointed and locked in sync with their eyes. Look left-point left, look right-point right during a building search. But this is also fatiguing as you slowly make your way through the house holding 1.8 pounds of steel. Most professionals I know advocate muzzle down at a 45* angle (away from your feet dammit!) since it's easier to stop the gun's rise when you're on target than if you're trying to stop it's downward motion against gravity. Besides that, it's easier to "break" your wrist upwards and fire if surprised. I'm also told that a lowered gun is harder to grab in a dark hallway confrontation and your attacker runs the risk of being called "hop-a-long".

That's my $0.02 worth (adjusted for inflation).
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Old May 18, 2005, 01:26 AM   #6
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just for the heck of it, last weekend I one handed my .454 Casull. I loaded the Winchester 250gr hollow points, which I've heard described as more of a heavy 45 Colt load. It wasnt all the bad either though I'm sure I'm not going to try one handing the gun with the 300gr bullets loaded up
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Old May 18, 2005, 05:23 AM   #7
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I incorporate both - one and two-handed. Some circumstances favor one; such as near contact distance shooting.
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Old May 18, 2005, 02:55 PM   #8
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Back in the late 50's, and early 60's when I was a LEO we used only .38Spl's. Up to that point I always fired SA the same way as you, and your dad.

Fast draw was mostly head on but with a crouch.

I began the change over to both hands while qualifying for DA rapid fire. Maybe that's where the two hand support originated from. I don't know. But that's as far back as I can remember.
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Old May 18, 2005, 03:35 PM   #9
Doug.38PR
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Quote:
I began the change over to both hands while qualifying for DA rapid fire. Maybe that's where the two hand support originated from. I don't know. But that's as far back as I can remember.
That brings up another question (and I don't want to take away from my original question). I carry a .38 special now for CC. 4 inch barrel, medium frame. How do you rapid fire a revolver without being abusive wearing down the bolt and cylinder? I try to sqeeze off each shot more and more quickly with quick finger work while trying not to whiplash the finger snapping the trigger back. Trying to get off 2 to 4 shots a second. Any recommendations?
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Old May 18, 2005, 04:36 PM   #10
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I don't know the answer to your question. All I can say is when your life is on the line, and the adrenaline is flowing, I didn't worry much about finger whiplash.

On the range I probably did what you described. Try to build speed, and finger control so the shots are more effective. My sidearm was city issue, and to be honest I didn't worry much about wearing it out. Sorry I can't be of more help...

Time for a senior moment...
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Old May 18, 2005, 05:03 PM   #11
wayneinFL
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There's no doubt two-handed shooting gives you more control, especially for rapid fire. And most of my practice is two-handed.

But if you are ever in a life threatening situation you could very well find yourself shooting one handed so it's a good idea to get some practice shooting one handed, weak and strong hand.

Think about it. I doubt there's anyone on this forum who hasn't been beat up or in fight, at least as a kid. Your other hand could be busy defending you. You could be holding the gun away from someone trying to grab it. You could be knocked to the ground or hiding behind something in an awkward position where shooting two-handed would be difficult or impossible. Or your other hand could be injured. You could be running left or right through unfamiliar territiry in the dark and need the other hand for balance.
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Old May 18, 2005, 06:19 PM   #12
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I feel two handed is more accurate, and faster for repeat shots, but a well rounded shooter should be able to shoot one handed as well. Some point shooting is good, as well as weak hand shooting, one and two handed.

I read on the forums of shooters that say they only shoot up to about 7 yards or so, figuring that this is as far as most gunfights take place. Seems rather limiting. As mentioned above, a well rounded shooter should be able to cover many aspects of the game, not just a narrow one. After shooting in open country, where we regularly plink out to a couple hundred yards or more, the close stuff is pretty simple. I have seen shooters that only shoot up close try it in the open. It usually isn't a pretty sight. Hunting small game with a pistol is also good practice. Running rabbits and squirrels in trees sharpen you up.


Elmer Keith wrote about practicing drawing a revolver from a right handed holster with his left hand, shooting the gun upside down pulling the trigger with the little finger. Sounds odd, but if reaching for the gun with the left hand, that is how you get it. I've tried it, and with practice, it is an effective close range technique. Try it with a brick of 22's through your practice gun and see if in doubt.


I believe years ago, it was considered "unmanly" to shoot a pistol two handed, or was somehow "cheating". With more competition, and with people more interested in results than apearance, two handed shooting became common and accepted. Even back in the frontier days, there were some people that shot two handed. I just don't think it was as common.
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Old May 19, 2005, 02:01 AM   #13
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Doug.38PR
Quote:
That brings up another question (and I don't want to take away from my original question). I carry a .38 special now for CC. 4 inch barrel, medium frame. How do you rapid fire a revolver without being abusive wearing down the bolt and cylinder? I try to sqeeze off each shot more and more quickly with quick finger work while trying not to whiplash the finger snapping the trigger back. Trying to get off 2 to 4 shots a second. Any recommendations?
Do not use an interrupted style of regular trigger manipulation - if it becomes ingrained habit it might get you into trouble later.

The best way to master the double-action revolver is by adopting a rigid practice of using the same grip, draw, smooth trigger manipulation - slowly, deliberately, consistantly every time. Over and over again.

You can of course develope speed - gradually - but in all likelyhood necessity in an emergency will induce all the speed you need. The habits you develope with slow, deliberate, smooth and consistant repetition will be your friend.

You do not say what make and model your revolver is, but any of the quality pieces should hold up well if you keep them clean and lubed. A second duplicate piece for practice shooting is a bit of a luxury, but nice if you can afford it.
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Old May 19, 2005, 11:06 AM   #14
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From a more le/combat perspective when you move in on a target, the two hand grip squares your chest and eyes to the target, which is where most of your armor is across your chest. Shooting one handed is great to practice because you never know what will happen, practice shooting on your back, shooting from cover, shooting while moving, but i do most of that two handed for reasons mentioned above.
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Old May 19, 2005, 05:56 PM   #15
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In a police situation one of the reasons for the isocoles "triangle" stance is taught has to do with body armor. You are facing the threat directly with the armor instead of sideways with the seams between the front and rear plates exposed.

Also, you have a more "mechanically sound" recoil management system, with recoil being distributed equally down both arms, instead of the bulk of it down the strong arm only. this tends to allow the gun to come to come out of recoil straight back down. Where the "weaver" stance has a slight tendency to twist your upper body sideways.

Also with the weaver stance you are taught to push and pull with your strong and weak hands respectively. This is "technically" unsound as you are actually fighting yourself, where with the isocoles stance both hands apply force in the same direction-against the forces of recoil.

However, we're talking "combat" handguns here. When I shoot my "hand cannons" I prefer the weaver stance. Why? Because you will not "control" the recoil of such a thing, you can only roll with it. So allowing your upper torso to recoil like a spring is a lot easier on you all the way around.
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Old May 19, 2005, 08:32 PM   #16
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I think the use of one hand or two really should be a factor of distance.

At close range, the non-shooting hand should go forward to gain some personal space while simultaneously taking a step back. This is especially important if the BG has a contact weapon or attempts a gun grab. The shooting should be done from the hip with the shooting arm against your side for stability. The one handed off hand style would be horrible as you will most probably lose your weapon, or at least have your arm pushed away.

At greater distances, it is more important to have the extra stability. A modified weaver stance will still lessen your profile, especially when done with a partial crouch. You will be able to control the weapon much better, especially for follow up shots and heavier calibres.

Thats my two bits anyways.
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Old May 20, 2005, 05:38 PM   #17
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Malamute

Quote:
Elmer Keith wrote about practicing drawing a revolver from a right handed holster with his left hand, shooting the gun upside down pulling the trigger with the little finger.
I think you just made my point on several limpwristing threads I have posted on. There are some folks who say Glocks, CZ's, and other automatics hiccup when fired with a limp wrist. I take it Elmer Keith's gun fired OK during practice?

I don't see how Mr. Keith could have maintained a good grip, and a locked wrist while shooting the gun upside down, and pulling the trigger with his little finger.

So be it for the limpwristing syndrome...
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Old May 20, 2005, 07:48 PM   #18
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For some reason those Smith revolvers fire no matter how you hold them.
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Old May 21, 2005, 08:04 AM   #19
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When playing the practical games, required one handed stages, always result in slower repeated shots and decreased accuracy. It's really hard to come up with a situation(with the exception of contact distance) when one handed shooting would be preferable but should be practiced. Retention, accuracy, and recoil control, are all improved by two hands and good technique.
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Old May 21, 2005, 11:18 AM   #20
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Remember Vincent Collateral?

In the movie Collateral,
The homeboy is coming up to Vincent with his pistol held out at him with one arm. He gets too close.
Vincent knocks the arm to the side, draws, and fires with both hands at the Homeboy, and his bg buddy. Both get the Mo. drill.
Shoot with 2 hands if you can.
Shoot with 1 hand only if you must.
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Old May 24, 2005, 01:09 PM   #21
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I've always trained two handed for greater accuracy and control in rapid fire. Shot competition that way, qualified that way. Recently while doing a mental review of my various gunpoint situations I realized that I have often went one handed because of using the radio, opening doors, moving innocents aside etc... I decided that I need to practice one hand shooting more often at close range (under 10 yards), not out of preference but neccessity.
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Old May 24, 2005, 01:59 PM   #22
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Not to be a complete movie nerd but Vincent fires one handed from retention on the first guy. Two hands for the next guy.
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Old May 27, 2005, 03:12 AM   #23
defjon
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LOL, you're right!

Well done lad.
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Old May 27, 2005, 06:04 AM   #24
marshall2
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You are right.

I stand corrected!
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Old May 27, 2005, 08:10 PM   #25
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The origin of the single hand stance has its origins in fencing and more specifically in duelling. If you adopt this stance and stand side on you present a much narrower target to the fellow who is shooting at you.

The down side is that you do not have as much control over your own weapon and your peripheral visability on which ever side you are holding the gun is also impeded as compared to a stance where you are standing front on to the enemy- in a classic duel where you have only one target the latter is not really a material consideration, but in a multi target gun fight it is.
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