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Old February 24, 2008, 10:27 AM   #26
JollyRoger
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Holding the muzzle to the sky is good for Hollywood movies but has no tactical advantages unless you are clearing a second level while going up a flight of stairs.
+1 on that. IIRC the whole "muzzle to the sky" concept was a Hollywood deal, so they could get a shot of the actor's face and the gun in a close-up. I think that was the origin of the sideways pistol grip as well, as that allowed a straight-on, unobstructed shot of the actor's face with the sideways pistol underneath. Life imitates art. Unbelievable.
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Old March 19, 2008, 11:35 PM   #27
Rifleman 173
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Muzzle down. If you have the muzzle up and by chance you stumble, if the gun goes off it might hit the guy in front of you in the back or in the skull. If you have it pointed down then if it goes off, more than likely the guy will only get a leg wound and develop a limp. With either scenario, you probably will NOT be getting any Christmas cards from the guy you wounded.
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Old March 21, 2008, 10:54 AM   #28
Colt Delta Elite
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Down

Muzzle down. Much, much better idea of where a fired round will end up.
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Old March 21, 2008, 10:57 AM   #29
MLeake
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At risk of repeating myself...

I don't like up or down.

For me, it's either downrange, if at a range; toward the threat, if in a threat situation; or holstered.

If at a military qual where they hand me the weapon, sans holster, then I carry it as the rangemaster instructs.
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Old March 21, 2008, 02:37 PM   #30
Hard Ball
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My holsters position the muzzles down, If I have drawn the pistol then I keep the muzzle pointing down in a low ready position. This is quicker on target for point shooting if I must engage.
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Old March 21, 2008, 03:45 PM   #31
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MLeake ~

At the top of a three-story house, having just retired for the night, I heard the beeeeep of the alarm system indicating that someone had just opened a door downstairs. Maybe. (We'd had some glitches in it the day before.)

Family was gone, just me in the house.

I'd retired for the night and had no belt on, hence no holster.

After listening at the door for 15 full minutes by the clock, I'd heard no movement downstairs during that time. I was reasonably certain that it was just one more glitch in the system, not an intruder. So no point calling the cops.

Equally no sense going back to bed. I was WIDE AWAKE and destined to stay that way until I knew for sure that I was alone in the house. It could have been an intruder. No way to know without checking.

Now...

Do I leave my gun on the nightstand while I run downstairs to check? (Bad plan...)

Do I make a bunch of noise rummaging through the closet, finding what I need in order to holster the gun, and then move through the house with the gun NOT in hand? (This seemed awkward to me, and a bit unwise - what if the intruder burst into the room while I had one leg in & one leg out of my jeans?)

Or do I move "tactically" through the house, carrying my gun with me in case I need to use it? (I chose this option. Took over an hour to make my way carefully downstairs.)

Having decided to move through the house with gun in hand, how should I carry it?

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Old March 21, 2008, 04:31 PM   #32
MLeake
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Pax,

In the scenario you describe, the possible threat area is downstairs, so I suppose I'd opt for muzzle down for clearing purposes.

If the situation dictates extended movement with the pistol drawn, I guess my answer would be that it could be up or down, dependent on the environment. Factors would include presence and locations of friendly or non-threat personnel, types of surfaces involved, and potential obstructions.

Concrete floor, and nobody upstairs, I might opt for muzzle up.

The argument another poster had about potential trip hazards when muzzle up behind a teammate was valid, too, so that might call for muzzle down.

For most of us, though, a SD scenario shouldn't involve a lot of movement toward the threat. Getting the family (if present) to a defensible position while calling 911 and ensuring appropriate family members are armed would make more sense for most of us, who aren't trained in clearing houses.

I think the only blanket statement I'd make for muzzle up, down, or wherever is that if the weapon needs to be in hand, maintain muzzle awareness, and use your best judgement. Otherwise, keep it holstered, where possible, when a lot of movement is involved.
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Old March 21, 2008, 04:35 PM   #33
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Pax's scenario, one more thing

Pax,

I feel weird offering you advice, since you are an acknowledged expert... but I'm a big fan of big dogs.

If I were in your scenario, I'd have a much better idea whether it was a system glitch or an intruder, because a decent sized Catahoula would provide his opinion pretty much instantly.

The other advantage to dogs is that they make a great deterrent, ahead of the break-in. According to published studies I've read, most burglars don't want anything to do with a canine-protected house.

Aside from that, I just like dogs.

Cheers,

M
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Old March 21, 2008, 05:58 PM   #34
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MLeake ~

Dogs are great for those who can have them, and you're right. Can't beat a canine early warning system! (Allergies suck, that's all I'm gonna say about that.)

Mostly I posted that story to point out that the previous post of yours was maybe a bit too absolutist:
Quote:
For me, it's either downrange, if at a range; toward the threat, if in a threat situation; or holstered.
In my situation, there was no identified threat to point at, nor was there likely to be. I wasn't on the range. And I didn't have a holster. Yet I still needed to move with the gun.

After 15 by-the-clock minutes of not hearing even the faintest ghost of a sound from downstairs, no out of place smells, no wayward drafts or shadows moving around, and given my knowledge that the alarm system had been being a bit wonky, it seemed to me that the situation didn't merit calling the cops, nor was hunkering down the thing to do either, at least not after that initial long wait timed by the clock (not by the heartbeat...).

Just wanted to illustrate a situation where moving with the gun in hand was a prudent and necessary thing to do, even without a known threat or a holster.

(And, I should add -- THAT kind of situation is the most likely one most of us ordinary citizens are going to face.)

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Old March 21, 2008, 06:02 PM   #35
MLeake
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Believe it or not...

... but my nightstand gun and my truck gun both have holsters with them, so if needed I'm just a clip away from having a holster available (Odds are I'm not going to investigate in the buff... can't have intruders laugh themselves to death... so I'll probably put on some pants).

I guess I did sound too absolute in the earlier post that you are quoting, but I thought the original question was asking for a rule of thumb rather than specific scenario advice. My rule of thumb is "holstered".

Rules of thumb go out the window when events overcome them.

Sorry about the allergies. Half my family are allergic to dogs. The other half all own dogs. Reunions can be tricky, logistically.

Cheers,

M
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Old March 21, 2008, 06:17 PM   #36
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Question for Pax

Out of curiousity, in your house clearing scenario, it seems like you opted for a handgun.

Did you choose that option because you didn't have a shotgun or rifle handy, or had you previously determined that, given the layout of your home, neighborhood, etc, the handgun would be more advantageous?

I ask because not too far from my nightstand pistol, there's an 870 which would be my in-house primary. However, if I wanted to explore the house, the long gun could pose some challenges (easier to grab from around a corner, hard to manipulate while opening or closing doors, etc).

I also ask because I remember reading an article, years ago, about a practical self defense course where students were placed in a scenario in a simulated home, where a shotgun and a carbine were readily available, yet chose to deal with the scenario with their handguns. (I think only one student reached for a carbine, and that was a former infantryman)

Cheers,

M
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Old March 21, 2008, 06:23 PM   #37
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No shotgun available that night (lots of backstory irrelevant to thread), but even if there had been, I'm more confident & comfortable moving around corners and through close quarters with handgun than I am with a long gun, and I am similarly more confident in my handgun retention skills in close quarters, if I goofed and it had turned into an ambushed rasslin' match.

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Old March 21, 2008, 06:27 PM   #38
MLeake
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Pax, one last question

During the 15 minutes you waited, the alarm company never called you?

Were the glitch alarms not going to the central office?
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Old March 21, 2008, 06:29 PM   #39
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Unmonitored system.

Because of the glitches, I'd shut off the alarm proper, so what I heard was the system beep of a door opening, not a full blown alarm.

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Old March 21, 2008, 07:07 PM   #40
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There have been a coupla times I've played Curious George and cleared the interior and/or grounds of my property. Sometimes (as pax indicated), you just need to.

Once with a PPK/S in hand, face covered in shaving cream, and nothing else but a towel. No reload, no cell phone, no shoes. Maintenance man had "let himself in". He never did it again. I determined never to be caught so unready again.

I took a hint from an article by Mas Ayoob many years ago. I keep a duty sidearm holstered on a duty belt. Wakeup, standup, snap fastex belt around waist...ready.

Pistol, retention holster, re-loads, flashlight, spare cell phone, spare house/auto keys (in a key silencer), spare ID, field dressing x 2 plus tournequet (in small first aid pouch), and an ASP baton.

Extra keys are for: 1) re-entering your own locked residence through a door you didn't exit out of or 2) to drive to safety / evacuate others (without having to re-enter your place and locate primary keys).

It takes only seconds to put on gun belt, I have no need to look or fumble for separate items, I am ready for whatever...

It may sound overly "cop" but is actually pretty low profile, especially with a light windbreaker thrown over (if I go outside). Add some slip on all-terrain walkers or low hiking shoes.

Little use for civilian High Sabrina (muzzle up) unless clearing up staircase or elevated landings, decking, trees, fire escapes, ceiling hatches, ledges, roofs, or windows. At that point, I'm not so much securing my muzzle in a high position as covering high threats my eyes are looking at.

There are times when a high carry of pistol is applicable during tactical team entry and I will not elaborate.

When working with a buddy or team, high carry is also (unfortunately) a good way to shoot a friend in the back of the head or upper torso.

From a combatives point of view, there is a lot more physiology working against you if your pistol muzzle is high and you have to break a gun grab, grapple, or protect your weapon.

YMMV.

P.S. - "High Sabrina" is a tongue-in-cheek derogatory term for what Jolly Roger explained earlier concerning tight screen shots of actors' faces. Older members will remember promo shots and opening scenes from the original Charlie's Angels TV show circa 1970s....
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Last edited by Chindo18Z; March 21, 2008 at 07:41 PM.
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Old March 21, 2008, 07:19 PM   #41
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I was instructed to use the low ready because it allows greater visibility and a more compact form when moving as compared to having a gun extended, which blocks your vision and is easier to disarm.
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Old March 21, 2008, 07:37 PM   #42
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And exactly what tackdriver said (above)...
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Old March 21, 2008, 08:07 PM   #43
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In my years of military experience and post. The Enviroment should always dictate what your doing and a good shooter regardless will be aware of that. If I am in a 2 story structure advancing down a hallway I better be damn sure I know whats below me just in case and the same goes for vice versa. I have seen a few people almost shot with the muzzle always down rule, the point is that we need to be flexible and adaptable to whatever enviroment we are in.
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Old March 21, 2008, 09:50 PM   #44
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"I was instructed to use the low ready because it allows greater visibility and a more compact form when moving as compared to having a gun extended, which blocks your vision and is easier to disarm."

The direction the muzzle points has little to do with visibility, compactness, or ease of disarmament.

For example, position 3 in a 4 count MI draw stroke - both hands are on the weapon, it is compact, below the lineof sight, readily defended, and instantly ready for use where extention wouldn't be prudent with the muzzle directed straight ahead.

This, by the way, qualifies as a position that falls into what the author refers to as "muzzle up" with handguns.
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Old March 21, 2008, 10:14 PM   #45
Erik
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The issues a bit more pronounced with long guns, and dictated even more so by the situation than just prefered tactics and training.

For example, negotiating a barrier may require carrying muzzle up, even if it then returnes to down.
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Old March 21, 2008, 10:53 PM   #46
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Muzzleup, if it is above the head your arms block your view. If the weapon is below the head, pointed up and you are grabed, and you pull your arms in towards you like you would do naturaly the BG could pull the trigger and you now have a projectile in your head from your weapon.

Muzzle down, BG cann't grab your arms as well. and if you pull the trigger you shoot the BG in the knees, groin, hips, stomache.

This is not a theory or an I think. This is how we train and how I did it in a war zone where we cleared more houses and even more rooms in one day than most swat does in a lifetime.

If you have to move with a weapon into an area you know you might have to shoot, muzzle down is best.....
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Old March 21, 2008, 11:04 PM   #47
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Without looking at the link, nor reading any of this, I vote for muzzle down, simply because its less tiring than to hold it up.
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Old March 21, 2008, 11:11 PM   #48
Shadi Khalil
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Muzzle down for me. I cant imagine why you would want to have the muzzle pointed up. Its allot easier to rasie a gun to your sight line form the low and ready stance then it is with the muzzle up....
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Old March 22, 2008, 11:45 AM   #49
Colt Delta Elite
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Pistol, retention holster, re-loads, flashlight, spare cell phone, spare house/auto keys (in a key silencer), spare ID, field dressing x 2 plus tournequet (in small first aid pouch), and an ASP baton.
What no sky flares or percussion grenades.... you're going out naked!
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Old March 22, 2008, 12:08 PM   #50
Hard Ball
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"Muzzle down. Much, much better idea of where a fired round will end up."

Good point.
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