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Old January 17, 2012, 03:14 PM   #1
R1145
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Top ten list for surviving a gunfight

I apologize in advance for pulling out a horse that has been beaten to death, but I did a search, and could not easily find the information I was looking for.

My agency is doing some training in the next few months. Talk is cheap, but I want to contribute a list of tips to distribute, to stimulate discussion and perhaps serve as a basis for future training.

I am not looking for a rehash of the usual humorous "[your name here]'s Rules of Combat", nor specifics on gun or ammo choices (which are constrained by department policy).

While clearly I am looking at this from the perspective of a LEO, I think much of this information has broad usefulness.

My main talent is overstating the obvious, it seems, but I appreciate any additions and commentary.

After brainstorming last night, my Top Ten list has 27 entries so far:

1. Get to cover;

2. Deploy your long gun;

3. If feasible, wait for backup before contact;

4. Establish fire superiority;

5. Distance is your friend;

6. Run away;

7. Stop the bleeding;

8. Move laterally;

9. Maneuver on the enemy's flank;

10. Watch their hands;

11. Be slow quickly: Find the front sight, and pull the trigger.

12. The radio will not save your life;

13. Get out of the car before the bad guy does;

14. On a contact, make a habit of being in a position of tactical advantage;

15. At night, use light to conceal you and blind the suspect;

16. At night, move after shooting;

17. Avoid crossfire situations;

18. Be conscious of other officers' positions, and stay out of their line of fire;

19. Maintain your equipment and wear your vest;

20. Keep back away from your cover;

21. Slice the pie;

22. If you go a little slower, you're a lot quieter;

23. Try to see people before they see you;

24. Shoot low, skip bullets;

25. Stay away from walls;

26. Get out of the kill zone;

27. Conspicuously identify yourself to backup officers, especially when plainclothes.
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Old January 17, 2012, 03:22 PM   #2
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I was always taught that rule number one is: Don't get killed./Avoid getting hit. All else after that is secondary.
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Old January 17, 2012, 03:27 PM   #3
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While sound advice, I'm looking for practical tips regarding technique.
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Old January 17, 2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Don't most large police agencies now mandate the wearing of body armor?

I thought there was something where departments had to mandate it or lose federal funding.

For a police officer I would think body armor would figure into surviving a gun fight...
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Old January 17, 2012, 03:59 PM   #5
hangglider
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Is this a recipe for all scenarios/situations? Doesn't look like a close combat formula to me--but then I don't know much about anything.
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Old January 17, 2012, 04:31 PM   #6
Willie Lowman
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How about 7 rules?

If there is going to be a gunfight

1: Be somewhere else

2: Have a gun. A gun that works and you know how to use.

3: A rifle is better than a pistol

4: Bring a friend, have him bring his rifle.

5: Know the difference between cover and concealment

6: Stay behind cover as much as possible.

7: First guy to die, looses.
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Old January 17, 2012, 04:44 PM   #7
jager.30-06
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4: Bring a friend, have him bring his rifle.



lmao
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Old January 17, 2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Not bad Willie, sounds good to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Lowman
If there is going to be a gunfight

1: Be somewhere else

2: Have a gun. A gun that works and you know how to use.

3: A rifle is better than a pistol

4: Bring a friend, have him bring his rifle.

5: Know the difference between cover and concealment

6: Stay behind cover as much as possible.

7: First guy to die, looses.
I'm going to say for Police and civilians alike NOT getting in a gunfight should always be Rule#1.

If you are the Police and someone has the temerity to fire upon you...don't just call one, or two freinds, call everyone. 11-98 Code 3
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Old January 17, 2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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Look at getting some training in a Gun Fighting School. There are many out there and some may travel to your area. However since you live in California your choices may be to travel to a school. I know there is one in Nevada and more than one in Arizona. There is also a list of schools in this section of Tactics and Training.
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Old January 17, 2012, 06:06 PM   #10
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1. See it coming and if you can avoid it, do so, if you can't avoid get the advantage and shoot first.

2. Only good hits count so speed is fine, accuracy is final (per Bill Jordan.)

3. Always cheat, always win (as per Clint Smith's rule.)

4. If you can't hit with the first shots when will you have time to hit with the rest of them?

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Old January 17, 2012, 06:28 PM   #11
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Lets not forget, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Skills unused are lost.
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Old January 18, 2012, 11:00 AM   #12
R1145
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Thanks for the responses.

Quote:
Don't most large police agencies now mandate the wearing of body armor?
In our agency, it is recommended but optional, which is reasonable given the variety of tasks performed. Patrol officers almost universally wear theirs.

Quote:
1. See it coming and if you can avoid it, do so, if you can't avoid get the advantage and shoot first.

2. Only good hits count so speed is fine, accuracy is final (per Bill Jordan.)

3. Always cheat, always win (as per Clint Smith's rule.)
We're the good guys. We can't cheat. We (hopefully) stay within policy, shoot straight and tell the truth. Also, we generally have to be reactive and wait until the facts would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime has been committed.

I like #2, though, but I think that's kind of what I was getting at with my #11: Be slow quickly: Find the front sight, and pull the trigger.

Quote:
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Skills unused are lost.
Again, sound advice, but more strategy than tactic, I think.

Quote:
Is this a recipe for all scenarios/situations? Doesn't look like a close combat formula to me--but then I don't know much about anything.
I'm not sure what a "close combat formula" is. Every situation has a unique set of circumstances and many possible outcomes. I'm trying to put together a list of helpful hints to enhance the chance of survival when an officer is involved in a use of lethal force.

Quote:
Look at getting some training in a Gun Fighting School.
More sound advice, but the officers are undergoing training. I'm just putting together a list, basically of discussion points. I fully realize, though, talk is cheap...
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Old January 18, 2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
3. Always cheat, always win (as per Clint Smith's rule.)
I like my variation better...

A fair fight is one that I win.
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Old January 18, 2012, 11:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R1145 View Post
I like #2, though, but I think that's kind of what I was getting at with my #11: Be slow quickly: Find the front sight, and pull the trigger.
Modify your #11:

SQUEEZE the trigger. A pull is associated with a jerk. A jerk causes a miss, or worse an unintended hit (innocent bystander).

Also with the practice, they need to learn how to call their shots (lots of info about that from various successful IPSC/USPSA shooters).
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:51 PM   #15
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Move obliquely. In an unpredictable manner. An oblique move gives two elements to deal with when moving. Jerkly random moves prevent precise aiming.

One of my instructors, Silver Star winner, had the ability to move across the battle field with out getting hit.

He never moved in a predictiable manner, never broke cover for more than 1 second and his moves were allways at a diagonal.

If memory serves, it takes a trained infantryman 1.5 seconds to acquire, aim and hit a target. This is the reason for the 1 second exposure.

Finally, a definition of trees vs bushes. Per a Special Forces Captain when asked how many types of trees existed. "There are two types of trees. Biguns and littleuns. Biguns you can hide behind and they will stop a bullet. Littleuns you can hide behind but they won't stop a bullet.

Cover is the same.
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Old January 18, 2012, 03:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
If there is going to be a gunfight

1: Be somewhere else
ALL that is necessary, everything else is video game speak
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Old January 18, 2012, 03:20 PM   #17
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Looks like a good list



Quote:
5. Distance is your friend
Not if the BG has a rifle or .44/357 mag and all you got is a 380


Quote:
16. At night, move after shooting
I would say use common sense there, moving out of cover and exposing yourself even at night can be deadly (to you)
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Old January 18, 2012, 04:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
4: Bring a friend, have him bring his rifle.
I'm partial to these:

1.Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring their friends who have guns.
2.If you can, make friends with those on the crew served weapons. Bring them as well. Borrow money from them, it gives them an added incentive to protect you.
3.Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
4.Only hits count. Close doesn't count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
5.If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.
6.Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
7.The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

May God bless,
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Old January 18, 2012, 05:54 PM   #19
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1) Be smarter than your gun
2) Cover is better than concealment, concealement is better than nothing at all.
3) If you love the guy enough to shoot him once, shoot him twice.
4) Don't train for the "normal". Getting shot at is not normal.
5) Carry every day.
6) Make your gun go to work.
7) When the bad guy is ready to take a shot, don't still be where he last saw you.
8) Get off the X. X marks the spot, and if you stand on the X, X will mark the spot where the police find your body in the morning.
9) Make every shot count.
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Old January 18, 2012, 06:21 PM   #20
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Agree with post 13, Leo or not!
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Old January 18, 2012, 06:54 PM   #21
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Not sure if I can put this in Bumpersticker form...

1. Maybe "Look ahead".

Which is short for: Pay attention to terrain. See slightly open doors, broken windows, cars parked in the wrong place, an absence of people where there ought to be people and so forth.

Look for the signs of an impending attack. Avoid the trap.

2. Learn to shoot.

Which is short for: Work with your sidearm and ammunition until you know exactly how far it will shoot accurately, and how much hold over you need at that range. Practice the draw until you can do it without thinking, other than the signal to do so. Practice until releasing the retention device, getting a proper grip on the firearm, withdrawing the firearm without getting your finger on the trigger and such without thought.

Because your brain needs to looking and evaluation what is going on. Who needs shooting, who needs shooting first, who needs to NOT be shot. Have they seen me? Can I back out and get backup without sacrificing the victim in all this?

3. Maintain equipment.

Right? Gun is clean and lubed as needed; ammo is fresh; radio battery is charged; underwear is clean. All this needs be attended prior to jumping out of car and charging into action.

Nothing wrong with your list.
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Old January 18, 2012, 07:00 PM   #22
guitars and guns
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Quote:
underwear is clean.
lmfao!!!

maybe won't stay clean though.
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Old January 18, 2012, 07:48 PM   #23
R1145
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Thanks, Archie. Underwear status aside, there should definitely be something on the list about situational awareness.

Most of the points made by other posters are already represented on the list somehow.

Quote:
Quote:
16. At night, move after shooting
I would say use common sense there, moving out of cover and exposing yourself even at night can be deadly (to you)
Today 03:02 PM
Exactly. These aren't meant as being applicable in all situations. The point is, be aware that at night, people tend to return fire at muzzle flashes.

Quote:
Move obliquely. In an unpredictable manner. An oblique move gives two elements to deal with when moving. Jerkly random moves prevent precise aiming...it takes a trained infantryman 1.5 seconds to acquire, aim and hit a target...
That's a good point.

Cover v. concealment is covered in our training.

Quote:
SQUEEZE the trigger. A pull is associated with a jerk. A jerk causes a miss, or worse an unintended hit (innocent bystander).

Also with the practice, they need to learn how to call their shots (lots of info about that from various successful IPSC/USPSA shooters).
Good point on the terminology. I need to look into shot calling.
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Old January 18, 2012, 07:52 PM   #24
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1) Situational Awareness
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Old January 18, 2012, 08:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
14. On a contact, make a habit of being in a position of tactical advantage;
That's good, but a little vague. Maybe you could expound upon that with some specifics.

For example, I've noticed that nowadays traffic cops tend to stand behind your window when they pull you over.
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