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Old May 20, 2019, 03:33 PM   #1
Rangerrich99
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CAR Training Observations

So yesterday I went to my Advanced Skills Defensive Handgun class again, but for the first time we learned the Basics of CAR training (Center Axis Relock). For anyone not familiar, Center Axis Relock is a defensive handgun method developed by the recently deceased Paul Castle, former LEO, which can be seen in the various John Wick series.

I'm not going to go into detail about the particular drills we ran; I just wanted to share some observations I made while I was there.

First observation:
out of 13 shooters, all but 3 showed a dramatic improvement in group size and placement almost immediately. Several shooters that I've seen before suddenly eliminated dropping shots. The groups weren't significantly tighter than the groups they shot previously, but the outlier shots 6-12 inches away from the rest of the group failed to appear. And their groups weren't centered on the target's spleen or shoulder; they were pretty close to center mass.

The three other shooters were all older, much more experienced shooters that all had a little trouble using the new technique. That includes myself; old habits kept me from consistently getting into the correct posture/mechanics to shoot from a proper CAR position. When I did manage to do it correctly (when I slowed down), while my groups were still larger than what I'm used to, they were all nearly perfectly centered in the A-boxes. Discussions with the other two more advanced shooters revealed the same issues.

Second observation: headshots, usually an issue with less accomplished shooters, were suddenly much easier, even for myself. But what was really eye-opening was how many shooters I'd observed several times in the past that consistently couldn't get more than a couple hits inside the head A-box, suddenly be able to consistently get 7-10 almost from the get-go.

Third observation: one of the harder things for newer shooters to do well at first is shoot at multiple targets and get consistent A-box hits, unless they slow the drill way down. The standard drill for this class is 4 targets at 7 yards. Par is 10 seconds from the draw. For a competent shooter, I've seen times in less than 7 seconds. For the uninitiated, I've seen times as long as 30 seconds.

One shooter in particular, who I've seen several times already, usually takes about 20 seconds for the drill, and rarely gets more than two A-box torso hits in a run. Yesterday, she ran the drill three times, with her worst run in 10 seconds, and only missed an A-box once in three runs! More impressive was her three headshots: in the past, her average was about 30 seconds for three headshots, and most of the time she'd maybe get one good hit in the A-boxes. The other shots were usually complete misses.

Yesterday, she took an average of 3-4 seconds per shot, and hit all three A-boxes! I was so impressed that I involuntarily whooped when she hit that last headshot, nearly perfect center. She's come to the class probably 10 times by now, and I've seen and spoken to her about her frustrations more than once. To see her success was, well, it was heart-warming.

I spoke to her between drills and she admitted she hasn't fired her gun since the last class, over a month ago. Aside: She was ecstatic with the class, the technique, and her dramatic improvement.

Fourth observation: after just one drill, and the general success/improvement in performance, the excitement of the entire class was palpable. Usually after a drill or two, there's a lot of discussion, students speaking with the instructor or each other about what they're doing wrong, how can they fix this or that issue. Essentially frustrations. Not yesterday. All conversations were about how surprised everyone was with their own successes and what we were going to learn next.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. I know there's probably a lot of uncertainty about the true value of CAR method, due to a lot of people thinking it's just a Hollywood movie gimmick, but after my first experience with it, my opinion is firmly 'give it an honest try and see what happens.'

I was personally on the fence about CAR. Now I'm serious about learning more about it.

Last edited by Rangerrich99; May 22, 2019 at 02:21 PM.
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Old May 20, 2019, 04:04 PM   #2
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Rangerrich99:

I'm glad to see some positives about the CAR method. I have read about it and watched videos. I have added it to my range practice. Like you and the older shooters, I have to remind myself and really think about it. (I don't include myself in the "advanced" part of that description.) CAR is definitely another tool to practice with and use.
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Old May 21, 2019, 04:38 PM   #3
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I have not heard of the CAR method, but I watched the John Wick movies and was intrigued by his gun handling technique. I'll have to look into this more.
Quote:
What I mean by accuracy, as opposed to precision, is that most shooters immediately shot more consistent groups.
I believe this is the definition of precision, accuracy is hitting POA.
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Old May 21, 2019, 05:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
I have not heard of the CAR method, but I watched the John Wick movies and was intrigued by his gun handling technique. I'll have to look into this more.

I believe this is the definition of precision, accuracy is hitting POA.
This video features Paul Castle himself and provides some history and background on him as well as the CAR system. Unfortunately it's not in HD so you'll have to put up with the grainy playback:
https://youtu.be/oa0NPJF-8NQ

This is how accuracy vs. precision was always explained to me:

https://www.thoughtco.com/difference...ecision-609328
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Old May 22, 2019, 12:12 AM   #5
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What the article said:
Quote:
Accuracy is how close a value is to its true value. An example would be how close an arrow gets to the bullseye center.
Precision is how repeatable a measurement is. An example would be how close a second arrow is to the first one (regardless of whether either is near the mark).
What you said:
Quote:
What I mean by accuracy, as opposed to precision, is that most shooters immediately shot more consistent groups.
Not sure if we're saying the same thing or not.
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Old May 22, 2019, 12:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorch
What the article said:

Quote:
Accuracy is how close a value is to its true value. An example would be how close an arrow gets to the bullseye center.
Precision is how repeatable a measurement is. An example would be how close a second arrow is to the first one (regardless of whether either is near the mark).
What you said:

Quote:
What I mean by accuracy, as opposed to precision, is that most shooters immediately shot more consistent groups.
Not sure if we're saying the same thing or not.
Sounds to me like just the opposite. Shooting more consistent groups, without saying whether or not those groups were closer to the center of the bullseye (or A zone) is precision, not accuracy.

Ten shots through the same hole out in the C zone is extremely precise, but not very accurate.
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Old May 22, 2019, 02:45 PM   #7
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Whatever. I edited the OP and eliminated that sentence since it seems to be causing some confusion.

Look, imagine you're at the range and next to you is the typical range visitor, shooting that shotgun pattern-sized group that appears to be centered on the target's spleen or hip pocket or shoulder. A bad shotgun pattern that looks like it was shot from an oblique angle because there's several shots that are well wide of the rest of the group.

Now get rid of the outliers and shrink the group to the size of a dinner plate (essentially removing the shots at the very edges). Or an 8-inch circle. And then move the plate to the center of the target.

Whatever you want to call that.

The two points I was trying to make: I observed nearly a dozen relatively inexperienced shooters all shoot approximately 8-inch circle-shaped groups (as opposed to oblong shotgun pattern they usually shot). 2nd, that all of these novice shooters grouped their shots over the center mass area on their targets (as opposed to centered on the invisible parrot on the target's shoulder or whatever).

Just think about that for a second. If you can't see the value of that, then disregard everything in the thread.
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Old May 23, 2019, 09:32 PM   #8
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First observation:

There is a distinct shortage of anything resembling an explanation as to what the C.A.R method is, to include this thread.

Second: Once finding out what it is, yeah it makes sense for in close, but why I'd be running a modified retention drill at 7 yards is beyond me. I'll stick to what I know.
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Old May 24, 2019, 09:46 AM   #9
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To reiterate - C.A.R. is another tool that can be learned and used when it's appropriate.

I haven't found an article that does not start with a reference to John Wick, but once you get past that, here's a pretty good, objective article:

https://www.usacarry.com/car-shooting-system/

If users, especially new shooters, can reliably and quickly get more bullets on target, seems worth a try.

One thing I have not been able to figure out - To what does the "Relock" in the title refer? "Center-Axis" is obvious, but where/what exactly is the "relock?"
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Old May 24, 2019, 10:10 AM   #10
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Spoke too soon - here's another objective write-up that does not mention John Wick:

https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/c...afer-accurate/

This writer ends by saying that the modern isosceles is a more useful stance, especially at distance, as Rob228 points out. But the writer also lists a number of pros in the C.A.R. system. In both articles I've cited, the writers point out one plus to shooters like me, that of positioning the gun sights to better advantage for our bifocal-corrected vision.
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Old May 24, 2019, 02:13 PM   #11
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First, I apologize for not inserting a link about what CAR actually is. Honestly, I thought I did. My bad.

Second, I agree that for longer shots traditional shooting techniques are probably better, or at least it seems so from my limited experimenting. But this may have a lot to do with my decades of shooting a certain way. More testing is required for me to judge.
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Old May 24, 2019, 02:46 PM   #12
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(please note this is NOT meant as a slight to any poster here)


The youtube video referenced (edit, link corrected):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hz9uyGdzss
I'll be honest. That looks like the worst type of tactical timmy video.

The other video from castle shows him reloading and 35 seconds in he's swept himself twice.

Holding the pistol in tight is better if someone is close, but it slows your time between rounds and reduces your aiming. It looks cool for a movie though.

Lets compare to a high end USPSA shooter, especially around minute 2.30:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raq0w7a0omU

Last edited by zincwarrior; May 24, 2019 at 06:48 PM.
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Old May 24, 2019, 04:48 PM   #13
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OK, so I went and looked up CAR and while it has a lot of CQB applications you will probably not see it your local range. I tried it on our indoor range, and it looks like it could be useful with some more training on my part, but there is definitely some concern about firing a firearm that close in (flash, powder burns, ejected cases), but for CQB it looks like it could be useful. But since I'm not LEO or Special Operations type, I will probably never train to the point where where I would be adept at CAR. I do like the mag changes and control over the weapon, though, so I might adopt those.
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Old May 24, 2019, 05:11 PM   #14
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Here's link that describes the CAR training method as well as describes the rationale behind its creation:

https://gunnewsdaily.com/center-axis...The_CAR_System

There are probably other places to find the same info, this was just the first one I found that didn't spend a lot of time talking about the movie.
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Old May 24, 2019, 05:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
(please note this is NOT meant as a slight to any poster here)


The youtube video referenced:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hz9uyGdzss
I'll be honest. That looks like the worst type of tactical timmy video.

The other video from castle shows him reloading and 35 seconds in he's swept himself twice.

Holding the pistol in tight is better if someone is close, but it slows your time between rounds and reduces your aiming. It looks cool for a movie though.

Lets compare to a high end USPSA shooter, especially around minute 2.30:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raq0w7a0omU
First, your first link doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Second, and I guess I didn't make this clear, but CAR method is NOT for competition shooting, at all. As far as I can tell, CAR was never created to shoot for time at some meet/tournament/whatever. It was developed solely for defensive/combat shooting. Technically, it was developed for LEOs and Spec Ops.

So, respectfully, I think you have the wrong idea about what CAR is for.
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Old May 24, 2019, 05:35 PM   #16
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(I edited the link on the video above. Thanks!

No I don't. I am saying it's inferior. Its slower than a hip shot from the body, or a shot from the ready position. It's slower in follow up shots and still puts the pistol in front of you where it can be grabbed.

If you like it, that's fine. If it works for you, that's fine. If you think it's the best method, that's fine, we just disagree.

Last edited by zincwarrior; May 24, 2019 at 06:49 PM.
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Old May 24, 2019, 06:56 PM   #17
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Actually, I haven't made any hard conclusions about CAR yet. I see obvious advantages, but I've got a lot of time invested in the training and the modified isosceles position already, so I don't know if I can make the transition to the CAR stance in a reasonable time frame.

I agree that shooting from the CAR position seems to be a bit slower, but not greatly so.

And while the pistol is still out in front of you, I invite you to try a simple experiment: Hold something out in front of you, a bottle of water, a stick, whatever, at about arm's length and have someone grab it and try to move it away from the original point of 'aim.' In other words, not to necessarily take it from you; don't want anyone getting hurt here.

Now hold the same object close to your body or if you prefer, in the CAR position and repeat the test.

Unless you have some injury/mechanical body issue associated with your upper body, you're going to find that it is much more difficult to even move the object offline, much less take it away, simply because of natural body mechanics. Putting it another way, the closer one holds an object to their torso, the more difficult it is to take it away or move it. The farther one holds an object, the easier it is, this is just simple physics, or body mechanics.

Of course, there's also the fact that just by holding an object closer to one's body makes the other person have to reach significantly farther just to come into contact with the object.

Finally, there is a CAR position for a hip shot, it's two-handed actually. I can't speak to the absolute speed of it, but it is easier to get COM hits than just one-handed hip shots. I tried this the other day both ways and found this out for myself.

The potential negative of the CAR hip shot technique is that you now don't have a hand or arm to defend your face/head, as you do with a one-handed hip shot.
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Old May 24, 2019, 07:09 PM   #18
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I hear you. In walking through some dry firing just now I realize that, when moving, I am nearly in the same ready position CAR is showing. In a very tight locale we are on the same page. So after a little run through we are on the same page for very close or when moving in close.

I think the YouTube video set me off ..my bad.
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Old May 24, 2019, 07:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
I hear you. In walking through some dry firing just now I realize that, when moving, I am nearly in the same ready position CAR is showing. In a very tight locale we are on the same page. So after a little run through we are on the same page for very close or when moving in close.

I think the YouTube video set me off ..my bad.
Yes! I did something very similar last time I was at a different training course. We were moving through a 'shoot room,' (just target frames set up to simulate doors/walls/etc.) and just kind of naturally found myself holding the weapon closer to my body. I did extend my arms for most shots, as that's how I've been training for so many years, but my 'ready' position looked a lot like the CAR position.
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Old May 24, 2019, 07:53 PM   #20
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Exactly!
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Old May 24, 2019, 08:01 PM   #21
Rangerrich99
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Now what I'm kind of thinking is instead of extending my arms, find my sights, and then fire, what if I just tilted my gun slightly from that CAR-type position to acquire my sights and then press. Would I be faster and possibly more accurate? It's a question I'd like to explore.
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Old May 25, 2019, 12:05 AM   #22
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I would also be mildly concerned about smacking myself in the cheekbone with the slide.
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Old May 25, 2019, 12:40 PM   #23
Rangerrich99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob228 View Post
I would also be mildly concerned about smacking myself in the cheekbone with the slide.
Not surprisingly this was a concern for several people during the class. However, the truth is, while you are holding the gun closer to your face than you would in a more traditional stance, the reality is that you're still holding the gun more than 8-10 inches away from your face, so it's a non-issue.

Likewise, there's no getting a flash burn on your face; the gun is simply too far from your face.

Also, because of the mechanics of your arms and hands, there is basically no rearward component to the recoil impulse; just some muzzle flip which is also greatly reduced. or to be more precise, it's much easier to control muzzle flip in the CAR position.
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Old May 25, 2019, 02:52 PM   #24
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Competition shooters use techniques because they allow rapid accurate hits. Shooting from retention requires a different technique.

Why use a technique that does not work? Novice shooters will benefit from ANY quality training.
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