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Old November 7, 2018, 03:54 PM   #1
SIGSHR
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Is there such a thing as "too close" ?

Charlie Askins described the "belly gun" as one where:
"You press it against your opponent's belly and pull the trigger."
He was active in a different time and place, now I wonder if his definition is still acceptable, and if there is such a thing as "Too Close".
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Old November 7, 2018, 04:14 PM   #2
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I've aways heard the term "belly gun" used as a slang term for any snub-nosed pistol.
While it would be a functional way (for a revolver anyway) to be used as Mr. Askins described it, but to do so today would mean things have spiraled so out of control that you are absolutely way to close. Well in my opinion anyway.
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Old November 7, 2018, 04:59 PM   #3
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If you can smell their bad breath... that is too close. Time for some distance, one way or another.
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Old November 7, 2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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It's never too close to make a hit, (or several of them) but being in touching distance can put you at risk of being disarmed.

Contact shooting is very effective, but not recommended if you have a choice. A handgun is only effecting in the direction it's barrel is pointing. the strength of a handgun over a knife is distance. I knife may be better at kissing range, but it's far more about the man then the tool the man is using.

If you were to be jumped at a distance that put you in physical contact with the enemy, shooting that enemy is a good thing to do. Getting into a punching match or wrestling match with someone when you believe the stakes involve your life is never good. But there is no pat answer.

If hand-to-hand combat would buy you time or distance you might be better off to fight your way to some distance, but fighting a severely wounded man who is dying seems a better option then fighting one that is 100% healthy. If you are 60 and weight 165 and your enemy is 25 and weighs 300 pounds, hand to hand combat may not be as good an option as it is if those ages and weights are reversed.

And remember that a shot to the hip socket or armpit is going to have a very bad effect on your enemy. It may not be instantaneous, but it also can be at times------- and in every case having an enemy bleeding out is going to be bad for him at some point.

I am of the opinion that firing several shots into an enemy even if the hits only go to his feet, knees, thighs or hips is still better then having him take the gun from you and use it on you. If you do shoot at that close range, empty the gun! If it's taken from you it should be empty and the enemy should be more worried about living then winning.
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Old November 7, 2018, 06:47 PM   #5
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Being too close give your opponent the opportunity to grab your gun or arm and try to control the weapon, disable it, or take it away.

Being too close gives your opponent the opportunity to harm you with a contact weapon or with their bare hands.

An autopistol can be disabled if the muzzle is pressed against something. There are ways to mitigate this with striker-fired guns, but they require compromising your grip on the gun somewhat and/or using one hand to control the slide.

Being too close increases the chances of shooting yourself in the off hand/arm if you are using it to try to control the attacker.

That's with one attacker. With multiple attackers, everything gets much worse. It becomes pretty feasible for them to prevent you from drawing in the first place and dramatically raises the chances of disarming/harming you.

Distance is your friend.
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:27 PM   #6
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Yes, of course, there is such a thing as too close when it comes to an individual trying to cause you or someone else serious harm. That is probably one of the major reasons you would be utilizing your "belly gun" or whatever the heck else you want to call it. My first choice would be the main brain housing group though not a gut shot. I shoot to stop. If one cannot hit the head than just below the belly button tends to halt an advancing attacker fairly quickly (although keep in mind maybe not quick enough). One shoots until the threat(s) stop.
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Old November 7, 2018, 07:48 PM   #7
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Is there too close? sure. Do you intend to cite your attacker with a rule violation?

Physical violence is generally a terrible thing and good luck trying to impose rules of conduct. The bottom line is whether or not you have a realistic means to address common forms of attack. Being too close is a common element. Do you have a plan?

Personally I don't concern myself with too close or too far or whatever. I concern myself with what reasonable and lawful action MUST I take to preserve my life.
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Old November 7, 2018, 08:46 PM   #8
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^ this. It isn't always a choice.

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Old November 8, 2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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Personally I don't concern myself with too close or too far or whatever. I concern myself with what reasonable and lawful action MUST I take to preserve my life.
We can argue about too close or too far, but the above statement addresses the only relevant question. If shooting is required to avoid death or serious bodily harm distance is just a detail. While I would not want to be in a position to have to shoot someone at contact or any other distance, I carry a gun and train with it because I can't control or predict what violent people are going to do. I do my best to be situationally aware and maintain personal space, but most of us are regularly in situations where we are in proximity to strangers. As TunnelRat said, we can't always choose.
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Old November 8, 2018, 03:02 PM   #10
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I don't think that the definition of "belly gun" has changed, but I seriously doubt that Mr. Askins considered that kind of proximity to be a good situation. Lots of reasons to avoid those situations have been presented, as has the idea that we don't get to choose how an aggressor acts, and thus the conditions of the fight. The disadvantages of fighting in close - the fact that there is, tactically, such a thing as "too close" - is why the idea of "creating distance" is taught.
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Old November 8, 2018, 07:02 PM   #11
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Distance is your friend.
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Old November 8, 2018, 07:49 PM   #12
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Anything inside 100 yds is too close for me at my age. I can still fight, but not anywhere near as good as I used to.

I am 6' 2" and 226 lbs (confirmed at the Dr office last week), I lift free weights 4 times per week, I can't run any more, but I can still shoot with most of them.

None of the above means that I can't take of business if I am ever unfortunate enough to need to. I might go down, but the bad guy is certainly gonna be bleedin'.
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Old November 8, 2018, 08:05 PM   #13
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I don't have the book or article this Charlie Askins quote came from.

IMO,to give response to what the Colonel was trying to say,I'd want the paragraphs of context that go with it.

Its hard to argue against distance as an asset. Distance helps on the survival scale.
But then there is the legal scale. Pull your gun one second too soon and you are brandishing,menacing,etc.

I don't know what Mr Askins was trying to say. It might be,"If the situation is given,you are attacked,it is body to body engagement,and you are in immediate danger of being killed,what is your ideal handgun to have on your person?"

That may well be a belly gun.

Was Mr Askins suggesting anything about choosing when to react to a threat? Timing? It seems that is the twist the OP presents.

I suspect Mr Askins was discussing the tool.
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Old November 9, 2018, 12:09 AM   #14
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That close I would rather have a knife than any gun
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Old November 9, 2018, 02:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Charlie Askins described the "belly gun" as one where:
"You press it against your opponent's belly and pull the trigger."
He was active in a different time and place, now I wonder if his definition is still acceptable, and if there is such a thing as "Too Close".
Charles askins, as well as jeff cooper and many of the other old time writers were cold blooded killers, that was what they did. their job, their reason.

I read a jeff cooper remark about how he capped a german soldier as he was destroying equipment at a place that the americans had taken. Shot him in the head as he disabled machinery, rather than taking him prisoner.

maybe there were people who thought of it in his way, it's reasonable.

Those guys were literally scary and disturbing. I shy away from any advice that seems contrary to modern thinking.
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Old November 9, 2018, 03:40 PM   #16
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It also depends on the situation.
A Ranger sniper I worked with indicated that 3/4 mile was "too close".
When they went after certain classes of targets, the response from a hit or near miss was 10-20 AK's pointed in their general direction and sprayed with a magazine from each.

At a mile, they were safe from the AK (but not necessarily from the limited distribution Dragunov's).
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Old November 9, 2018, 06:54 PM   #17
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I read a jeff cooper remark about how he capped a german soldier as he was destroying equipment at a place that the americans had taken. Shot him in the head as he disabled machinery, rather than taking him prisoner.
I'm pretty sure I know which incident you're talking about, and it was Askins, not Cooper who told that story. Cooper served in the Pacific on a ship and should never have come in contact with any German prisoners.

As I recall, the incident took place in North Africa. Askins came upon a German prisoner disabling captured German vehicles, shot him in the back with his pistol without giving him any warning and left him to die.

Askins had a lot of stories and was a good writer, but my conclusion after reading his autobiography is that if he was telling the truth he was probably a psychopath. He appeared to have no compunctions about killing people, even when he was in no danger and other methods would have worked just as well. More to the point, he was not at all ashamed of his behavior.

If Cooper ever killed anyone (and he may have in Korea), to my knowledge he never wrote about it. I would not group Cooper and Askins together except in the general sense that they both lived in the same era and wrote about guns.
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Old November 9, 2018, 07:15 PM   #18
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It was war. The 3rd Reich was seeking world dominance. I wouldn't judge Askins unless I was there. In certain scenarios taking prisoners might not have been the best option. Different era, different world.

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Old November 9, 2018, 07:31 PM   #19
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21 feet is still taught in LE academies.

I know guys who are MUCH better with a knife than a gun at close distance and some who would cut off their finger before inflicting any harm to a grappling opponent. Comes down to your level of training, strength and will to fight.

My comments aside, I would bank on Wyosmith's comments in #4.

I too found Askins comments to be either hyperbole or he was a psychopath as JohnKSa said. As such, I have never put much credence into his opinions, like many of today's current "famous warriors". However, Cooper, Shaw, Lamb, Seeklander (for example)...much respect for their opinions. When you are around them, you can tell they are men and warriors of substance, but who also care for the souls of men.
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Old November 9, 2018, 07:45 PM   #20
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I wouldn't judge Askins unless I was there. In certain scenarios taking prisoners might not have been the best option. Different era, different world.
Except that, according to Askins the man had already been taken prisoner and Askins knew he was unarmed. If you believe Askins, this most certainly was not a case of someone getting shot in battle.

Ok, I found the incident. It is in chapter 11 of Askin's autobiography, "Unrepentant Sinner".

When the Germans surrendered, some were used as drivers to move the captured vehicles around:

"...once the vehicle was parked the driver was supposed to march away and present himself at the entrance gate.

I was there and as I walked down through the long lines of vehicles I noted that some of the drivers were lifting the hoods on their vehicles. I followed this up and saw one big burly Kraut had a ballpean (sic) hammer in his hand and he was going, quite systematically, from vehicle to vehicle and smashing the distributor caps after he lifted the hoods.

I followed him down the line, keeping one row of vehicles between myself and this scoundrel and right after he raised a hood and drew back to smash the distributor I shot him right through the kidneys with the old .45 Pachmayr. He screamed mightily. I turned and walked away. His buddies rushed over to him and a very loudmouthed pow-wow took place. They gathered him up and carried him off to the entrance gate, not remembering to fetch along his ballpean hammer. He was trundled off to the nearest medical station but as I was quite sure when the 230-grain bullet had hit him I could have told his fellows that their solicitude was pretty much in vain."
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Old November 9, 2018, 08:31 PM   #21
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A big, burly German prisoner of war in the midst of sabotage, wielding a Ball peen hammer is not "unarmed", at least as far as I am concerned. Sounds like a 230 FMJ cured his issues and perhaps sent a clear message to the rest of his crew. Sorry, no compassion here.

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Old November 9, 2018, 09:42 PM   #22
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The fact that a man is big and holding a hammer does not justify shooting him in the back and without warning if he is not threatening anyone with violence, is completely unaware of your presence and is a safe distance away.

That's even without getting into the fact that Askins, who was a champion pistol shot and accomplished hunter, apparently chose to shoot the man in a spot where it would be lethal, but not rapidly lethal.
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Old November 9, 2018, 10:00 PM   #23
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Shooting a prisoner of war under those circumstances is over the top. Askins was not being attacked. He stalked the prisoner and shot him in cold blood. Confronting him and shooting him if he blinked before dropping the hammer, so be it. Hanging him for sabotage if the circumstances supported it, fine. Killing him and casually walking away, while seeming to take pleasure in his shot placement and the resulting painful death is not the action of a hero. I think this passage makes JohnKSa's point that his matter of fact description of the killing is the writing of a very disturbed man if true.
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Old November 9, 2018, 10:05 PM   #24
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"Disturbing"? "Over the top"?? I find compassion and empathy for a German soldier during WW2 disturbing. I have a series of WW2 books, and the pictures of the holocaust and what the Germans did are unspeakable. Men like Askins are the reason a swastika isn't flying over our capital today. I knew a WW2 vet who fought in the battle of the bulge. He told me what it was like. Those Germans didn't have any compassion or empathy for Allied troops before or after being captured. It was kill or be killed. It wasn't a game of capture the flag. Different world back then, brutal. Easy to sit in our recliners and pass moral judgement since we were not there watching our friends get killed and living during that era. Mud and blood, 24/7. Controling large groups of POW's ... the rules of the game are Quite different than TV's Hogans Heros or what you were taught at your local CCW self defense class.

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Old November 9, 2018, 10:23 PM   #25
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"Disturbing"? "Over the top"?? I find compassion and empathy for a German soldier during WW2 disturbing. I have a series of WW2 books, and the pictures of the holocaust and what the Germans did are unspeakable. Men like Askins are the reason a swastika isn't flying over our capital today. I knew a WW2 vet who fought in the battle of the bulge. He told me what it was like. Those Germans didn't have any compassion or empathy for Allied troops before or after being captured. It was kill or be killed. It wasn't a game of capture the flag. Different world back then, brutal. Easy to sit in our recliners and pass moral judgement since we were not there watching our friends get killed and living during that era. Mud and blood, 24/7. Controling large groups of POW's ... the rules of the game are Quite different than TV's Hogans Heros or what you were taught at your local CCW self defense class.
Yes, I do find it disturbing that someone would try to justify shooting a person from a safe distance when that person is in no way threatening them or anyone else.

Germans are still humans.

Murder can't be justified by saying that someone of the victim's nationality did something horrible or by saying that someone of the murderer's nationality did something great.

Furthermore, the survival rate of American POWs in German hands during WWII was over 98.8%, in spite of the fact that Germany was having trouble feeding its own people. The idea that the Germans had no compassion or empathy for Americans is not exactly borne out by the facts.

You can rant all you want, and go on and on about all the difficulties and brutality of war. None of it justifies sneaking up on a prisoner and shooting him from a safe distance when no one was in any danger. Fortunately Americans during WWII did not share your point of view as borne out by the extremely high survival rates of German POWs in American hands.
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