Tiger McKee at tacticalwire.com writes:
There are a lot of different techniques used when fighting with firearms. Many apply regardless of the situation. Other techniques have specific applications, used in a well-defined context or particular situation. The problem arises when one technique is applied across the board for all situations. Technique is defined as the method of doing or performing an act. Some skills are the same regardless of the situation. For example, to shoot accurately you get the weapon pointing in the right direction, using the sights to the degree necessary for the accuracy needed, and press the trigger smoothly while keeping the sights on target. Remember, accuracy is defined by distance and size of the target. The more accurate the shot the more precise the sight picture and the smoother the trigger press . . .
Context is the circumstances under which an event occurs. An armed citizen uses their weapon for self-defense or personal protection. Circumstances for the armed professional, i.e. a law enforcement officer, are different. Military applications are another matter, and vary in large degrees.
The techniques or skills employed vary according to the context or circumstances. As an example let’s look at reloading the pistol. In its simplest form the sequence is: Old mag out, new mag in, chamber a round. No arguments there, right?
When it comes to where to position the pistol to reload then you start getting different opinions. One option is to keep the weapon up and on target, reloading with the arms extended. The other school of thought is to bring the pistol closer into the body by bending the elbow, with the muzzle pointing upward at an angle and the side of the pistol facing you. This puts the pistol into your “workspace.” I’m not a fan of this technique, but would I use it? Yes, in a particular context.
For example, I’m running, and I’m talking ’bout haulin’ ass, from one point to another and have to reload the pistol. It would be almost impossible to do without bringing it in closer to the body to maintain control, taking out as much of the bounce and movement as possible while running. But, that’s about the only situation where I would use this technique.
Most of the time I want to keep the pistol extended out in front of me, reducing the movement required to reload. It also doesn’t show the threat my slide is locked to the rear, which may or may not be a factor. Plus, once reloaded I’m still on target ready to shoot if necessary. This is especially true for reloading on when the target is moving. I want to keep the muzzle tracking the target while maintaining visual contact with the threat.
The problem arises when certain techniques, which are developed for specific applications, are used out of context. The techniques an eight-man team performing a dynamic assault will use are different from the skills an individual defending against an attacker needs. The same thing is true of equipment. I don’t wear a thigh-holster because I don’t wear a vest or kit rig that prevents me from wearing the holster on my belt.
Ultimately the techniques and tools you employ are determined by context, not because it’s used by a certain group or looks cool. All techniques should be thoroughly understood as to their application and the context they were designed for. Your task is to know the when, why, where and how of these things so you can choose what best fits your application.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD Fighting With The 1911