Self-Defense Tip: Everything You Know About Scanning Is Wrong

I couldn’t agree with Instructor Zero more: simply turning your head to scan for a threat or threats after a defensive gun use is stupid. While it’s vital to break eye contact with gore (to avoid tunnel vision), the key to survival is movement. That doesn’t stop being true just because you stopped a single threat. Cover! Concealment! Escape! Move the friendlies! GO! All of which means practicing scanning while standing still is gonna leave one bad ass training scar. I also like Zero’s elbow up technique; where the elbow leads the body follows. Or something like that. As for him lasering his entire class, Safety Sally says he could have made the same points aiming his gun at the side of the range. Who’s gonna tell him? You? Now, here’s some feedback from someone who’s been there, done that for real . . .

Jon Wayne Taylor writes:

So long story short, most of the stuff he is talking about is good. Really great points I think. But he is covering into darkness. That is, he is stepping back to cover, where he can’t see. This has some serious negatives, the most significant of which is that it has him facing a direction other than the one his gun is pointing. That, combined with stepping where you can’t see, is putting him in danger of falling, or having his weapon taken from him, or firing in a direction he cannot see. (Never point your gun at anything you don’t want to destroy, remember?)

There are times you will have to do this, such as when barriers prevent you from covering forward, but it is not what you should train to do as your standard cover/cross and cover. Instead, he should be stepping forward, where he can see, then stepping across and turning. That way, he moves off the line where he fired, and he only steps into an area that he has already cleared and is observing.So, as a right handed shooter in an isosceles stance, he is stepping back with his right foot to 5 or 6 o’ clock position.

Instead, step forward with your right foot to the 11o’clock position, turn to look what was behind you, then step over with your left foot to what would have been your original 3 o’clock position to return to your isosceles stance. You will only step where you can see, and you will have your face and body turned in the same direction as your gun.

comments

  1. avatar Gonzo In Michigan says:

    When watching Zero’s videos I recommend turning on subtitles.

    1. … and hope you’re not distracted by those Italian hand gestures. Kidding, I was raised in Italy .So I do recognise his entire body language. I wish the guy learned to express himself in better English. I never tire of letting Italians know that speaking a better English is mandatory. Latin is gone and Italian is worth nothing.

    2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      When watching zeros videos I recommend smashing your own head in with a cement block, saves everyone time and makes your suicide much quicker.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        How many reps do you recommend?

        Repeat until unconscious?

        1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Come on! Operator up, doode! Do it until dead, Inst Zero would!!!!

    3. avatar USMC69 says:

      The problem with scanning after a self-defense shooting, is once you point your gun at me, a non-threat and move on to the next, I am now your threat since you have just pointed a weapon at me. You have now designated yourself as a threat to me. I will draw and fire – especially as you turn away to your next “potential” threat. This is bad advice. Moving and scanning without your gun pointing at someone that is not a clearly identified threat is better advice.

  2. avatar Shire-man says:

    This is the trouble with training and classes. Good luck finding a class that will have its students scan like that on a hot range. All of us student types have a set of skills to practice at home, another set used in classes, another set when at the range and yet one more set at competitions which varies widely itself depending on host of said competition.

    For an industry that puts so much emphasis on KISS, repetition and motor skills they sure do have an awful lot of variety among methods.

  3. avatar Azman says:

    As for layering people, the best I’ve found is position sul. It seems to work well but I know only one org that teaches it.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Sul has it’s critics. Which makes it just like everything else in the shooting sports/training industry.

      No panaceas…in techniques, gear, training methods, etc.

    2. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      I prefer up… besides, I’m already there for reloads and malf clearance.

  4. avatar Publius says:

    Pat McNamara also talked about how typical use of ‘scanning and assessing’ was unrealistic and not logical.

    “Scanning and assessing was born in SWAT Operator Schools out of an ‘Administrative Necessity’. The need arose,…. administratively, to pull guys out of ‘Tunnel Vinson’ in a CQB environment.
    It is now, sadly, predominately theatrics. Students are now training their heads to move from side to side before they check their work through their sights. All theater.
    There is nothing tactically unsound about scanning and assessing….. once the fight is done. We must first, check our work through our sights to make sure that our primary mission is complete before we …move our heads from side to side.

    If we are going to truly scan and assess, the gun would follow our eyes, but wait…that wouldn’t work on a flat range.

    As far as drills go, my Scanner Stroop’s drill addresses that very topic.”

    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?130205-Scanning-and-assessing

    Here’s Pat Mac’s “Scanner Stroop’s Drill”: http://soldiersystems.net/2013/07/06/gunfighter-moment-pat-mcnamara-11/

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      My tactical tip for the day: wake up and ask yourself, “what is Mac doing today?” Then go do that.

  5. avatar Doghouse says:

    Use your hellbow!

  6. avatar MattL says:

    So… am I the only one here who’s just not totally comfortable with the idea of an instructor covering his students with the muzzle over and over and over again? I hope the camera angles just had me confused, and that wasn’t what was actually happening.

    People can talk all they want about “big boy rules” or whatever, but I tend to think that even on “the street,” having the gun pointed either up or down is better than having the muzzle wandering about all willy-nilly.

    1. avatar Dev says:

      When you play the video with annotations on (which is almost always default) the very first thing that appears on screen is a message saying the gun has been cleared and checked by multiple sources.

      1. avatar P. Nissman says:

        Doesn’t every negligent discharge story start that way…

        1. avatar Tom W. says:

          Along the same line as “Hold my beer and watch this.” Seriously it may have a foundation in benefit.
          Mileage may vary as does a SD scenario. In ones house, on the street, in a parking lot, ATM, etc,..
          But the theater aspect is almost worthy of an Olympic diving contest.
          It’s so tacticool, operating operationally, that judges should hold up scorecards.
          Sigh.

      2. avatar Bob108 says:

        That is so wrong on many levels. I have read a number of reports of negligent discharges where “instructors” have claimed to have cleared guns and had others supposedly validate it. If an instructor intentionally points a functioning firearm at people, he is not an instructor you want to learn from, period. If he must point toward the students, blue guns run around $50, and a SIRT gun cost around $300. Heck, if I were an insurer, I would drop instructors who do not follow the most basic rules of firearm safety. If you do not know these basic rules, look them up. Whether you follow Cooper’s four basic rules (www.gunsite.com) or NRA’s 3 rules, doesn’t matter. Pick one and run with it.

        1. avatar MoveableDo says:

          Blue gun! Yep, that’s the way it should have gone down. He could have even had the light on it so it would fit in his holster. Why can’t he just do the hand motion thing, with no gun at all!

  7. avatar Vitsaus says:

    It would really restore my faith in humanity if Instructor Zero turned out to be a way more subtle version of Dynamic Pie Concepts. You know, like a guy who is just really staying “in character” really method, like Marlon Brando or something. I’m sure in a week some fly by night tactical training course will come out with the “evolved” or “enhanced” technique which requires the use of spiked elbow pads so that you you have “truly 360 degree defensive capabilities.”

  8. avatar Anonymous says:

    Instead, step forward with your right foot to the 11o’clock position, turn to look what was behind you, then step over with your left foot to what would have been your original 3 o’clock position to return to your isosceles stance.

    I always laugh (a lot) when I read these tactical jitterbug dance routines. How to walk and where to step while holding the gun. What is more funny is it’s strongly marketed by “tactical trainer’s” – etc – looking to get more customers “because they need it.” It’s like there is a procedure for everything and the silliness just draws out my inner giggle.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Well stop giggling, it’s creepy. The cross cover is certainly not new, it’s been taught for at least 40 years. It’s a very simple, safe way to turn 180 degrees with a firearm while in a possible threat environment. And I’m not an instructor at all, I don’t have students, and I have a day job. And by the way, the people who taught me were not getting paid much either. But they may have been cult members, since they all dressed the same and they all had the same first name; sergeant.

      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        BooYaa!!! This Mickey Mouse wannabe bullsh*t is just that, bullsh*t. The firearms use and tactical training I got from Mud Marines and Army Dawgs 40 odd years ago is far superior to the bullsh*t instructor zerof*ck is peddling.

  9. avatar JWM says:

    Never forget that while these instructers may have been operaters in the day(or not) they are business men now. Goverend by a need to make a profit and not expose themselves to excess liability in a lawyer rich environment.

    What about the average consumer of these classes? He’s paying out of his own pocket and gets what, a couple weekend classes a year and maybe a week long class in a good year?

    What we need is classes that teach people not to grab their guns and rush out with their mothers to track down a traffic scofflaw. Or not to become that neighberhood watch fellow that puts himself in a place where he has to shoot.

    1. avatar Bob108 says:

      Your post encourages me to say this. A number of years ago, I had been a military cop. While serving, I was taught that there are very distinct differences between how you handle combat versus law enforcement. Without getting into boring details, lets just say that I learned that responding to a domestic confrontation like you are fighting VC in Nam often followed with a very lengthy jail sentence followed by a deadly drug cocktail. In other word, tacticool is for fun on the range and combat, not a response to a domestic threat. Remember, you will have to convince jurors that you feared for your life and used the minimum force necessary, which ain’t gonna happen if you come across as Rambo. Just my 2 cents.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      JWM and Bob108,

      Whether or not training is sensible depends on the threat profile for which you are training.

      Here are some basic threat profiles that I can picture in roughly ascending order of peril:
      (1) one pathetic junkie with no skills trying to mug you
      (2) two pathetic punks trying to mug you
      (3) inexperienced unruly youths in flash mob
      (4) one experienced hardened criminal trying to own you
      (5) single attacker spree killer assault
      (6) lone-wolf terrorist attack
      (7) two experienced hardened criminals trying to own you
      (8) hardened criminals in coordinated gang attack
      (9) trained terrorist death squad in coordinated attack

      In my opinion almost all people will do just fine with no/little training when dealing with the first six threat profiles. Unfortunately, while considerably less common, threat profiles seven to nine have happened and the better your training, the better your odds of survival.

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I think the man in the video has some excellent points.

    I seriously want to do the deep dive now (in terms of research) and start a training program for advanced defensive techniques including some of the concepts that he stated.

  11. avatar Chris says:

    http://www.combatfocusshooting.com/ If you have never attended a combat focus shooting course, recommend you do. Scanning is taught in addition to movement, but a real scan, 360 degrees around. Both to break focus on the now-stopped threat and to search for additional threats. If someone teaches scanning before the threat is stopped, they aren’t teaching sound principles. CFS is the most dynamic and realistic training on a square range you can get.

  12. avatar JohnF says:

    I am really starting to tune out this kind of advice, both in the video and in the text. The basic implication is that we should all train like “special operators.” Instructors think they increase their credibility by dressing and acting like Delta Force. I am not an operator. I am a normal, every day carry guy. I need advice I can use.

    An analysis of 482 civilian self defense incidents reported in the “Armed Citizen” over five years indicated that while there were multiple BGS in about a third of the incidents NOT ONCE did even one of them stay in the fight after the first shot was fired at the main attacker. So why I am I doing all this tactical lookout? Sure, it could happen. But monkeys could fly out my butt and take care of them, so statistically, it cancels out.

    Also, do we not have enough gun experts in the US that we have to listen to Guido and his accent here? From the land of “rifles, only dropped once” and one of the most pathetic military/police traditions in history? Next to the French, of course.

    1. avatar EagleScout87 says:

      How is “take your threat scan beyond a simple left, right, back, clear” advice you can’t use? At it’s very core that’s sound advice.

      Isn’t the reason you carry because while statistically speaking you’ll never have to draw your gun in self defense, there is a possibility it could happen. So you’re already bucking the statistics.

    2. avatar ThomasR says:

      Well JohnF. Your sounding some what defensive. These classes aren’t just for everyday citizens. They are for police, military, and EMS as well. There are tactical EMS classes so that a paramedic could volunteer with a swat team in a terrorist scenario. In some of the swat teams, the medic would carry a side arm and would be trained in assault weapon training so if everything went to you know what, the medic could use the long arms if needed.

      For those people that aren’t less likely to be involved in a terrorist event, you know, most people; active shooting training scenarios are fun. Three Gun tactical, Action Pistol, IDPA,. If you have the time and the money, why not take more classes and learn how the ‘Serious people” do it for real?

      You probably will never use it for real, most cops never draw and fire their side arm in a lethal force incident. but if you ever do; well, those that sweat the most in training, bleed and die the least in battle.

      1. avatar JohnF says:

        Yawn…

  13. avatar Dr. Vinnie Boombotz says:

    My favorite new phrase at the 3:16 mark- “uddervise, ees a boolsheet”

    1. I laughed. Read this and laughed for a while.

  14. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Every time I think you might have a clue? You trot out the mental retard named Instructor Zero. Are you really this f**king stupid, Robert?

    1. avatar ThomasR says:

      Dude, that really is just plain rude! No need to call names just because your some faceless name on the internet having a bad day. It doesn’t remove the need for basic courtesy. This blog answers the needs and interests of many other people than just yourself. I like the different perspectives that Robert brings. . It gets some interesting and dynamic conversations going.

    2. avatar Chrispy says:

      I like Instructor Zero’s videos, but I like them because I read between the lines. All I personally gather from this video is that you can do more than just look over each shoulder once after a DGU, and that’s legitimate defensive advice anyone would be wise to give.

  15. avatar Patient Zero says:

    Someday, let’s say 20 years down the road, we will look back at the grainy HD videos of this toolbag and ask ourselves WTF were we thinking? This man represents the apogee or the nadir, depending on your perspective, of the whole stupid operator-as-f*** thing. We have nowhere to go but up (or down). We have jumped the stupid, bearded, FDE, kryloned-up, AB-Positive velcro patch, airsofters with real guns, I wish I was Blackwater, shark with this guy. He deserves his own term: op-tard.

    It really started September 11 when some real men with real jobs to do had to start growing beards because they had to airdrop into Afghanistan with rubbermaid bins full of cash and they needed some man cred with the locals. And the whole place is colored like monkey vomit so they had to defile their weapons with tan spray paint too. Then pretty much anyone who wanted to look like a bada** grew his beard and got a tan gun. But this Zero douche has gone too far and is a caricature of a joke of himself. So a former Italian (I remind you that the Italians were the ones dropping dimes on the Rangers in Somalia every time our guys left the base. They have never paid for this.) MP or whatever practices jerking off in the mirror until he is fast enough to look cool on freaking YouTube? Every time I see this guy I wish he would run into an actual tough guy who would beat the hell out of him for being a poser.

    I know someone on here is going to say they learn from him or he was a real paracadutista or Alpini or whatever. But come on, he is a joke and your 2035 self will recognize that I am right. Mark my words.

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