So much of what I see on the firing line is built to fail. By failure, I mean the training won’t apply in a real world incident. If you don’t have a systematic approach to gun-fighting, there will be gaps in your tactics and strategy. One of the biggest gaps: what you need to do after you’ve fired your weapon vs. what you want to do. Everything in life is a balance, including your needs and wants.
For example, you may want to reload after a gunfight. Fair enough, but you must make sure the timing/action is appropriate. There may be actions you should consider doing first. It’s difficult to learn these defensive gun use timing issues on a flat range. This is where checklists and procedures benefit gun owners the most; a systematic approach will help you stay on task.
Knowns and unknowns
It doesn’t matter why you had to employ your blaster. Suffice it to say you were justified. What matters is what you do in the immediate seconds and moments after the fight “ends.”
The most important challenge: managing your battle-space. That means dealing with both knowns and unknowns.
Once you’ve engaged a threat evaluate your effects on your attacker(s). Determine if the results are to your satisfaction. Your level of satisfaction will largely depend on where you are and what you’re doing. If the threat continues, through actions or opportunity, re-engaging should be your immediate response.
If you’ve neutralized the threat you need to immediately think “next threat,” ending your initial target scan.
Think big, round world
Your next priority: looking for the next threat.
You have scan your immediate area for additional threats. You need to think out of the box. Look high and low. Through and around obstructions. Remember: anytime you shift your position you expose yourself to new dangers. Once this immediate threat has been completed it is now time to think big.
Start looking for your next cover, last cover, new routes or escapes you may need to use if things continue to deteriorate. Then consider improving your position. Don’t exclude the option of just hauling ass and/or putting a terrain feature between you and the attack site.
At some point ammunition management will come into the picture. If you expended ordnance, topping off in anticipation of future engagements is the smart play.
I’m mainly addressing the needs of every day carriers. So a big question: do you even have spare ammunition. You may not because you decided to lighten your load-out to match the situation and environment. You may not have spare ammunition every single moment of the day. I encourage you to have alternatives you consider now, versus then.
This is the law: keep it simple, finish the fight first. Look for more fighting immediately, then improve your fighting position as you prepare to fight.
Have a plan for the aftermath of gun-fight. It’s far easier to adapt to an existing plan than to create one on the fly.
Jeff Gonzales is a former US. Navy SEAL and preeminent weapons and tactics instructor. He brings his Naval Special Warfare mindset, operational success and lessons learned unapologetically to the world at large. Currently he is the Director of Training at The Range at Austin. earn more about his passion and what he does at therangeuastin.com.