Pro Tip: Heads-Up!

The gentleman above is Max Michel, IPSC World Champion. A former member of the Army Marksmanship Unit, SIG’s pro shooter has won six international team gold medals. Mr. Michel also holds the current Guinness Book of World Records title for speed shooting: 18 shots in three targets on 4.9 seconds, including the draw and two reloads, with all but two in the X-ring (video below).

Max is the only shooter to win all of the USPSA Area championships in the same season. Bottom line:

Max Michel knows a thing or two about fast and efficient firearms presentation and landing shots on target.

Never mind Mr. Michel’s race gun or his holster or anything equipment-related. Notice his posture. His head is up. His shoulders are down. He brings his gun up to his eyes. He demonstrates the veracity of the old adage: smooth is fast and fast is smooth (or something like that).

As I’ve said before, there’s no need to coil your upper body and neck like a spring when shooting. As Max demonstrates, there’s every reason to keep your mind and body flexible, ready to move.

So while it’s natural to duck and cover when you’re in danger, resist the urge. Don’t train yourself to hunker down and “turtle” your head when you shoot. If nothing else, the posture predisposes you towards tunnel vision (no es bueno in a self-defense situation, where you need to be aware of secondary threats).

What about a “fighting stance” you say? Sure! Put your feet where you like (Weaver if you will). Transfer some weight to the balls of your feet. But shooting is NOT throwing a punch. It’s moving, drawing, aiming, breathing and squeezing. As quickly and accurately as you can. If it works for Max . . .

comments

  1. avatar The Armed Cleric says:

    But, but, but, it is,

    TACTICOOL!

  2. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Wow! I’m not sure if that’s faster than Jerry (e.g., SA semi vs DA revolver), but amazing nonetheless.

    1. avatar Geoff says:

      Jerry did 12 shot in 2.99 seconds with one reload. But not from a draw, low ready.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLk1v5bSFPw
      So if he did one more reload that would put him at less than 4 seconds.

  3. avatar DJ says:

    What caliber?

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      .9mm

      1. avatar j.v. says:

        Beware the needlegun!

    2. avatar RSic says:

      The question is what gun was used

  4. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    I have a sad, sick feeling that this video will make its way to some CNN special report on “gun violence in America” pointing out the easy access we all have to fully automatic machine pistols.

    Race gun or not that’s some impressive shooting.

    1. avatar Mike Betts says:

      Maybe …… – OR – it puts paid to the canard of “no more than 10 rounds in a magazine” such as we have in the People’s Repubik of Maryland. Granted, it takes one hell of a lot of “practice, practice, practice” to do what he did – but it CAN be done.

  5. avatar David says:

    You stand around with your head up while someone is attacking you! I’ll be getting off the X while drawing, assessing and returning fire (preferably from behind cover and from whatever position suits the terrain) or getting out of Dodge. Mr. Michel is brilliant at his game but it’s not the same when someone has ambushed you and bullets are coming your way. Just sayin’!

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      With three bad guys each taking 6 hits in the space of 4.9 seconds I doubt getting off the X or moving to cover is really an issue. YMMV.

      If you’ve got FOUR bad guys, however…

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “I’ll be getting off the X while drawing, assessing…”
      And by that time he’s shot you 10 times.

  6. avatar SurfGW says:

    Notice the isosceles, not Weaver, stance. For speed, the Weaver takes too long to recover after recoil

    1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      You use what feels right and works for YOU. Copy a Tacti-cool just for the look? Go ahead.

    2. avatar TRUBRIT says:

      You Sir are misinformed

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Well yeah he’s fast. I’ve seen him many times(used to have Sportsman and Outdoor Channels). But no one is shooting back. Jus’ sayin’…combat ain’t competition.

  8. avatar Glocks Rock says:

    It works. I was off center low at the range one day and a former Marine range guy came over and said “get your head up”. It worked. Bottom line, a natural head up stance is repeatable, a crouched head down stance infinitely variable.

  9. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    I’m sure that’s great in a controlled competition environment, but he’s dead as a doornail if he ever finds himself in a situation where he has to use his pistol for its true purpose.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      You mean like when he was in the Army for 10 years? :-/

      1. avatar SurfGW says:

        Whether he saw combat or not, the chance of using his pistol in combat is very low. Most combat involves rifles or crew served weapons. There are only a few hundreds of handgun uses in combat vs the hundreds of thousands of rifle and CSW uses. Cops shoot pistols more under stress than even special forces. Let’s ask SWAT or cops how they shoot.

        1. avatar racer88 says:

          Yes…. I know that pistols are used very little in military combat. My point was addressing the broader implication of the post above mine… which was that he was a “gamer” / competitor and could not relate to the stress of having someone shooting back at him.

          Dude was in the Army for 10 years. He MIGHT (or might not) know what that’s like. But, his credentials go beyond merely structured competitions.

      2. avatar bobinmi says:

        He was on the shooting team for all 10 years……

  10. avatar Anon says:

    “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

    It’s to teach people to slow down and get the fundamentals right, because screwing up faster isn’t better than screwing up slow.

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Pretty darn fast.

  12. avatar Robert w says:

    Bwahahahaha, somebody read my comment on your last post about turtling.

  13. avatar Swarf says:

    He looks so meh to be a champion… like the Peter Gibbons of competitive shooting.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      Maybe he just doesn’t care. 8>)

  14. avatar Geoff says:

    I think Jerry can beat him.

    1. avatar bobinmi says:

      with a revolver absolutely. Outside of that, what Jerry does is parlor tricks. Michel wins championship after championship.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        I GUARANTEE Jerry has won more than Max!!!

  15. avatar T says:

    From my perspective as a martial artist first, presenting a firearm and a straight punch (from a karate style) are damn near identical. Furthermore, I think it’s important to train being relaxed. Speed comes from proper tension and relaxation in the body. In my firearms training I have seen less emphasis placed on proper relaxation. The common answer I have heard is that you are going to tense up anyway in a defensive shooting situation. While I agree with that, if you train to be relaxed your body will fall into that state easier than if you didn’t train it. Proper breathing, proper body mechanics, tensing and releasing the tension at time of movement. Traing those aspect may only add a half second of speed but in a self defense situation that is huge. It also slows fatigue. So even if it slows fatigue by a second, that’s still a second more of effective fighting. As I continue to study the martial arts, both unarmed and armed, I see less and less differences between the two at their cores. The video is a great demonstration of the seemingly paradoxical relaxed tension.

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