Chuck Pressburg Talks About Combat Shooting

Chuck Pressburg near some sand.

If you consider yourself a serious shooter but are unfamiliar with who Chuck Pressburg is, you just might live under a rock. SGM(R) Pressburg served in the US Army for 26 years before retiring. Most of those 26 years were spent in Special Operations and Special Missions Units.

Chuck was also responsible for the Roland Special trend that swept Instagram gun pages like wildfire. The below video from the Firearm Rack will bring you up to speed if you aren’t aware of what a Roland Special is.

Chuck offers training through his company Presscheck Consulting with a variety of curriculum teaching everything from use of night vision to Close Quarters Combat, Urban Operations, and other restricted subject matter.

Chuck Pressburg near some sand with friends and a dog

Here are some of Chuck’s previous assignments in case you were wondering:

  • Ten years in the 75th Ranger Regt including platoon sergeant of a 65 man strike force deployed to Afghanistan twice in 2001/2002. Platoon highly decorated during the battle of Takur Ghar (Robert’s Ridge) for recovery of 2 missing US Servicemen.
  • 24 months rifle and sniper squad leader 82nd Airborne Division.
  • 2 years Asymmetric Warfare Group(AWG) (Founding member, 1st Active Army unit member deployed to combat, Selection class #1, Operational Training Course (OTC) Class #1) Spending over 20 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting Small Kill Team (SKT) operations and Direct Action raids in support of conventional and Special Operations Forces.
  • 12 years, HQ USASOC performing various tasks as required including a two-year assignment to the G8 section where Chuck performed Science and Technology R&D. While assigned to USASOC Chuck graduated from the Defense Acquisitions University’s Combat Developer’s Course and The Human Factors Engineering (MANPRINT) Course. Chuck spent several years assisting in material acquisition programs for SOF.

Chuck Pressburg standing on some sand

With decades of special operations experience Chuck is one of the most knowledgeable people we’ve met when it comes to the topic of combat shooting, among other gunfighter type things. Since meeting Chuck, we’ve had a few opportunities to get learnt about defensive and offensive pistol use for hours on end. What kinda mooks would we be if we didn’t soak up every bit of knowledge that he offered us?

Today Chuck is going to gift you some knowledge that might help you NOT get kilt in da streets.

Chuck Pressburg over some sand

Have a seat and listen to what Uncle Chucky has to say, you might learn something.

The subject of bullseye-style shooting vs. combat shooting (not the sport, the actual disciplines) are on another instructor’s FB page and since I took the time to address the shooter’s question on a response to a sub-thread that wouldn’t be seen by many, I thought I should repost my thoughts here.

If you can’t execute near-perfect under perfect conditions, everything starts to deteriorate rapidly from there…

Combat shooting is a complex math game where you are stacking tolerances of maximum spreads of human, weapon, and ammo in real time against the acceptable impact zone, what’s in front and beyond it and usually while both you and the impact zone as well as potential itermediate barriers are all in movement.

An acceptable “firing solution” occurs when you believe that you can place the bullet close enough to where you want it to land and make the decision to ignite the primer.

Fundamentals don’t change, How much emphasis we put on any single fundamental changes rapidly as we attempt to get a proper firing solution.

For shooting students exhibiting significant inability to exercise any fundamentals, an isolation of flaws and focus on improving them individually should take place. In the DOD we used the “crawl, walk, run” method of teaching and training.

Basic trigger press drills and sight diagnostics are FOUNDATIONAL in nature, but are crawl-level events. The only time they should be brought up with a “grown” professional is when their shooting foundation was built out of sand and they shoot like dog crap.

So shooting is hitting what you want and “bullseye-style” shooting (shooting bulls at distance) is the perfect execution of these fundamentals.

Combat shooting is like being a Doolittle Raider on the deck of the USS Hornet and someone is ordering you to strip critical items off your plane to be light enough to take off.

“What you do mean I have to dump my tail guns” (perfect sight picture)?! I NEED THOSE”!

“Look son, you’re gonna dump that weight (accept flash sight pictures at closer distances) if you want to make it off this flight deck”! (Shoot fast)

So combat shooting isn’t a different technique as much as it is the process of sacrifing perfection in real time in order to achieve an acceptable outcome sooner. Here’s the secret that nobody will tell you: 99.9% of people choose poorly and sacrifice too many of those fundamentals when fear of death is upon them.

Gripping the ever-living crap out of your blaster and hammering your trigger as fast as you humanly can, WILL work (I do it all the time), HOWEVER it will only work for certain firing solutions, and if you don’t read the cues that you need to ratchet things back and apply more of your fundamentals, then you are spraying. That cue will NORMALLY come from your dot or front sight post. It is nearly impossible for your dot to stay on target and your bullet to miss…that angry bee moved within (or completely out of) the glass before the gun went bang. Did you see it? Did you try to fix it, or did you run with it?

In my handgun classes I call my shots even if they land INSIDE the black from 25 yards in front of my students and its not magic, its EASY. I just ask myself a simple question, where was my dot when the gun went bang?

“That should be 9 ring down at the 4:30 or 5:00″……

If you feel just a little smarter after reading that, you probably are.

Chuck puts out content on his YouTube channel now and again, as well as tons of patron-only content on his Patreon page. You can also find Chuck’s musings on the Presscheck Consulting Facebook page or book a class through Operational Detachment Source.

comments

  1. avatar GaPharmD says:

    See shoot score…. got it!

  2. avatar Vozlek says:

    I love Mr Pressburg, good man and drops real knowledge.

    1. Chuck knows his stuff for sure.

      1. Binder – Chuck was in a bad place after retiring from service and had some pretty serious demons he was learning how to deal with. It was a shitty situation for all involved, but Chuck got help afterward and has been sober since.

        I feel that the takeaway from Chuck’s unfortunate incident is that even the most elite soldiers need help dealing with what they experienced in service of our country and they should feel that it is OK to ask for help.

        Posting a link to that incident where a decorated vet clearly dealing with PTSD was in a bad place has no bearing on the topic of discussion. Not only is that not cool, it is pretty dang low. Instead, I think that the right thing to do is be happy that he is seeking peace and passing his knowledge base on to dudes fighting the good fight.

        1. avatar David Walters says:

          I don’t agree.

          I prefer to know as much as possible about an instructor, even his criminal record if there is one.

          I have a Marine friend who spent years in the sand box and has PTSD. I won’t name him, but, he’s a true menace to the community and deserves watching every single time he picks up a beer.

        2. David – Sorry to hear that you feel that way. If the guy has PTSD, have people he trusts to talk to him about getting help. We shouldn’t vilify vets for dealing with scars accumulated in service of our country.

          Again, a dude dealing with his demons in a less than productive way shouldn’t dilute the information.

        3. avatar Howdy Doody says:

          We also shouldn’t make them cops, or let them stay cops once they’ve demonstrated a known drug addiction and un safe fire arms use. Only in a podunk, through the good ‘ol boy system could that happen. It’s how Chris Kyle got a way with all his bullshit and it’s a tragedy waiting to happen. It’s wasn’t that long ago, it takes years to demonstrate that one is truly on the road to recovery from mental illness and addiction. When cops, veterans and rich kids get “take aways” and the rest of us get consequences that’s what is known as a two tiered justice system. Also just to play the role of bleeding heart for a moment most criminals have suffered significant emotional and our physical trauma in their lives usually much younger than enlisted age, they just didn’t suffer it in service to their country so we as a society don’t accept it as an excuse, basically because it had no social utility for the rest of us. I wish the man luck, and respect his service but he shouldn’t be a cop or a “brand ambassador”. This irrational worship of broken men with high body counts on there resume that has griped the gun community over the last 15 years or so is something straight out of the old west and has gone to far to be healthy. This is 2018 not 1868 high level killing skills aren’t needed domestically and shouldn’t be idolized it’s dangerous socially and psychologically, it’s makes the gun community look bad.

        4. Howdy Doody – Apples to oranges man.

        5. avatar Mikail says:

          Patrick Roberts, agree completely. It’s easy for people to talk the talk when they’ve never had to walk the walk. So much safer to sit on your butt behind a keyboard and criticize than it is to actually go out and put it on the line. I lost friends in Iraq and I remember them all. All these keyboard commandos who find it so easy to judge should just stay on Tumblr where they can be among their own kind.

          Sorry if all this sounds harsh, but the article was supposed to give people who have never had to do it some insight into combat shooting, but some misguided people just want to turn it into a moral exercise in how much better they are than those of us who have actually been there. Yeah, PTSD is a serious problem, but saying that the people who served have no right passing on their very hard earned knowledge and experience is just plain BS. Sorry of that offends some of you, but there it is.

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        On the other hand, that just proves that, even shit-faced, this guy shoots better than the NYPD.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          I note that Pressburg claimed, and others agreed, that the shot was negligent, rather than intentional. That makes it more like NYPD behavior than not.

  3. avatar DrewR says:

    I’ve seen this before at the local indoor range. I was shooting a 50 round skill check drill, http://www.shootingusa.com/PRO_TIPS/JULIE2015-1-50Round/julie2015-1-50round.html and the guy two lanes down was shooting beautiful clover leaves at 7-10 yards. Every single three shot group was touching, it was some of the best slow fire accuracy I’ve ever seen. Then he put up a full size silhouette and tried some fast fire shooting and sprayed rounds all over the target, it looked like 00 buck from 25 yards, a couple shots even missed the silhouette. So there’s an example of someone with an exceptional foundation giving up everything to shoot fast.

  4. avatar Weapon Of War says:

    Good article dude! Dug the Rowland also. Been flirting with a 460 kit for my Colt for a few years now, but haven’t taken the leap yet. Still loving the 10mm and .45.

    1. Roland, not Rowland.

      The Roland Special is Chuck’s gun version of a dick joke that turned out to work pretty dang well.

      Check the video out, I run through all the components in it.

      1. avatar Weapon Of War says:

        Ooops, thought you had a 960 Rowland there. Yup, Roland.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        But not the Thompson Gunner?

        So it’s just a Gluck. In 9mm. Where every factory part was a bolo and needed to be replaced?

  5. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Nothin but humility here and love for this dude. However (you knew it was coming), having a gun and being willing to shoot satisfies the vast majority of civilian encounters. Training is good but it is perishable or at least semi-perishable. Knowing yourself and how well you handle pressure is big. Much of this guys training does not equate to civilian gun use but I bet he can handle his own because his training allows him to handle pressure better than most. He must be doing something right because in the top pic he looks about 26 – not that he spent 26 years in the army.

    1. That is an old picture of Chuck from his days deployed while still in the Army. Chuck looks a bit older now thanks to 26 years of service destroying his body.

      1. avatar David Walters says:

        So true about the effects of service on a long-serving serviceman’s body.

        I’ll always remember how dragged out the senior Marine enlisted men in my battalion appeared after 10 – 15 years of service and how absolutely young and vivacious they appeared in the campaign memorabilia pictures that seemed to adorn their offices.

        Not wanting that fate, I left after 8.

  6. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …guess I’ve been living under a rock.

    Mentioning Chuck Pressburg in the gun community must be like mentioning Bob Pease in the electronics community.

    1. avatar Marcel (not Duiker) says:

      …….or Dennis Brown in the Jamaican music community. My rock is my home.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        There’s a lot of space under that rock.
        I know who both Bob Pease and Dennis Brown are.
        I’m a fairly established gun writer, own an FFL/SOT2, and I’ve had multiple combat deployment, some TDY to SOF, and taught the Special Operations Medical Sustainment Course, as well as a member of law enforcement, and I’ve never heard of SGM Pressburg.

        1. avatar dlj95118 says:

          …pray tell?!?

          You’ve heard of Mr. Pease?

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Yeah, I used to chair the Texas cyber security Council and ran the state’s largest tech investment fund. Heavy semiconductor emphasis. So yeah, household name in part my world.

        3. avatar dlj95118 says:

          …roger that. Thanks.

          He was a treasure.

    2. I guess Pressburg’s name is better known among professional (MIL, LEO, etc.) shooters. I urge you to check out his Facebook and YouTube channel, he drops some knowledge now and again that applies to just about every level of shooter.

  7. avatar tdiinva says:

    Interesting stuff but this is another example of why the worst person to give advice to the armed citizen is someone whose primary experience is military. A DGU is not combat. The fastest way to proesecution is to act like it is.

    About the only thing a DGU has in common with combat is that both situations have rules of engagement. The rules of engagement for a DGU are:

    (1) You may not initiate deadly force. You must wait for an imminent threat of death or grevous bodily harm.

    (2) You can only shoot to stop the threat.

    (3) You must terminate the use of force when the threat is no longer imminent either because the threat is down or withdraws.

    Violate any of these rules and you are going to jail.

    The empirical evidence shows that you don’t need combat training to successfully defend yourself.

    1. Tdiinva,
      Obviously you missed something. All Mr. Pressburg is teaching HOW to shoot, the when is up to you. Read and process more. I think I’d rather learn from someone who has been in a gunfight a time or two than 1000’s of instructors out there who only went to a school and started teaching.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I understand what SGM Pressman is saying. I practice combat drills regularly because it makes practice fun as well as theorectically improving your shooting skills. However, it seems that people manage to have successful DGU without a lot training and practice. Common DGUs are fairly simple affairs. 90%+ don’t even involve pulling the trigger. The ones that do take place are generally at short range because the threat gets the first move. You don’t have to be as precise at 10 yards as you do at 25.

        There is too much emphasis on the gun in personal protection. Self defense is a subset of personal protection. It happens when you fail. Our objective is to stay left of bang, Combat is about being to right of it.

        1. After reading your reply I feel like you still haven’t read and understood what Pressburg was conveying.

        2. avatar Chase D. says:

          And some of the finest warriors on the planet have been killed by 16 year olds spraying an AK with their eyes closed. Everyone gets a say in a gunfight and every bullet fired hits something. That doesn’t mean the evidence has clearly shown over the years that guys well trained in gunfighting have a much much much higher win percentage than amateurs.

          Just because citizens successfully defend themselves without good training, doesnt mean that good combat oriented training isn’t beneficial to a citizen.

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          Re Chase : Stop right there. Do you know the difference between in a fight involving guns and gunfight? Almost all DGUs are not gunfights. Your assailant wants something from you and might be willing to do violence to get it but like you, will only go to guns as a last resort and when he has an advatage. His first option is to run away. That why a 90+% of DGU don’t involve shooting.

          There is no evidence that says people with training have better outcomes than people without it in a DGU. Do you think the cops ask “How much training do you have” when they write it up. I had a conversation with yhr Arlington County Virginia Commonwealth Attorney about what she saw as range that legitimate self defense takes place. Let’s just say your legal bill begins to rapidly escalate beyond 10 yards. You are not enganging in “combat” in a DGU and therefore combat shooting is unnecessary. If you don’t get that then there no basis for agreement.

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Then we have no basis for agreement. Most of everything you just wrote is based purely off false assumption.

        5. avatar Chase D. says:

          11 years as a LEO in a major metro city and two deployments to Iraq as an Infantryman…. so yeah I have a fairly good idea what the differences are. I’ve seen citizen defensive gun usage range from scaring off a purse snatcher to using an AR15 to fight off a multi person home invasion crew.

          You’re the one making a lot of assumptions here. Assumptions that guys with actual real world experience are saying its wrong.

        6. avatar tdiinva says:

          Again stop right there. Your personal experience is under different rules of engagement than I have as both an infantryman and a LEO. I am not talking about how combat shooting applies to you. I am talking about how it applies to people like me. You are authorized to do thiings that will justifiably get me tossed in jail.

          A private citizen operates in tbe region of about 10 yards. How proficient do we need to be? Here is a little math problem for you. How many degrees can you be off from the point of aim of center mass on the horizontal and vertical axes and still hit the target at 10, 25 and 50 yards? Get back to me when figure out that i have to be less precise to be successful. FYI i am a much better shot than minimum requirement.

          I think you and others validate my original point. You seem to be unable to make the transition from what you do to what an armed citizen is allowed to do.

        7. avatar jwtaylor says:

          tdinva, I’m not going to address all of your assumptions, because they are ridiculous and not based on facts or logic.
          But I think you should really do the math that you have suggested. Use one of the many sight calculators available online.
          You will find that, using a stock Glock 19, if you have aimed at the 10 ring at 10 yards and have raised your front sight only a half of an inch too high, you will miss the silhouette target entirely. That is why the vast majority of people, cops, soldiers, and everyday civilians alike, miss the vast majority of their shots.
          And just like a soldier, a civilian is responsible for every round fired.

        8. avatar Chase D. says:

          I never said anything about my shooting. I said I understand the differences because I’ve been in both worlds. I also stated I’ve personally been on scene and/or investigated many citizen defensive uses. Shots fired and non. I’ve also seen citizens shoot at bad guys at distances farther than 10 yards and no no charges were filed. Distance CAN play into whether a citizen was justified in using a firearm, but it’s not always a factor. And a citizen can very easily be justified in using a firearm past 10 yards.

        9. avatar Dwayne Johnson says:

          TDIINVA – Your being to realistic, practical and essentially a consumer advocate. All bloggers are industry advocates, hype men and theyre trying to sell you yet another name and face from uncle sams very, very deep bench of forty-something, 100% VA rated life takers and heart breakers. If you kick the tires for two long but don’t smile and start asking “‘yeah but do I really need to be able to kill people in Boise at 200 yards?” Theyre going to want you off the lot. It’s like when a new wrestler tries out variations on a persona before corporate crunches the numbers and settles on one for him. Your Job is to smile and be thankful they given you another guy who will charge you thousands to learn what the military would have paid you to learn. That’s how this all works, now “know your role and shut your mouth.”

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      tdiinva (but no longer in va?): I agree with your perspective, and reaction to the actual writing by Pressburg. You assuredly know that you’re fighting the industry when you advocate for this point, that successful armed SD in the civilian world is much more about knowing your state’s SD laws in detail and accurately, and training to identify, under pressure, when the transition to defensible shooting has occurred.

      Even the FBI, in its most recent redesign of qualification shooting, has fully recognized that justified SD shooting (justified for LEOs under the most recent SCOTUS opinions) generally occurs at a distance of from zero to 10 (7, really) yards. From a legal perspective, the last thing an SD shooter should want to do is automatically fire more than two shots per assailant. Taking advantage of one’s own ability to shoot quickly and accurately at a greater distance is, of course, usually an invitation to indictment.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Us citizen civilians need to learn safe gun handling above all other aspects of the gun. Knowing the laws in your area is great. But you have to safely handle your weapon in all sorts of crowded environments. I lived in an apartment building for years. An ND would have been disastrous.

        We don’t need to be highly skilled operators to deal with the tweakers stealing tools from our garages. We need to be highly safe to avoid hanging ourselves out in the system.

        If I fought like I did in my military days I would call in air or arty. Or at least mortars.

      2. avatar Dwayne Johnson says:

        Yup we’ve crossed the Rubicon to wear the fire arm manufacturing industry and that’s what it is, not training, (most of these high profile pop up trainers couldn’t exist if they weren’t thoroughly subsidized by industry and DOD), are totally unconcerned that the civilian Rambo phantasy’s they are paying veterans to peddle are actually counter productive in the realm of realistic civilian DGU.

  8. avatar Ark says:

    Chuck needs to get back on Primary and Secondary. There ain’t near enough F-bombs now!

    Also that picture with the SAW is hysterical. That is a man living his best life.

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