Dear Fellow Survivalist;
Most people don’t really think about it, but there are always two sides to every fight. The one we tend to think about is getting the other guy. The other is keeping the other guy from getting us. Boxers, martial arts experts and others who fight with their bodies tend to think about blocking and deflecting blows. Even people who used medieval weapons, like swords and axes think that way. But those of us who use guns to fight, seem less inclined to that sort of thinking.
Part of that is that it is much harder to stop a bullet, than it is a fist or sword. Ballistic armor can only do so much. To start with, it only covers the vital organs, so while it might help keep us alive, it may not be able to help keep us in the fight. And other than superheroes, none of us are fast enough to see and dodge a bullet in flight.
But that doesn’t mean we should just stand there and allow ourselves to be a target, hoping that we can hit the other guy, before he can hit us. Granted, if you do much practicing at all, you’re probably a better shot than 98% of the criminals out there, but that’s not something you can count on.
The best possible place to shoot from, is one where the other guy can’t shoot back at you. While there aren’t too many of those around, we should constantly be aware of them, seeking them out as part of our evaluation of the risks associated with anyplace we are.
Keep in mind that this isn’t Hollywood. You can’t stop bullets with an upturned table or by hiding around the corner. Most pistol bullets can penetrate several walls, and rifles can do even more. When we’re talking about things that can stop bullets, called “cover,” we’re talking about things like cement columns, massive pieces of machinery and car engines.
There is just about nothing in the average home or office which can stop a bullet. About the only possibility in most cases is a packed full filing cabinet or bookshelf. While those are not perfect, thick stacks of paper actually do a fairly good job of stopping bullets. Car doors won’t stop a bullet either, as the metal is too thin. The average pistol bullet can go right through a car, unless it hits the engine.
While cover is hard to find, concealment isn’t. Just don’t get the idea that concealment makes you safe. All it does is make it so that the bad guys can’t see you. That means they can’t aim at you either. But they can overcome that little problem by peppering whatever you’re hiding behind with shots.
Concealment does provide you with one tactical advantage though; that’s the ability to use surprise. If you are in an office and hear shooting, you can hide yourself behind good concealment until you can get an idea of what’s happening, how many bad guys there are, and where they are. Then, when you pop up to start shooting, they won’t be expecting you. That gives you a few seconds of safety, while they are reacting to your appearance.
There’s something much better than concealment though, that’s movement. Have you ever tried to shoot a moving target? It’s much harder than you would expect. Chances are, the time it takes to pull the trigger will allow the target to move out of your sights, especially if that target is moving across your vision, rather than moving towards you or away from you.
This means that to move effectively, you have to have a pretty good idea of where the bad guys are. Otherwise, you might inadvertently run right towards them, making yourself an ideal, growing, target. So your first action in any firefight has to be to figure out where the bad guys are.
The faster you move, the harder you are to hit. But always make sure that any movement that you make is erratic. In other words, don’t run in a straight line; do zigzags, change your speed, go over and under things, anything to make it hard for them to figure out where you are going to be and set their sights on that point.
Your movement should take you to a point where you have cover. The saying goes, “In a gunfight, if you’re not behind cover, you should be moving to it.” That’s good advice. Always try to move to cover or from one point of cover to another.
But there’s more to this than just moving. You want to put an end to the firefight as quickly as possible. Therefore, you should be shooting while you are moving. That’s just as hard as hitting a moving target, so you’ll need a lot of practice to do it.
The key to shooting while moving is to make yourself as smooth a gun platform as possible. The M-1 Abrams tank is able to shoot accurately while moving quickly over rough terrain, because the turret is floating. While the chassis of the tank is bouncing around, the turret stays level and the gun tube stays centered.
You can accomplish roughly the same thing by walking heel to toe, rather than a normal walk. Normal walking creates shock points when your heel touches the ground. That will throw your aim off. By walking heel to toe, you eliminate those, allowing you to keep your upper body relatively stable and your arms from bouncing up and down.
Practice this, so that you can use it as part of your defensive strategy. While the bad guys might still get lucky and hit you, there’s no sense in making it easy for them. Make yourself hard to hit and you’re much less likely to get hit.
And like always, don’t forget to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
Chris and Dr. Rich