The Environment of Home Combat
By Bo Perrin
All gun fights can occur between where a person can touch another to end range of a rifle whatever that rifle might be. The range picked will determine both the weapons, methods and tactics a person will use to achieve his or her goal in a combat situation.
The limiting factor of the structure will determine combatives in the home. The structure includes hallways, walls, ceilings, basements, corners and open spaces. Presently, I sitting in my living room as I write this article. I see that the length of the living room is about eighteen to 20 feet and the width is a mere ten. It is an open space similar to a rectangle in which the entrance at one corner and the door to my room dissects the rectangle.
Because of the structure of this portion of the house, if someone were to force entry during the night as we sleep the length of the space I will have to fight within will depend upon how quickly I can become engaged or how quickly the criminals can cross the thresh-hold. Typically, this is called close quarter combat or battle. (CQC or CQB) Some of the most vicious, deadly and mentally exhausting battles in history have taken place from room to room. One of the most vicious battles of this sort was the clash between the German Sixth Army and Soviet military machine at Stalingrad during World War 2.
The size of the area in which a person might be forced to fight will also limit the options of our weapons, methods and tactics. We must first keep in mind that home combatives have very important differences from actual combat. Here are some:
In combat our troops are usually entering a facility. The home owner is often being attacked while inside.
In combat our troops know that they are going to enter a facility, while often a home invasion is a surprise.
In combat our troops are often attacking an enemy enclosing them within a structure. In a home invasion the house’s wall encloses the homeowner possibly with family, friends or relatives.
In combat our troops do not necessarily worry themselves with whether a round will go through the wall. In a civilized nation this is a serious moral consideration that determines the type of round we use.
In combat our troops will take as large a weapon as possible into a fight due to who might be hiding in the house. Size, physical space and money often determined the size of the weapon a home owner will use possess.
In combat our troops are extensively trained in the use of weapons and tactics. Many homeowners, on the other hand, might go to the range occasionally and the highest level of training is for a concealed weapon permit.
In combat our troops are in great physical shape which helps them to deal with the stress and retain their fine motor skills in hostile situations. Most homeowners who might find themselves in a hostile situation will have their blood pressure shot up to 300 bps and they might just collapse.
These are just a few. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a few tactics that can cross from actual combat to the combat of a house invasion. But frankly not many. So, whatever weapons, tactics and methods we use, they will have to be tailored to the unique environment of a domestic home.
FBI Stats On Range of Gun Fighting
Before, I explain the style I have chosen to teach for Home Combatives Solutions let us examine some facts as discovered decade after decade by the FBI. The FBI has been keeping very specific records about officer involved shootings. The report is very enlightening. The 1992 FBI reports state that handguns killed 500 officers during that decade, ninety-four by rifles and fifty-six by shotguns.
367 were shot at ranges of 0-5 feet.
127 were killed at ranges of 6-10 feet.
77 were killed at ranges of 11-20 feet.
79 were killed at rangers of 20 or more feet.
Sixty-two percent of officers were killed during 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. (low light conditions).
Point shooting is used most often.
There is little to no time to see sights.
The vast majority of officers reverted to a combat stance (not the Weaver or Isosceles)
The vast majority of officers reverted to holding the weapon with one hand.
The vast majority of the officers used a convulsive grip.
These are facts. The fact is that 88 percent of the gun battles occur within 20 feet or less. What makes these facts relevant to home combatives is that each room of the house is a potential combat zone. If you measure each room in your home, I think you find that each room falls within the first two lengths mentioned. Twenty feet is merely six yards and adding 25 feet more is merely to add another six feet. This means, depending on the author, that 90 percent of all close quarter shootings take place within 12 yards. Please notice that according to the FBI the vast majority of gun fights take place in a “low light” environment. This is very crucial for home combatives. Most criminals will invade a home when the lighting is low to increase their fear effect, make it harder for you to identify them and get family to a safe place. Tell me, have you ever attempted to use sighted fire during an engagement in low light? I have. The experience proves it is not easy if possible.
A style exists that actually takes advantage of these situations and excels. It is also the only style that is driven primarily by instinct and is combat proven in police work, special forces, combat and civil society. It is the style I will teach in Home Combatives Solutions.
Colonel Applegate’s Point-Shoot Continuum
Colonel Applegate calls the system The Point-Shoot continuum and it has been around since the early 1900s. We need to back up a bit in history. The point-shoot style is similar to and based on the fact that a human can point a finger effectively at something at close range. As the range extends something more is needed. Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donvovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services in World War 2, instructed Colonel Applegate to go anywhere and meet anyone to learn about close quarter combat, firearms and knives.
In his travels Applegate came across a book called Triggernometry. This book attempted to explain how the great shooters of yesteryear shot. The book contained very little real world help but did provide an address for Wild Bill Hickok. He visited Hickok’s city and enquired at the courthouse if they had any information on Hickok. The lady at the desk delivered numerous papers and within the stack was a letter Hickok received which asked how he was able to kill all those people. There was a response attached to the question in Hickok’s own handwriting which he did not send. Hickok stated, “I raised my hand to eye level, like pointing a finger, and fired.” Hickok’s explanation was the first Applegate found which specifically revealed how a gunfighter of the old West actually shot and it contradicted everything that most scholars accepted at the time. Applegate would come to call this the holy grail but at the time of the find he did not fully understand its significance.
Applegate did understand the significance of Hickok’s statement until he meets W.E. Fairbarin and E.A. Sykes. They were English police officers who operated in Shanghai, China between 1900 and 1940. At this time Shanghai was the most dangerous city in the world with daily gun battles between gangs and gangs and gangs and police. The police were out matched. Fairbarin participated personally in more than 200 gun battles. Fairbarin and Sykes developed the first combat-oriented training for police use of the handgun.
They revealed their style in their book, Shooting to Live With the One-Hand Gun. It is available on the internet for free. The basics of this system are as follows:
Close combat range
Weapon held with one hand
Arm straight out
Weapon brought to eye level and shot
No use of sights
This method was taught to the British police in Shanghai and was very successful. Britain entered World War 2 and after Dunkirk feared for its national life. The British War Department brought Fairbarin and Sykes to England to train the military and militias for what was believed to be an imminent German invasion. Eventually, Fairbarin is sent to train the OSS in the United States at which time Colonel Applegate meets him. The OSS eventually sends Applegate to England to work with Fairbarin in actual combat operations.
When Applegate returned to the United States, they began training at Camp Ritchie. Applegate states they trained more than 10,000 men who physically differed from each other in point shooting. He also sent out the instructors of the camp to join actual combat units engaged in various types of combat. They would return and what worked was kept and what didn’t was discarded. Very pragmatic. Clearly, Applegate’s system was born in conflict and purified in actual combat. Applegate’s system is very simple:
Combat crouch (not an Isosceles or Weaver).
Non-gun arm out to the side for balance.
Gun arm straight and at a 45 degree angle to body point forward.
Gun hold is a convulsive grip.
Gun hold is one-handed.
Wrist is locked.
Weapon is brought up to the eye and fired.
No sights are used for close combat.
The Isosceles and Weaver Systems
The Isosceles and Weaver systems are rather new to the scene compared to the point-shoot system and yet, certain people have declared these systems to be modern. Now most US policing forces and military units use these shooting platforms. Primarily, both platforms were created for competition shooting and not combat.
Colonel Applegate had very little to say good about the Weaver system for CQB. He stated, “Training almost exclusively in shooting bull’s eyes and silhouettes using a two-handed Weaver stance has got to stop!” (Italics original) He also did not have much to say positively about the Isosceles. He believed the stance did not permit the proper movement necessary to confront targets on either side of the shooter.
New York city police department records provide Applegate’s evidence for the uselessness of either system in the real world of CQB. The records show that for the past ten years (since the writing of the book) New York police officers averaged between fourteen and 16 percent of hits on criminals in the midst of the gun battles. These officers had been trained only in the Isosceles or Weaver platforms and yet, despite the modern platforms their hit percentages were anemic.
Applegate argues the reason both platforms fail is that they demand to fine motor skills for close quartered combat. Interestingly, Col. Dave Grossman in Killology also argues that close-quartered battle significantly affects your fine motor skills. In the midst of a CQB your body is affected in many ways physiologically. One thing that happens is the shooter loses the ability to use your body to do the minute things of life. For instance, if the CQB involves a handgun the shooter will lose his ability to see the front sight due to tunnel vision keeping his sights on the target. Yet, in every weapon’s class the student is taught to keep the rear sights and target blurry focusing on the front sights.
Applegate claims his point-shoot system is in fact a true response to gross-motor movement triggered by a CQB. For instance, in Applegate’s system, and Fairbarin’s, you do not fire the trigger by moving the first finger straight back separately from the rest. Rather, the shooter convulses the trigger as the whole hand squeezes naturally through gross-motor movement. So, Applegate calls his system an aimed system not a sighted system. He is not against a sighted system nor fully against the Weaver system. Rather, he argues that the fine motor skills needed to use these systems are available only when the shooter is farther removed from the CQB environment and therefore, has more control over his bodily functions.
Colonel Applegate’s Point-Shoot Continuum is the right platform with the right structure for the conditions of Home combatives.
Applegate’s continuum involves:
The body point (0-5 feet)
The point shooting (5-10 feet)
The two-handed point shooting (10-15 feet)
The two-handed sighted fire (15 and beyond)
The Benefits of the Point-Shoot Continuum
Created for CQB therefore, perfect for home defense
Easy to learn
Can become quickly proficient
Can easily be used by either hand which is necessary when fighting inside a house
Retention is easily with less practice.
Additionally, once you learn the basics you can continue to work on the mechanics through dry fire or the use of airsoft technology. Dry firing and airsoft technology makes it easier and less expensive to practice the mechanics of system but it does not take the place of range time.
Finally, the system can be used anywhere space is similar to that of a home. Your home is not one big box but rather a number of smaller connected units whose space each becomes the battle area. This is true of a grocery store, gas station, church building, a public bathroom, a park, etc.
I hope you will join us to equip and train yourself with the best system to protect your home and family. God bless.
Shooting To Live With The One-Handed Gun
The Modern Day Gunslinger
Bullseyes Don’t Shoot Back