Whether you call it “defensive shooting,” “combative shooting,” “gunfighting” or any other term, the tactics of using a firearm in the context of a violent incident are vastly different than the arts of traditional marksmanship. While “shooting” constitutes the mechanical act of aiming, operating and manipulating a gun to get hits on a target, “fighting” with a gun is a much broader and more complicated concept. This is particularly true when the attack does not replicate a traditional, square-range, shooting-at-a-distance scenario.

Real contact-distance shooting is, by nature, a dynamic combination of unarmed combatives skills and shooting. If you think about it logically, you can only shoot at an attacker in self-defense if you can justify the fact that you are in fear of death or grievous bodily injury. At extreme close range, your first survival priority must be to block, check, control or avoid whatever is trying to kill you before you bring your gun into play. You must then deliver telling shots on target to either stop your attacker or allow you to create the distance necessary to get better shots on target.

As logical as this may sound, most commonly practiced close-quarters shooting drills are more excuses to shoot than they are a set of practical defensive tactics. This is particularly true of tactics that teach shooting from unorthodox positions, such as defending against an attack from the rear.

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