Tactical Tip Of The Week



Part IV

 Welcome back. Thus far in this series we have discussed some key points that must be considered in the developing of our personal skills as wells as firearms training program development. If you haven’t read Part I, Part II and Part III, it would be beneficial to read them prior to reading Part IV. You can find Part I, Part II and Part III in my website www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page – Gunfighters Ltd Combat Shooting Methods Inc.

  In Part IV of this series, I want to discuss how the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) can affect the way we apply the various elements of our firearms training program and the methodologies that are included in the program. Understanding this information will help guide us to training that will account for the way our mind and body can be affected by the SNS activation. It will also help insure that the methods included in our training program are compatible with the environment where we will apply them.

 A concept that is necessary to understand about the SNS activation is that its activation is in response to our personal perception that we are in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death. Each person’s perception is their own unique way of responding to something that is happening in their environment. Many factors can influence how they perceive what is happening thus each person’s SNS activation is unique to them. So as we discuss the issue of what is affected by the SNS activation, I don’t believe that there are absolutes and each person may have a different perception of a particular threat. Therefore, it must be understood that the various mental and physical affects of the SNS activation can vary from person to person based upon their personal experience and their perception of what is threatening them. Also, as we discussed in Part III, there may be distinct differences in how an individual’s mind and body may react based upon if the incident is a planned event as opposed to a spontaneous attack initiated by the suspect.

 The first issue that I want to discuss is our visual system and how important it is to our understanding of its relationship to the training methods that we are using and/or teaching. Out of all the senses we have, our vision provides us with the vast majority of information about what is happening in our environment as it relates to close-quarters combat.

 Before we go any further, it is important to put into context the environment in which we will have to apply our training. We will focus on a spontaneous engagement because this is very common and presents many challenges to our training. Here are a few of the parameters that may be present in this type of engagement:

  •  The suspect/attacker begins the fight at a time of his/her choosing
  • The officer’s or legally armed civilian ‘s handgun is holstered either in a duty holster or concealment holster.
  • Since the attackers time-line begins at the moment he/she decides to attack, the defenders timeline doesn’t begin until the attack is detected (this can be when the attackers handgun is discharging, when it is already in his/her hand concealed from view, when the handgun is being drawn from concealment or when the suspect makes initial movement to access the handgun that is concealed on his/her person or within arms reach.
  • The attacker has a decided advantage because in the cycle of combat – the OODA cycle (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act), the attacker is well ahead of the defender. It could be as severe as the attacker is already discharging rounds and the defender is just observing that the attacker has spontaneously initiated the attack.

 As you can see from the parameters above, this will be an extremely high-speed event. Also, these types of attacks are characterized by being initiated when the suspect is in close proximity to the person they are attacking. Now that we have examined the environment common to close-quarters fights, we have to examine how our vision fits into the discussion.

 Our active defense against the spontaneous close-quarters attack will not begin until our vision allows us to observe that the attack has begun. Your vision is going to provide your brain with the necessary information about what is happening so you can orient (figure out what is happening), make a decision about what you are going to do about the situation and then turn that decision into action.

 In these fractions of a second, our vision will be intently focused on the threat. This phenomenon has been studied as far back as W.E. Fairbairn’s analysis of the numerous gunfights his officers were involved in during his tenure at the Shang Hi Police Department in the early 1900’s. When you think about it, where else would your eyes be intently focused when someone is trying to kill you? How else would your brain receive the necessary information to analyze if your eyes ARE NOT on the threat? How would you know if the threat, now your target (why I call it Target-Focused Shooting), is stationary, moving or advancing towards you if your eyes are NOT on the threat/target? Remember, this is all happening in fractions of a second and time is not on your side if someone else starts the attack.

 Taking your eyes off the threat/target at the critical time when your brain is trying to process information about how you are going to respond to the threat/target is like closing your eyes for any length of time while driving. Your brain needs a continual flow of information to make force decisions. Once that decision is made, your brain needs to have a continual flow of information to adjust to what the threat/target doing. This process is as intuitive as when you are driving your motor vehicle. Your vision is providing your brain with the information needed to engage the target/threat. This information is coming via your vision.

 In Part V, we will continue our discussion about how vision will impact the shooting method we use for close-quarters combat. Also, it is important to understand how the SNS will affect our motor skills. Our goal is to gain knowledge about the environment where we fight and how our vision is working under the high stress of a close quarters gunfight. In addition, we must know how our motor skills are affected by the SNS activation and apply that knowledge to how we will train to be successful when all these factors are present. This knowledge will greatly impact the shooting method we use to increase our ability to win the close quarters gunfight.

 Be safe,

Lou Chiodo






Tactical Tip Of The Week



Part III



 In “Training Considerations Part I, we discussed analyzing incidents so that we can gain valuable information about the environment where the fights are taking place. In Part II, we discussed how we could take the information learned in our analysis of the real incidents to help us develop the methodologies that need to be included in our programs. If you haven’t read Part I and Part II, it would be beneficial to read them prior to reading Part III. You can find Part I and Part II in my website www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page – Gunfighters Ltd Combat Shooting Methods Inc.

 In Part III, our discussion will focus on “Target Engagement During A Spontaneous Close-Quarters Attack”. Based upon the information obtained through the analysis of live incidents, the majority of the fights that result in fatalities occur between contact distances to approximately 7 yards.   Therefore when we talk about “Target Engagement during A Spontaneous Close-Quarters Attack”, I am referring to a fight that is initiated by someone else that is usually within the 0-7 yard distance.

 As we move forward in this discussion, it is of extreme importance to understand that the methodology that we are going to rely upon to work in a spontaneous close-quarters attack must work under the duress of live combat. Additionally, the methodology must work in conjunction with the way our mind and body will be functioning during this period of high stress. In short, we do not want to rely on a method of shooting that doesn’t work well when we take into account the environment and the way our mind and body is reacting to the spontaneous nature of the incident. If we attempt to use a method not compatible with the environment or our mental and physical status at the time the incident happens, we can have a training failure that can result in injury or death.

 At this point it is important to understand the difference between a spontaneous engagement that is initiated against usand a planned engagement initiated by us. From the attackers perspective, if they initiate the fight, they have chosen the time and place to fight, the way they will attack and the distance they will be from us when they attack. At the moment of their attack, they have the initial control over what happens and will have the ability to apply the principles of speed, shock and violence of action. At that moment, the defender will have to take IMMEDIATE   action to negate the attacker’s advantages and attempt to gain the initiative of the fight – meaning to aggressively fight to deny the attacker’s plan of action and defeat their threat. It is important for us to realize that even if we are engaged in a PLANNED course of action, (the execution of a plan of action that was developed and put into action) but the adversary initiates a fight first, they will turn the incident into a spontaneous one from OUR perspective because the adversary has altered our plan of action AND they have caused us to react to THEIR actions. In many cases, the adversary’s spontaneous actions can greatly alter our initial planned action. When we try to understand this concept, I find it helpful to compare it to the difference between being the one that initiates an ambush as opposed to being the one that is in the kill zone being ambushed. So, in the time it takes for the adversary to pull the trigger, an incident can go form a planned event to a spontaneous one from OUR perspective.

 Why is it so important for us to understand the differences between a planned or spontaneous attack? The answer lies in how our mind and body will be affected by each type of incident. Generally speaking, if we initiate the fight in a planned action, we get to control the time, place and manner of attack. This allows us to have more control over our mental and physical status. If we are attacked spontaneously, our mind and body can undergo many rapid changes that can adversely affect the way we can apply the shooting methods we have been taught in a training environment. The next logical question is what are these changes and how do they affect my ability to apply my training.

 In a close-quarters attack initiated by the adversary where we perceive serious bodily harm and/or death can occur, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) activates causing physical and mental changes within our body. In short, these changes caused by the SNS activation allow us to get an increase in power via an increase in heart rate to pump more blood into the large muscles of our body to help cause this gain in strength. Also, adrenalin release in our body helps in this process. The SNS activation can cause the release of other internal chemicals in our body to help mask pain from injuries and help us focus intently on the threat we are facing.

 In our next part of this series of articles, I will discuss the affects the SNS has on our mind and body as it relates to how it will impact the training methodology we are using in our program of instruction. It is critical in analyzing someone’s performance in a combat shoot to understand how the SNS activation has affected their ability to apply the shooting method they have been taught in training.

 Be safe,

 Lou Chiodo








Tactical Tip Of The Week



Part II

 In the last tactical Tip Of The Week, “Training Considerations Part I”, I expanded on a past Tactical Tip in order to have a more detailed look at an extremely important topic. Here is the Tactical Tip that was discussed in Part I to refresh your memory. Also, you can find “Part I” in my website www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page – Gunfighters Ltd Combat Shooting Methods Inc.:

 Tactical Tip Of The Week

 “Every so often, we have to evaluate what we are doing in our training and ensure that everything in our program is directed to one goal – winning in combat. Don’t waste precious training time on irrelevant methods and focus on training at realistic distances, times and conditions you are likely to encounter in a self-defense scenario.”

 A safety tip from Lou Chiodo

 In “Part I”, I discussed what needs to be studied in order to have a better understanding about the environment where the fights are taking place. It is important to take that data and ensure our training programs are preparing our men and women to effectively fight in the environment found in our research.

 Lets look at a critical piece of information that will help us develop our training program – distances from the threat during the incidents. You might ask yourself why this is so important. The concise answer is because it will determine what methodology must be included in the training program to account for the distances commonly encountered during these incidents. The vast majority of handgun fights where lives are lost occur within the 0-7 yard line from the threat.

 These incidents not only happen at very close range to the threat, but they are spontaneous in nature and the threat generally initiates the fight. This can give the threat decided advantages because they are able to determine the exact time they will attack and the person attacked has to react to their action. This can be a decisive advantage for the threat and deadly for the person attempting to react to the attack.

 These close-quarter fights require the most rapid response possible in order to make up for the rapid nature of the attack. Remember, in the context of the “OODA” cycle of combat (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act), the attacker has already worked through the cycle and is in the process of “acting” when the person attacked could still be in the Observe or Orient part of the cycle. As far back as the 1920’s, W.E. Fairbairn found that at these moments, the eyes intently focus on the threat. The reason is simple. How else is your brain going to receive the most current information about what the attacker is doing if the eyes aren’t focused on the attacker? The information about the attacker must be received in the brain via vision and then processed in order to determine an appropriate response to the attack. Additionally, heart rates can be elevated to an incredibly number of beats per minute. This can have an adverse affect on our motor skills, vision and ability to apply a training methodology that requires a more precise way of blending our physical and mental capabilities. These fine motor skills become more difficult to use as our heart rate is elevated.

 Many handgun programs are centered on precision shooting techniques utilizing sight alignment, sight picture and deliberate squeezing of the trigger to create a surprise break of the trigger. This methodology would be considered by many to be the most precise way to be accurate while shooting a handgun.   Precision shooting methods are an essential part of a complete program and must be included in any valid training program.

 Now let’s get back to the reality of the close quarter shooting incidents that we discussed above. Based upon the realities of what happens in real shootings that take place at close range, we need a methodology included in our training that allows for both high speed AND combat accuracy. I call this methodology “Target-Focused Shooting”

Target- focused shooting is an “aimed” shooting technique designed to allow for a rapid response with combat accuracy when confronted with a spontaneous, unanticipated attack in a variety of lighting conditions. In Target-Focused Shooting, the handgun is brought into alignment with the imaginary line that is formed between your eye and the desired target. The definition of aiming is to “bring in alignment with”. While the handgun’s sights aren’t used, the handgun IS aimed to the degree necessary to deliver combat accuracy at high speed in close-quarters. This method of target engagement must be taught in addition to the use of the weapon’s sight system so that a person will be able to respond with an appropriate means of target engagement based upon distance, time, cover and a person’s physical and psychological status at the time of the confrontation.

 Combining the ability to use Target-Focused Shooting and conventional sighted shooting methods allows for complete flexibility in the scenarios that are faced in live combat. To eliminate either one of those combat shooting methods is to limit your ability to maximize on the performance of both you and your weapon system.

 I encourage everyone to become proficient in both methods of shooting – Target-Focused Shooting and precision shooting methods. Once proficiency is attained, then seek out training that allows you to actually learn how the methods are applied in realistic environments that replicate the dynamics present in live combat shootings. While we cannot fully replicate a life or death fight in a training environment, we CAN replicate the situations and conditions that have happened in the fights that we have studied. Having proficiency on the range is only one element of training that is necessary in our programs. Helping an individual to learn how to apply what they have learned on the range is a critical and necessary part of training that cannot be neglected.

 A well-organized and implemented force-on-force training program is a vital step in the process of creating a valid training program. The data collected through our study of real incidents can be used to help develop force-on-force training programs and get us closer to providing realistic training.

 If you want to learn more about Target-Focused Shooting, I have developed an online training course that is being marketed by Ian Kinder of Live Safe Academy. The course, “Combat Shooting Methods – Target-Focused Shooting Essentials With A Handgun” provides background information about the history of this method of combat shooting and then leads you through a progressive self-paced program of instruction that teaches the principles of Target-Focused Shooting.

 Information about the online training course can be found at the following link:


 I look forward to future articles to share information and perspectives with you. Be safe.

 Lou Chiodo

Gunfighters Ltd.

Tactical Tip Of The Week



Part I

 Over the past several months, I have posted a “Tactical Tip Of The Week” in my website, Face Book page and other media sites. The primary reason for these postings is to bring attention to topics related to personal defense and help stimulate discussion and thought about the issues presented in the tips.

 I thought it would be beneficial to take some of these “Tactical Tips Of the Week” and expand on the issues presented in them so a more complete discussion could be accomplished. So let’s examine one of the tactical tips and add some more detailed explanation about its content. Here is the tactical tip we will examine:

 Tactical Tip Of The Week

 “Every so often, we have to evaluate what we are doing in our training and ensure that everything in our program is directed to one goal – winning in combat. Don’t waste precious training time on irrelevant methods and focus on training at realistic distances, times and conditions you are likely to encounter in a self-defense scenario.”

 A safety tip from Lou Chiodo

Here is a look at some of the issues I brought up in that Tactical Tip. Our goal is to “WIN” not just survive. Many people survive violent encounters only to have a lifetime of pain and immobility due to their injuries. In addition, the mental scares can be equal to or even more significant than their physical injuries. Our EVERY goal in training is to avoid that from happening to brave people who have the guts to fight.

 Our training programs are there to prepare our men and women to meet and defeat some of the most violent, aggressive and ruthless people in our society. It is the responsibility for those who design and present training programs to ensure that the methods and content of those programs are based upon reality of live combat. While we can never fully replicate live combat, we CAN study what is actually happening in these violent fights and determine if our training is actually preparing the students to operate in the environment they most likely will be in when they have to fight.

 The first important task is to study actual fights that are occurring and analyze the environment present during these fights. Here is a list of some of the things to look for when studying the incidents:

 General Information

 Who was involved in the incident (civilian, police)?

  • Where was the incident?
  • What brought involved parties to the location?
  • What was the narrative of what happened (a summary of the incident to understand what happened?

Environmental Information

 Time of day when the incident happened?

  • Lighting conditions present?
  • Was the location isolated or were there other people in the area?
  • Was the incident indoors or outdoors (workplace, home, in public)?
  • Were there any avenues of escape or was the location confined to a small battle space?
  • Were there any obstacles/obstructions that would affect the ability to maneuver?

Suspect Information

  • Did the suspect initiate a spontaneous attack?
  • Was the suspect alone or were there more than one suspect present?
  • Was the suspect concealed or in the open?
  • Once the fight begun, did the suspect remain stationary or move?
  • Did the suspect move to cover?
  • What type of firearm or weapon system did the suspect use? Was it concealed? If so, where was it positioned?
  • If shots were fired by the suspect, how many?
  • Was the suspect involved in any known violent acts prior to the incident?
  • Did the suspect have any prior firearms or combative training?

 Defender’s / Officer’s Information

  • Did the defender / officer anticipate hostilities or was “surprised by the suspect’s actions?
  • What did the defender / officer do once the attack was initiated by the suspect?
  • Was there movement by the defender / officer?
  • If the defender / officer returned fire, was the suspect hit. If so where and how many times? How many rounds were fired?
  • What type of weapon system did the officer use?
  • Was the defender / officer injured? If so what were the injuries?
  • After the fight was over, what dodo the defender / officer do?

 Other Pertinent Information

 What was the distance between the suspect and defender / officer when the fight began?

  • What training did the defender / officer receive prior to the incident?
  • Did their training involve force-on-force training? Scenario-based training?
  • Were the training methods applicable to the scenario presented in the incident?
  • What was the frequency of training for the defender / officer?

 As you can see, there are many variables to account for when trying to analyze an incident. Of course, there is more that could be added to this list, but this is a good start in gathering appropriate information about what happened in the incident and how the other factors that we would examine in future articles can lead us to what we need to incorporate in a training program.

 Next posting will expand on how we can take this information and help form a training program that can help us have a greater chance of winning in a life-threatening fight.

All my best to you,

 Lou Chiodo