By Todd Nielsen, Director of Training/Owner, Nielsen Training and Consulting

This is the best way that we have found to train new shooters all the way to top-tier operational people in Law Enforcement to Special Operations personnel. If you use something different that gives you the results you are looking for, please continue to use it.

QuotesGunfighting is a martial art, and if you do not practice on a regular basis, your skills will deteriorate rather quickly.

We highly encourage people to train on a regular basis and prepare for the worst type of fight that you think that you could ever be in. This will make the fight against a common thug easy and prepare you for that one-percenter type that we hope you never have to face.

Fighting Stance

To begin, you need a balanced fighting stance, with your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly bladed with the strong leg to the rear, knees slightly bent, and leaning slightly forward at the waist. Your weight should be balanced on the balls of your feet. Try to keep your shoulders square to the threat or the adversary. From this position, you can move to a position of cover or position of advantage as needed.

Master Grip

QuotesYou must acquire a master grip so you won’t have to adjust the grip as you go through the drawing process.

Place the webbing between your thumb and index finger as high up in the backstrap as possible. Next, defeat whatever safety mechanism you have on your holster. Ensure that your support hand comes to your chest area. This helps ensure you can fire from any portion of the draw stroke and your support hand won’t get in the path of the outgoing bullet. Make sure your pistol sits in your hand so the slide is in alignment with your radius and ulna bones of your forearm to mitigate felt recoil of the slide. Be sure your finger is straight and away from the trigger guard as you draw the firearm from the holster.

Clear the holster and bring your pistol quickly up into the position we call the “Rock and Lock.” This is a position of retention and a position you can shoot from if necessary. In fact, in many of our classes, we shoot from this very position to prepare you to defend those you love if needed. I know several officers who have had to shoot people from this position. It proved effective in four of my friends’ careers. From this position, remember to cant just slightly to keep the slide from getting tangled in clothing, portions of your kit or armor, or other body parts. From this position, you can keep your eyes on the threat and begin to pick up your front sight using your peripheral vision. If your firearm is equipped with a manual safety, use the time between clearing the holster and the Rock and Lock to disengage that safety mechanism.

Full Presentation

Your hands should begin to come together where you naturally clap your hands. As they come together, extend your arms straight out as if you are punching. If you have set your Master Grip up correctly, the muzzle should be parallel to the ground and pointed at your threat. Extend your arms completely. Lock your elbows and wrists out to help find your natural point of aim and recoil management.

QuotesRemember to bring your sights up to your eyes, not your eyes down to your sights.

This keeps as much blood flow going to the brain as possible and allows for as much cognitive thinking as possible under stress. Line your sights up and press the trigger. Keep in mind that you may have to fire several shots in rapid succession to stop or neutralize a threat. Fire as many shots as you feel are needed to stop the threats that present themselves. Bear in mind that you are liable for every round that you fire even if you miss the intended target.  

Return to your Holster

After you determine the threat has been neutralized, scan and assess of the area ensure there are no more threats. I used to tell my teams, “Look up, down, and all around.”

QuotesRemember, bad people usually travel in packs.

When you determine there are no more threats, begin the re-holstering process. Put your firearm back in its holster in the reverse positions that it came out.

A wise trainer from decades ago once told me, “No one ever won a gunfight being the fastest back into the holster.” It still applies today. Train as if your life depends on it.

Always in the Fight!