Question to those who have been in a firefight with an alternate weapon
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Thread: Question to those who have been in a firefight with an alternate weapon

  1. #1

    Question Question to those who have been in a firefight with an alternate weapon

    I have a concern about my instinctive response with my concealed carry weapon should I ever have to use it. I have been in instantaneous life-threatening situations on a motorcycle before and fully subscribe to the axiom that when the SHTF and there is no time to think, we revert to our training and practice. When the adrenaline hits there is no way to think around new practice; we do what we trained for and did before. With that said, I have a question.

    The situation I ponder now is if, as a CWP holder, I am presented with a threat requiring immediate reaction that I must respond to with my weapon in defense. I am aware from my own life-threatening experience on motorcycles and also from reading combat stories that I will revert to a sort of brain-lock survival tunnel vision mode if I am ever placed in this situation.

    Here is the setup to my question: I now have three carry weapons. A Ruger LCP for summertime carry, a Glock 26 for regular EDC, and also a 1911 style .45 for when I can carry the bigdog 45; mostly during wintertime. I have extensive range practice with all of these pistols and am intricatley familiar with all of them.

    If the SHTF, the usual carry Glock is simple. Hit the bang switch. The Ruger LCP is different: it has about a two-foot long trigger pull before going bang. The 1911 has a trigger pull similar to the Glock, but requires disengaging the thumb safety before firing.

    Here's my question: I can train all I want to with these different firearms, but if presented with a true life-threatening instantaneous event, what will I do instinctively? If I have three different systems I carry at different times, will I pull my 1911 and forget to disengage the thumb safety? Will I pull out my LCP and not pull the trigger far enough? Will I pull the Glock 26 thinking it's the LCP and go bang way too early? I'm thinking that if I ever get in this situation, my mind will go south and there will be no luxury of higher-level ruminations and options such as these. Only "pull and hope for bang".

    This is a serious question that may determine my weapon choice and possible changes I make. I am satisfied with all my carries, but wonder if I need to train with only one type and ditch the rest. For example, if I stick with the LCP for summer carry, then I'd have to forego the Glock or 1911 for other times and instead get an LC9 with a similar action to the LCP. That doesn't appeal to me: I'd rather assume that I can train to shoot the .45 but still be able to regear to another weapon instinctively without thinking if I was carrying an alternate weapon at the time. Can the mind do this under stress?

    As it stands in the everyday world, I can bring all weapons to the range and quickly adjust to each one without thinking and manipulate the various safeties and idiosyncrasies of each without thought and cognitively be aware of which is which in my hand..... but that is at the range and without stress.

    If possible I'd like to hear from anyone who has actually been in a gunbattle having to resort to a different / secondary firearm with a different trigger action, or has direct firsthand knowledge of this type of event. I have not been in the military; maybe those who have had to use different weapons under the stress of battle could enlighten me on whether the cognitive brain can overcome that stress and adjust to manipulating different weaponry in the heat of the moment.

    Thanks for any experienced insight you may provide. :)
    Last edited by Hootus; 06-15-2011 at 10:09 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #2
    I have not been in a gun fight, but here is something to think about. You borrow your daughters car and are on the turnpike crusing at 70mph when some shmuck cuts into your lane or slams on his brakes, you have a split second to react, you do, even though it is not your car and you have been driving it for 10 minutes, it is still a car. you brain has the time to process the information needed to react, even though the reaction is instinctive from all of your years of driving.. It really isn't reaction at all, your brain anilized the threat, and told your muscles to react, because it has been trained for so many years..... A new or inexperianced driver would not have that luxurey..... Even when you know impact is emminant your mind still has the time to think, oh F**K this is gonna hurt... Train well and trust in your reactions..
    Keep your paws off my Carrots and my guns
    My rules to live by Never trust a squirrel, never french kiss an ardvark and never bring Jumbo hotdogs to a nudist colony barbcue.

  4. #3
    There have been a lot of studies done on this. But they substantially say the same thing:

    When faced with a short range threat (inside 21 feet or so) your body will react by dropping into a fighting crouch. You will instinctively grasp your pistol one-handed - gripping it convulsively and jerking away at the trigger. Murphy's law says you'll forget about the safety if there is one on that particular weapon.

    Honestly - this is a big part of why I sold my Makarov (two actions to fire after drawing - safety off and DA the trigger) and bought my M&P 45 (one action to draw after firing since safety is on the trigger).

    Three modes of fire - you're asking for trouble. I suggest you train for defense with the simplest gun to operate, and keep the others for banging away at the range.

  5. #4
    I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy. What more do you want to know?

  6. Philip Gain is correct. I participated in a couple firefights - military, long range. The reaction when you first realize you are being shot at is instinctive. Only after the first several seconds you start thinking.
    My advice is: carry one of the guns that need minimum brain involvement.

  7. #6
    Wild Eyed Willy Answered your question perfectly.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Hell Paso, TX for now
    Gotta agree with Willie in this case, brother. In a firefight, I have engaged with both my M4 and my Beretta M9 in my role as a member of a Protective Services Detachment in Kirkuk, Iraq. There was no difference caused by the weapon I used, but I had practiced to the point of muscle memory, so it wasn't a conscious thought so much as a reflexive reaction. Practice making that safety on the .45 part of your draw routine enough, and if a situation arises (God forbid) you will be ready.
    "In times of dire need, the strongest men I know call on me before they call on God... When they are suffering, they call on me before they call on their mothers... I am a Combat Medic." -SPC Dariel Trinidad

  9. #8
    iF you carry all guns in the same position (example- on the hip), you will 'automatically' go there for your gun at that position.. (read The Draw, Muscle Memory and Mindset on this forum) with short trigger pull compared to long trigger pull (Glock compared to LCP) you may not reset your trigger in a rapid fire situation. As far as keeping your finger off the trigger till you clear holster (read The Draw, Muscle Memory and Mindset) Tgis needs to be built in from training. Anything is possible on the range- where we want it to be possible is everywhere else! How do we make this possible? Proper training and practicing the skills learned from that! Look, if it won't work in training, it prolly won't work in reality. If you want to know where the best training available is to be had: email me because I know :-)
    Scott Vaughn
    AR CHCL Instructor #02-414
    Suarez International Staff Instructor

  10. #9
    I have to agree that training, training, training is the key in any situation, although no one can train for every possible situation that may come. But more than half of your training is mental preparation in knowing what to do when it happens. Now I'm very aware of the brain and body reacting to life threatening situations after spending 15 years in the Army, you are tested continually, especially in combat where all hell breaks loose and you have no time to think. But one thing you will always rely on is your training as it has an automatic kick in to save your life. The reason for a back-up is for several reasons, i.e., out of ammo in primary, loss of primary firearm, firearm has jammed to where it is froze, etc., this means this is your secondary life line and one should train with this firearm as well from the position you carry to the full operation of that firearm. If this is a problem change the back-up to a firearm you know, if you like the Glock 22 then carry a Glock compact. I love the Ruger GP 100 357 Mag and I also carry a Ruger Security Six 357 Mag, but my Walther PPS 9mm is with me as well. But the key is Training, Training, Training.
    The Second Amendment is not about Hunting!!
    When the Government is afraid of of it's People, This LIBERTY
    When the People are afraid of the government, That is TYRANNY

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Colorado Rocky Mountain High
    I make a point of only carrying DA/SA pistols and only on my right hip. I practice my draw daily. I do not practice "quick draws" I practice drawing correctly and firing as soon as I am on target. the last time I had to draw my gun I had it out and on target before I even thought about it.
    See, it's mumbo jumbo like that and skinny little lizards like you thinking they the last dragon that gives Kung Fu a bad name. Internet forum dedicated to second amendment

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