Positional Shooting

 I like listening and learning from guys who have BTDT (Been There, Done That)…they give it to you with no bullshit. They have seen the Elephant and lived to tell the tale. One of the many men for whom I hold in high regard is the late, great Police Officer Jim Cirillo. I won’t dishonor Jim and try to give his biography, but I will give you the readers digest version..(do yourself a favor and look him up..there are tons of good stuff out there, including his teaching DVD’s and books some of which are in our store).

Jim was part of the NYPD Stakeout Squad in the 70’s and 80’s, when the drug war was in full tilt. Jim survived countless gun battles, some as close as 3 feet! Jim’s teachings are in stark contrast to most “gun school” dogma, which is based mostly on competition shooting skills rather than how to save your own skin!

One of the many thing Jim promoted was Positional Shooting with both pistol and rifle. Learning to shoot from any position other than standing, including awkward positions you might find yourself in is a tool we all need in the toolbox. Besides the obvious “other” positions you should be incorporating into your drills like kneeling and sitting, here is the short list:

1. Supine

There are two variations on this, the first mimics you getting knocked on your ass and shooting laying flat on your back. You should be incorporating this into your force on force scenarios already… The second variation is flat on your back and shooting behind you,  drill one and two handed, with left and right hand. Drill at standard distances 7-20 yds.

2. Fetal

This was a new one to me, and when I first saw it I discounted it’s usefulness, but when Jim explained it in detail, it made sense. In a fetal position, on your side with your knees tucked up into your chest, shoot one and two handed at standard distances. With your knees up, this gives a decent amount of cover to  your vitals, all except your head obviously, but as Jim explains it, he was almost always behind cover when in this position!

3. Spetsnaz Prone

This position comes from Sonny Puzikas, former Spetsnaz Operator, not Jim, but none the less it is a very useful position to drill on. Go to one knee and with your opposite leg  stretched out in front of you, lean back slightly on your back  leg and bring your  upper body horizontal to the ground (sideways). This is a great position for shooting under or around cover. It changes your position both on the horizontal and vertical plane, and also gives you 360 degree coverage, as you can turn very easily when you are that low to the ground. When drilled on going from the standing position, it can be a very useful tool.

In closing, we need to integrate position shooting into our courses of fire if we have not already..an example drill is shown below.

(All shots are to Center of Mass unless noted)

1. Target 10 yds..Begin with full magazine. From Standing: fire 2-3 rounds, go to kneeling, fire 2-3 rounds, go to prone, fire 2-3 rounds, roll over on back, shooting behind you fire 2-3 rounds.

2. (2) Target’s at 10 yds..Begin with full magazine. From Standing: fire 2-3 rounds, go to Spetsnaz Prone in one motion, fire 2-3 rounds into second target.

3. Target 3 yds..Begin with full magazine. From Standing: fire 2-3 rounds(gun held tight to body for retention)..go to Supine (Flat on Back) Fire 2-3 rounds Center mass and 1 round to head (failure to stop).

Integrate mag changes and malfunctions by letting partner load mags with less rounds and dummy rounds.

Scanning and the Third Eye


It came to my attention during a recent series of drills that there are certain things MOST gun schools teach people that are regarded as necessary and prudent, but in reality are just uneccessary movement. We should always seek in our training to do MORE with LESS, to trim off any movement or action that is not efficient. One of these is SCANNING after THE FIGHT IS OVER.

You watch any person that has received any type of modern firearms training, and you will see this maneuver: They engage the target, then with a turn of their head, look left, then right, then they may check their six. Ask youself this question: You have just been in a violent encounter..you have had to shoot a person to stop them from killing you or a loved one, you now want to look around (scan) to ensure he has no buddies lurking to back him up, do you think it is prudent to just simply LOOK with your eyeballs or SCAN with that THIRD EYE, your weapon and be ready to shoot again quickly?

You have to use probability here, wolves run in packs, you have just took down one; the chances that you will have to fire again are pretty high, so we need to be ready to do just that. If we follow the protocol taught by 95% of the “gun school” dogma, we will not be ready to break that shot..we will have our feet planted like a statue, the gun at the low ready (or SUL) with the safety engaged (if applicable to that model) and only our head turned in the direction of the threat. This is Bad and will get you killed. Press rewind and then pause.

You just killed a BG. Keeping the weapon at the (up) ready position and the safety still off, your finger inside the trigger guard and on the trigger with no pressure,with the weapon lowered just enough where your field of vision is not impaired (to gain a sight picture all that is required is 1/2″ of upward movement with the weapon) you swing around 360 degrees slowly, your feet are in a power stance, ready to move, you scan the entire area. You now have three “eyes” scanning…two eyeballs and the barrel of your weapon. If no threat is found, and when you feel the situation is secure, safe the weapon and go to low ready.

You will find when you apply this technique, your speed (time on target) will dramatically increase, only becasue you are “pre-setting” every thing that is required to get those hits. You body is already squared off to target, your vision is focused to the threat, sights and muzzle are already in the general direction of the threat, all that is required is a “Type 2” or “Flash Sight Picture” to get the hits. Depending on distance and proximity of target, you may just have to super impose the front sight aperture on the target or you may need a traditional sight picture..whatever the case, you are ready to break the shot.

I need to interject something here that alot of people seem to glaze over. The issue of COVER. If you have just been on the winning end of a violent encounter, there is a good chance you will be behind some type of cover, because gunfights do not happen in a static vacuum and people do not stand still when shot at!  If you are behind cover, STAY THERE! You can repeat the above scanning process right where you are at.

In closing, we need to apply this formula to all areas of our training. Wasted movement for the sake of just going through the “motions” is stupid. Examine this next time you train and when you find wasted movement, flush it and examine how you can make it more efficient. It could save your bacon some day!

Stay Dangerous.

**Actual** Close Quarters Shooting Vid

This happened in Brazil. The undercover cop was paying a bill when the perp walked in..just goes to show, when everybody might have a gun, crime has a good chance of being stopped before it starts.


Some things to Note:

(Since there is no audio, I am guessing from body language on some parts)

  1. As soon as cop sees the gun, he gets off the X (line of attack) and at same time starts accessing weapon on his strong side (The cop is a southpaw, so he draws with left hand). Stepping back while drawing gains a key component in a gunfight: DISTANCE..keeping the perp at arms reach distance ensures retention of weapon and give cop time to react
  2. Since perps attention is elsewhere, the Cop WAITS until he has a good shot (sight picture) which includes making sure the bystander in the green shirt is clear..This tell’s me this cop has been in a scrap or two! It was not until the perp squared up to the cop that he made the shot…this explemifies DISCRETIONARY SHOOTING.
  3. Using the “What If he had done this…” If the perp had been paying more attention to the cop and centered in on the cop’s gun, we would have seen a much different scenario unfold, the cop would not have had the luxury of time in waiting for the perp to turn and be able to access his gun sights..the cop would have been moving and shooting, not seeing his sights the same as he did in the vid…the Gun Sight “Continuum” in action. When do we use our pistol sights? When we have too (distance) and when we can (time).
  4. Cop fires one time, center of mass and closes distance to disarm.
    The Cop followed the perp with his pistol to the ground, and kept the pistol body indexed and ready for a follow up shot..this is FOLLOW THRU.
  5. I did not see an exit wound, which I can only guess is because perp was shot with hollow point ammunition..we will go deep into this subject next month.
  6. At the end of the vid, you can see the perp’s chest rise and fall rapidly as his lungs fill with blood..he dies a short time later. This is the reality of combat. People just dont die from “a gunshot wound” they die when you pierce an organ or artery with a bullet and they bleed out or their lungs fill with blood and they drown first.
  7. The distance of this shoot was around 6-7 feet..that is FEET guys, not YARDS. This goes right along statistically with the distance most handgun engagements happen. The devastating power of a handgun round at this distance is clearly seen.
  8. The cop SCANS left when new person approaches…which is so key.  Scan on new movement and be AWARE of surroundings!
  9. I think these types of vids put the caliber debates to rest..when somebody shoots you in the chest at 6 ft with good defense ammo..you are as good as done.
  10. So, using logic, Shot placement and Distance are often the two determining factors to surviving a gunfight. If you can move off the line of attack (gain distance) and move quickly to cover (Cover is something that will STOP a bullet), your chances of getting hit decrease dramatically.

There is alot we can learn from this one minute of video..some things we have already discussed and some things we are yet to discuss. Learn from them..Question them..Ask yourself, “Would I be ready to do the same thing if this happened to me??”

In  upcoming articles, we will be reverse engineering everyday shooting scenario vids (like these) and break them down to the molecule, so we can learn as much as humanly possible from the mistakes made and the wisdom shown.

Stay Dangerous!!

and the Hunt Continues……..