Striking with Bodyweight

Whenever you strike, it is important that you get all of your weight into it. This makes strength a lot less of a factor. If you are targeting a vulnerable area of their anatomy and driving all of your weight through it, that gives you the best chance of causing an injury, even if you are a 120lb female.

I’m posting a short excerpt from a training course where I demonstrate this principle. The proper strike is at the very end of the clip (the initial one has more distance so they can see what I’m doing better). Note the starting and finishing positions of the dummy and myself (the other dummy :rofl: ). See how I finish standing where they were with my center of mass totally displacing them? All my weight was focused on the handgun muzzle and went into their throat. Devastating (and lethal) strike, no matter what you weigh or how strong you are.

Note:  If we are striking with the firearm (instead of shooting them), the gun is probably empty or has jammed.  It is faster to just strike them, then try and reload or clear the jam (while they are still attacking us).

Whenever I watch someone strike, I always take note of where their CG is in relation to a marker in the background to see if they truly step in and get a good weight transfer. 90%+ of the time, they lean in and maybe take a half step, but they do not drive in and get all of their weight in the strike.

This is how a much weaker person can realistically injure a much stronger attacker. Pit your body weight against something weak on them. Eyes, throat, groin, knees, ankles etc. and so on. Nobody can take a 135lb barbell thrown on their knee. So, they can’t take a proper weighted heel-stomp through the knee either by a 135lb person driving all the way through…same physics.

The Best Training Methodology continued

(Image: “Force on Target” training-view through red dot optic at clothed 3D target in home.)

Partial List of Training Methods:

Dry-fire: practicing with your firearms without live ammunition, with or without inert dummy rounds.

Benefits: No cost and high versatility! Any skill, course of fire, technique or tactic (to include complex maneuver and CQB) can be done dry and done anywhere.

Good for: trigger control, marksmanship, gun manipulation, tactics/technique rehearsal, scanning in a 360deg. environment. (Skill development)

Not so go for: Recoil control, target feedback.


Benefits: you shooting your gun with live ammo exactly like you would in a gunfight.

Good for: Marksmanship, gun handling, recoil management, tactics and techniques. (Skill development, advanced drills or competition may add some stress and decision making components)

Not so good for: Retention shooting, 360 scanning, extremely resource intensive (need a range) and costly ammo. Usually not realistic settings. Not good for stress-inoculation (except at the most advanced levels in advanced facilities), doesn’t address mindset.

Force on Force (FoF): Training with another human serving as a role-player.

Benefits: Primarily stress, it tests the skills you developed with the methods above under a much more stressful and open-ended (to the trainee) environment.

Good for: Stress inoculation, each time gets easier and you can access more of your skill under stress. Decision making, Mindset, overcoming inhibitions against using deadly force.

Not so good for: Skill development. Resource intensive (not possible to do solo). You really need to have someone knowledgeable in how to run FoF training for it to be effective. Protective gear can be very restrictive and detract from realism.

Force on Target: This is using other than live ammo on targets.

Benefits: Realistic settings. Any location (even your home) can become a training area. Based on the technology used, worse case set a piece of plywood behind the target.

Good for: Training any skill that you would practice dry or live, but in a realistic 360 deg environment without any live fire safety range-isms. Can also be made more stressful than you can safely do live-fire.

Not so good for: Raw marksmanship-recoil isn’t the same as live fire. Requires some sort of technology (airsoft, laser cartridge, marking rounds etc.)

Video Simulation: Interactive video scenarios with feedback from laser shooting guns.

Benefits: 100% realistic environments and situations with the filmed actors.

Good for: Decision making under mild-medium stress, skills under mild-medium stress. Helps with mindset/overcoming inhibition. The simulation operator can select different endings/branches based on the trainees choices. 300 deg simulators almost fully simulate a 360 deg. environment. Can also be used for marksmanship in place of live-fire.

Not so good for: Movement, use of cover (both will be severely curtailed in the typical simulator) Raw marksmanship training, dry and live are better. Costly, most any home-version is still out of most budgets (or so basic it won’t offer much of the benefits above). The military/LE versions are six-figure affairs, so you must find a facility that offers it.

Finally, we have learning methods such as lectures, videos, and books, articles, internet forums etc. These can be used to educate you on skills, tactics, and techniques that you can practice via the methods above. They can help with mindset and overcoming inhibition as well.

An example of putting it all together.

Skill-use dry fire at home combined with live-fire range training to practice marksmanship, gun-handling, scanning, use of cover, movement.

Skill-use airsoft or laser cartridge (Force on Target) to practice the above at home with target feedback and to practice skills/tactics not as safe for live-fire. Retention shooting, home clearing, use of cover in your home, etc.

Stress-use airsoft or laser cartridge to train more stressful drills like your partner setting up clothed 3d targets (shoot and no-shoot) and you clear the home. As an aside, I did this once with my wife and when she came downstairs a final clothed 3D target was holding a replica AK to my head as I was sitting on the couch. She had to make an unexpected hostage-rescue shot with her live husband as the hostage! (I had eye-pro of course, she hesitated for just an instant…and made the shot)

You can have a partner gently push-pull you around a bit while you engage targets. FoF training (provided you have the knowledge to do it safely and effectively).

Mindset and decision making under stress. Find out if there is a video simulation facility in your area. For the cost of a typical date, you can get a couple hours of great training. Seek out good materials on the topic. The books “On Combat” “The Gift of Fear”, “On Killing” and others.

Here is the best book on Reality Based Training IMO (especially FoF) and a vital part of anyone’s reference library who is serious about realistic training. “Training At The Speed Of Life” by Kenneth Murray

Here is where to get very realistic targets to include the 3D plastic ones for under $40 each (they last a very long time)

The best training Methodology (what do you mean live-fire isn’t always best?)

This post and the following are going to be about what training methods and/or technologies are best suited for a particular skill or attribute. Contrary to popular belief and a whole bunch of institutional inertia…live-fire isn’t always the best, and is sometimes the worst, method to use for training certain skills or attributes. It isn’t a best-worst dichotomy either, there may be a best solution that is unfeasible, so find a second-best.

I’ll give an example of what I mean. I was watching a well-known trainer demonstrate retention shooting on YouTube. When it comes to the live-fire section, he simulates a strike to the target with his offhand while drawing into retention. He then (for safety) places his offhand behind his back and has a partner confirm the angles are safe, then fires his live rounds. He said that you don’t have to do this live-fire, you can get 90% of the effectiveness with airsoft etc.

Think about that…is it true? Would a tool like airsoft only be 90% as effective at training retention shooting as the whole hand behind back, partner safety check, protocol?

The truth is the opposite in my opinion. You can get near 100% effectiveness with another method that isn’t live-fire. Not only can you strike and shoot from the exact same position as if it were real without a safety concern, you can even swap the unrealistic 2d paper target for a 3d “BOB” striking dummy and strike it full-force. Better yet, use a human partner! (don’t strike them full-force though 😉 ) I think a dummy gun, dry fire with an inert plastic barrel inserted (if using a partner), airsoft, laser cartridge, safe at contact range blanks, or Simunition FX (or similar) marking cartridges are all superior training methods for practicing the skill of retention shooting than live-fire.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever live-fire the retention position to see what it is like in terms of recoil etc. and to shoot your gun live from that position…but that is a poor method to learn and practice the skill due to the artificial safety limitations.

There are Three attributes needed to survive a gunfight (aside from luck).

Skill-this is how well you shoot, manipulate your firearm, and use tactics. This is also typically the attribute focused on by most live-fire training almost to the complete exclusion of the next 2.

Stress-This is your ability to actually make use of your skills under the extreme stress and physiological/psychological effects of a violent situation.

Mindset (willingness to kill-killing enabling factors). This is your actual willingness to use deadly force. You could have the skills, and have them stress-inoculated so that you can access them, yet either choose not to (pacifism), or be unable to overcome the inhibition of killing someone.

The next post will cover different training methodologies and tools/technology, what they do well, and their limitations. I have always felt that money and resources is no excuse not to have extremely realistic training. By mixing and matching the different methodologies with a healthy dose of imagination, you can get world-class training/practice on any budget.