Take Your ‘X’ With You & Turn The Tables On A Violent Attacker

By Bob Harvey

Drawing Your Gun
Drawing Your Gun
South Florida Gun School
South Florida Gun School

West Palm Beach, FL –-(Ammoland.com)- We have heard time and time again, move now or GET OFF THE “X” in a gunfight.

I don’t believe you can get off the “X”. I contend that you move the “X” to get the violent attacker off of his game or Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act ( OODA ) Loop.

I have been teaching this for over 3 decades. It increases your survivability 10 fold. Here is an excerpt from South Florida Gun School’s manual on selfdefense. I hope AmmoLand readers enjoy it and look forward to feedback and comments.

CONTROLLING THE “X”-Control the Fight

When in a gunfight for your life, would you want to fight on someone else’s terms or dictate the terms of the fight?

I ask this question often. It makes you think. The OODA LOOP, color codes of awareness and your pistol skills are all needed to keep from becoming a stretcher case.

Let’s look at a study of the types of close quarters combat (CQB) that you are likely to encounter when in a gunfight.

  1. Close Quarters, where fighting is done without the aid of, or without time for, the sights.
  2. Instances where the deliberate use of aimed fire is used.
  3. Instances where the attacker fires first without warning and a draw from the holster has to be made prior to firing. In this category many men have lost their lives without the opportunity to shoot back. If the attacker misses or the hit is not incapacitating, the draw is made and the attacker is engaged quickly.
  4. Instances where you and the attacker go to guns at the same time. The winner is fastest out of the holster and on target. This is a long shot as the days of the wild west are over. Although this is infrequent, this is why we practice quick presentation and index shooting.
  5. Instances where you see the attacker coming and have time to draw in advance and seek cover. This is the highest percentage fight for a defender. This can be accomplished more often than you think with proper situational awareness.

Some trainers teach that the X is a static geographical spot. We do not. In speeding our LOOP and tightening our decision making time, we are looking to move the fight so that an attacker is behind the curve thereby expanding his LOOP. Make them react constantly to your change so that you have the tactical advantage.

We do this with Dynamic Movement, posturing and vocalization, and violence of action. The whole purpose of controlling the X is to get more hits on target quickly while not taking hits.

This is CONTROLLING THE X. Remember that your are taking your X with you. Some instructors call this exploding off the X. We call it moving the X thereby controlling it.

We move or control the X by unexpected movement from our current position getting off the line of fire in a hurry. It may be moving to cover, moving to a better shot angle or higher percentage angle. This movement must be fast, forceful, aggressive, deliberate and decisive. The movement must be made so that your attacker does not have a standing target nor a good shot angle. Your fire needs to be quick, aggressive and accurate until the threat is neutralized. We shoot to stop and then assess the situation.

Hesitation, delay of action or mishaps in the manipulation of your weapon will ultimately leave you incapacitated.

If you can look at a gunfight as a mathematical equation where you don’t know the digits in the equation, you will have a pretty good idea what controlling the X is. We know from previous lessons that time and distance wins gunfights. So by increasing the speed of our OODA LOOP and resetting the attackers LOOP we control the gunfight.

Let me give you an example. The attacker has his gun drawn +1 for him. He in his loop and we need to change it. We move off line of the gun +1 for us. He has to track his target to get the gun back on us +2 now for us. We get of the first shot he has to look for cover +3 now for us. We hit although not a crippling blow +4 now for us. He is trying to escape while firing shots that are not accurate shots, +5 for us. We now have the ability to fire aimed fire +6 for us. Gunfight should now be over.

Dynamic movement and proper defensive skills should neutralize the attackers initiative and make him reset his OODA LOOP wider, while allowing us to work through our LOOP faster while tightening it. In this manner we are pushing to an offensive gunfight while gaining the advantage to take the fight to them.

To do this you must have a clean quick draw stroke and be able to do this on the move. This is where the term “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” comes into play. It does not mean you are slow in your presentation. It means that the gun comes out and on target without any glitches with the proper grip and index to put shots on target fast and effectively. This means a deliberate quick draw stroke.

Several quotes by famous gunfighters come to mind…..

“Think, Move, Shoot”
“ IF you aren’t shooting you should be reloading. If you aren’t reloading you should be moving. If you aren’t moving someone will have your head on a spike ”.
“The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail…The answer to criminal aggression is violent retaliation”.
“The two most important rules of a gunfight are: Always cheat and always win”.
“The purpose of a pistol is to stop a fight that someone else started almost always at short range”.
“Note the relationship between casual and casualty.”

The most critical thought in the OODA LOOP, is when you Act. You must know how to go from the reactive stage, in a violent encounter, to proactive or the offensive stage of the fight. We want to change the odds in our favor with the tactics of violence of action and decisive quick movement.

Till next time, take your X with you and turn the tables on a violent attacker.

Bob Harvey
President/ Chief Instructor
South Florida Gun School


About South Florida Gun School
SFLA GunSchool is committed to providing safety, knowledge, and skills to you in an easy, understandable training format. We have a safety record second to none. From New Shooters to Instructor Candidates we can help you in the advancement of your marksmanship and firearms skills. Ask about our money back guarantee on all firearms training classes. SFLA GunSchool is located within Gator Gun & Archery Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Visit: www.sflagunschool.com

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jeff martin

Great advice and the best part, it was free!!


I will remember this and I will practice it. My body is the “X” to the bad guy. And I must move my “X” and make it more difficult for the bad guy.


Thanks Bob. Good read.