Fighting: Technique, Equipment and Gun Training

By John Farnam

Handgun Firearms Gun Sight CloseUp
Fighting: Technique and Equipment
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “When you are not prepared to confront your own death (with a grim smile) and chose to fight courageously, and die when that is the final outcome, for values and beliefs that are more important to you than life itself, then you are, in truth, unprepared and should never consider yourself ‘well trained.’” ~ Ron Avery

Fighting Technique:

Beware of agenda-driven “studies” that purport to “prove” the value (or lack of value) of a particular piece of equipment or technique, particularly when the report gets conclusions, assumptions, and suppositions mixed-in with each other, right from the beginning.

We need to keep in mind that studies and research projects into the Art of defensive shooting merely tell us what we did. They don’t tell us what we should have done.

The real issue in researching “actual gunfights” is foolishly succumbing to sweeping conclusions drawn from an invariably minuscule number of samples. In addition, much of the “data” from such research is extracted from second-hand observers. Even first-hand observers are influenced by prejudice, agendas, and misperceptions. “Confirmation bias” routinely rears its ugly head.

Truly “non-biased research” is thus a rare commodity!

Accordingly, I’m automatically skeptical when a researcher claims he has “ proved” something, particularly when he actively advocated for his conclusion(s), long before his “research” ever started.

Gun manufacturers, in their promotional material, often cite dubious “ studies” (often funded by the manufacturer) that claim to “prove” the superiority of their product. What a coincidence! Do you suppose their marketing departments are guilty of “confirmation bias?”

When a researcher claims that a technique is “invalid,” because it is not observed being used, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would not have been beneficial had it been used. It just means people aren’t doing it, for whatever reason.

This issue comes up frequently with the topic of the use of pistol sights. Some claim that pistol sights are useless, because in “actual gunfights” nobody ever really sees/uses them.

That may be at least partiality true, but the logical conclusion is not that the use of pistol sights could therefore never have been beneficial in any of those incidents, nor that many shooters actually do make use of sights, but just don’t remember those kinds of details well.

The fact that something isn’t observed being done, or isn’t done well, doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t/can’t be done, nor does it necessarily mean training to do it would not be beneficial.

Years ago, we were told that holding a pistol in two hands is just a “range technique,” because “… in actual gunfights, everyone shoots with only one hand.”

The truth is, “in actual gunfights” our students will do what they’ve been trained to do. When their training is poor, poor results should not be surprising.

“Fighting isn’t all there is to the Art of War. Men who think that way, and are satisfied to have food to eat and a place to sleep, are mere vagabonds. A serious student is much more concerned with training his mind and disciplining his spirit than with merely developing his martial skills.” ~ Musashi


Handgun Firearms Gun Sight Alternate View
Some claim that pistol sights are useless, because in “actual gunfights” nobody ever really sees/uses them.

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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Wild Bill

@ov, Now, I have heard it all! Are you sure that she did not say she wants to become a creature? Because she is more qualified for that.


@Oldvet: We’ve learned a lot from the “old” days, especially from that old FBI training film. Economy of movement and motion, and development of holsters have changed pretty much how we do everything. From a strong side belt holster you should be able to draw and fire one shot, on target, in 1 1/2 seconds. That’s the standard for a 21 year old. If you practice more you can shave quite a bit off that. As for draw and fire with a seat belt on, there’s a set way to do it that’s fast and efficient. Assuming you’re right handed,… Read more »

The Revelator

@Vanns40 have to agree with you completely there. @Oldvet As the son of a career law enforcement officer, most duty holsters today no longer have the button snap top. What is opted for instead is a secure kydex/leather combination with a locking retention strap. The strap has a thumb release on top that is very easy to manipulate from directly above, pushing down and then forward allowing you to draw your weapon. From behind, it is not as easy because it changes how your arm must manipulate strength(as a fulcrum) to overcome the lock and draw the firearm without having… Read more »


I haven’t seen many, but of the news reports showing a video of police shooting, they always use two hands. Has anyone seen news reports showing a video of police shooting with one hand? When I am at the range, I practice with my Shield 9mm. I place the gun in front of me with the safety on and a round in the chamber. I set the target to go to anywhere from 15 to 25 feet. As the target is moving, I reach for the gun on the table in front of me, deactivate the safety and with two… Read more »


MeMikeT: There’s a world of difference between being at a range, at a table, and having a moving target flailing, coming toward you at running speed. Not diminishing in any way what you are doing, your exercises are great. Real life doesn’t always afford you the time to extend the gun, use the sights, both hands etc. When doing your exercises you might want to mix it up by always starting from a holstered position then shooting one handed, two handed, strong hand and weak hand. If you can, take a tactical handgun course, they are worth their weight in… Read more »


I have seen dash-cam videos where officers ambushed at traffic stops fire the first several shots from the draw one-handed. Massad Ayoob tells of a time he had to cover a suspect while climbing down a ladder, necessitating one hand capability. Injuries can necessitate one-handed shooting, either as a result of a fight or of a prior incident. Example, I separated my support side shoulder, so my support arm was in a sling for a while. I also have small kids, and could conceivably find myself carrying one of them in a defensive encounter. (We did such a scenario once… Read more »


I forgot to mention the scenarios where either hand is busy deflecting a fist, foot, bite, or blunt or sharp instrument….

Moving one’s feet is also useful in those scenarios.

The Revelator


Probably the best comment here right now for that particular topic. Good Job! Always prepare for the WCS.

Wild Bill

@MMT is the target coming toward you or going away from you?

The Revelator


How’s this for evidence, particularly how the old timers were trained.


Most people only train themselves to shoot while standing still. Find a place to train while moving. Train while the target moves. Have someone shooting near you while you train. All the noise and confusion you can muster will increase readiness. Run to cover and shoot while breathing hard. Train with two or three targets simultaniously. Standing still doesnt happen in the real world.

The Revelator



Two hands allow superior control. Situations may dictate one handed (strong or support) shooting. So, all three should be trained. The trick is in figuring out what to emphasize in training. I personally practice support hand only shooting more with my backup type guns, which I normally carry support side (if I carry a BUG), and try to practice two-handed / strong / support about 60/20/20. As far as sights go, I can only use the front sight effectively at a rate of 1.5-2 shots per second; any faster and so far I can’t get a good sight picture. Guves… Read more »


1. I teach that you should be able to shoot equally with both hands and reload with only one hand (weak or strong).

2. Rapid fire is considered one shot per second. It’s never how many shots you fire but how accurate you are, hence practicing with weak and strong, stationary and moving while shooting.


Wyatt Earp said, “Speed is fine, but accuracy is final,” and that is true.

However, the anecdotal Texas Ranger who advocated “firstest with the mostest” was not wrong.

When I used to shoot IDPA, I always favored accuracy over speed, but was able to increase my speed somewhat without sacrificing practical accuracy.


The firearms industry never make any useful claims like:
8 out of 10 criminals prefer a Glock.
Smith and Wesson, the most effective gun for suicide.
Double Tap ammo, the preferred ammo of inter-city gangs.
We need truth-in-advertising, we need to know these facts.


Hopefully you are kidding.

Criminals use what they can steal, or buy on the cheap, though there are exceptions.

One would imagine this applies to ammo as well as weapons.

Wild Bill

@MLr, He is not making any joke. He is just another paid propagandizing millennial. That probably is not the only name that he uses, either.


You are probably right.

On a side note, typo in my SN earlier today….

The Revelator

@Wild Bill
I think we need to come up with a good term for Millennials who are smart, love guns, the constitution, and traditional vallues, at least if the term “millennial” is going to be used to denote the incredibly dim and emotionally fragile of specified age. That way, those will get credit where credit is due.

Good call and Amen brother.


We actually have one: Conservative!

Wild Bill

I’d like a show of hands, if anyone here would like to have XtraTeen XtraSnot on their team, please raise your hand! This guy has neither the education, experience, or courage to make private, yet he is the expert on S-1 issues. He can not support himself much less raise food for his countrymen, but he is the expert on usefulness. Oh, and that reminds me, this is the day that press. Bush issued orders for Op Desert Shield. Happy Anniversary, brothers.

The Revelator

yes, but I feel Conservative is too limiting at times. I’m a Constitutionalist myself for example. What gets at me is that there are more than a few “Conservatives” who fully and openly practice progressive ideas while still calling themselves Conservative. Words have definitions and meanings, I just wish people would start living by them.

Acta Non Verba brother..


@Revelator: I’ve always fancied Constitutional Constructionist or Constitutional Conservative. The former usually leaves them slightly flummoxed


Old Useless Bill is looking for a poll even though he does not believe in them. lol. His desperation is palpable and his Depends are chock full. Let’s have a show of wrinkly redneck hands folks.

Sorry, Old Tap-Dancing Bill, despite your bobbing and weaving avoidance tactics, it is not working. Smokin’ Joe Frazier you ain’t. My bank account is bulging with Rubles, which I will convert to dollars so that I can pay for your social security. Ironic, eh?

The Revelator

Constitutional Constructionist. I LIKE IT! Admittedly, most are rather clueless when it comes to legal terms or definitions. But then again, most would also fail a 5th grade American history test, so it is not surprising that their mental cogs jam up. (Set this up perfectly for anyone who wants to fill in the obvious here)


Old Useless Bill or is that Chicken Little? Your paranoia is waaaay out of control, buddy. Not everyone who disagrees with you is out to “get” you or part of some Communist plot, which, if anything, you helped to create by acquiescing to foreign interference. You heard an Internet whisper and now you jump around flapping your arms and making ridiculous accusations. No wonder you never made Colonel. Regarding the topic at hand, techniques fall apart under stress and people typically fall back to gross movements from their basic training–that which they have repeated often enough to develop muscle memory… Read more »


I believe we have another Troll in our midst OR, the same Troll under another name. Do not engage trolls, it’s what they live for. It may take a while but if they keep it up we can get Ammoland to remove them, we’ve done it before.

Wild Bill

Yes, Xtra adolescent, Xtra worthless spends most of day polishing his “participation trophy”.

Wild Bill

Gunfighting is a thinking man’s sport.


Hah, like old age, it ain’t for sissies! 🙂

Mark S.

I’ve always believed that you will rarely rise to the situation but instead automatically default to your level of training and practice. Both mindset or decision making and skill or muscle memory is often automatic under stress.


Excellent. Training and repetitive motion until it becomes second nature.