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One Hand Shooting

This article is all about tactical shooting skills to be used during combat or emergencies, sport shooting is not considered in this article. Only a few key issues for pistol fighting and how to train for combat and the use of your gun as a weapon will be considered. In particular, I am discussing the situation of fighting within a civilian environment, with the presence of non-involved /victims- mostly apparent for the non-military as a counter terrorism activity, but could also be apparent in situations of violent crimes.

One hand shooting is a concept which is not getting much attention and the option of shooting your pistol with a single hand is ‘pushed to the side’, many times it would be declared to be not practical. The usual claim could be summarised in the following way: We have too hands, we shoot better with two hands, ‘there is no reason to shoot with one hand’. I totally agree that we shoot better with too hand, I agree that most people have two hands and I will explain why we should also train for shooting single handedly. Just a small hint for the upcoming, if we are training for conflict, we will shoot even better with two hands, if we will train shooting with one hand. I will get to that immediately.

Unfortunately, we as a human race, we have many faults, one of them is to disqualify some things, without understanding and asking what is it that you are doing? One hand shooting is suffering from this attitude as well. Lots of people who are involved in tactical training, have never placed a lot of importance on this special feature and they tend to judge by using their full knowledge, which is like in most cases, limited to your previous mission profile and training. Therefore, what most people can think about single hand shooting, is that it is useful when a transition from a rifle to a pistol is taking place. The shooting hand will hold the pistol and second hand might be assisting the rifle out of the way. But there is more to this than weapon transitions. Understanding this you have to accept that there are other mission profiles and there are different standard operating procedures from different units. Don’t stick to your infantry training, there are more truths out there.

First there are two scenarios which automatically come to my mind, in which single hand shooting skills and crucial:

- Rappelling. In Israeli hostage rescue units, some of the team members will be trained to enter a room through the windows, sometimes known as ‘ventricle fighters’ but they are more known as ‘Monkeys’. During this operation with one hand you operate a breaching tool, in the second hand you hold a pistol, with a single hand. The monkeys are chosen from among the better single hand shooters. Everyone can breach a window, but to put the bullets in target while playing batman, you need just a bit more skill. Most of us are not going to be doing that in the near future, then let’s move to the next point, a bit more down to earth.

- VIP protection. Swinging/pushing/holding (whatever...) your principle out of the way while drawing your pistol and shooting an attacker 6 meters away from you. That’s one hand shooting job. And if you are not trained for that, you are probably not going to hit the bad guy. (please don’t jump and tell me, VIP protection is done in teams... cause for my experience its always a single protector job. Not everybody who need protection comes with a huge budget to feed a team leader and his buddies)

But the list is far from over:

How about air marshals, and On train armed railway security (we have those in Israel) or a security on a bus? (also available in Israel). Place yourself on a fast-moving metal box and suddenly a terrorist is going on his killing spree. Try not holding to something and you are going to find yourself crashing on a wall and losing your pistol and the fight. So, one hand skills will be useful.

Right-handed? Opening a left corner, using your single hand in limited entry will keep you in cover longer, creating a limited target for the bad guy.

But the stronger and probably more common situations in which you might need to shoot single handily are during low light conditions, you are carrying a torch in your hand (lets say you are searching in the back yard, you don’t use a weapon mounted light to search- unless you are an ass hole), now you suddenly need to shoot, its going to be single handily. You are not going to drop the touch. In some places you will not have a torch mounted on your pistol, probably if you are concealed carrying for example (you can, but it’s a bit too much to stick in your trousers). Here you go, single hand skills needed.

Shooting a close-range target with one hand will be a bit faster in emergencies. Also operating in a civilian environment, with civilian starting to run around when the shooting begins, or during the shooting a hero goes for your gun, this free hand is useful to hold them off and protect the pistol. You have one hand for the pistol and the other hand for all other chores;open a door, close a door, punch, break, whatever. The second hand will hold the pistol strong and will shoot.

But the main reason for training single hand shooting, and the reason it is specifically useful for tactical training is that it will improve your two hands shooting in stress situations, when you will require a very aggressive shooting. What do I mean by aggressive shooting? Let’s imagine that you are either a policeman or a security personal, or even just a civilian and you are armed with a pistol only. When you are surprised by an attacker, you are immediately in a disadvantage, if there are several attackers, your disadvantage multiply, if they have rifles…oh boy, they have a big advantage over you. Being aggressive is the state of mind to win the situation (not to survive, to survive you can also run away….. but for running away there is no need for tactical training, is there?). Part of being aggressive is to control your stress, you squeeze that pistol hard and you shoot fast to drop the target and you shoot until it drops. Shooting fast? In order to hit your target and only your target you will have to hold the pistol strong, very strong. After each bullet the challenge to hold the pistol strong will increase, the hand will want to open up, but you have to fight it, be aggressive on your grip, hold strong and shoot. BUT most of the grip strength is coming from ONE SINGLE HAND, the hand on the pistol, the second hand is luxury for us, adding some stability (very important stability!) but its not doubling your grip strength and if you don’t hold strong, the pistol during a fast and aggressive volley of bullets, will open up. Training one hand is what you need as a basis for Israeli combat shooting, especially in a counter terror, civilian environment terror attack, facing armed criminals, etc.

Since I have already mentioned the Israeli combat shooting, then those of you which have already saw the Israeli single hand shooting stance were probably already wondering what is this with the hand in the air?

Build out of necessity, the stance is representing the Israeli attitude for ‘practicality’. With the early high-jacking events about 30 years ago Israel was the first to deploy air marshals (the first Israeli airline ELAL hijacking was at 1968! In 1969 Israeli air marshal foiled an attack on the aircraft and killed one of the terrorists, 1970 was a second attempt, foiled in mid-flight). The one-handed shooting stance was originally developed for air marshals to overcome the aircraft movements- hold to a wall or a seat. When the ground stations have started receiving their undercover security agents, the method was copied over there and was found to be suitable for shooting in crowded spaces and was kept as it was on air. Since we try to keep things simple, we don’t work on many different shooting stances, some organisations in Israel do have different variations of the shooting stances but in general that is our notorious one-handed shooting and its origin.

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