Is there really a need for a more effective shooting method in CQB situations?

Well, in the years 1998 thru 2007, per FBI data, 549 Officers were feloniously killed.

And 57 Officers were slain in 2007. 55 with firearms (of which 38 were handguns), and 27 were slain when they were 0-5 feet from the offenders.

A total of 59,207 Officers were assaulted in 2007, and 15,451 of them sustained injuries.

I don't believe those casualty figures are OK, or that the long standing and abysmal Police hit rate of less than 20% in Close Quarters armed encounters is OK. And unfortunately, you can count on the casualties to continue in the future, as most Police are not trained in how to shoot effectively in CQB situations where there is the greatest danger of them being shot or killed.


If that seems to be a bit bizarre to you, given the casualty numbers and the hit rate, it does to me to.

On a positive note, there has been a recent trend towards the use of Threat Focused Shooting or Target Focus Shooting (TFS), in CQ shooting situations.

TFS closely mirrors the CQ techniques developed and proved by Fairbairn and Sykes in Shanghai prior to WW II, and by Applegate during WW II. They greatly improved the effectiveness of CQ shooting over that of traditional Sight Reliant Shooting, which was ineffective even then.

TFS makes accurate aiming a mostly mechanical process via the use of body indexing, and simple tasks which can be done in very high stress situations. It is quick and easy to learn and retain. (Read that as cheap to teach and learn.) Both the Calif. HP and the Mass. SP provide training in TFS techniques.

TFS is compatible with the things that frustrate the use of Sight Reliant Shooting in CQ gunfights such as a crush grip, binocular vision, loss of near vision, focusing on the threat and not on the sights, etc.. That is very important in terms of Officer survival, as according to the stats, if you are going to be shot and killed in a gunfight, there is a 80% chance that it will happen at less than 21 feet.

In short, TFS is reality based.

For example:

In a close quarters life threat situation, you will have a crush grip on your pistol which will render your index finger useless for doing anything but pulling the trigger hard. Gone will be your ability to manipulate the trigger, or to smoothly squeeze it deftly to the rear.

And you can expect your bullets to miss low and left, as the gun muzzle will be torqued down and around to the left due to the grip pressure applied by your middle, ring and little fingers.

If you shove the gun out at the threat, as is a natural thing to do, when your arm reaches full extension, your hand will dive down some because of the physical makeup of your arm and hand, and so too will the muzzle of your gun.

And one can forget about using the sights given the distances involved in most life threat situations. There will be no time to align them even if they could be seen in the poor lighting that is a normal condition of such situations, or they will not be able to be seen clearly due to the loss of near vision that results from the automatic activation of our instinctive Flight or Flight response that occurs in CQ life threat situations.

Now, with all that happening and having a threat who is fast approaching with your murder on his/her mind, it is a wonder that anyone hits much of anything in a gunfight.

If Officer's knew how to shoot more effectively, Police casualty rates would go down. Also, in situations involving multiple threats, the chance of an Officer being killed increases significantly. And that adds emphasis to the need for a practical and effective shooting method for use at CQ.

The NRA recognizes that Sight Reliant Shooting is not practical for use in CQ life threat situations because of the things mentioned above that frustrate its use. The NRA supports using Point Shooting.

In its Guide To The Basics Of Personal Protection In The Home which was published in 2000, the following statement is of particular interest: "...the ability to keep all shots on a standard 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch sheet of paper at seven yards, hitting in the center of exposed mass, is sufficient for most defensive purposes."

Threat Focused Shooting or TFS, attempts to emulate our natural ability to point at things fast, automatically, and accurately using our index finger.

With TFS, the pistol serves as the index finger. And body indexing and the use of simple tasks, which can be done in very high stress situations, are used to orient, index, and aim the pistol.

Basically, it uses the arm as a rifle with the gun at its front. The arm is held down in front with the pistol on your centerline. Your grip is strong and your wrist and elbow are locked.

To shoot, raise the arm from the shoulder, and when the target is intersected, the whole hand is used to pull the trigger.

Once that basic method is learned, other and alternate techniques can be employed, but they require more to much more training for them to be able to be used effectively.

TFS which dates back some 60 years and to much earlier times, WORKS.

It is reality based, and was used for a time at the FBI's training site, and then discarded. And not because of a change in job requirements, but because of a change in management.

That was followed by the rise of the "Modern Technique" and competition-based target pistol shooting, which was soon equated with and called combat handgun shooting. It served as the basis for the vast majority of U.S. Law Enforcement Agency training programs for well over thirty years, and the resultant, well known, and dismal hit rate of less than 20% of shots fired.

If competition shooting was the key, Police would be using the latest winningest ways, and all the crooks would be dead, or in hospital, or in jail. But that's not the case in the real world.

So whose to blame, the competitive shooting ways, or the trainers?

This is a link to extended info on TFS or Point Shooting as taught by Fairbairn, Sykes and Applegate
+ a link to a how-to-do You-Tube video.

This is a link to an article: Competition Shooting and Combat Shooting are not two peas in a pod.

This article is a revision of the original which had the title: How 2 Shoot 2 Kill More Effectively.

Information on AIMED Point Shooting or P&S was included in it. As P&S is well covered in other articles on this site, I dropped it from this version.


I sent it to a variety of magazines and online sources for publication, and with the title: How 2 shoot 2 Kill More Effectively, as I felt that would gain attention and because it is true.

Well, I received negative feedback from a Police Publication Editor and from a Police trainer about that. So I changed the title to what it is now, to enhance its reception and perception.

As others may have a similar concern with the original title, below is the Editor's comment followed by my thoughts, on his feedback.


I regretfully decline to use this article in the IALEFI magazine. The title, "How 2 Shoot 2 Kill More Effectively" is not consistent with the message we as professional law enforcement trainers try to convey to our students. Police officers shoot to incapacitate an immediate hostile threat to themselves, another officer or civilian. We do not train officers to kill. Conveying such a concept to our officers would be disastrous from both a community relations as well as civil liability aspect. Thank you for taking the time to submit the article.

Assistant Chief ____ _______, IALEFI Editorial Board

His response was puzzling to me.

To me, guns are lethal weapons. And a lethal weapon by definition is made to cause death. That is, guns are made for killing. Sad but true.

I also believe that there should be rules of engagement such as a force continuum that governs the application of force levels. But that is not the issue here.


Also, the variables of CQB situations and our human responses to them, do not allow for choosing or controlling the precision of its application, or its outcome. That is reality according to the scientific study of CQB situations.

So, along with the application of lethal force, goes the very real possibility that it may result in the death of the receiver. That is a fact which can not be ignored, or dismissed, or wished away.

What can be done to help the good overcome the bad, is to know WHEN AND HOW to most effectively apply levels of force, and in turn, to teach that. And to not do that, is to unnecessarily if not recklessly, endanger Officers and members of the public alike.

So, we are not talking about teaching Officers to kill, but how to defend themselves in CQB situations (to stay alive - to shoot to live).

Sadly, training programs have not been doing that job, and with the result over time of the death of hundreds of Officers, and injury to thousands of them.

If there is fault to be found, I suggest that if you are a mayor, politician, chief, sheriff, representative, trainer, or gun maker, you should look in your mirror. Don't look to the trainees. They are not in charge. You are.

Click here for an article on the recent RAND Corp. study of the NYPD. It addresses the failure of Police firearms training at length.


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