Armed Citizen Corner Video: The Reality of Extreme Close Contact Shooting

When you are talking about Close Quarters Shooting, there are always varying degrees of close.

We have all heard the terms “Reach out and touch someone close”, “Bad Breath Distance close”, but this video shows a whole different kind of close: EXTREME CLOSE CONTACT CLOSE, which is basically around a foot (12 inches) or less.


This video comes from the place where we get 95% of all Real-world shooting videos these days: BRAZIL.

The background of this is pretty much the same setup as 99.9% of all shooting videos we see from Brazil: A Bandit comes into a place of business (most likely a check cashing shop) only to run into an armed off-duty cop. Good guy shoots bad guy, Good Guys Go Home, Bad Guy goes to the Graveyard.

The Action Unfolds

Here we see a customer talking to a clerk behind what is most likely bulletproof glass. The off-duty cop enters around :18, and stands to the left of the customer as you are watching it. I know it is hard to tell, but the COP IS FACING THE CAMERA WITH HIS BACK TO THE DOOR THE WHOLE TIME (this is important).

The bandit enters at around :33.

Now pay attention because things happen really fast from this point.

As soon as the bandit enters the customer on the right turns halfway to face him while the cop just TURNS HIS HEAD. This is important to remember, so make a note, we will come back to it.

You can also tell from the cop’s body language, with his left hand slightly raised at about waist level,(:35) that he is FEIGNING SUBMISSION.

The bandit then makes the last mistake of his life; he turns his attention away from the cop and toward the other customer at :36, this is pivotal because we see the cop drop the backpack he had slung with his RIGHT hand (His GUN Hand) and the cop begins to make his drawstroke at :37.  You can also notice the clerk behind the glass is seeing all of this go down and as soon as she sees the cops gun clear leather at :38 she immediately gets low and begins egressing the hell out of there because she knows what is going to happen next!

As the bandit focuses his full attention on the other customer at :38  the cop see his chance and commits to draw his weapon. As the bandit is quartered away from to the cop, the cop pivots to his left to face the bandit, and in one smooth motion (:39) extends his arms to the target and makes a shot to the bandit’s head at around maybe 12 inches while the other customer is no more than a couple of feet away.

After the bandit goes down at :41 we see the cop immediately go over and kick the weapon away from the downed perp and also he appears to go outside the store to quickly check for other bad guys, because as we all know, turds usually come in pairs (or threes).

What Did We Learn?

In reality, when you break this video down, it is really one of the best examples of a EXTREME CLOSE QUARTERS shooting I have seen in a while. Now of course this is Brazil, the friggin’ Wild West, so most likely there is already another video hitting Live Leak as we speak better than this one, who knows.

The reason I say this is one of the best examples is because the off-duty cop really exhibits tremendous patience, poise, control and awareness during this whole ass-puckering ordeal. But if truth be known, no telling how many times this cop has been in situations IDENTICAL to this one and no telling how many POS, just like this one, he has planted in the ground.

Right off the bat, as the threat enters, the cop does not turn his ENTIRE BODY to face the threat, he just turns his HEAD…why? The video’s definition is poor, but the cop was definitely carrying strong side, and I believe concealed, since off-duty cops in Brazil rarely carry openly and advertise they are armed, as that is a sure fire way to get killed just for your gun. In either case the cop did not want to turn around and take the chance of having his gun spotted or worse yet, getting patted down by the perp and disarmed.

Second, the cop stays poised and FEIGNS SUBMISSION, raising his left hand to about waist level while keeping his right hand around the backpack strap. This is really important guys. We never want to move our hands too far away from our centerline if we can. We want to be able to get to that gun in  a quick, smooth  motion and the best way to ensure that is not to move your hand too far from your waist, so that when you do go to draw, the motion is not telegraphed and the gun is out before he knows what hit him. This is why LEO’s are taught to always get suspects to get those hands UP and VISIBLE because the HANDS ARE WHAT CAN KILL YOU.

As soon as the cop feigns submission, the perp immediately moves his attention over to the other guy and that is when the window of opportunity opens for the cop and the perp fate get’s sealed. I think it is important to note here that since these situations are so fast and dynamic when they happen, you have to realize NOW in your training that you are going to have maybe a split-second to both recognize your opportunity and at the same time, MAKE A DECISION TO ACT. This is why FORCE ON FORCE is so good for drilling on these kinds of encounters, as you can experiment to see just how fast that proverbial Window can OPEN and SHUT on you.

Before we get to the actual kill shot itself, I want to talk about two things I found very interesting.

  1. So many times you read and hear about Shooting Instructors talk about the fact in cases of “Bad Breath Distance” shootings you never want to EXTEND THE GUN TOWARD THE PERP for the obvious reason of them A. BEST case fouling your shot or B. WORST  grabbing the gun barrel and/or gun and  “DING, DING” the wrestling match for your life begins. What they generally train you to do is to customize your extension (if you can have an extension at all) based on the situation. But this scenario is unique and brings up an interesting training point; because even though the cop and perp are within very close proximity of one another, their POSITION and ANGLE to one another (the cop QUARTERED to the perp) combined with the perp’s ATTENTION focused away from the Cop produced all the right ingredients for the cop to make a FULL EXTENSION FOR THE SHOT. Something to remind us all that sometimes not even the most dogmatic of instruction is ever full-proof. Every incident is going to be unique, dynamic and Blazing fast and require you to make snap decisions with imperfect information, so be sure and train that way.
  2. The fact that an innocent bystander was a mere 2 feet away when the cop made the shot is ass puckering crazy but very representative of a real-world shooting. Bad guys don’t give a flying hoot about anything but THEM. and they could care less if they put innocent people in harm’s way as long as they get the loot. What is again UNIQUE about this shooting is the ANGLE of the Cop and the Perp. The cop knew he had a clean background when he started to draw because the bystander was standing right beside him and the perp was standing off to his left, quartered away at a 45 degree angle. When the cop takes the shot the bystander gets a nice muzzle blast to the face and a good ole’ “Ear Ringing” but where I come from I will take that over being 6 feet under any day of the week! The lesson to take away from this: BE PREPARED TO SHOOT AROUND and NEAR INNOCENT BYSTANDERS, JUST NOT AT THEM.  As long as the angle of the shot is good, they can live with the rest, I assure you.

The shot itself is self-explanatory. I mean how much better can I describe a man shooting another man in the head at under a foot when you have seen the video? I think the most important thing to pick up on is what the cop does after the perp is down. Immediately he moves to make SURE the perp is down, then he goes to disarm him and then he goes to check to see if he brought friends to this party, as turds rarely come in singles.

Again, looking at standard defensive firearm training AFTER a shooting, most instructors will have you do the 360 scan drill, but here we are inside a very small building, so it all goes back to that “ADAPT TO THE SITUATION” Thing. Why do I need to 360 scan when I know there is an office to my back (with one very scared and half-deaf secretary in it) a wall to my right (with a half-deaf innocent bystander with shitty drawers), a  wall to my left and a door in front of me. If there is the possibility of any more threats, they are going to be outside that door that perp just walked through 10 seconds ago. And that is exactly what we see the cop do. He opens the door and sweeps outside for any accomplices. If you have watched enough Brazil Shooting Vids, you know that in most situations like this, there is always a “getaway” driver waiting, typically on a small street bike, as that is the MO for most of these bandits as they can quickly rob a store, jump on the bike and disappear into the urban sprawl.

At the end of the say when you break this video down there is a lot to take away. Studying Real-World shootings like this is one of the most relevant tools the Civilian Operator has in staying ready for the mean streets. By taking what you see and integrating the lessons learned into both your firearm drills AND your Force-on-Force training, you can better prepare yourself for that day you hope never comes.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!


Armed Citizen Corner Video: Off-Duty Cop ECQ Shooting

Several Things to Highlight Here:

  • Extreme Close Quarters Shootings (Bad Breath Distance Encounters) are more frequent than most civilians or even Law Enforcement train for. Make it a point to make this part of your training every time you hit the range.
  • A Smooth Presentation of the weapon enabled the officer to put rounds on target efficiently. Practice every part of your draw-stroke with your carry holster and street clothes that you would wear everyday. Remember SMOOTH IS FAST and that combined with the perp being distracted for a split second is what enabled the officer to get the shots on-board and into the pump house.
  • The comment about Strong side carry (around 4 o’clock) being better than Appendix Carry (11:30 to 12 o’clock) in this kind of situation is extremely subjective and biased IMO. The same shot could have been made with Appendix carry if you practiced firing from “less than ideal” situations, which in reality should be practiced with any carry position because the street is unforgiving unlike the square range!
  • At 1:11 we see the officer rack the slide after his first shot has been made. Not sure if this was a malfunction clearance or just adrenaline kicking in and the officer was making sure the gun was in battery and ready to go?
  • At 1:13 we See the officer needing to make another shot because the perp was not completely down and was still armed. REMEMBER: KEEP SHOOTING UNTIL THE PERP IS NOT JUST DOWN BUT HAS STOPPED BEING A THREAT!

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Drilling for the Changing Times…..

The CO, like the LEO, needs to evaluate his Course of Fire and Firearm Drills frequently to make sure they stay current with the times. The best example of this is the more frequent use of Body Armour by thugs. Looking at history, one could expect your “higher class” of criminal to don Body Armour (ie the North Hollywood Shootout of 1997) where two bank robbers with custom-made Kevlar suits and armed with automatic weapons shot it out with the LAPD in downtown Hollywood, ultimately to their demise. Fast Forward to today and everybody and their Uncle have Level III or better vest (IBA). One reason is the price point; a well made Level IIIA Vest made by US Palm can be had for around $200 to $300.

To counter this threat, we need to shut down the computer (brain) of the attacker; although contrary to popular belief, hits to center mass while wearing an IBA (pistol rounds) will still cause awful blunt force trauma, but not enough to stop a well determined foe in most cases, but will still DAMN sure hurt! Also, the asinine tactic proposed by some of shooting the hip area or “carriage” to “stop the mobility” of the attacker is laughable..our ultimate goal has to be to STOP this person from killing other people and you, simply stopping him from having “mobility” is not the same thing, especially if he is armed….let’s get serious about this and shoot him in the head!

A drill that I have had in my toolbox for some time to meet the IBA Issue is the Zipper. Another useful drill (although heavily influenced by competitive shooting) is the “Mozambique Drill” or “Failure to Stop”. I consider the Zipper superior to this drill simply because the zipper is a Combative concept:  it can be applied to both Pistol and Rifle with the same commonality of structure and is a gross motor action that can be done under stress. It also emphasizes movement over marksmanship, where the Mozambique, being a Modern Technique staple, is the reverse.  In the words of one of my instructors in the early days, the Zipper concept “Spreads the Love” and ensures a LOT of LEAD is put on Target in a short amount of time.

For Pistol, I Drill this one and two-handed, ambidextrous, from all positions and on the move. Distance wise, I go from contact distance out to 10 yds or so. For Assault Rifle, I vary my distance from 10-50 yds with all positions and ambidextrous. Keep in mind, depending on distance, pistol or rifle, you need to think about RETENTION. So, if you are at contact (touching) distance, First, you need to gain distance through combative striking, with pistol, I teach empty hand strikes (face smash, eye gouge, chin jab) and then draw your weapon; otherwise, if you try to draw your gun with this a-hole on top of you, you are setting yourself up for a fight for control of your gun..not good. Also, unless you have no other option,  forget striking with your weapon (pistol-whipping) this will not always turn out like the movies…often, the mag release is accidentally hit or the gun is lost all together due to slippery hands from sweat or blood. No gun=No good! Once distance is gained, you need to fire from “1/4 hip” position or simply when you pistol barrel comes horizontal; lock your  wrist into the top of your hip and fire, moving your string of fire upwards into the head until the threat is down. Integrate movement into this once the fundamentals are established. You can also integrate “Firing through Presentation” when you reach this point, again, taking into account your retention position.

I NEVER state what number of rounds needs to be fired in my Drills, as I think “Practice makes Permanent” . The asinine drill of “Fire 2 and assess” which came from the competition circuit has no place in real world situations. We need to SHOOT until the THREAT STOPS. I typically say to myself or my students “Fire X number of rounds, or whatever you think they need, in a zipper fashion, starting in the bread basket and moving up to the head.”

Another overlooked anatomical effect (and target) of the zipper is the spine. If this person is not wearing IBA, the rounds are in line to pierce the spine area, which will cause IMMEDIATE neurological damage to STOP the person from moving or breathing in most cases. If they ARE wearing IBA, if the rounds pierce through the neck, the rounds are that much more devastating, piercing the carotid arteries and then the top of the spine.

As it is frequently said “Adapt or Die” and that applies to the CO in more ways than one. The more we look at the world around us and start questioning how we do things, the better off we are going to be; this keeps us from getting into a “rut” training wise and could possibly save a life someday.

Stay Dangerous!