Commentary: The Fireworks Drill – Marc MacYoung


I like this drill for a different reason than people might think.

It demonstrates something I’ve been trying to tell people for years MOVE YOUR ASS! Because if you don’t you die.

Notice, how long he’s under fire BEFORE he gets behind cover.

Notice how slow he is to get to cover.

Notice how he’s oriented on the ‘threat’ while he’s drawing, backing away, moving sideways AND how it slows his lateral movement to cover. That leaves him under fire longer.

He’s so hot to trot to shoot back that he leaves his ass hanging out while he goes pistolero macho.

For the following point to make sense you have to know something VERY important about shootings — most of the time you’re going to be around shootings, people are shooting at someone else than you. Yes there are bullets in the air and yes it sucks. But the directions the bullets are going is REAL important for what options you have. Two guys shooting at each other, aren’t shooting at you. An active gunman is pretty much shooting at everyone. A robber is shooting at the cops and vice versa. If someone is shooting AT you they are concentrating their fire in your direction.

This SERIOUSLY influences the levels of danger via the numbers of bullets entering your vicinity. You the target, more. You not the target less. Got it?

Now the standard answer for “Why do you carry a gun” is “To protect myself and my family.” Okay, fine. But then ask yourself does this guy’s actions meet that criteria? Not how does it, but does it?

If someone is shooting AT him he’s relying on the shooter(s) being a bad shot while he diddly farts around and plays the gunslinger. Oh hey, how about the second half of why he carries a gun. Let’s say the shooter is a bad shot and misses him. That means the family he’s supposed to be protecting is catching the lead that misses him.

Assuming they are shooting at him, why isn’t he getting himself — or his family — to cover BEFORE returning fire?

Hey I didn’t need that wife and kid anyway.

If they’re shooting at someone else, why does he need to join the gunfight? What’s the matter with getting to cover and only opening fire if they decide to move the party towards your location?

Invest the second to get to cover that will stop a bullet. Oh yeah, carry your gun in a way you can draw while running. I guarantee you — if I have to — I can shoot better from behind cover. Because now, I can create a stable platform to return fire from — that IF I need to engage (which is a decision I can make more clearly from the safety of cover.)

There’s probably a lot of people who think this is a cool drill because of the adrenal stress and quick draw. I’m going to say yes and take it a step further. This is video proof of how emphasizing returning fire (whether it is through training or attitude) leaves your ass hanging out while you’re playing gunslinger. That’s a bad — but very common — habit one that you can use this drill to first identify and then to break.

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