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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I took a class this evening on shooting from seated positions. It was quite the eye opener for me. I learned some useful techniques that I would not have been able to figure out on the spot. I also lucked out again this evening, as I was the only one that showed up. This meant a one-on-one practice/tutoring session for me.

The general rules where
  1. Never stand up. As soon as you stand up in a crowd of people sitting, you basically announced your position to the threat and present yourself as an easy target.
  2. Always identify the threat before drawing. For example, if your sitting in a restaurant, wait staff will drop dishes and people may scream/yell while carrying on with their friends. You don't want to be the jackass that draws his pistol when something benign like that happens.
  3. Orient your hips towards the threat. There are a couple of corner cases (no pun intended) where a person can make exception to this.
  4. If you carry behind the hip (e.g. 3 or 4 o'clock), cross your strong side leg over your weak side leg (without moving the weak side leg) before drawing. This will rotate your hip so that it's easier to draw.
  5. Never stand up. A common mistake is to immediately stand up and holster as soon as you finish shooting. The problem is, in real life, you don't know if you've neutralized the threat. For all you know, he (she) is still laying on the ground fully conscious and capable of shooting. Stay down and wait. The only time you get up is when (1) you're sure that the threat is no more, or (2) the circumstances demand that you move.
My instructor also said that it's a good idea to check if the table and/or chair can move before you sit down. If either of those can move, you can exploit that to make it easier to draw. For example, you can push the table away from you or scootch the chair back to create more space. We practiced the worst case scenario, which is a fixed table and chair.

The class was taught in their tactical bay. They had a target set up near the backstop, and then put a table and chairs roughly in the middle of the room. We practiced different shooting positions by moving around the table.

We started with the easiest position: sitting at the table across from the threat. The procedure for this was very simple. Identify the threat, orient your hips towards the threat, cross your strong side leg over your weak side leg at the ankles to rock your right hip up, draw, fire, assess, then slowly holster.

Then he moved me to the side of the table that placed the threat on my weak side. The procedure was ostensibly the same. The only difference was that (1) I had to rotate my hips a lot more to be oriented properly towards the threat, and (2) I had to cross my legs at knees to get my right hip high enough to enable me to draw. If I crossed at the ankles, my right hip would be too low to be able to clear the table when drawing.

After that, we moved to the other side of the table, putting the threat on my strong side. This is the one case where you don't have to rotate your hips towards the threat. You can just throw your strong side leg over your weak side to facilitate a draw, and go to work shooting single handed. That said, I still found it easier to orient myself a little towards the threat so that I could get a second hand on the gun.

He saved the fun scenario for last: sitting with the threat behind you. This one is way more complicated, and probably the one that most justified coming to this class. There are two primary challenges: (1) how do you become aware of the threat, and (2) how do you orient yourself towards the threat without standing up.

In regards to (1), you have to watch the expressions/reactions of the people around you. When we did this exercise, he would sit across the table from me (opposite of the threat), and engage me in conversation. Then at a random point in our conversation, he would stop and look at the threat. That was my queue. He would watch to make sure that I didn't draw until I had first identified the threat.

In regards to (2), the solution was to pivot out of the chair to either side and drop to a kneeling position. The assumption is that you were smart and chose your seat so that you have at least one side that is not obstructed by people or walls. He recommended dropping the knee farthest from the chair, as it makes pivoting a little faster. But you could drop the other knee if you felt more comfortable that way.

By this point, we were nearing the end of the class. He used the remaining time to give a brief introduction to the kind of challenges that can come up when there are other people at the table, and some of the techniques that you can use to control the situation.

If you're going out with other gun people, the biggest problem is that you and your buddies are all going to want to get into the action and end up getting in each others way. So, the most important thing to do is to coordinate ahead of time who is going to do what when a threat presents itself. For example, if the threat emerges from behind you, the obvious thing is for you to get your head down so that your buddy who is across the table can get a clean shot. If you pivot to engage the threat, you'll just end up getting in the way of your buddy and slow the response time of your group.

If you're out with non-gun people, you need to know how to control them and keep them out of your way. My instructor introduced me to the challenges of this by sitting down in the chair right next to me and pulled up tight to me like he was my girlfriend. He said, okay, suppose I'm your girlfriend and I'm freaking out because of the lunatic that's shooting up the place on the other side of me. He then starts grabbing my arms and smothering me. It was like dealing with a drowning swimmer. How are you going to be able to draw your weapon and shoot? If the chair or table can move, your life is a little easier. However, if you're in a booth, your options are much more limited. To make a long story short, he demonstrated how you can use your support arm to pin the person to the back of their chair, creating a open space for you to safely draw and engage the threat. (We didn't do this one with live ammo.) Then he moved to the chair across the table from me and showed how to grab a person's wrist (e.g. your left hand grabs their left wrist) and pull it toward you (diagonally) so that their whole upper body gets pulled down to the table. You then pin them down by laying over the top of their head and upper back, while still controlling their wrist so that they can't push up. Now that you have them pinned to the table, you can use your strong hand to draw and shoot singled handed over their back.

Not bad for a Monday night. :)

EDIT: Playing whack a mole with spelling and grammar mistakes.

6,340 Posts
Sounds like a good class. Great write up. I wish I had more training like this readily available here in komifornia.

2,688 Posts
Good AAR.

I’m in agreement with most of this, regarding tactics.
I will always sit in the most advantageous position at a table, or worse, booth- to be able to respond to a threat.
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