Street survival: Practice the wounded officer draw so you can finish the fight!
If you ever need this skill, the pressure of the moment will be unfathomable, so practice this movement until you can perform it smoothly
This article is part of a series by Lt. Dan Marcou. Click here to access all of Dan's street survival lessons.
“Finish the fight!”
These are the words said to be heard by many officers, shouted by someone from on high, when they find themselves seriously injured, but still in a fight.
When I was writing “Street Survival II: Tactics for Deadly Encounters,” I was privileged to interview a number of officers who graciously told their stories of survival for the benefit of other officers yet to face similar challenges.
Marcus Young shared his story of being stabbed and shot, and yet he finished the fight.
Stacy Lim was ambushed and shot in the chest but rallied to win. She too shared the powerful insights she gained from her incredible ordeal.
Bill Gray shared his story of having his throat slashed, being stabbed in the face, and suffering a through and through wound to his hand, after which he fought off his attacker to draw his weapon and prevail.
One commonality in these stories is that each one of these officers had prepared themselves mentally and physically to “finish the fight!”
Picture the moment and practice for it
All of these attacks were deadly sudden assaults that seriously injured the officers early on in the struggle. All of these officers fought through their injuries to win after consciously deciding they had more life to live.
To prepare you for your moment of overcoming, let’s practice for the possibility you may be in a fight after suffering a serious injury to a hand and/or arm. It is not unusual for officers to be hit in the hand, or arm during a gunfight. The first step in preparing for such an injury is to practice live fire with both your strong hand and reaction hand.
With repetition, you can become very accurate at combat distances.
Practice the wounded officer draw
It is important to practice drawing your weapon using either hand in the event you are wounded before your weapon has been drawn. It is advisable to practice this draw with a non-firing training weapon identical to your own. It is strongly recommended you own a training weapon so you can practice drawing on your own safely.
Practice the draw with one hand, simulating that the other is disabled, from both your strong side and reaction side. You will find it very difficult at first to get your weapon out of a security holster with your reaction hand, but it will become much easier with practice. Make certain you are drawing with your finger out of the trigger guard throughout the draw even if it is a non-firing training weapon.
If you ever need this skill, the pressure of the moment will be unfathomable, so practice this movement until you can perform it smoothly.
Wounded officer reload
As well as practicing wounded officer drawing and wounded officer firing, officers should practice wounded officer reloading. This can be practiced with a triple-checked duty weapon and triple-checked magazines loaded only with non-firing training ammunition (orange).
Here are the steps to perform a wounded officer one-hand reload:
- Your action will be locked open so press your magazine release button with your thumb if your working hand is your right hand, or your index finger if your working hand is your left.
- While maintaining a tight shooters grip on your weapon (finger off the trigger), shake the weapon sharply left and right with the bottom of the magazine well swinging back and forth in a 180-degree arch until the empty magazine flies out.
- Support the locked open weapon either between your knees with the magazine port up, or slip the locked open weapon into your holster with the magazine port forward.
- Remove a magazine from your pouch and slide it into the magazine well. Push hard until the magazine is properly seated.
- Take your weapon in your working hand and with your thumb, hit the slide stop lever and release it if it is your right hand is the working hand. If your left hand is the only one operational, you will have to operate the slide lock with your index finger to release the slide.
- Scan for threats, reassess and fire if necessary.
Note: Since your magazines take a severe beating during training it is recommended you purchase a spare set of magazines of your own for training and another set for duty use. Clearly mark your training magazines.
By practicing wounded officer drawing, shooting and reloading, you are not only physically preparing yourself but mentally preparing yourself to win under the worst circumstances.
If the time comes, when you find yourself in a urine-soaked alley seriously wounded yet still fighting for your own precious life, will you choose to die in that alley? I think not. FINISH THE FIGHT!