Airsoft Disclaimer: Airsoft does NOT recommend, condone, endorse or encourage anyone to use its product to shoot any person or animal. There are direct and explicit warnings on NOT to point, aim or shoot a person or animal with their product. If you do, you ARE NOT using their products as the products were intended to be used and are in direct violation of how the products uses were intended.
Last time we talked about the different types of Airsoft guns that were out there that you could purchase for training. I mentioned how you could use Airsoft as a real world, force on force training option and that the only real difference was the noise, muzzle flash and lead bullets. There were also some limitations; such as not as accurate, shorter distances, not the same recoil and when outdoors the environment and weather effect BB performance. We also covered safety equipment, which at a minimum should be eye, face and ear protection, heavy long sleeve shirt and pants, gloves and over the ankle shoes or boots.
Home Defense Training
With Airsoft you can get your whole family involved. You can teach your children and your spouse how to move in, through and out of your home with their firearm. Things that we will cover are:
- Where to go for the best defensive positions in the home.
- How to get to that defensive position.
- How to use your home/terrain to your advantage.
- How to work together to get to the intruder/defensive position/escape route.
- How to use angles to your advantage while clearing.
- How to keep your firearm in a firing position at all times.
- Weapon discipline at all times.
- Weapon safety at all times.
- Crossfire situations.
- Backstop issues (bullets penetrating walls & windows).
- Weapon transitions – left, right, on handed left and right.
Let us go through each one.
You want to look at your home from both the attacker and defenders positions. How easy is it to get into your home? How can you make it harder for a person to get in? Once a person gets in, where can they go? Where can you set up a safe shoot area/kill zone?
Safe rooms, stairways and hallways are usually your best choices for a defensive position. Most people cannot afford a professional safe room, but you can harden just about any room of your home (how to harden your home will be covered in a later article) at a fraction of the cost of a professional safe room. Some friends of mine have literally armored their defensive position with 4X4’s and steel plating. Some have placed motion sensors in their homes, video cameras and extremely bright lights strategically placed around the home. It all comes down to how worried are you, who do you think will be coming for you, how much money and how much time do you have? Stairways and hallways are good choices for shoot areas, because they funnel the intruder into a confined area.
Getting Into Position
If your defensive position is not the room you are sleeping in, you will have to practice and train on how to move to that location. You will want to make sure that the path to the defensive position is clear of debris and you will want to make as little noise as possible getting to that location. Some trainers feel that you should announce that you are home, that you are armed and that you are calling the police. Others feel that you should not give away your position. What is the correct response? Only you can make that decision at that time when the situation arises for you. The one thing you want to make sure of is that it is not a family member that has gotten up in the middle of the night to get a late night snack.
Home Field Advantage
This is your home; you should be able to navigate the entire interior structure blind folded – literally. Your entire family can practice this exercise. You want to get to a point where you can literally walk through at a steady pace with your eyes closed.
Every home has creaks. Know where these creaks are because they will tell you exactly where someone is in your home. Know where every light switch is in your home. Know what lights they operate and where those lights are in that particular room. Know where dark recesses are in your home and know where every potential hiding place is in your home. Know where every picture and mirror is located. You can use them to see around blind corners or deflect light off of them to illuminate a room without walking into the room.
I feel that nothing in my home is worth getting killed or injured for, with the exception of my family. If you do not have family members in the home, there is no reason to go man hunting. Wait for them to come to you. Hunting another armed human being is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Humans are the most cunning, devious and treacherous animals on the planet. It should not be taken lightly.
You are all in this together if someone breaks into your home while you are there. Make sure everyone is trained. Even little children can be taught to hide under the bed or in the closet until you can get to them. Work on where to go, how to get there and then throw in “what if’s” so that everyone is thinking outside of the box. Remember, warfare is a fluid situation that is constantly changing. If you do not improvise, adapt and over come you will lose. Working together is extremely important, but each individual must possess his or her own set of skills. Physical contact is extremely important as you are moving through a structure. This allows you to know exactly where your partner is and it gives both partners psychological security. It also allows you to communicate up close so you do not have to yell and you can better provide 360 degree security as you are moving. The other important point is to NEVER lose visual contact with your partner. You can separate while searching the same room, but do not lose sight of each other.
Working the Angles
Slicing the pie, fanning, arching, fanning, pieing, working the angles and using the angles are all basically the same technique with just a different name. It works very simply and it works on just about any hard angle, above, below or on the same level. Above would be an overhang. Below would be the ceiling line while entering a basement. Same level would be a doorway. To work the angle you want to be about 3-6 feet away from the angle/edge. You will then side step slowly, opening up the area. You should have your gun on the side you want to move to and you can do it standing or kneeling. You only want to expose your shooting arm and shooting eye, giving the suspect/intruder the smallest target available.
Stay on Target
A lot of citizens are unfamiliar with what is known as “The Three Eye Principal”. This is where your 2 eyes and the muzzle of your gun track together. The gun does not always have to be at eye level, but wherever you look; your gun should be pointed in that general direction. You never want to have your gun pointed in one direction while you are looking in another. Think of your upper torso as a tank turret. Wherever the turret looks, that’s where its muzzle is pointed.
Your gun should always be in the direction of the threat. High ready (Charlie’s Angle’s style) is not acceptable. If passing behind your partner, break the wrist for a “Sul” (pronounced like spool without the “P”) type position while making the pass. This way if there is an accidental discharge, you will hit a lower extremity instead of an upper torso back hit.
Tucked position is where you use a one or two hand hold, blade your body towards your target and then pull the gun into your chest area. This position is used when you have to make entry into a room or when you are searching and opening doors
Most shooters do not shoot one handed and ever fewer of them shoot support hand one handed. Being able to shoot from both hands is extremely important. You must also master the ability to shoot one handed with both hands. When you are moving through a structure it is important to be able to transfer the weapon to your opposite hand.
The way you transfer the fire arm is as simple as lifting your thumbs. With a two hand hold you simply lift up your thumbs (like both hands are hitchhiking). You then pass the back strap of the firearm to the opposite hand. You then use the web of the opposite hand to hold the firearm as you switch your grip fingers.
Use the Three Eye Principal. Use Sul when moving behind your partner. Switch weapon hand when necessary so that you have the advantage when working the angles. Use the tucked position. Be prepared to shoot left handed, right handed and one handed with both hands.
The basic safety rules apply even when you are hunting. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Never point the firearm at anything you do not intend to destroy. Be aware of your backstop.
Crossfire situations can arise while you are searching. If you separate in a room you must be constantly aware of where your partner is. Both of you are responsible for keeping each other safe, that includes from each other from friendly fire. A simple technique can be used to prevent crossfire situations. It is called “Contact & Cover” In contact and cover one person does the searching while their partner guards them from a defensive position inside that room. If a suspect/intruder is found, they will then get into a 90 degree angle and engage the suspect/intruder.
Remember you are not at the range; you are in your home. Unless your home is brick with interior brick walls, bullets will not have a problem penetrating any wall. If you are in a new home it is even worse. New homes are made with vinyl siding, Styrofoam board and dry wall. A bullet will rip through these materials like a hot knife through butter. You not only have to worry about other family members in the house, but now your neighbors also. I am not saying do not defend yourself, but try to set up an area where you can go to or funnel the intruder so you have the least amount of worry where your bullets will travel. Keep in mind also that the person may shoot back, be aware of what is behind you in your funnel zone as you are taking fire.
Additional Skill Sets
There are some additional skill sets that can be worked on with Airsoft. Those are weapon retention, low light shooting and shooting on the move. Each one of these is a class unto itself (which we will cover in later articles). All of these skill sets can be learned with Airsoft.
One very important training situation most shooters neglect is weapon retention. With Airsoft you can now train with disarming tactics to see if you would actually get shot during the process and on the flip side be able to see if you can deploy the weapon during the attempted disarming.
Home invasions rarely happen during the day time, so the chances of your home being dark are much greater. This means you will have to have a light source to identify the suspect/intruder. Remember, you do not want to mistakenly injure a family member, make sure you have a light to illuminate the person in the dark.
This is not a low light course (that will be a topic to cover later), so I will give you just the meat. Most shooters, when given another person to shoot at in the dark, will shoot at the light of the other shooter. What this means in a nut shell is that if you have a light on, the suspect/intruder will shoot at your light. This means you do not want that light anywhere near you. You will want to hold it “FBI” style – up, out and away from the body. This way if they shoot at the light, they will only hit the light or your hand and not any vital torso or head shots. I know you spent $200 on the high speed, low drag rail mounted light for your pistol, don’t use it while searching. Remember, two is one and one is none, keep it as a back up to your hand held flashlight.
Most rooms have white ceilings. This is so that the ceiling can disperse light. You can use this to your advantage by shining your light directly at the ceiling; it will light up the entire room, but it will also light you up. You want to move with your flashlight off. Stop, shine your light into a dark recess where someone could be, turn the light off and move. Ideally you want to move while stabbing the light, but most people never practice shooting on the move, in the dark, with a one hand hold on their gun.
Shooting On the Move
Most shooters go to the range and shoot standing at a target that is not moving. Most ranges will not allow you to walk onto the range floor, so you will have to train somewhere else to do it. This is where Airsoft comes in. As I mentioned earlier, shooting on the move is a class unto itself. There are many schools of thought on “when you should fire”, such as “only when your heel is touching the ground” or “when one of your feet is planted on the ground”. You will find that you really don’t have to wait for a specific foot placement to fire. Most people, since they have been conditioned to only shoot from a static position, will only shoot when they are not moving. You need to break that habit. The important point for shooting on the move is just that, just keep firing while you are moving.
When you are using a semi-automatic you need to know that they can “jam”. We never want to consider the problem of a weapon stoppage, but they can happen. A stoppage (also incorrectly called a malfunction) is just that, the firearm stops firing. Most stoppages are caused from a dirty or dry (un-oiled) firearm. You need to know the Immediate Action Drill – Tap, Rack and Ready. You need to know how to perform this drill without thinking about it. A malfunction means the firearm is broke (broken firing pin or extractor). If you experience a malfunction your only option is to go to a back up weapon. Remember, your handgun is used to get you to your long gun. If a handgun is all you have, you need to know how to clear a stoppage, such as a stove pipe, failure to feed, failure to eject and the worst one – the dead man’s feed.
Good luck, train hard, pass your skills down and most of all, have fun while training. Stay safe.
Check out John's full video overview here:
About the author: John Ramos is a full time police officer for a NW Indiana city. He has been a police officer since 1987, Field Training Officer, CSI, department instructor, SWAT team leader and training coordinator. John is a NRA pistol instructor and an Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Instructor in handgun, shotgun, rifle and active shooter. John has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and has trained citizens, police and the military personal. John has written articles for several magazines and is the author of The Book of Room Domination and Assault Techniques.