Backup a .45 with a 9mm

As we transition into the Third Wave, we will meet new and evolved challenges.
Surveillance capabilities are likely to expand by at least an order of magnitude. Not only will there be many new ways to gather data, but technology such as artificial intelligences (AI) will greatly increase the capability to process such data into meaningful information.
More so than in the past, information will be both a currency and a weapon.
In such a light, I have been thinking a little on the requirements of covert operations. I have also been watching some post-apocalyptic fiction, so have also been considering the field of logistics, particularly in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario.
Your best option is to always avoid combat. If you must defend yourself, a long-arm such as a shotgun or rifle is the preferred choice.
There will be, however, many situations when a long-arm will not be available. For example, enemy surveillance capabilities may mark as a target anyone carrying an object that might be a long-arm or other weapon. This brings us to handguns.

Primary Handgun

I have written quite a bit about this topic on this blog and in my book “Survival Weapons”, so will not repeat myself here. Suffice to say, when combat is serious and at close-range you want a handgun that is as effective as is practical. That means an automatic pistol in .45 ACP.
Of the relatively few autos in .45 that are available, top of the pile has to be the Glock 30. The Glock 30 is hard hitting, high-capacity, compact, light, reliable, and simple to operate. Standard magazine is ten rounds, but the weapon can also take the 13-round magazines of larger Glock .45s. That is nearly twice the capacity of the larger M1911A1!
The only downside may be a logistical one. Since the US military retired the M1911A1 Colt in favour of the Beretta M9, .45 ammunition has become less readily available. Outside North and South America, .45 ammo may be difficult to acquire.

Backup Handgun

Thinking on this matter, I will propose a strategy that may be of use to some readers, particularly in a long-term scenario.
If your handgun is likely to serve as your primary weapon, it is prudent to have a backup or two.

The Pocket Gun

Elsewhere, I have discussed how a lightweight, “hammerless”, short-barrelled revolver can be carried in an outside pocket and may be more accessible than a larger holstered weapon covered by a coat or jacket. There is no hammer or slide to catch in the pocket lining should you have to fire from within the pocket.
Unfortunately, such useful weapons only hold five or six rounds. In the heat of combat, reloading revolvers has often proven more involved than a simple magazine swap.

The 9mm Backup Option

The idea that I am proposing is to back-up your .45 with a 9x19mm automatic. To keep the weight down, my weapon of choice would be a Glock 19. Many of these are available second hand, so may be found for a good price. If your sense of symmetry is offended by using a compact 9mm as a backup for a subcompact .45, the Glock 26 is an alternative.
Glock 19 Pistol
All Glocks can take the magazines of larger models in the same calibre. The Glock 26 uses a ten-round magazine and can take the 15-round magazine of the Glock 19. Both the Glock 19 and Glock 26 can take larger capacity 9mm magazines. These are available in a wide range of capacities, from 17 to 33 rounds.
9x19mm ammunition (aka 9mm Luger/Parabellum) is more likely to be encountered than .45. It is probably safe to say you will find 9x19mm anywhere you can find ammunition. 9x19mm may be harder to find in China or some former-Soviet states, but even in these regions there are 9x19mm weapons.
Rhona Mitra holding a Glock 19
It makes sense to have a weapon that can use 9mm ammo, and save your .45 for situations that really need it.
There are a lot of Glock 17s and 19s out there in the world, so there is a chance your “battlefield-pickups” may already be in a compatible magazine.
Conserve your .45 supply by using the 9mm to shoot-off locks, signal, scare-off aggressive animals, coup-de-grâce wounded animals and similar. Mel Tappan considered the 9x19mm round as good for hunting game in the 100-125 lb range (in the absence of a long-arm). Thus, your 9mm backup can be used to forage for small to medium game. Anything wolf-size or smaller.
The higher velocity 9mm has a flatter trajectory than a .45, although the actual difference at practical ranges in only a few inches. The flatter trajectory may be useful for certain applications. The 9mm could be used for suppressive fire, saving your .45 for conducting or repelling an assault.
Against flesh, a non-hollowpoint 9mm penetrates about the same distance as a non-hollowpoint .45. The .45 makes a wider wound channel, hence superior physiological effect.
Against other materials, the lighter, faster, smaller 9mm may penetrate better than the .45. The .45 Thompson was regarded as the preferred solution to road-block runners in the 1920s and 30s, so I would be reluctant to assume that the penetration of fast 9mm always exceeds the inertia of the heavier .45.
A comparison of 9mm and .45 ammunition on a variety of building materials and vehicle parts might be a useful article or video!
If you are carrying two automatic pistols of different calibre, or even differencing model, the question of how many magazines to carry for the spare gun arises. Perhaps a standard-capacity magazine in the well: a 15-round for the G-19, or a ten-round for the G-26. With this, carry at least one higher capacity (17+) magazine.

Crash Course in Rifle

A friend of mine was reading about the training of conscripts in Taiwan. He referenced some of the articles I have written about making training more relevant. These include my blog on the “Murray System” and the book that derived from it, my book “Crash Combat”.
Crash Combat is about unarmed and non-firearm combat. For a more generic training program, where would I start?
Probably, near the start, would be an introduction to practical use of the rifle, taught in several phases:

Introduction Phase

• Basic safety and orientation.
• Perceive, Recognize, Engage.
• Load, unload and clearing.
• Anatomy for shooters: The Lethal T, the belt-buckle aim and the armpit line.
No one goes past the introduction phase until the instructor is convinced all students are competent and mature in their handling of firearms and their behaviour on the range.

Phase One

This phase teaches shooting from behind cover, from various positions. It ingrains the habit of always using available cover, while teaching shooting posture fundamentals.
Firing from a squat position
Start with prone position and move on to other positions such as kneeling, sitting and squatting.
Key points:
• Fire around rather than over cover when possible.
• Keep low. Never be reluctant to get close to the dirt.
• Always use cover when possible.
• Use cover when reloading and clearing stoppages.
• What parts of a gun not to rest in contact with hard cover when firing.
• Includes section on correct techniques to use when firing from windows.
Phase one is conducted with half-silhouette targets of various sizes, engaged at relatively short ranges, such as 20 to 50 metres. Sights zeroed to 200 metres are used for all shooting.
Emphasis in this phase is on building the student’s confidence in their shooting while teaching good shooting postures and tactical positions.
There are no scores, shots being judged as either hits or misses. Reactive targets that make a noise, fall or flash a light when hit will prove useful.

Phase Two

Phases two is dry firing. It is effectively kata for guns, or tai chi with triggers.
As recommended by Elliot, students practice mounting their rifle to bring it smoothly up to firing position. This is practised in the various postures learnt in phase one.
Mounting is combined with tracking, breathing and trigger exercises:
• Tracking involves keeping a mounted weapon moving to pursue, swing through and lead a moving target.
• Breathing involves synchronizing the respiratory cycle with the moment of firing to minimize unintended movement of the weapon.
• Trigger exercise is developing a trigger “press” that causes minimum displacement of the barrel.

Phase Three

Phase three is Quick Kill training.
Airguns/airsoft guns with the sights removed are used to engage small thrown targets. This builds on the instinctive pointing and tracking skills developed in phase two. Phase three teaches effective engagement skills for situations when there is insufficient time to align sights or when sights are not visible.

Phase Four

Introduction to room-clearing techniques. The likelihood of operations in urban terrain means a familiarity with room clearing must become a fundamental skill-set of any firearm user.
• Shooting on the move and while sidestepping.
For safety, phase four may be practised with airsoft weapons.

Phase Five

Phase five is a repeat of phase one, but the engagement range is increased up to 250m.
Students may be required to crawl to a firing position, or use other appropriate modes of tactical movement.
Target shooting, long-range shooting, volley fire and other fields can be taught later. Soldiers with an aptitude for these disciplines can be encouraged accordingly.
The five phases are designed to quickly produce riflemen that can respond quickly and accurately against threats that occur within likely engagement ranges and terrain.

Leading Targets for Lead

If some field manuals are to be believed, determining the lead for a moving target involves:
• Correctly determining the range to the target.
• Remembering the time a bullet will take to reach that distance.
• Estimating the speed of movement of the target. For added complexity estimate this in miles per hour and convert.
• Calculate how far the target will move in the time the bullet gets to reach it, and aim that distance ahead.
• Don't forget to halve the value if the target is moving obliquely.
You will probably have under a second to do this as the target dashes between cover.
Andrew G. Elliot, “Shooting to Kill”:
“The impossibility of judging this consciously will be realized when it is explained that a target moving at this range and speed scarcely allows time to place the rifle to the shoulder without making complicated mathematical calculations.
“In war, as distinct from print, there is hardly time to aim at all, and that is why the whole technique must become so natural that it is carried out without thought.
“…The secret of hitting a moving target is simple. Follow the target with your aim for a few seconds to judge its speed, then just before firing, quite instinctively and without any conscious allowance, you will find that you swing a little in front of the enemy.
Always keep your eye on the target, and for a moving one, on the front of it, so that- if you are shooting a running Nazi, focus the front buttons of his tunic.
“…In shooting moving targets, one need not worry about the sights. The Nazis will rarely give you any time for that!
“To prove that instinctive allowance is easier than conscious effort, it has been found that many men can shoot better in the semi-darkness than in daylight. I myself have often shot running rabbits with a rifle when the light was such that I could only just see the animal’s outline.”
Elliot was a big advocate of soldiers spending time practising raising, swinging through and dry-firing their rifles. This was time much better spent than squarebashing.
Note that swinging through is not the same as the tracking of a target that some manuals describe. Swing through overtakes the target.
The swing-through method of leading a target cannot always be used. From certain postures or firing positions it is difficult to use. In such an instance one must use the ambush method. Aim at a point in space and fire when the moving target is the correct lead distance from your aim point.
For simplicity, the following will assume targets are dismounted personnel. Shooting at drones, aircraft and vehicles will not be covered today.
Note that if you need to quantify a target's velocity, it is more useful to judge it in metres per second than units such as miles per hour or km/h. This is something that you can observe and make use of in the field.

Depths of Lead

Possibly the easiest technique to learn is found in field manuals for the M14. The M14 was zeroed to 250 metres so the nearer aim point is also lower to allow for hold-under.
Depth of Lead for Moving Target
The method is based around a measure I call a “depth of lead”. This is approximately the depth of a human torso, from sternum to spine. It is also roughly a foot if you are viewing your target side on. If the target is moving at an angle to you, the depth will appear smaller and the amount of lead you apply will be automatically reduced.
Bear in mind that lead is often overestimated. At less than 50 metres most moving targets will not need leading. Those that will will only need aim shifted towards the leading edge.
For targets that are more distant, or moving fast:
• If the target is moving slowly (less than 2 metres per second), and within 200m, aim at the leading edge or the button-line/belt-buckle.
• If speed is slow but range greater than 200m, add one depth of lead.
• If moving fast, but within 200m, add one depth of lead.
• If moving fast AND beyond 200m, add two depths of lead.
The amount of lead this gives may differ somewhat from a calculated value. Given all the other factors in play during combat, it is generally “close enough for government work”.
Two complimentary systems will be mentioned:

USMC Points of Aim

This first is that given in USMC MCRP 3.01A Rifle Marksmanship. This is an excellent work for fundamentals and how to utilize iron sights. The “point of aim” system appears to resemble the “point of depth” method, but has differences.
Marine Point of Aim for Lead
“One point of Aim” in the marine manual is actually aiming directly at the target's leading edge. (The above illustration could be clearer on this.)
“Two points of Aim” is placing the top corner of the trailing edge of the front post on the target's leading edge. Two points of aim is used for a fast-walking (2 m/s) target at 300 metres or a running (3+ m/s) target at 200m. These leads are reduced for targets not moving perpendicularly. The actual offset this will produce will depend on the apparent width of the front post.

US Army Single Lead Rule

Single Lead Rule
The technique given for leading a target in US Army FM 3-22.9 (August 2008) at first glance seems the same as MCRP 3.01A. The army “Single Lead Rule” actually uses the trailing edge corner of the post to sight with. Unlike the marine method, the corner of the post is targeted on the centre rather than the leading edge. This technique automatically increases the amount of lead as distance increases. Lead is approximately 5 moa. If you miss, increase lead.
7 mph is about 3 m/sec.
The manual notes: “At 100 meters, the rule begins to break down for targets moving at slight and large angles.” Despite this, it seems a useful technique to get in the ballpark.
AT4 Slow TargetAT4 Fast Target
This aiming technique is very similar to that used for the AT4/M136 anti-tank weapon. For a slow target the post is placed on the leading edge. For faster targets one of the “horns” is placed on the centre of the target. Aiming at faster targets such as jeeps and technicals does not yet seem to have made it into the copies of the manuals I have. Placing the horn on the leading edge seems like a logical place to start.
Amusingly, the copy of FM3-22.9 I have insists that iron sights on the M16/M4 are now only for backup. The entire section on leading a target only refers to the use of iron sights!
Below is an example of using the ACOG sight with a depth of lead-type method. Using frontal silhouettes is misleading.
Depth of lead with ACOG reticle

Aim Low! Avoid Disappointment!

Because it is what was taught in basic, many shooters assume that “center of mass” is the optimum approach to bullet placement. It isn't.
Firstly, “center of mass” is something of a misnomer. What we are actually attempting is placing the bullet in the centre of visible shape. While the term “center of mass” is freely used, it is seldom defined. I think of it as the centre of an X drawn from shoulders to hips, but I suspect others may use different visualizations.
If you have learnt a little anatomy, such as reading “Attack, Avoid, Survive”, you will understand that putting a bullet into the centre of shape will often avoid hitting the central nervous system unless the enemy is running straight at you.
Often you will not have a shot at the torso. When a head appears around cover, firing at its centre will often result in a miss. A better point of aim is about an inch below the visible area.
Center of mass does have its uses. It is taught since it is felt to be easy to learn, and it is because it is what we have always done. Against a vehicular target, center of mass (or leading edge) is a good aimpoint. If you are springing an ambush, chaos and disruption are primary objectives. Multiple wounding shots or near misses may be more effective in that context than a lesser number of clean kills.
In “Attack, Avoid, Survive” and “Survival Weapons”. I explained shot placement in the context of anatomy. If you have a relatively good view of your target, or sufficient time, this is your best approach.
The following two illustrations are of interest:
Shot Placement for Snipers
The first is taken from a WW2 manual for American snipers (FM21-75 Feb, 1944 p.172). The rifle was zeroed to 400 yards and the shooter encouraged to use offset aiming rather than adjusting their sights. Note that at 400 yards the intended target appears to be the armpit-level line, as advocated in my own books. At less than 400 yards, the sniper is recommended to aim twelve inches below the intended point of impact.
M14 Aim Points
The second illustration is from a manual for the M14, which was zeroed to 250 metres. At ranges of less than 200 metres the round would hit high so soldiers were taught to aim at the bottom edge of the “center mass”.
Most military rifles are zeroed to 300 yards or metres. Some older models have battle sights set for 400 yards. Yet most combat shots are made at less than 200 metres, where the bullet is expected to hit several inches above the point of aim! Any wonder that shooting directly at a face will so often miss?
In combat, it is common for troops to shoot high anyway. This is partially stress, but also poor visibility makes targets appear more distant. Fog, smoke or darkness, or a low shooting posture, will cause a shooter to tend to fire high, Differences in elevation will also have an effect.
Firing through a sloped windscreen will tend to deflect a bullet upwards. This occurs if outside firing in or inside firing out. The solution is to aim low.
Often a target will be at a higher or lower elevation. You may be firing down from a hill, or being fired upon from an upper window or roof.
The actual range to the target is not a straight line between the shooter and target. Imagine a right-angled triangle, with the shooter at one corner and the target at the other. It doesn't matter which is higher, since the effect is exactly the same both “uphill” and “downhill”. The direct distance between shooter and target would be the hypotenuse of the triangle. As far as the bullet and gravity are concerned, the relevant distance is horizontal, the length of the triangle base. The true or horizontal range will always be shorter than the slant range.
Using a 5:4:3 triangle for illustration, the horizontal distance will be 20-40% less than the direct line between target and shooter. Shots up or from elevations tend to hit high.
There are two solutions to these effects. If you have any choice in the matter, zero your combat rifle to 200 metres so that it tends to hit what you point at. This gives a mid-range trajectory of only two or three inches.
For longer ranged shots, learn the correct holdover and offset aim-point. Tactically, you are often better off waiting for an enemy to get close or pass by.
Long-range engagements are better left to machine-gunners, mortars, snipers and riflemen with aptitude.
The second solution is to make the belt-buckle your default point of aim. I believe there is an episode of the Simpsons where Homer claims the family moto is “Aim Low! Avoid Disappointment!”.
• If you are at a higher or lower elevation, aim at the target's belt-buckle.
• If you are uncertain of the range, aim at the belt-buckle. A short shot may still glance off the ground and hit the target.
• If the target is moving, visualize the belt-buckle and aim for it. This method automatically tends to adjust for relative angle of motion. If the target is moving obliquely aiming for the buckle will put less lead on the shot.
• If a target is moving towards you, aim for the belt buckle or lower. The use of shots at the pelvis against charging enemies is explained in Attack, Avoid, Survive.
• Unless range is very short, snap shots should be aimed at the belt-buckle.
• A target may be prone, or looking around cover. Aim your shot about an inch below the visible target area. A low shot may still endanger the target.

Crash Combat Third Edition Out Now!

I am pleased to announce that the Third Edition of Crash Combat has now become available.
This version has been extensively expanded, being about 30% longer. More content, extra illustrations, more techniques, new techniques and generally much more book for your money. In addition, much of the book has been rewritten and restructured so information is more easily assimilated and learnt.
While Crash Combat was originally written for a military context, it remains relevant to any individual wishing to learn to protect themselves in this dangerous and uncertain world.
Visit the Author Spotlight for my other books.
May be purchased direct from in either print or epub format. It will take a few more days or more for this version to appear with other retailers. Buying from Lulu costs you less and more of the money goes to the author.


I have just received and approved the proof copy of the print version. Very pleased with how it looks and reads. Treat yourself!

Modern Quick-Draw for Self-Defence

Recently I have been thinking a little on the subjects of quick-draw and hip-shooting.
One reason for this is that I treated myself to the Kindle Edition of “Shooting” by J. Henry FitzGerald. A very entertaining read and lots of information that is still useful, even if the book was written in 1930. Expect me to refer back to this work in future posts. I highly recommend it.
At around the same time, I came across an article on quick-draw by Elmer Keith. Unfortunately the print quality is too poor for me to reproduce it here. Much of the article is padding and anecdotes, but there were a couple of useful ideas within. Article was originally in “American Rifleman” Sep 1938. Reproduced in Poor Man’s James Bond, Vol.5, Kurt Saxon. “No Second Place Winner” by Bill Jordan is also worth a read on this topic.
I also reread Fairbairn and Sykes’ (F&S) “Shooting to Live”. This is another “must read”, although it doesn’t have a lot on quick-draw. While most of the F&S technique is not hip-shooting, it did provide some insight.
The main reason I decided to discuss this topic was due to some of the videos I viewed. The cowboy action shooters I will discuss in a moment. Most of the “non-cowboys” would quick draw their weapons, then slow down as they locked their arms straight, lined up their sights, held their breath and did all the other things their shooting guru of preference recommends. Most took more than a second to draw and fire. Some individuals were faster, but still we were looking at around three-quarters of a second. In the early part of Shooting to Live the authors state that the considerable experience of the Shanghai Police had found making a hit within a third of a second was desirable to officer survival. Admittedly, this was not necessarily quick-draw from a holster.
Gun Magazines love to fill their column inches with “either/or” binary propositions. One example of these is “Frontier style” vs “Aimed Technique”. For the duration of this article I would like you to forget all you have read along these lines and temporarily accept two other propositions:
• There is a time for aimed pistol fire, and there are times when there is no time for aimed fire.
• If you have to quick-draw, you need to put lead in the target in the shortest time possible.
“Shoot double action if it is at short range and quick draw is not necessary at long range.”
Shooting. FitzGerald, J. Henry. Sportsman's Vintage Press. Kindle Edition.
Doc Holiday and Wynonna

The Cowboys

Cowboy action shooting actually proved less useful than I expected. Certainly the fast-draw experts are very fast. However, this is achieved by firing as soon as the muzzle is out of the holster. The muzzle may be right above the holster.
To speed this up, most cowboy action shooters would lean backwards. This technique is not really applicable to self-defensive shooting. If someone is likely to be shooting back you will probably be crouched forward. You also may have to quick-draw from a seated position where you cannot lean back.
My other reservation is that I have no idea how important accuracy is to cowboy quick-draw shooting competitions. One shooter did say something about accuracy coming with a few thousand practice rounds. Perfecting literal hip-shooting may be beyond the means of many of us.
Some aspects of cowboy fast-draw are specific to single-action only weapons such as the Colt Peacemaker. Practical defensive handguns should have a double-action mode.
The best advice I got from my brief dip into cowboy quick-drawer was “Don’t hold your breath!” As we know for other fields of combat training, relaxed bodies and untensed muscles move faster.

When Not to Draw

In a past blog I referenced a video of some young guys practising fast-draws against charging training partners and imaginary enemies. As I commented then, “speed and skills were impressive, their tactics deplorable”.
No matter how fast you are, if an enemy is rushing in from close range, your first move should be to get out of the way. A well placed palm-strike or trip may drop them more effectively than any bullet. Once the immediate threat has past, then is the time to draw your weapon.
See “Attack, Avoid, Survive” and “Survival Weapons” for more on this topic.
If a target is within a few metres, thrusting your gun nearer towards them may not be prudent. There a numerous ways to dodge out of the line of fire at such ranges. You may have brought your hand(s) into range of unarmed, blade or baton attacks.

Quarter-Hip Position

Quarter-Hip Firing Position

I am showing the F&S “quarter-hip” position here since it has some parallels to cowboy hip shooting. Fairbairn and Sykes suggest this only be used at ranges of a yard or less. The gun is held back so an attacker cannot reach it. The free-hand can be used to fend off the attacker.
F&S note that this is the only one of their firing techniques where the gun is not fired from the centre-line. It can be fired parallel to the centre-line, although there is an obvious difference of half a body-width. It can be fired to intersect the centre-line. although this will require more skill at greater ranges.
I show a similar postion in “Survival Weapons” and “Attack. Avoid, Survive”. Keep the free-hand well out of the possible line of fire.


As should be done before any firearm training, or handling, verify the loaded status of your firearm.
For dry-firing, chamber or chambers should be emptied. With some weapons a loaded magazine can be left in place to keep the mass realistic. A revolver will need dummy cartridges instead. Some semi-automatics need the backward movement of the slide to recock their strikers. Magazines of live rounds should not be fitted for dry-firing practice with these models.
The trigger finger should not touch the trigger during the drawing phase. The trigger only comes into contact with the trigger when the muzzle is pointed at the target.


The principle of consistency applies to many phases of training.
Train with the weapon, holster and holster position that you are most likely to be in when a potential need occurs.
A holster that always stays in the same relative position is obviously an advantage.
Accuracy comes from the weapon always firing from the same relative position.


Speed comes from efficiency. A quick-draw has three stages: the draw, the point and firing. Work to make each of these phases with the minimum of wasted motion. Make the transitions between them as as efficient and smooth as possible. The movement of the hand from the start of the draw until firing should be a single continuous motion.


To learn quick-draw safely, you should accept that you will have to practice at least several months without firing a round. You will be tempted to try it with live rounds, “just to see how it is going”. Do not! You will only be ready for live practice once you can honesty say that you have the phases of the draw and its whole working as efficiently as you can.
Start off at a slow speed. Trying to be fast is counter-productive. Speed will increase as you get smoother with practice.

The Quick-Draw

How you draw will depend on where you carry your holster, your weapon, your physique, manner of dress and many other factors.
Your free-hand may need to be involved to pull your jacket open or lift your shirt while the other hand draws.
For a strong-side holster, the most efficient draw may be simply to lift the pistol upwards out of the holster. As soon as the muzzle is clear of the holster the action of pointing it towards the target begins.
Shorter weapons are theoretically quicker to draw than longer ones. In practice an excess of force is used on the draw and, within limits, length has little significant effect. Shorter weapons are more practical to wear if you have to spend anytime seated. Compact/subcompact automatics of 7"/180mm loa. or less are recommended. If you have to use a revolver, have a snub with a barrel of less than 3"/76mm. Big bore options for revolver shooters include .45 Long Colt, .45 ACP, .44 Spl and .45LC/.410.

The Point

If we are quick-drawing, it is because we need to put lead in a bad guy ASAP! Logically, this means we fire as soon as the muzzle is pointing at the target. For the cowboy shooters this is a fraction after the muzzle is clear of the holster. With a typical low-slung cowboy rig, this is literally shooting from the hip.
For a shoulder carry, your weapon may be as high as chest-level when it points at the target. For most modern belt holsters, the gun will first point at the target at between groin and chest-level. “Hip-shooting” should not be taken too literally.
If your gun reaches eye-level before you fire, you have waited too long!
To continue my example of a quick-draw from a strong-side holster: Once the muzzle is out of the holster, straighten your wrist while at the same time pushing your gun-hand forward onto your centre-line. This is a very simple action that can be made very smoothly, particularly if your body is relaxed. Draw and point are thus a simple lift and then push sequence.
Raising the gun out of the holster probably raised your shoulder. The action of dropping the shoulder helps push the gun towards the target.
Keep your trigger finger clear of the trigger until your gun points toward the target. If your weapon uses a safety, do not release your safety until beginning to point towards the target. If it is single-action, cock as the target comes before your muzzle.
The weapon is aimed by turning the hips to place the target on your centre-line.
A sighting laser can prove useful when dry-firing. Plastic or wax ammunition can also prove useful.
Half-Hip Firing Position
For purposes of illustration, the F&S “half-hip” firing position. F&S suggest this for ranges of three yards. Actual angle of the elbow will depend on factors such as physique and holster position. The elbow angle will probably be more obtuse, although a high draw may make it acute. The point to observe here is the weapon is on the centre-line and pointed at the target.
In fact, the actual firing position may look closer to the F&S “three-quarter” position. This was for a crouched position and used for targets at three or four yards. Like the half-hip position, the gun was fired while still below the eye-line.
Three-Quarter Firing Position

The Free Hand

As already mentioned, your free-hand might have an important role in making your fast-draw.
Whether you need your free-hand or not, you should practice drawing so that your free-arm does not in anyway hinder or obstruct the draw. Shooting your own fingers off is not good form!
The technique described here may be made as either a one-handed or two-handed technique. As the gun-hand is pushed towards the centre-line, the other hand comes inward and upward to intercept it and come into a two-handed grip. Assuming a two-handed grip should disengage the safety with the free-hand (“fumble insurance!”).


As soon as the weapon points at the target, fire.
Your handgun should have a double-action mode. A weapon without a manual safety, or that can safely be carried without this engaged should be selected. I have plenty of reverence for weapons like the Colt Government Model and Peacemaker, but when it comes to personal defence, and particularly quick-draw, your handgun should be as simple, straight-forward and least fiddly to operate as possible.
Through the entire drawing process your eyes should have been locked on your target, not your weapon. You should have adjusted your body to place the target on your centre-line. If your weapon has reached the centre-line and is pointing at the target, there is no reason to delay firing.
A standing human is taller than they are wide. If you have the aggressor on your centre-line, there is some margin for the elevation of your weapon. A first-round hit is very likely at the sort of ranges fast-draw would be used at. The pointing technique suggested tends to put the plane of the barrel parallel to the ground.
Accuracy and precision can be improved with practice, of course. A pair of silhouette targets, set up about six feet apart and eight feet away, is a good start. The Elmer Keith article had the useful suggestion that something like a tomato can laid on the earth was a good target for improvement. Missed shots were easily seen as impacts with the earth. Objects floating in bodies of water were also good targets.
As your accuracy increases, so too will the effective range of this technique.


Something I like about this particular system of quick-draw is that it nicely integrates with other fast-shooting techniques. Once the first shot is fired at half-hip or three-quarter position, the arm can continue to straighten and rise up to eye-level. If you are shooting using the basic F&S technique you fire as soon as the weapon reaches eye-level. If you have a shade more time you use your foresight like a shotgun bead and place it on the target. This is how you would use a reflex sight. If your fast first shot has brought you more time you can line up and use the iron sights.
Bringing the gun on to the centre-line may be fractionally slower than firing from over the hip. I think this is compensated for by the benefits this has to making accurate shot placement easier.

The Point of Bayonets

Reams have been written about the bayonet in the last one hundred years. Several US Army manuals begin by talking about “the Spirit of the Bayonet”. Much is written about the psychological effects training and using the bayonet is supposed to induce. We are even told “the bayonet is irresistible”.
As I noted in an earlier post, the practicality of the bayonet as a weapon was being questioned as early as the introduction of breech-loaders. Once machine guns became common, one would think the matter had been settled. Not so.

The Bayonet en Mass

Part of the problem with examining this topic is that many writers fail to distinguish between the use of the bayonet in massed charges and its use in personal combat.
Many bayonet manuals do not give much space to how a massed charge is to be actually conducted. Perhaps this was covered in other manuals. A US Army manual from 1916 informs troops that they should walk most of the distance to the enemy position so as not to unduly tire themselves. At 30-40 yards distance they may begin to move at double time, and rush the last few yards. A British manual from 1942 urges troops to approach the enemy position using all available cover. When reaching 20 yards distance, the unit was to form up for the charge and rush the final distance. When conducting massed charges it was felt important that a line formation was maintained. Given the effects of adrenaline and irregular terrain, this may not have been practical in many cases.
If one can approach to within 20 yards of an enemy position, there were probably better options than a bayonet rush. The position could be attached with multiple grenades, and automatic weapons used to sweep the visible sections of trench, for example.
Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart said:
“There are two thousand years of experience to tell us that the only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is to get an old idea out.”
The conventional military mind seems to have retained its fascination with the bayonet charge long after such tactics should probably have been retired. Certainly bayonet charges have been used since the Second World War. Charges were used in the Falklands War, and in Afghanistan.

Hill 180 Korea

One of the last great bayonet charges, for American forces at least, was the bayonet charge by Easy Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, against Hill 180.
“Commentary on Infantry Operations and Weapons Usage in Korea, Winter of 1950-51” by SLA Marshall has a chapter on the utility of bayonets, and the following observations about the attack on Hill 180:
“The tactical omissions, which accompany and seem to be the emotional consequence of the verve and high excitement of the bayonet charge, stand out as prominently as the extreme valor of the individuals. . . The young Captain Millett, so intent on getting his attack going that he “didn’t have time” to call for artillery fires to the rearward of the hill, though that was the natural way to close the escape route and protect his own force from snipers who were thus allowed a free hand on that ground. . . His subsequent forgetting that the tank fire should be adjusted upward along the hill. . .The failure to use mortars toward the same object. . .The starving of the grenade supply, though this was a situation calling for grenades, and the resupply route was not wholly closed by fire. . .The fractionalization of the company in the attack to the degree where only high individual action can save the situation, and individual ammunition failures may well lose it.

It cannot be argued that bayonet charges have not worked. And yet, one cannot help but wonder just how many lives have been needless expended because a massed bayonet charge was attempted rather than other more practical options. For a young officer the bayonet charge seems a gamble between a medal or a court martial. If they survive.

Individual Bayonet Use

Let us move to the more practical topic of the use of the bayonet as a personal weapon. In the second edition of “Crash Combat” I suggest that the use of the bayonet, or other close combat means are only attempted if the threat is within three body lengths. If the distance is greater, seek cover, reload and shoot, or some other tactic.
Older manuals recommend the bayonet be used for night combat where muzzle flash might expose your location. It is also to be used in close quarter situations where any firing might endanger comrades.
Three to four kilos of rifle does not make an ideal spear handle. It is, however “what you got”.
To use a bayonet, you must have a bayonet. Most modern bayonets are overweight supposedly multi-purpose tools of little actual utility. Understandably, many soldiers have discarded them in favour of more useful blades.
I won’t discuss techniques for unbayoneted weapons, since these are covered in my books.

When to Fix Bayonets

Assuming you have one, when should you fix your bayonet? Wartime British manuals require the bayonet to be fitted whenever the enemy is within 300 yards. Sights for shorter ranges were set to compensate for the changes the fitted bayonet made on point of impact. The Russians took this further. During wartime the Mosin-Nagant was always fitted with its bayonet. A fitted bayonet is necessary to zero the sights.
In a more modern context, it may be prudent to fix bayonets if engagement range is less than 50 metres.

The Indoor Bayonet

A fixed bayonet may seem a handy thing to have when sweeping a house. As well as its defensive use it can probe under beds or into other dark places. Bert Levy comments that within a building, bayonets are more a hazard to comrades and likely to get frequently caught on furniture. Levy was probably referring to sword bayonets mounted on relatively long bolt-action service rifles. Experiments need to be conducted to determine the best ways for teams to move with modern bayoneted weapons within building interiors. Since shooting will remain the primary offensive mechanism, this will probably be a low-ready position, rather than the high-port usually required for moving with bayoneted weapons.

À la Bayonet

Recently I read an entertaining and informative paper on the bayonet. Unfortunately the author devotes a big chunk of his discussion to perpetuating the bayonet wound fallacy. Later in the paper he graphically describes how visceral and final an encounter involving bayonets may be. It does not occur to him that this may be related to why there are so few bayonet wounds in the field hospital. Most victims never make it that far! Near the end of the on-line version of the article he states: “The Military Manual of Self-Defence (55) offers a series of aggressive alternatives to traditional bayonet fighting movements, its focus more on disabling the opponent than parrying until a clean point can be made. While not necessarily offering a full replacement to classic bayonet training, it does show that more options exist.”
This did amuse me. Firstly, The Military Manual of Self-Defence (Anthony Herbert) unashamedly copies entire sections from other works. Most of the bayonet section is taken from “Cold Steel” by John Styers USMC. The illustrations even still look like Styers! Styers, in turn, drew directly from Biddle (“Do or Die”), who was an instructor for the USMC. This “untraditional” system was that taught to most marines.
There is also an amusing irony here. During his military service, Herbert was wounded fourteen times. Three of them were from bayonets!


Stepping Back

Today I will look at another illustration from John Clements’ book on Medieval Swordsmanship.
This sequence shows how a downward strike is accompanied by a step forward with the right or rear foot, and the text describes how to resume the initial position (left). What I like about this is that if you view it right-to-left it equally illustrates a downward strike that follows stepping back with the left or lead leg. For example, an enemy targets your lead leg, so you step back to avoid the strike and simultaneously strike at his head. Striking low may have exposed the upper part of his body.
Medieval Sword and Shield describes a similar sequence, although this time the defender is in “half-shield” guard (above, left). Again, if the enemy strikes low, the targeted leg is brought back and the sword is brought down on the attacker.
Clements’ book makes a lot about the prevalence of leg wounds among the remains of the Battle of Visby. The above sequences suggest that attacking the legs was foolhardy, at least with shorter weapons such as swords. Some context helps us understand the discrepancy. The victorious Danish forces were mainly composed of professional soldiers and mercenaries. The Gutnish forces were primarily farmers, and only partially equipped with armour. It seems likely that professional fighters would readily exploit the defender’s lack of experience and equipment and target the legs. Whether such tactics were common in other battles against experienced fighters is open to debate.
The “step back while striking” drill has obvious applications to modern combat. If we do not hold a sword it can be adapted to other weapons or empty-handed techniques. In a previous post I have mentioned that the leg raising actions so typical of Scottish Highland dancing may have been training to take the leg out of the way of low strikes.
Many years ago I wrote about a very silly sequence that appears in some knife-fighting manuals. It should be apparent to readers that when an attacker threatens your leg, a more practical response will be to withdraw the leg and simultaneously strike at any target available, such as arm.

Selecting a Handgun

When choosing a handgun it is easy to be swamped in opinion. If you wish to be logical about your choice, there are several strategies that you can adopt.

Choice of Model

Hollywood, video games and even some writers often tell us one model of pistol has a superior performance to another, despite that in real life the two may use the same ammunition! The chambering of your handgun is probably the first aspect that you should consider. Once this decision is made, you can select a model based on size, mass, capacity, budget and other factors.
Ideally, you want an automatic pistol of about 7"/ 180mm overall length. As a primary weapon for concealed carry, you want a weapon of small bulk. As a secondary weapon for overt carry, a weapon of low weight is desirable, since you probably have a rifle or shotgun and enough other things to carry. Hence the recommended handgun is of compact/ sub-compact size.


If you are shooting someone in defence of your life, you want to make a big, deep hole in them. Yup, size does matter!
The optimal pistol round for this is the .45 ACP. The .45 ACP is compatible with a semi-automatic action, allowing for easy and fast reloading. There was a time when it was hard to find a .45 that was not a large, single-action weapon with a single-figure magazine capacity. Now we have a variety of compact and sub-compact double-action weapons, with useful magazine capacities. Thanks to US military aid, .45 ACP ammunition is reasonably easy to find in many parts of the world.
The standard load of the .45 is subsonic, making it a good choice for general military applications that may include the requirement for weapons to be suppressed. A .45 round that fails to mushroom will often make a wider wound channel than many 9mm and other medium-calibre rounds that do mushroom. .45s that do mushroom make very big wound channels.
The Textbook of Small Arms, 1929 notes:
“Rapidity of fire is an essential in pistol shooting, and though the double action of a revolver may well be ignored when it is considered as a target arm, it is of the highest importance when the pistol is considered from the active service point of view as a weapon…
“The value of the calibre of self-loading pistols and revolvers has been much obscured by theory, but practice of recent years has amply proved that small calibre plus high velocity, although developing many foot-pounds of energy, yet lacks stopping or shocking value. There have been many attempts to substitute a high-velocity cartridge of ·38 calibre, as a Service equivalent to the traditional ·455. In practice it has been found that the small calibre sometimes fails to stop its man and that the large-diameter leaden plug of the ·455, moving even 300 or 400 feet a second slower than the high-velocity, small-calibre projectile, is yet far more effective. Recent experiment has, however, developed a new experimental ·38 cartridge [.38/200 of 200gr] whose efficiency is, so far as ballistic tests can ascertain, not less than that of the ·455.
A hit with a ·455 anywhere literally [sic] knocks an adversary over. This quality of efficiency depends to some extent on the massive soft-lead bullet and the relatively low velocity rather than on any inherent magic in the calibre, for the ·455 or ·45 self-loading pistol firing a lighter nickel-covered bullet at a higher velocity cannot be depended on to produce equal shock effect.
The efficiency of the ·455 revolver cartridge is due to combination of the large calibre with the soft material, the mass, and the relatively low velocity of the projectile. These combine in such a way that the adversary experiences in his body the maximum development of shocking as distinct from penetrative effect. This is just what is wanted in an active service revolver. ”
It is interesting that nearly a hundred years later, this passage remains a good account of the issue, superior to many things written since. I am well aware some readers will get distracted by the semantics of some of the terminology used. Perhaps the most significant change since this was written has been the creation of jacketed hollow-point (JHP) ammunition that will feed reliably through an automatic. This has narrowed the gap in terminal effect between large-bore revolvers and self-loaders. Advances in bullet design intended to improve the performance of light, medium calibre, high-velocity bullets are even better applied to heavy, large-calibre rounds.


You may regard logistic considerations over effectiveness. The most common combat pistol round is the 9mm Luger, also known as the 9 x 19mm or 9mm Parabellum. This is the NATO standard pistol round, but its military and civilian use dates back to the 1900s. It was the round of the German, and other armies, for two world wars. The majority of sub-machine guns are chambered for this round. There are very few countries in the world where 9mm Luger cannot be found.
The medium-calibre 9 x 19mm is not as effective as the large bore .45, although many try to convince themselves it is. If you have very small hands, a 9mm model may offer a slimmer grip without compromising magazine size. Guns like the Berretta M9/92 are too big for roles other than as a primary overt weapon. As for 45s, a compact or sub-compact model is preferable.
In nations that have received Soviet or Chinese military aid, the 9mm Makarov round, aka 9 x 18mm, may be more readily found than the 9mm Luger. The 9mm Makarov is designed to be the most potent load that can be accommodated by a light, blowback-action pistol. Velocity and bullet weights are lower than the more powerful 9mm Luger. The 7.62 x 25mm round may also be common in countries that use Soviet or Chinese weapons. Most Soviet sub-machine guns, and their Chinese copies, are chambered in this round. In handguns, it is usually found in the TT33 Tokarev/ Type 51/ Type 54 and a few other Warsaw Pact designs, such as the Czech vz.52. Some of these weapons are still in use in certain parts of the world. The round is effectively identical to the 7.63mm Mauser round, so may be encountered in countries where the C96 Mauser “Broomhandle” was popular. The 7.63mm Mauser/ 7.62 x 25mm/ 7.62 Tokarev is a high-velocity round noted for its high penetration and flat trajectory. The small calibre creates a narrower wound channel than many other combat pistol rounds. W.E. Fairbairn was familiar with the round from his time with the Shanghai police. He suggested that the round was more effectively used if aimed at shoulder level, where the high-velocity round was most likely to shatter bones and create secondary missiles. This is fairly good advice for any pistol round.



The gun you have with you will always been more effective than the one you left at home because the latter was inconvenient to carry. There are some lightweight, low volume automatics in 9mm Luger. The 9mm Luger round requires a locked breech. Many smaller automatic pistols are simple, blowback weapons and therefore use cartridges other than the 9mm Luger. If you opt for a pocket automatic, the best choice is a weapon in either .380 ACP or 9mm Makarov. Pocket pistols in 9mm Makarov are fairly rare, but many duty weapons, like the Makarov PM/ Type 59, may be compact enough. A wider choice will be found in .380 ACP, also known as 9 x 17mm, 9mm Short or 9mm Kurtz. The .380 is slightly weaker than the 9 x 18m. Like the Makarov round, it is well suited to small, blowback pistols and is a better choice than smaller calibre options such as the 7.65mm/.32 ACP and 6.35mm/.25 ACP. Having less energy and momentum than a 9mm Luger or .45 ACP, hollow-point ammunition in .380 or 9 x18mm may be less reliable. 


Many small-frame models of revolver such as the Smith & Wesson J-frames and Colt Detective weigh under a pound, but only have five or six shots. Small medium-calibre revolvers in .38 Special, .357 Magnum and 9mm Luger are preferable to smaller-calibre weapons in .32 or .22. The 9mm Luger has the edge over the .38 in velocity, but the merit of revolver rounds is that they can use rounds that would not reliably feed through an automatic. The .38 and .357 cases can be loaded with wide-mouthed, soft, malleable, hollow-points, ideally of 200gr or more, that are likely to be more effective than any medium-calibre round an automatic can fire. If fired in an emergency from within a pocket, a pocket revolver has no slide to catch in the pocket lining. For similar reasons, models with concealed or internal hammers are preferable.

Special Purpose

.25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, 9 x 18mm and .45 ACP are all subsonic in standard loadings. The smaller rounds are sometimes preferred since they allow the use of a smaller weapon and suppressor.
Most .22 rounds are subsonic when fired from pistols, so are also suited to suppressed applications. .22 weapons are useful for target practice or for foraging. .22 revolvers often offer the option of switching between .22LR and .22 Magnum by exchanging cylinders. Some .22 revolvers can chamber more than six rounds.


Other than the exceptions already suggested, revolvers are not recommended. After more than a century of military service it is finally being accepted that claims that revolvers are more reliable than automatics are more theoretical than practical. Possibly, only in the instance of a misfire, does a revolver offer an advantage. This is offset by the greater ease in reloading and the usually larger ammunition capacities. For a given calibre, an automatic tends to be lighter and more compact than the equivalent revolver. You may be adept at quick wheel-gun reloads on the range, but under the stress of real combat it is better to keep dexterous actions as simple as possible.
Rounds such as the much hyped .40 S&W, .375 SIG and 10mm Auto are not recommended. These are all medium-calibre rounds, most loads trying to emulate the performance of the .357/125gr. Essentially just faster 9mm Luger. Unsurprisingly, performance is inferior to the .45. Logistically, ammunition in these chamberings may be difficult to find outside the US.
If a big deep hole is better, why the .45 ACP and not rounds such as the .44 Magnum or .50 AE you may ask? The answer is that we need control as well as power. For many shooters a quick follow-up shot with a .44 Magnum or similar may be difficult. No round can be guaranteed to always neutralize a threat first hit, or to always hit, for that matter. Another reason for using the .45 ACP is that most of the loads that exceed the .45 ACP in power are primarily revolver loads. For many reasons, not least its mass and bulk, the Desert Eagle is not recommended as a defence gun. The .45 Long Colt and .44 Special are more manageable, but usually found in revolvers, so the .45 ACP remains the best choice.
Both “Attack, Avoid, Survive” and “Survival Weapons” have advice on the use of firearms.

Shield and Buckler and Long Har Chuan

Recently I read a very interesting book called “Medieval Sword and Shield” by Paul Wagner and Stephen Hand. The generic title is a little misleading, since specifically the book covers the fighting system shown in I.33. Royal Armouries Ms. I.33, which is the earliest known surviving European fechtbuch (combat manual) and addresses the use of the sword and buckler. The book “The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship” by Jeffrey L Forgeng has a very nice reproduction and translation of I.33. The above volumes sit side by side on my bookshelf.
I.33 is not an easy work to understand. Medieval conventions on artwork make is uncertain as to the actual postures of the fighters, and the text is often less than clear and has some probable errors. It has been suggested that the manuscript was written for readers already familiar with the system described. Perhaps there was once an earlier “beginner’s course” manuscript, since lost to history.
If you read I.33 you will appreciate what a sterling job Paul Wagner and Stephen Hand have done in interpreting I.33 into a realistic fighting system. The book is comprehensive and logically laid out. Nearly every technique described is illustrated by a photo sequence, and in most cases the text is on the same page as the photos. As I know from personal experience, the latter is often much harder to achieve than one might think!

Stab-Knock and Shield-Knock

I.33 only deals with the use of sword and buckler, and the way these are used is distinctive. The buckler is seldom used independently. If the sword is held back in a cocked or charged position the buckler is advanced towards the foe. When the sword is forward the buckler is kept near the sword hand, and moved so that it is always between the sword hand and the likely approach of the enemy’s blade.

"Half-shield" counter and "Underarm" ward. Core techniques of I.33

Two of the core techniques of I.33 are “stab-knock/ thrust-strike (stichslac)” and “shield-knock (schlitslac)”.
A stab-knock is made when the buckler contacts and controls the opposing blade. Since the fighter is to keep sword and buckler together the stab-knock is both an attack and defence in single time. While the term thrust or stab is used, the attack may actually be a draw-cut or push-cut (aka “file”). Contrary to the tired old myth that medieval swords were only swung, I.33 shows a number of thrusts. Often the line of the sword obstructs the threat from the foe’s blade. This is reminiscent of the Long Har Chuan variant where an arm punches over an inward parry, simultaneously taking the parry over and striking. Addressing another common myth; in I.33 a parry or bind with the blade often precedes the involvement of the buckler.

A stab-knock (or possibly a shield-knock and strike). Hands would be closer together at the beginning of a stab-knock.

Shield-knock generally refers to binding the foe’s bucker with your own. Ideally this pins the opponent’s sword and buckler against his body, allowing the fighter’s sword to attack independently. The latter assumes the enemy has his sword-hand and buckler close together, as recommended by I.33. Shield-knock is sometimes seen applied to a buckler alone, or sometimes the sword-hand. If the enemy has not protected the sword-hand with his buckler then striking his arm with the buckler, preferably edge-on, is suggested. Shield-knock differs from stab-knock in that the sword may be wielded independently when a shield-knock is used.

Right stays too long in fifth ward, so left shield-knocks his buckler and strikes. A strike in the other direction would inhibit right's sword-arm from making a late attack. Left probably stepped to right's weak side, but this is not shown by medieval art.

Right shield-knocks both buckler and sword. With no opposition to his blade he strikes the head.

Distance, Wards and Counters

I won’t attempt to discuss most of the techniques in Medieval Sword and Shield since they would be hard to understand outside the context provided by the book.
A useful concept that the book describes is that of close distance, wide distance and out of distance. Close distance is when the fighters can strike each other without moving their feet. Wide distance is that where a stepping movement is needed to move into striking distance. Out of distance is where more than one stepping movement would be needed to reach striking range. Such terminology is fairly common in sword fighting circles but often not so clearly and simply stated in other martial arts.
Another useful concept is the book clearly distinguishes between the terms “ward (custodiis)” and “counter (obsesseo)” as used by I.33. A ward is a position you adopt before making an attack, while a counter is a position adopted in response to a ward. It is stressed that one should not “lie” in a ward. This echoes my own frequent comments about positions and stances not being static and being transitional.

Modern Applications

What can Medieval Sword and Shield teach the modern serviceman or prepper? More than you might think! For example, several of the core techniques show elements of Long Har Chuan, and I will deal with that topic further in a moment.
In Crash Combat I advise the baton and machete user to become familiar with rising and horizontal strikes. The two most versatile wards of I.33 are “underarm” and “priest’s special longpoint”. The bucker is held in a similar position for that recommended for the unarmed “alive-hand”.
While we have machetes and other long blades, a buckler is unlikely to be used. Some of the buckler techniques are not suited to larger shields such as a riot shield. In two of my books I describe using a helmet of entrenching tool in the weak hand to defend from a blade. The I.33 principle of keeping such a defence between your weapon-hand and the threat is directly applicable.
I.33 shows very few attacks to the hands or arms. The implication is that if the buckler techniques described are used such attacks are highly unlikely. In combat without bucklers the hands and forearms will often be targeted, whether a machete, baton or smaller blade is used. This is why you must keep your hands and yourself moving.

Long Har Chuan and Weapons

As I mentioned already, we can see the core principles of Long Har Chuan being used in some of the fundamental techniques of I.33. Long Har Chuan boils down to two ideas: When we make an inward parry, we take over with an outward parry. When we make an outward parry we simultaneously make an action with our other hand, either a strike or the beginning of another parry. If we parry a foe’s right hand with an outward parry from our right hand we would move left and hit him with our left hand.
Using a machete or baton has some influence on how Long Har Chuan is applied. If you have a long weapon in one hand you will likely favour its use. In offence the weapon has more reach and inflicts more damage. For defence it has more reach and is less vulnerable than your empty hand.

A bind. Note how bucklers cover the sword hand.

Suppose your enemy has a machete in his right hand, and you are configured the same. Your first move will be to bind his blade. “Bind” has a number of different meanings in blade fighting, and is used here to mean a sustained contact between blades, usually to exert control. Contact his blade on the outside, with your own, remembering that the strongest part of a blade is near the hilt, so attempt to bind “forte to forte”. Press his blade to your right and step in to your left. Make contact with his weapon arm with your left hand at the wrist, forearm or inner elbow. This hand controls, checks and monitors his weapon arm. This frees our weapon hand to unbind and strike at the foe’s neck. Rather than a broad swing, this may the a thrusting action, resulting in a thrust, draw-cut or push-cut. If we instead sensed his weapon arm reacting we might instead strike down at it with our blade. The procedure is similar for a bind on the inside of his blade, but in this instance his other hand is a potential threat and your should be ready to strike at this if necessary before attacking the neck. As can be seen, both inward and outward parries/ binds are taken over by the free hand to free the blade for use.