Gunsite Day Two: Fighting Out of a Threat

Katie Pavlich

4/14/2013 12:46:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

* Editors note: TOWNHALL News Editor Katie Pavlich is participating in a multi-day firearms training course at the Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Stay tuned for daily dispatches. The third dispatch is below. As the dispatches accumulate, they'll all be available here.

PAULDEN, Ariz. - Here at Gunsite everyone is armed with a pistol on their hip and it feels like the one of the safest places I have ever been. Buz Mills, the owner of Gunsite, carries a Smith & Wesson 1911.

Being armed at all times requires a certain mindset, an attitude that enables you to defend your life in the presence of a threat. As my instructor Dave told me Saturday, “the majority of this is mental.” And he’s right.

Gunsite instructors aren’t here to teach people how to shoot, they’re here to teach people how to save their lives and fight their way out of a threat. The goal is always to stop the violent behavior of an attacker, which often times can take more than two rounds to accomplish. The AR-15 is a fighting gun and when used properly, will stop a threat from continuing a violent action.

Saturday, I learned how to fight my way out of a threat using four main positions.

Standing/Fighting stance: standard shooting position. Left foot slightly in front of the right, knees slightly bent, hips square to the target, chest over the belt buckle.

 photo ScreenShot2013-04-14at123111AM_zpse8df1bf6.png
(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

Kneeling: kneeling position comes in three forms, Brace (like a lunge, one knee forward one knee back with behind resting on the back leg), Speed (just like a regular lunge) and Double Knee (both knees on the ground). All three forms are entered either from standing or from Prone position. Double knee gives the shooter the most mobility.

More training photos and videos on page two.

Squatting: exactly as it sounds. Shooter squats down and puts both elbows on the insides of the legs for support.

 photo ScreenShot2013-04-14at123040AM_zps709022a7.png
(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

Prone: entire body is against the ground, giving the shooter the most stable position. Prone can be entered easily from standard position by dropping down to kneeling and then onto the floor or ground.

 photo ScreenShot2013-04-12at114838PM_zpsa8396cda.png

(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

In addition to learning how to shoot from these positions, I learned how to move efficiently and effectively while engaging a threat. Keeping the knees bent allows for faster movement and more control. In the video below, you’ll see me move from a “low-ready” position with my carbine to a ready and fire position.


The AR-15 is a close range tool and rifle, unlike conventional rifles. Despite the narrative recently in certain political circles, it is compact, easy to handle and offers close range accuracy. It can be used inside and outside of the home for self-defense. The Gunsite student handbook describes carbines being “politically incorrect” as a disadvantage.