How To Use The
Low Ready Position

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  • Three Places For The Defensive Handgun
    • Holstered
    • Pointed at target
    • Low Ready


        There are extenuating circumstances that demand the pistol's position be placed elsewhere.

        This would be for cover, entering narrow places, and so forth. Very seldom is the weapon held in High Retention, other than in a crowded small room with others, so as not to cover another's back with the firearm; it is best to stay back from openings and use Low Ready or Low Retention if doing a building search.

        This is a judgement call, but keep the weapon's muzzle pointed away from others doing search with you.

        The Ready Position (gun creates about a 45° (degree) angle to the ground and target) can be quickly moved up to High Ready Presentation (aka Point Position).


        You would use "Rock & Lock," or "Weapon Retention Position," or "Close Contact Position" if forced to negotiate narrow spaces. If attacked quickly and distance is extremely close and you could not move back, you would use the "Speed Rock" position.


        Never dangle the gun in one hand, pointing it to the ground, after an encounter. This projects weakness and insecurity. The incapacitated criminal may not be incapacited (stopped), even though he is down.

        He will, and any accomplices ("Layouts") he has, as well as innocent bystanders read you consciously or unconsciously as inept. Neither present the Ready Position weakly by slouching (drooping, hunching, stooping, etc.), nor move without assurance--"Chicken Walking."

        Move with command, control, and authority.

        You must project strength and confidence at all times. If not, this may well get you attacked again by an assailant you thought incapacitated. You could still be attacked regardless of what you project to the criminal mind.

        You are also projecting to yourself---by your bearing and demeanor---confidence and ability, through your commanding control and authority.


        Remember! "Your job as the intended victim is to bring the fight to a conclusion in your favor in as little time and with as few shots fired as possible, not just make the attacker fall down. And "...the mission of the handgun is to defend against the unexpected attack. In other words, control of your immediate environment has been taken from you forcibly and without warning. The handgun allows you to get it back." Thus, you must command all the skills in your repertoire of training.--- Combat Handgunnery, Chuck Taylor; pp. 127; 153.


        If the gun is in the hand and not being fired at the target, then it should be in the Ready Position; the trigger finger is outside the trigger guard, and if it has a safety, as in the SA 1911, it should be pushed on (engaged) with the thumb on top of the safety ready to push it off (disengage). If a double action auto with decocker, the "click"..."click" is applied. The first click drops the hammer safely; the second click arms the gun for firing mode (safety off, hammer down). Do not drop the hammer by any other means. This can overcome the drop safety.

  • Two Reasons For The Ready Position

    • Gun is in the firing-grip, and you have already confronted someone with High Ready Presentation, saying , "Let me see your Hands...Let me see your hands...(no show, Fire!)" If the aggressor has a gun in his hands, you can issue the challenge; but Gabriel Suarez (p. 9, The Tactical Advantage) and others say to shoot him where he stands (See When To Shoot, elsewhere on this WebSite; for now get Texas Concealed Handgun Laws; Chapter 2, 'Selected Deadly Force Statutes'). Or get your state's concealed handgun laws booklet.

          "In most states, only when you feel that the intruder's actions threaten you or your family with either imminent death or great bodily injuury,...can you use deadly force---p. 155, Combat Handgunnery, 4th ed., Chuck Taylor.

          While you are issuing commands, don't see his hands, he can draw and shoot you. Also, it takes you 0.25 sec to realize what he is doing, and if talking to him, add another 0.75 sec., John Farnam writes in Defensive Handgunning.

          Therefore, you are already behind the action curve and talking makes it worse. If he has a gun, he can shoot before you realize what's going on; or, at most, you both get shot. This is not what you want. You want to be the winner. You could die from the wounds.

    • Once the target is actually fired upon, the gun should quickly be returned to the Ready Position for Post-Shooting Assessment. However, if he doesn't drop out of the sights, don't assess--raise the sights to the cranial vault and shoot again for the brain stem area.--- The Tactical Pistol: How To Improve Your Combat Shooting Skills by Gabriel Suarez; pp. 147; 149.

  • Post-Shooting Assessment. This allows critical Legal and Tactical decisions before weapon presentation again or holstering the firearm. Practice carefully and correctly because you are now programming your subconscious. The subsconscious doesn't make value judgements, it only records right or wrong.

    • Note: If sights are on the "Center of Mass," and you have made two shots correctly to that area, don't lower the pistol to evaluate. If the target doesn't drop out of the sights, raise the pistol sights to the cranial valult region and fire two shots to the brain stem area for instant incapacitation.--- The Tactical Pistol: How To Improve Your Combat Shooting Skills by Gabriel (Gabe) Suarez; pp. 147; 149.

    Any haphazard or sloppy happy -go- lucky practice procedures will result in the same action when you want correct, accurate procedures to see you through your deadly encounter.

  • Lethality vs. Incapacitation (from Combat Hangunnery, Chuck Taylor)

        You decide to stop at the 7-11 for milk and bread..."and there he was. He was brandishing a cheap 38 Special revolver in one hand, a fistful of money in the other. The clerk was lying on the floor in an ever-spreading pool of blood, unconscious, helpless...maybe even dead."

        "the gunman looks at you with feral eyes and you know he's going to kill you. As the gun in his hand begins to move, your hand flashes inside your jacket, obtains, a proper firing grip, and the weapon moves like lightning to intercept your supporting hand, forming a textbook Ready Position. Halfway between the holster and the intercept point, the thumb safety is disengaged, making your 9mm Browning Hi-Power ready to roll. You know all this has happened, even though your eyes haven't left his. You know because you've dry-practiced it hundreds of times in your own living room (or live fire at the range).

        "His eyes widen a bit as he realizes you're not the sucker he thought you were, but although you challenge him and tell him to drop his weapon, it continues menacingly upward. As it rises in front of his snarling face, your firing eye picks up the Browning's front sight, sharp and clear.

        "And although you don't remember pressing the trigger, the gun speaks twice, sending its deadly message to the thug now doing his level best to blow off your head. Something tugs at your collar as it passes, but as the mind-rending concussion dies away, the Browning quickly lowers to Ready. Your eyes focus on him, looking for results.

        "Curiously, the silence is deafening.

        "He staggers slightly, but remains erect. His gun, now with a faint wisp of smoke delicately curling from its muzzle, stays in his sagging, but still upraised, hand. His eyes fade, then refocus. He lurches, but stays on his feet, the gun in his hand again rising as he glares at you in a snarl born of unremitting sociopathic hatred...

        "Oh my God!---Failure to stop!

        "...What are you going to do...?

        "The next two seconds will see the most important decision you'll ever make--one that will quite literally mean the difference between life and death---yours.

        "...the failure to stop happens all the time. What is a failure to stop? It's when your attacker isn't neutralized by your deadly force response to his assault...," regardless how proficient and rapid you were in using lethal force to his deadly assault.     "...he may expire in minutes, hours or days from his wounds, he remains sufficiently mobile to continue his efforts to achieve his goal, which is your demise.

        "You can kill (lethality) a man yet not stop (incapacitate) him. If that happens you'll die. As the last vestiges of life left them, many have asked, "What did I do wrong?", wondering how they could have won the fight. Lethality---the ability to cause death" is too often what one thinks of in a gunfight,
    "...when the real issue is incapacitation, which is rendering your attacker incapable of further lethal aggression."

        "You can stop a man yet not kill him, although such wounds are also often lethal."

        Everybody equates death with stopping immediately when relating to a gun fight with a lethal wound. But it just isn't so. What they don't know is that the aggressor using deadly force sustaining lethal wounds (such as to shots to the Center of Mass of the Torso) may die later, but could kill you before then. The uninformed equates death of an aggressor with winning. But recall the person immediately above, was dying wondering what he did wrong; how could he have won the fight?

        Most equate death with stopping an adversary immediately, when relating to a gun fight with a lethal wound. But it just isn't so. What they don't know is that the aggressor using deadly force sustaining lethal wounds (such as two shots to the Center of Mass---heart and the great blood vessels of the body) may die later, but could kill you then. The uninformed equates death of an aggressor with winning. Again, recall the person above, he was dying wondering what he did wrong; how could he have won the fight?

        After the Center of Torso Mass shot, reaccess, if the situation permits, and go to the head shot. However, It is now being taught in many circles, your gunmasters writing this too,
    if the threat does not drop from the sights of your pistol after two quick shots, raise the pistol sights in a split-second to the cranial vault, shooting for the brain stem.

        Years ago, police agencies said to shoot the legs out from under the attacker if the chest shot did not stop him. the problem was that the aggressor could still retaliate with deadly fire from the ground. Then the idea of shooting the attacker in the pelvis surfaced. This was better than hitting the legs. The problem was that the bullet often punched through the pelvic area and did not down the assailant.

        Finally it was realized that the head shot would cause instant neutralization in most instances, if not all.
    "Remember above all that the thing that kills innocent people in gunfights is their own morally-inbred hesitation to kill fellow beings. It is not a consideration shared by the criminals the private citizen may someday face."---In The Gravest Extreme, Massad F. Ayoob; p. 117.

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Because you will be in this State of Mind:

Don't Let The Threat Get Between You and Your Gun!

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