Pointing guns at people you have no intention of shooting to force compliance with your demands is poor business.
–Ed Head in his article Pistol Provocation
I agree with this statement and feel it can be even further amplified from the perspective of training people how to Control a Confrontation. The statement can be, and has been, misconstrued by the inexperienced into “I believe that the first time any bad guy should know you are armed is when he sees the muzzle flash.” As a philosophy, reluctance to display a firearm without firing is a mistake. The majority of criminals are looking for a victimization not a fight. The display of a firearm by the intended victim, along with the obvious intent to use it if necessary, is an indicator that the victimization has the potential to turn into a fight. That’s not what economic predators are looking for.
Let’s consider the Policy (556.80) of the Los Angeles Police Department for DRAWING OR EXHIBITING FIREARMS.
Officers shall not draw or exhibit a firearm unless the circumstances surrounding the incident create a reasonable belief that it may be necessary to use the firearm in conformance with this policy on the use of firearms.
Stated as a positive action when adjudicating Use of Force incidents, the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners generally uses language similar to the following, when the Drawing/Exhibiting was ruled justifiable.
The BOPC determined that all personnel had sufficient information to believe the situation might escalate to the point where deadly force may become necessary. Therefore drawing the weapon was in policy.
Armed Citizens need to practice two Presentations; 1) Challenge and 2) Shoot. I use the term Presentation in a broad sense because the pistol might be in a container other than a holster, for instance, someone at home may have a pistol in a container or safe. The principle still applies. While some trainers would say this violates Hick’s Law, the fact is that the effect of Hick’s Law has been proven to dissipate when training in the various options has been undertaken.
Challenging should be done from a Ready position that does not involve pointing the pistol at the aggressor, just as Ed states. If the necessity to shoot arises, the pistol is then brought on target and fired.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no time difference between bringing the weapon onto target to fire vis-à-vis having the weapon already aimed at the target. Nor is there any demonstrable difference of starting out with the finger on the trigger v. off the trigger.
My experience is that very few gunowners practice the Presentation to Challenge nor firing beginning from a Challenge position. This is a major weakness in their skill sets. Challenging can easily be practiced at home with an inert (blue) gun. Anyone who is serious about improving their skillset should own a bluegun of their real defensive gun.
There is a caveat to this doctrine. A friend of mine lives and works in Central America as a security consultant and trainer. His counsel to me is that, in his experience over the past three decades, Latins rarely find the presence of a pistol unsettling “unless they are looking down the bore.” With the heavy influx of Central Americans into the United States lately, this may be a consideration.