Vehicle Anti-Ambush Specifics

By Det. Sgt. Jeff Johnsgaard   |   Jun 3, 2021

In our last article, we discussed the 360° CQD shooting method which works extremely well in close quarters and is the only one we are aware of that offers

Two-handed aimed fire in 360 degrees from inside a vehicle.

360° CQD (close-quarter-defense) requires a couple of modifications to the support side hand and arm from the Isosceles/Weaver positions to perform it optimally. This article will be the first of a short series offered to those officers who have not had proper instruction in the system, so they can hopefully add this valuable technique to their toolbox without unintentional performance degradation or training scars.

The following is not meant to replace qualified instruction in the system. Much needs to be understood from structured live-fire progressions including using the large muscles of the back to stabilize recoil and the unique weapon handling movements for close quarters. Also, the weapon retention techniques are the best we have ever seen. The hope is to cover weapon retention fully in another article or a webinar for Calibre Press.

The main objective is to increase officer safety by increasing their abilities in the field. This is accomplished by knowing not only how to perform the techniques properly, but when to utilize them. This leads us to our first point of clarification for the system; when and how to use it optimally. This is much harder to convey in writing than through a demonstration. The main point is that it is not an “all or nothing” technique. 360° CQD has distinct advantages over other platforms, especially when inside a vehicle.  It is most optimally used transitionally (i.e. switching into and out of 360° CQD and Isosceles/Weaver in building searches, weapon protection scenarios, and even in vehicles as the situation dictates).

As the officer trains to be more proficient with 360° CQD, we found that they become much more fluid in transitioning between CQD and their preferred arms extended stance.  This means the typical engagement distances (0-20 feet) for 360° CQD tends to increase and the benefits for using CQD in other contexts outside a vehicle like defending from a weapon grab or a building search become commonplace.

These articles will mainly address the use of 360° CQD when inside a vehicle as we feel it offers the best solution available for that situation. This way officers will gain competence with it from inside a vehicle immediately, and later decide if or when to utilize the system in other situations.

In the interest of only putting out new information, we will not cover switching hands with the pistol or the unique method for eliminating dual sight picture that uses the opposite eye from the hand holding the pistol. These have been covered in other publications and can be referenced within them or at www.NaturalTactical.com. We teach a specific way of switching hands with the pistol for a reason. You can certainly use other methods, but we ask you to learn the reasons for the chosen technique to ensure you do not need to re-train later.

As stated, 360° CQD is meant to be used in conjunction with Isosceles/Weaver and

The compressed firing position of 360° CQD works in complete harmony with Isosceles/Weaver.

360° CQD offers an increased advantage because of its inherently compressed firing position for times when the officer would need to modify their pistol presentation and/or stance to gain a tactical advantage. Typically, the times an officer modifies their pistol presentation are (see below); Photo 1 – fighting to get to their pistol. Photo 2 – when close to a doorway. Photo 3 – when ambushed in a vehicle.

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3

As described in the first article, the pistol holding hand is the same as is optimal for the officer when using Isosceles/Weaver. There is a modification of the supporting hand by straightening the wrist and placing the pistol holding hand into the palm of the support hand. When done live fire, this immediately shows improved recoil management and increased ability to pivot around when seated to cover behind the officer (shown later in pictures #13 & #14). 

Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7

To continue to hold the pistol with an Isosceles/Weaver grip (picture #4) and bring it back closer to the body (Picture #5) would lead to a bent wrist (picture #6) and the officer fighting to handle recoil with their fingers. A straight wrist (picture #7) allows for a push-pull, isometric tension to be created with the support side hand and arm being pulled back to create stability. This pulling back is done much closer to the body than the traditional arms extended Weaver stance. Therefore, the large muscles of the back and biceps can be activated more, and stability is greatly increased.

To address proper understanding and training the term “360 Grip” was created. It refers to four principles:

  1. The officer’s optimal Final Firing Grip on the pistol with their pistol holding hand (identical to Isosceles/Weaver).
  2. Officer’s support hand has a straight wrist and the pistol holding hand is “punching” into the support hand palm. Also the supporting hand side elbow is pointing down and the deltoid/shoulder area is far more relaxed.
  3. The pistol is held closer to the body but the front sight is still about 12-14 inches away from the eyes (picture #8).
Photo #8
Photo #9
On occasion, we have seen people hold the pistol far too close to their face

The pistol is slightly canted 35° to 45° (picture #10). It is not “over-canted” to 90° (picture #11) because this will mean you need to raise your right forearm and elbow upward (if pistol in right hand) up to maintain proper alignment and recoil control. You will use smaller muscle groups which fatigue faster and are not as strong to begin with which is not optimal. Also, it is detrimental to sighting for many people as the sites are completely sideways and impairs ability to see to the right.

Photo 10
Photo 11

The final thing when beginning to train with 360° CQD is regarding the amount of head turn. As discussed in the previous article the sighting is optimally done with the opposite side eye from the hand holding the pistol. From sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and needing to cover the left (9-6 o’clock) position (picture #14) the officer would have the pistol in their right hand and use their left eye to aim. The left hand and right eye will be used to cover the right side (3-6 o’clock) position (picture #12).

Photo 12
Photo 14
Photo 13
Photo 15

You are sighting with both eyes open and not getting dual sight picture because the bridge of your nose blocks one eye from seeing the front sight. There is an optimal amount of head turn required to accomplish this. Too much head rotation can be uncomfortable for the eye and too little will mean you see the front sight with both eyes.

The following is how to identify the proper amount of head turn. Optimally you will want to turn your head only as much as is needed to eliminate dual sight picture and not much more. This way you are still using the central part of your eye which houses the most acute vision (fovea).

To find the amount of head turn to the right for a pistol held in your right hand and ultimately sighting with your left eye do the following:

Using an inert pistol held in your right hand, sit in a chair facing 12 o’clock and aim at a point to your left side at 9 o’clock in the Combat Position. Aim with your right eye for now and have your left closed or blocked from seeing, ultimately you will aim with your left (picture #16).

Now cover your left eye and keep aiming with your right eye (picture #17).

Photo 16
Photo 17

Now slowly turn your head to the right until your nose blocks your right eye from seeing the front sight (picture #18).

Photo 18