Recently, black belt elements of my instructor cadre and I completed a Simunition-based handgun defense seminar.

And while there were many lessons learned, one in particular really stood out to me. But before I outline that critical lesson, some background is appropriate. The seminar started with 18 students, ranging in experience from 5 years of dedicated practice to a few students that were counting their Krav Maga experience in single digit months – not years.

With this diverse group, the instructors focused on the specific actions that must take place to achieve redirection before the handgun is discharged. These actions all employ the hands / body / feet movement principles of Krav Maga – and cover the most common mistakes made in making an initial movement towards a handgun for the purposes of redirection (specifically various telegraphing movements).

By the end of the seminar, every student had attempted to make a defense with redirection being the key objective. Every student was also filmed with an app that functions like a high speed camera, so that every movement can be broken down and analyzed frame by frame. In the end, each student had to make his/her defense against a Krav Maga Houston instructor wielding the Simunition handgun. The majority of students were successful at avoiding the discomfort of being plunked by a Simunition round in the chest.

However, those that were shot were exclusively shot in virtually the same exact spot – dead center in the chest (no exceptions). To put a fine point on this, no one was shot in the left or right side of the chest, shoulder, or arm. Every single mark from the Simunition round was virtually identically located.

The critical finding, no matter how anecdotal some may believe, is this…the redirecting movement is almost completely dependant on the quality of the movement being made to the handgun. Inversely, if you can make a quality movement to the handgun and avoid being shot by a gunman, there is a high likelihood that you will continue to make the redirection without being shot at all (utilizing a Krav Maga defense). While our sample size is small; the results are nevertheless worth serious consideration.

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