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Falling with a gun

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I don't see this being discussed, and cursory search didn't bring out much so I thought I'll bring it up. Two years ago I DQ'd midway through my first Nationals after a fall. Pushed too hard, lost the exact direction, overcorrected, and wiped out too fast to think of how to retain the gun. Today, in practice, fell again falling out of position going to my right (right handed shooter). Handled it better this time, didn't drop anything, muzzle in a safe direction etc. I was relatively low to the ground and broke the fall with strong hand elbow. Scratches are minimal but with the direction of the impact I now have what probably is a mild acromioclavicular sprain. Had to stop practice shortly after due to pain in the muscles around the shoulder joint with the recoil. I am sure it is a minor injury and I'll be back to norm in several days but that got me thinking. Does anybody work on this, admittedly unpleasant, skill of falling with a gun? I mean, this stuff is bound to happen, are we hoping that individual reaction and athleticism will help, or are there techniques and tips worth talking about?

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Afair I fell twice or thrice in matches but did not DQ. I still recall how I was so concerned and aware where my muzzle was at the same time not letting go of the pistol while falling. But I didnt practice them 😆

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I have a mental 180 whenever I'm handling the gun, in dry fire or practice or whatever. I think that constant regard for muzzle direction might help make it instinctive. 

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Posted (edited)

Both times I’ve fallen the solution has been to twist to the side and then land hard on my hip/side/shoulder without breaking my fall with my arms. Kept the gun squarely downrange.. and landing on an elbow would have resulted in, well, what happened to you. ;) 

 

Each time I had a mag pouch or holster wind up muddy. Each time I left the dried mud on it for a few months. As a reminder to watch my footing, or a battle scar, or simply out of laziness.

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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Breaking a fall is generally overrated, just like keeping your bright silly jersey clean.

Just ask any medical personnel who treat people in places where things get slippery. I recall broken wrists are among the most common serious consequences.

 

Get some lessons in falling. Judo, or something in that vein.

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I've fallen once with the gun which turned out fine but it did reinforce the importance of trigger finger discipline when moving.

I was running forward on a smooth concrete surface in worn motorcycle boots and my feet slipped forward when I tried to stop. The muzzle stayed pointing down range but also went up quite high and could have shot the ceiling of the indoor range I was in.  I don't think I swept my feet, but it occurred to me afterwards that it would have been easy.

Now I bring sneakers with me to the match so I can change out of all the bike gear.

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3 hours ago, perttime said:

Get some lessons in falling. Judo, or something in that vein.

 

Drinking is more fun.

 

That said, typical martial arts is that arcs roll, surface area is your friend and small flat surfaces go splat. Not sure that works well with a gun. 

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1 hour ago, IHAVEGAS said:

 

Drinking is more fun.

 

That said, typical martial arts is that arcs roll, surface area is your friend and small flat surfaces go splat. Not sure that works well with a gun. 

 

There's arcs all over you. If you do it wrong, there's flat surfaces and sharp corners, instead.

 

That said, a superman belly flop worked adequately once, when I was riding my bicycle home from work and a driver failed to observe that the Give Way sign also applies when the other party is not in a car.

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Ihad a gentlemen fall at a range once... rotated 180-degrees and ended up pointing the gun straight at my chest.... Wasn't a good situation. Sounds like you did well as the others here. Falling sometimes happens. All that matters is what happens to the firearm.

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I think some considerations are drop safe gun or not, practice or match. 

 

 

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I spent a few years learning to fall safely when doing martial arts, both empty-handed and with wooden knife/sword. I really don't want to apply this knowledge at a USPSA match or in training. Not only because of the need to avoid sweeping and breaking 180, but also because doing it on the gravel sprinkled with spent brass and rolling over mag holders will be very unpleasant.

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I think this is a situation where muzzle awareness and trigger finger awareness are important. I have fallen a couple times in matches in mud or loose rock and all I can remember is as I was falling to keep the muzzle down range and trigger finger out of the trigger guard. That way you can get back up and keep shooting.

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Posted (edited)

I fell during my last match, but it was at the point of planting my feet to shoot through a window. 

As soon as my shoe hit the concrete it slid away and I landed on my backside. This way it was easy to keep the gun in a safe direction, get back up and proceed with the stage. 

A guy after me in the same squad stood at that same window, took his shots and proceeded to step back with his left foot to start running back and to the left....

His left foot slid away as soon as it hit the concrete and he fell flat on his face, and his safety glasses cut through his brow and forehead. 

The point I'm trying to make is, you might get lucky and fall in a 'controlable' manner, but if you're unlucky you break your fall with your forehead on the concrete...with no way of controlling your firearm....   I think it's really difficult to somehow practice this, as it's gonna be so unexpected, sudden and different everytime it happens.... 

 

I live in the Netherlands so almost all our matches are indoor, mostly on concrete floors.  The summertime is a nightmare as the ranges usually consist of thick concrete walls, ceilings and floors and cool inside. As soon as we put on the ventilation system, warm outside air comes in and you end up with condensate on the floors, making it an ice rink.....

Edited by WFargo

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I've gone down a few times. 

Once going forward and just supermanned into the ground. I shoot a gun with a safety so when I decided there was no saving it, turned the safety on and just braced for impact. 

 

Once at a indoor match, tried to stop, feet kept going on the slick concrete and ended up on my but. It only hurt after ULSC. 

Third at a IDPA I tripped on some drainage grate thing in the middle of the stage and thought I was going to go flat on my back, somehow managed to flip around and pancake myself on top of the gun. Which is good because I thought I'd get DQ'd if I had just thrown all my arms and legs straight out. It happened so fast and its IDPA...so.....

 

Both times have one thing in common, point the gun downrange and grip the s#!t out of it to avoid dropping it. Once you've stopped bouncing, get up and keep shooting

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3 minutes ago, WFargo said:

The summertime is a nightmare as the ranges usually consist of thick concrete walls, ceilings and floors and cool inside. As soon as we put on the ventilation system, warm outside air comes in and you end up with condensate on the floors, making it an ice rink.....

 

Concrete finishers like to show off and give you a smooth as glass surface. I prefer a broom finish surface even though it is not as easy to keep clean and it is noisy when you roll stuff across it. 

 

There are ways to roughen an existing surface. The safety guys at work decided to solid paint concrete to establish designated walkways, it rained a few days later and we slipped and slid all over the wet spots on the paint, friction paint fixed that but I think it was a bit pricey. I do not have experience with mechanical roughening but saw a few articles on a web search. 

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10 hours ago, lstange said:

I spent a few years learning to fall safely when doing martial arts, both empty-handed and with wooden knife/sword. I really don't want to apply this knowledge at a USPSA match or in training. Not only because of the need to avoid sweeping and breaking 180, but also because doing it on the gravel sprinkled with spent brass and rolling over mag holders will be very unpleasant.

 

I'd say that not being afraid of falling is the main benefit of some training in falling. And then instincts to minimize the impact. No need to go for fancy ukemis at the range.

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The hand with the gun must stay down range, don't think about anything else. The other arm and legs can protect you and cushion the fall!!

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10 hours ago, perttime said:

 

I'd say that not being afraid of falling is the main benefit of some training in falling.

 

 

I am generally not a good mover but I do think that my fall at the Nats has impacted on, pun intended, how deliberate my movement became after. That was a very violent fall, breaking mag pouches that didn't even directly impact the ground and giving me a decent hematoma on the shin. I do believe that confidence in being able to handle a fall has a decent downstream effect.

2 hours ago, chrisa006 said:

 The other arm and legs can protect you and cushion the fall!!

 

Not if your legs are bent and you're falling in the direction of your strong hand, which is what happened with me this Sunday. The only thing that I think I could've done better was not to break the impact with the elbow but the shoulder.

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1 hour ago, YVK said:

you're falling in the direction of your strong hand, which is what happened with me this Sunday. The only thing that I think I could've done better was not to break the impact with the elbow but the shoulder.

Breaking the impact with the elbow is dangerous. With enough energy and hard surface you can fracture not just the elbow but also the clavicle, and there is some pretty important stuff around the clavicle you don't want ruptured. Falling sideways on the shoulder can have similar result.

 

There is a way to do kinda-sideways roll (abovementioned ukemi), but it's not easy and at the end you will still likely land on your mag pouches (ouch).

 

My current solution is not to push so hard to avoid falling in the first place. I know it's not very competitive, but I don't see a better alternative.

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I have a story about the dangers of falling while shooting. While not with a pistol I was running with a shotgun in my hands. While running uphill I realized that I was falling. I did the land on my elbows thing. I didn't do anything that warranted a dq. I hopped back up and kept shooting. The next day I was found unconscious and taken to hospital. They diagnosed me with a delayed concussion. This fall was hard enough to give me brain damage so bad I'm still dealing with it 2.5 yrs later. And I'm been on disability since. 

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