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Thread: "getting off the x"

  1. #1
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    "getting off the x"

    First off: this is NOT about James Yeager/Tactical Response.

    I want to start a discussion of the concept of moving off the line of force, commonly called "getting off the x"...

    I have some opinions, but I want to hear what you out there think first.

    Is this technique always appropriate? Is it oversold by those instructors who teach it? Can it be a detriment? What does "getting off the x" actually mean? How does shooting-on-the-move reconcile with moving off the line of force?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thekatar View Post
    What does "getting off the x" actually mean?
    That's what I'm wondering right now.
    "What would a $2,000 Geissele Super Duty do that a $500 PSA door buster on Black Friday couldn't do?" - Stopsign32v

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thekatar View Post
    What does "getting off the x" actually mean? How does shooting-on-the-move reconcile with moving off the line of force?
    I would think it has something to do with: Don't be a target. Engage the target.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Thekatar View Post
    First off: this is NOT about James Yeager/Tactical Response.

    I want to start a discussion of the concept of moving off the line of force, commonly called "getting off the x"...

    I have some opinions, but I want to hear what you out there think first.

    Is this technique always appropriate? Is it oversold by those instructors who teach it? Can it be a detriment? What does "getting off the x" actually mean? How does shooting-on-the-move reconcile with moving off the line of force?
    This should be an interesting thread. I've seen and practiced this technique a few times and it is a valid response. It is a natural instinct to get out of harms way, especially gun fire, so the technique does build on that aspect. Is the technique always appropriate? That would be situationaly dependent on the immediate cover available (vs caught in the open) and at what distance you'd have to move to get to that cover. If you'd have to move, then you would indeed be getting off the X.

    Quite a few years ago, in a class watching "Stickup videos" where the BG robbed a merchant, the merchant draws a weapon, BG shoots at merchant, merchant returns fire, kills BG or both empty their weapons. In everyone of those vids, neither person stood still. Each was firing while moving and ducking for cover. Most shot at each other, hitting everything but each other, finally, the BG runs out or either gets lucky and shoots the other. Both were trying to get off the X, or each others last known location/kill zone. It also validates shooting on the move and point shooting at close range, which was why I was in the class to begin with.

    Again, is the technique always appropriate? That would depend on your situation and how quickly you detect the threat, how your decision making process allows you to deal with that threat, based on cover available AND how fear/shock, affects your ability to deal with that threat (Move and shoot VS going into the Freeze/Sheepel mode) I think any technique which follows natural instinct can only up your odds in surviving such an encounter. Can it be a detriment? I'm sure doing anything, to include doing nothing, will be a detriment, but at least this technique will IMHO, increase your odds in not getting killed.
    For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before! The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted." - Rudyard Kipling

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    I think it's simply a way to acknowledge that the normal response to danger is to move away from it, and training yourself to deal with it. You see those clerks in the videos rharris mentions running laterally simply because they're back is against the wall (literally) and they can't back up.

    Don't try to train to do something you're not going to.

    I've been to two classes recently that were totally different, but that had the common thread of repeatedly addressing the difference between what you think you're training for and what you're actually going to do.

  6. #6
    ToddG Guest
    Both the concept and the motto pre-date Yeager et al by many years. It was primarily intended as part of a counter-ambush strategy ... the idea being that if a bunch of BGs had picked the place to ambush you, being somewhere else asap was probably a good idea. The enemy probably picked their location for maximum effect so getting out of that location lessens their advantage. Of course, if the goal of the ambush is to drive you into another even more dangerous location ...

    From an individual "tactics" standpoint it's a bit different. Ken Hackathorn has done a lot of testing when it comes to the often-taught "take a step as you draw" thing, and last I spoke to him about it he still felt it added zero to your defensive capability. Basically, at handgun distances, moving two feet isn't likely to save you from a hail of bullets, a knife, or whatever.

    On the other hand, if you can actually get away from the attack while delivering fight-stopping hits then do so. Making distance is a key to dealing with contact weapons (assuming you're beyond contact distance when the fight starts), for example. As rharris points out, it's a very natural ingrained reflex to get away from lethal danger. Contrary to popular belief, most untrained people do not stand still when being shot at. They move. Incorporating that natural response into your planned response might be a smart idea, then.

    Furthermore, distance benefits the skilled shooter. If your opponent is just spraying & praying, the farther you get from him the more bullet-free space exists inside the funnel of random unpleasantness he's pointing at you. While we're all familiar with the KILOD numbers that officer deaths occur at a range of something like 5-10 feet on average, studies examining shootings in which officers prevailed tend to place the ranges much farther away. I don't have my notes in front of me but I remember learning at an IALEFI conference a few years back that when an officer is able to get 15yd away from his attacker, he's almost always the victor in a shootout.

    So from my perspective:

    Taking a step out of the way for the sake of moving one step: waste of time.

    Initiating movement, moving toward cover, etc.: valid.

  7. #7
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    I agree with you Todd that moving just a couple of steps simply to move is probably a waste of time. The idea of buzzer-step-draw-step-fire is probably pretty pointless.

    I can, however, see merit in training to get moving at the point that a threat is realized, draw on the move, and keep moving while assessing and engaging if needed.

    Which isn't to say that you shouldn't train standing still and/or from some sort of retention position for those times where your movement is restricted and/or eliminated.

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    As I understand it, "Getting off the X" basically means making it hard for your opponent to see, fix, or hit you. It means not being a statue and is the second task behind the concept of "Shoot, move, and communicate".

    This is done for various reasons which dependent on your situation. In most cases, this action forces your opponent to reset their OODA loop. This is especially important when someone is trying to hurt you with a knife, club, or even a fist. In these cases, not only is it important to move, it is also important to move in such a direction that you can maximize your position.

    In other instances, moving away from the line of fire is all you need to do. This way the opponent will be sending projectiles to where they thought you were; not to were you are or will be.

    This concept is nothing new. Such Warriors as the Samurai have been using it for Centuries. In Kenjutsu they teach you to move at the very last possible moment so that your opponent will not have the time to redirect their blade to where you moved to thus leaving themselves vulnerable to your blade. Warriors of other cultures have also used this concept in a similar fashion.

    It is unfortunate that this type of an action is not allowed in some venues. I made it a habit to take at least a half step (more if the situation allows) one way or the other whenever I make a presentation. But I was told to stop this during qualifications because it made a lot of the Instructors nervous.

    IMHO, "Getting off the X" is one of the most important and simplest concept that all shooters should learn and practice.
    We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin. - Pope Francis I

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    I thought it meant getting out of the kill zone..............
    Chief Armorer for Elite Shooting Sports in Manassas VA
    Chief Armorer for Corp Arms (FFL 07-08/SOT 02)

  10. #10
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    The general principle behind the tactic is as Carlos touched upon. It is supposed to cause the threat's OODA loop to be reset due to the sudden movement that is occuring. This is often taught by certain schools as conducting a side step (maybe shoulder width), then drawing your weapon and doing what needs to be done. When I trained with Bill Jeans, he too, advocated stepping off the line of attack. However, Bill wants you to take a HUGE step instead of a normal side step. As he told me, "if you take that small step you are only changing the where the rounds hit you from the center of your chest to a few inches in either direction. Bill, also wanted you to progress to the point where you were drawing and getting your hits at the same time you are moving.

    I know Randy Cain has also covered this in his courses. IIRC, Randy prefers you to step back at a 45 degree angle. The idea being that you are stepping off the line of attack AND increasing the distance between you and the threat. Rob_s or one of the guys that have trained with randy more than me might be able to clarify that some.

    In my personal view, I think it is a viable tactic. IMO, it starts you moving and gets you out of the "stand and duke it out" mindset we sometimes see. I especially see it as being a viable tactic to police officers.

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