Reitz explains what works in gunfights. It is a firm, unyielding and fundamental grounding in the basics of pistol craft. He doesn’t provide a training résumé in the book, but it is very easy to see who influenced his thinking and training in his formative days, and that would be Col. Jeff Cooper. As many more advanced students of the art know, Col. Cooper pretty much defined the modern art of gunfighting by his work as founder of the American Pistol Institute and Gunsite Academy. And, while shooting techniques evolve (and in some cases devolve) over the years, the Modern Technique of the Pistol, as quantified by Cooper and his instructors is a tried and proven method of resolving interpersonal deadly encounters. But, lest one should think this book is simply a rehash of Cooper’s Modern Technique doctrine, understand that Reitz has taken what was good about the Modern Technique and incorporated that good with what he has learned about gunfighting from his own experiences, and that is made clear when discussing shooting stances:
“In a gunfight there is often no way to utilize either of the classic shooting stances,” he writes, referring to Isosceles and Weaver stances. “Shootings have occurred from every conceivable unconventional position that you can envision. In a vast number of shootings, the subject of stance–on which so many people have mired themselves in controversy–would be of a purely academic nature.”
He really doesn’t care what stance a shooter utilizes, as long as it works for the shooter in the variety of instances in which the shooter might find him or her self.
The Art of Modern Gunfighting is written from a professional police officer’s perspective and a law enforcement trainer’s experience, and the instruction directly targets his brothers and sisters in blue. But this should not detract from the lessons that a private-sector armed citizen (such as most all members of the Network) can learn from the book.
Reitz does not go into police tactics, and correctly so. What he does go into, in great length and detail, are manipulation and shooting techniques that are tried and true. A person mastering the skills explained and illustrated in this book would be quite well equipped to prevail against the most hardened of criminals.
Also of importance to Reitz, and effectively communicated, is the combat mindset needed to survive a critical life and death incident. First, he clearly discusses many of the legal issues surrounding the decision to use deadly force in self defense, and I could see nothing I would criticize in his chapter on lethal force, which appears early in the book. Later, in the closing chapters he fully addresses the concept of using aggression and decisiveness to stop a threat against you or loved ones, once the threshold of use of deadly force in self defense has been met.
In closing, The Art of Modern Gunfighting is not your typical 6" x 9" trade paperback. Instead, it is full-sized and full-color, with plenty of descriptive photographs to make sure the reader understands exactly what the author is trying to convey. Printed on heavy, slick, glossy paper, it has the feel and appearance of a coffee table book, but one in which the subject matter is deadly serious. Because of this obvious quality, at $34.95 it is at the higher end of the price range, but considering the content, background and the fact that this is one book that will become a permanent part of the library of any serious student of the art of defensive handgunning, it is a recommended purchase. Copies can be obtained at http://www.internationaltactical.com/book1.html
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