Monday, May 19, 2014

How About Some Pie?

Do you like pie?  I know I do.  Maybe you even have a favorite pie.  But what about tactical pie?

Unlike Superman, we can’t look through walls to see if anyone is hiding on the other side of a corner.  We need to peek around the corner and see them and their ambush before they see us.  This technique is called pieing a corner.   

What we’re trying to do is to see part of a potential target before they can see us.  Unless we’re a smoke ninja, this is remarkably hard.  Oh it’s easy enough with paper or steel targets.  Doing it with people who shoot back is a real kick in the crotch.

There are plenty of websites, videos and bloggers who will help you with this, but you’ll only get the abstract foundations unless you go out and practice it.  Let me recommend the blog “The things worth believing in” entries called tactical preschool.  Read them all, but for pieing corners, I’d read THIS and THAT first.

A Thursday night pick-up match at Greenport Tactical started me thinking about pie.

COF Thursday night
COF: The barricades are the black on left and the off-white on the right. 
It’s simple.  Start behind one barricade, pie a corner and shoot each paper plate with two rounds.  Reload and retain your magazine (even an empty magazine can be refilled, but lose it and you could be shooting a single-shot pistol!).  Move to next barricade, pie the corner and engage each paper plate with two rounds.  To finish up, shoot the dropper over.  Remember, each paper plate represents someone waiting in ambush to kill you.

Most shooters, myself included, do a half-fast job of pieing a corner.  Some simply jump out from behind cover and shoot ‘em in any order.

While there is a certain bold surprise advantage to that move, it’s also quite possible to become a bullet sponge yourself.

Think of cover as casting a bulletproof shadow.  The size of it will depend on not just its size but where you stand and where they stand.  Your opponents stand in a mirror image shadow also cast by cover.  Your job, is to reduce their shadow while clinging to the edge of yours. 

How?  Well, the devil is certainly in these details.

You want to move along an arc centered on the cover’s corner looking for part of their arm, shoulder, gun, hip or foot but not their eyes.  If you can see their eyes, they can see you.

Here’s a series of photos I took from the barricade.  I should mention I was about 4 feet away from the barricade.  Most of the time you should avoid crowding cover, but that’s a tale for a future story.

Start position:

Eye level view of the starting position.  Completely behind something bulletproof.

First slice of pie:
slice the pie
This actually slice 1.8.  I've moved and hopefully neutralized the first plate and revealed plate 2.  

Second plate exposed and evidence of something else

Second piece of pie:
I can tell there is at least one more target because I can see the foot and side of a target frame.

Third helping of pie: 
Evil plate 3 exposed!  Yes, I'm exposed to plate 1 and 2, but I've shot them before moving on.

Fourth slice of pie:
Piece o' Pie
The fourth killer plate revealed!

(You should take a fifth slice just to make sure another plate isn't hidden.  A number of shooters, who knew there were four plates, tended to skip the fourth just so they can run to the next barricade and shoot over there.) 

When you practice this, keep your strong side elbow down and in tight to your body.  No sense in warning anyone of your arrival.  Let it be a surprise to them.

Cant / off-set / tilt your head so your shooting eye is behind your gun which is positioned at the edge of your body.

You’re looking for some evidence that a person is standing there.  Once you find a piece of them, your next move will determine if it’s a shoot or no-shoot situation.

Unless you’re a raiding party, slow is always better.  Let them get bored and stick their head around a corner to see if you’re coming.  Another thing to remember is real people will not stand and wait for you.  They will move, make noise, get impatient, stand up, kneel, sit and lay flat as well as re-position themselves in the room.  Be prepared for their quick peek.

I’d get a buddy as an opponent and practice this with ‘finger guns.’  Don’t play 'Cops 'n Robbers.'  Then get out to the range.  Get your buddy to move the targets so you don’t know where they are.


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