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If you are truly serious about home defense, you need to spend some time moving around your house to make sure you have the skills and experience to know where your cover and concealment is while standing in your hallway, or how to best negotiate the laundry room door while not flashing your muzzle over your stomach. This is where safe training beforehand can come in handy.

Tip-- also, don't do this when the kids are hosting a sleep over or the mom in law is there for dinner. Some things are best done when the house is empty.

When practicing movement drills, weapon presentation, holstering, close combat, and other evolutions that do not require a loaded firearm, there is no substitute for safety. With that in mind, let us talk about clearing the barrel of your firearm in an instantly verifiable way.

Why do this?

Much of your training regimen for the use of your handgun does not involve range time and making holes in paper. Safe dry fire, draw practice, reloading, and presentation drills build all-important muscle memory for the modern shootist. There is no substitute for this type of sweat equity put into knowing your firearm instinctively.

Wall Wood Hardwood Stone wall Building

(In the law enforcement shooting house, the primary drill is working corners. You need to learn to work your own corners as safe and reliably as possible-- long before you ever have to in real life)

However, to be safe while doing these drills, or practicing moving through a realistic environment or in a close-combat training scenario, you absolutely need a clear and safe weapon.

One easy way to do this is to use a plastic yellow training barrel. They are made by Blade Tech, 511 and others for various semi-autos and cost $15-ish. They allow you to perform malfunction, holstering, presentation, and clearing drills safely. You can also store your gun when not in use with the barrel installed as an extra step at childproofing.

Then of course, there is the string method, which can be used for revolvers and is even cheaper.

This old military and police academy trick costs only as much as a couple feet of paracord or bootlaces without using a training barrel. Simply put, unload and safely clear the firearm, then feed the cordage through the chamber and out the muzzle to where you see string at both ends. You can either tie it in an eternal circle or leave the ends loose.

This shows you with a clear weapon, but unlike the training barrel, it is harder to use in holstering drills if you have a close-fitting holster or retention system. However, it is cheap and easy.

Position Sul

You are moving through your home or business responding to a threat. In narrow hallways and doorframes, you pass through with your handgun in a low ready position. Where is your muzzle? Remember on the range that you always keep your handgun in a safe direction downrange. However what is 'down range' in a personal defense situation? Do you have the muzzle pointed to the sky in the old-school Cagnie and Lacy/TJ Hooker imitation? Do you have it pointed out directly in front? What if the bad guy is waiting just on the other side of the doorframe to make a grab for your pistol?

In handgun positions for defensive shooting, there are more flavors than Baskin Robin's ice cream. However, while keeping the weapon close to the body and the muzzle in a safe direction while still being ready for rapid action, the field narrows rapidly. As far as ready positions go for fast, accurate handgun techniques that encompass good retention, Position Sul is the most well known and easiest to master.

Named for the Portuguese word for South, Position Sul was invented while training the 400,000-strong Brazilian Military Police although rumor has it that SAS tactical teams had a very similar version of it as far back as the 1960s. It is widely taught and used by gunfighters around the world.

The number one caveat in the position is that you keep the muzzle of the firearm trained at the empty zone to the ground, due 'south' (or sul, in Portuguese.) With the palm of your offhand resting on your sternum, your elbows tucked in close, and the weapon hand resting on the back of your offhand with the trigger finger indexed along the slide, you have the basic position.

Arm Joint Shoulder Hand Waist

Note- with weapon, thumb tips touching in triangle, palm of offhand on chest, weapon hand with muzzle to ground, finger off trigger. The pivot point is the thumbs, as your push the weapon forward and to the threat; the thumbs rotate to the side of the slide together.

Finger Wrist Arm Hand Shoulder

- Note the position without the gun.

Often advised to be in the middle knuckle of the shooting hand with the first knuckle of the non-shooting hand. A lot of instructors will harp on making triangles, keeping the thumb tips touching and other minor tips while teaching Sul. While these are important, as long as you are comfortable, the muzzle is directly down towards the ground in the strong hand with the trigger finger indexed and the offhand flat on the chest, the position will work as intended.

It is safe if used properly. That is the bottom line. If you have your muzzle due south, and the trigger guard is clear, I cannot fathom what would have to happen for that firearm to go off. The basic fact that your off-hand in palm down between your weapons hand and any chest rig/vest etc. you are wearing keeps the trigger guard from being caught by accident. Sure you can just go into a low-ready while keeping your trigger finger indexed, however you are still flashing your muzzle and presenting your weapon out of silhouette to your body, thus offering it out to be snatched or caught while moving.

Arm Handgun holster Shoulder Joint Hand

Sul keeps your weapon in your core workspace of your body and helps maintain proper control and the most strength if you encounter a bad guy physically assaulting you. You can duck, crouch, and stoop while keeping your hands and elbows in the same near-ready position.

When you push out from your chest in a Sul position, your eye acquires the front site first leading to a nice rapid shot at extended ranges as soon as you align your rear sight. You can effectively transition to a high ready or low ready from Sul

The Sul Position need not be two-hands only. It can very well be used single-handedly. This still keeps the weapon close to your body and compact in your line of motion.

Furthermore it allows your offhand to be used for blocks, flashlights, cellphones, holding a dog back, or shielding a child from a threat.

Hand Arm Finger Handgun holster Thumb

- The one handed Sul high-five. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in as shown to avoid a badguy coming up from your flank and pulling a chicken wing on you.

While not everything in Brazil is better, some things are worth looking into. This includes Position Sul. See, you now know at least one word in Portuguese.

Besides Sul, there is the low-ready and high-ready, which we will get to in further articles...
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