Close Quarters Force on Force: Elevator Action

| March 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

This is the last scenario I’m going to analyze from the QSI Training close quarters force on force class from last Saturday. It happened in a typical environment that I am in several times a day: an elevator.


Get in an elevator, ride down three floors. Nothing could go wrong, right? Two men get on, one from each floor.


I habitually stand near the doorway when it stops unexpectedly and no one else is in the car with me. This allows me the opportunity to see who’s coming on, and the most options regarding movement. I could go sideways, backwards at an angle, or even forward out of the car if the oncoming passenger(s) look too threatening.

In this case, the first instructor was calm, and didn’t throw off any pre-fight indicators. I talked to him to see if his response or body language would tell me if he was going to be a threat. I discerned nothing out of the ordinary.

The second passenger was also calm, cool and collected. I engaged him in non-threatening conversation. Neither of them gave off pre-fight signals. They were polite, didn’t have their fists clenched, and didn’t recognize each other.

It’s not uncommon for QSI students to go through these scenarios without an attack happening. Sometimes an elevator ride is just an elevator ride.

And sometimes the door closes and I’m choking down a massive shit sandwich.

You can’t see it on the video, but I screwed up my draw and my knife is trapped in my shirt. Luckily (?) we were all very close together and I was able to “stab” through my shirt with my training blade. At first I thought about freeing my hand, but I figured that a sharp pointy object wouldn’t have a problem with going through a layer of cotton. Going through the shirt seemed easier and more secure than fishing it out.

One thing I’ve noticed in most of my videos, and those of other students, is that we don’t protect our heads enough. I did a pretty good job in the Bed Time drill, but not so much here.

It’s a Catch-22 : both men were grabbing and punching me. I could have gone purely defensive, but I think eventually they’d wear me down and then I wouldn’t have the ability to protect myself or have a weapon in my hand. However, by accessing my body midline knife, I gave up one hand. My other hand was busy keeping one of the attackers from grappling me. That left the second attacker free to tee off.

I figured with the disparity of force it was worth taking one to give one — and once I got my knife out I would have better odds.

Still, I look forward to doing more of this kind of training so I can better protect myself.


I am in an elevator several times a day, with people I have never seen before. This Elevator Action drill was only three floors, and a lot went down during that time. I used to ride 10+ floors. If you’re greatly outnumbered, outsized, or out muscled, that’s a very long trip.

In discussing the class with the QSI instructors, I think it would be helpful for me to incorporate light, controlled head strikes into these drills. Yes, there were feints towards the face and I pulled a few punches to the face in the Bed Time drill. I trust these instructors not to blast me in the head with a punch, and I feel like I need a reminder to protect my face.

Sometimes our draws suck. I’ve learned how to shoot through a shirt in case there’s a problem, and knifing through a shirt seems more straightforward. This may be another reason for you to consider carrying a knife and a handgun. Maybe you go to your pistol first, and it jams inside of your shirt when cotton gets caught in the slide. I know how to clear my pistol when this happens, but a knife seems like a faster solution.

As always, practice and train. I encourage you to seek out as much force on force training as you can, and place a high priority on learning how you might react in these kinds of situations.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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