Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Oct 11, 2021 - Feature of the Week

Kiado-Ryu Gun Fu™


(Definition: Kiado-Ryu Gun-Fu™ is the ancient martial art of using firearms in sport, competitive shooting and one’s God-given right of self-defense.)

For anyone who has ever fired a handgun at a target, they soon realize it’s challenging to hit the target—in contrast from what the movies often portray. Shooting accurately is not easy. It takes applied knowledge, concerted and concentrated practice to be successful. Fortunately, learning to shoot effectively does not take years of study. It just takes a functional understanding of a few primary fundamentals. This is where the V.E.T.S. system of shooting accuracy comes into play.

Note: The V.E.T.S. acronym is a KIA creation; the knowledge behind it is a gift from many firearms experts such as Stavroula “Stav” Avramidis and Robert “Mac” MacQuarrie who were featured in a Karate Institute of America article on 12 October 2021 entitled: Stavroula Avramidis Firearms Instructor and Founder).

The acronym V.E.T.S. stands for:

  1. V.=Vice-grip
  2. E.=Equal Height/Equal Light
  3. T.=Trigger Control and Pull
  4. S.=Surprise (let the gun Surprise you)


If a gun were locked in a vice, every shot would be right on target because the gun would be absolutely still and stable. Likewise, shooting accuracy requires the shooter’s grip on the firearm to be vice-like. Excellent vice grip instruction is offered by Geauga Firearms Academy here:

Every shooter has his/her own grip preference. Kiado-Ryu Gun-Fu™ recommends the grip in the photo above. The extended placement of the left thumb helps to counter the gun’s tendency to move left upon discharge, which is often manifested when one’s shot group is low and left on the target for right-handed shooters; just the opposite for left-handed shooters.

Grip Strengthener

To help create a stronger grip, using a simple grip strengthener can be a great help.


Having “Equal Height and Equal Light” between the rear and front sights is critical for shooting accuracy, as depicted in the following graphic. Memorize this image!


Proper trigger control and pull is one of those little things that has a huge impact on target accuracy. The trigger finger must move STRAIGHT BACK on the trigger in the process of discharging the weapon. It’s quite common for a new shooter to pull the trigger to the left (for a right-handed shooter) and to the right (for a left-handed shooter) and to do so unconsciously. It takes significant concentration to move the trigger finger STRAIGHT BACK because it has a natural tendency to move left when it moves backward. This is why right-handed shooters often create a “low and left” target group while left-handed shooters experience a “low and right” target group.

Try this exercise. Extend your trigger hand, retracting the middle, ring and pinky fingers to the palm as if you are holding the firearm. Keep the index (trigger) finger straight. Next, squeeze the index finger as in the process of pulling the trigger to discharge the weapon. Notice how the finger moves toward the inside of the hand. It’s a natural motion but it is this inward moving finger that is partly responsible for a “low and left” shot group for right-handed shooters. This directional trigger pull is a micro movement but macro in terms of creating accuracy, or rather non-accuracy, because when the finger moves inwardly, there is a tendency for the hand—and therefore the gun’s bullet—to move in that direction upon discharge.

To fix this problem, from an empty hand position with the index finger extended and the other three fingers pulled back as if gripping the weapon, practice bending the index finger STRAIGHT BACK without letting it move inward. It’s not easy to do but it’s a micro movement that must be mastered in order to be accurate on the target. The next step is to practice dry-firing the weapon until STRAIGHT BACK mastery of the trigger is achieved.

S = SURPRISE (“Let the gun surprise you!”)

One of the most common mistakes when shooting a firearm is to rush the trigger finger, jerking the trigger backwards. Naturally, the jerking of the finger can move the muzzle of the weapon, and thus the bullet, off target. The key to obtain accuracy is not to rush or jerk the finger. Simply continue to squeeze the trigger Straight Back slowly until the weapon fires. In other words, “Let the gun surprise you.” Don’t force it.


One of the most difficult challenges of shooting accurately is to keep the gun still. The “Rock & Stick Drill” is an excellent exercise for strengthening the hand, wrist, forearm and shoulders to achieve expert marksmanship. The exercise is borrowed from the movie “Hannie Caulder” (1971) starring Raquel Welch.

In the movie, Hannie Caulder’s husband is killed by three bad guys who also rape her. In her quest for vengeance, she meets bounty hunter Thomas Luther Price (Robert Culp) who, reluctantly, teaches her “how to gun,” as he says.

In order to strengthen Hannie’s hand, wrist, forearm and shoulders to make her an excellent shooter, Price has her hold a stick tied to a rock with string. He tells her to extend her arms fully and, using one half twist at a time, raise the rock (the weighted object) to shoulder level and then lowering it back down using the same half twist motion. This is done multiple times, adding bigger rocks as hand, wrist, forearm and shoulder strength improve. The effects of this “Rock & Stick Drill” will keep the firearm steady and “locked in” on the target without any wavering which, of course, assists greatly in firearm accuracy.

The proof of the V.E.T.S. system will be reflected in greater accuracy on the target. So next time you go to the firing range focus on each part of the V.E.T.S. process with each shot until your technique is perfected. In review, those parts are . . .

  1. V.=Vice-grip
  2. E.=Equal Height/Equal Light
  3. T.=Trigger Control and Pull
  4. S.=Surprise (let the gun Surprise you)


© Richard Andrew King and Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts