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Centre Axis Relock is the gun-style used by actor Keanu Reeves as John Wick in the hit franchise John Wick, John Wick Chapter 2, and John Wick Chapter 3, Parabellum.
In 2014, most of us firearms geeks were astonished to see the star moving like a real shooter and using correct reload techniques. It took a few re-screens and caught the sequels for me and others to understand his gun style.
The Center Axis Relock or CAR Gun Style
An alternative to isosceles and the modern weaver stances, law enforcement trainer Paul Castle developed the Center Axis Relock style of gun fighting. This was before his untimely death in 2011 from cancer.
Most scenarios of self-defense happen in confined spaces and at very close ranges. As such, there’s less restrain of movement like with traditional gun stances like the weaver or isosceles.
Since your opponent is within 8 and 10 feet, or closer, there’s no room to extend your arms fully. Many styles call for pointing out the gun in front of you, exposing yourself to being disarmed.
John Wick’s Center Axis Relock style ensures better weapon retention and provides less time between the draw and sighting targets. I have seen many instances where the armed are disarmed and get shot with their gun, especially in close range attack scenarios.
When I am shooting at the range, moving at the same time, an isosceles stance is a suitable tactic. However, this gun style won’t work if I am cloistered in a narrow passageway or shooting from a vehicle.
A target at contact distance will probably take up space where the isosceles stance requires your arms to be.
When the CAR style was devised, it addressed these issues. Centre Axis Relock integrates with isosceles and weaver stances to become another shooting option for close-quarter combat.
Keanu Reeves Portrayal of the John Wick Gun Style
Like me, gun fans were quick to notice what Keanu Reeves was accomplishing as John Wick from the word go. We have watched with bated breath as he plows through well-armed assailant and thug using Gun-Fu with freakishly awesome headshots.
The original film and its sequels have plots that don’t beat around the proverbial bush. John Wick starts by going straight for the kill from the onset.
He showed folks how to start and end gunfights, using the Center Axis Relock style for final pistol solutions.
Look closely at the gunfight scenes, which are aplenty in John Wick 1, chapter two, and Parabellum. Keanu uses a lot of different John Wick guns and handles them in a well-trained and stylized manner.
The Center Axis Relock utilized here conforms to stances that would apply in real-life close combat situations. However, movie equals fantasy, and what john does may seem flash and look cool, but it shouldn’t be your only defensive tactic.
CAR has seen wide and extensive Hollywood use, more for its shooter appeal than functionality. It involves a compressed weaver-like stance that holds the pistol in front of the shooter and towards a target.
Does the John Wick Gun Style (CAR) Work in Real-World Scenarios?
The gun style employed by Keanu reeves as John Wick most of the time is the Center Axis Relock stance. This is part of his overall combat style called Gun Fu, an eclectic mix of Kung Fu and gun shooting mastership.
As a legitimate law enforcement style of firearm training, the Center Axis Relock is made up of two aspects. Each of these positions has its purpose and holds its specific right to create CAR as a whole.
The High Position
Center Axis Relock systems High Position involves bringing your body perpendicular to your opponent. At the same time, your strong gun hand will be drawing, while your support hand clears obstructions.
Bring the gun close up to your chest as you non-pistol holding hand moves from below to meet your trigger hand. For obvious reasons, I always emphasize care when sweeping obstacles with the support hand not to bring it over your gun’s muzzle.
If like me, you are left-handed; your weak side foot is the right one. Turn it within this same sequence to face a 90° angle with your attacker.
You are now at a position where your gun is level up and pointed at your target, enabling you to place accurate fire from this rang