For me, Robert, I think that anyone that has not been in a fight will not do well at all in a gunfight. It may sound silly but after that first crisp jab to the nose the ticking nano seconds in your head are crucial to whether or not you take the real hit. Just as if someone kicks down your door or smashed a window, the next decision you make is the one to live or die. Ideally, right after that jab lands you roll left or right. I have been in many fights. Most of them were expected (self defense and whatnot), some of them not so. I truly believe that taking a punch in the face in a real full contact regulated fight is a great determining factor on how you will do in a real world ‘surprise’ crisis. Knowing what it feels like to be hit in the face and actually having your senses knocked out momentarily trains you to know it and respond favorably.

The first time I was jabbed, really jabbed by my instructor I literally watched in slow motion as he straight punched me in the stomach as hard as he could. I could do nothing but gasp because even though I expected the punch to come from somewhere the hit and how my brain responded was a completely new thing to me. I did some full contact sparring with friends and over time the surprise didn’t go away but the freezing did. I learned to go either left or right and in that split second you are not a sitting duck. The same is true with a home invasion. The second that window smashes you can either watch the arm come in and unlock your door or you can pull your weapon and engage the threat.

It is my solid belief that if you have never been in that ‘dazed’ or surprised state a few times to recognize it, you will be a victim. Whatever weapon is on you, whatever training you have, if it did not involve actual scenarios where you were taken by surprise – you will fail. Learning about it is too late when you are in the moment. There is no thinking in the surprised state. Just favorable reaction. The guy coming in is ramped up, he is ready to go, he has the element of surprise. Learning to not think is what we need. Learning to have thought it out ahead of time and prepared for it is what we need.

I have security spot lights outside my home and garage, barred windows and doors (crappy area), alarm system w/trip in case of cuts, individual window and door alarms that shriek (good for locating the area that was breached), the room I sleep in has its door shut and locked, my gun is under the bed, my ammo next to it, a hammer and knife hidden on a stand next to me. My wife has a phone on her side, one on mine. Flashlight is in the drawer next to me. I have always slept light and I tell myself before I sleep at night that I may be woken unexpectedly and to be ready. I pray.

I would like to think I am ready. As ready as I can be at the moment.

41 Responses to TTAG Commentator Buuurr: What You Need to Survive a Gunfight

  1. Buuurr, It’s a very interesting theory you have about having had the experience of being punched in the face is the only way to truly be capable of responding well in a gunfight. If you said it slightly differently, I’m not nitpicking over the words.

    What I’m wondering though, is wouldn’t that support my idea that the vast majority of gun owners are not capable of responding well and that for many of them the gun is more likely to be misused than to be used properly to save the day?

    The other thing I came up with from your post is yours is a terrible way to live. Going to bed each night with that thought is awful. That’s beyond preparedness in my book.

    • I propose a solution: make all purchases of firearms, ammunition, and training classes completely tax deductible.

      You wanted a well-trained militia? You just walked right into your own trap.

      • Why stop at tax deductible? I say fully subsidized.

        If single, unwed, lesbian mothers of Pacific Islander descent can get government grants to buy houses, why shouldn’t government pay for proper firearm training?

        Call it Obamacare for firearms. Or something.

        • Hell the government spends money hmmm… training cops and soldiers…and we waste money on the war on drugs…and overseas wars, and the size of our military, and a whole bunch of regulatory crap that conservatives might want to get rid of…

    • I wouldn’t call it a theory. It is my opinion from what I have experienced. It supporting your theory of the majority of gun owners are not capable of responding well and misusing their firearms doesn’t really apply. I am expressing my opinion on how I think things would play out ‘favorably’ for the defender and how I conduct my life thinking such. There are other factors. There is chance. There is the chance that the attacker may not be prepared. There is the chance that God says it is not your time and you win the day no matter what the odds. There is the chance that an armed chivvy will help you. That the intruder is spotted outside and thwarted. For me, defending my home is key. Whatever follows will be looked at later. Having a weapon for defense massively increases your chances of survival. God himself said so. Misuse is an issue sometimes, but not enough for me to question my use.

      As for the way I live. I have always lived this way. An older brother of two sisters gave me the opportunity to fight a lot. I decided young that to learn to fight to ‘favorably’ increase my odds was needed. I have always lived this way, even in Canada where guns don’t hurt people I enjoy the way I live. I live knowing that the world isn’t a cushy blanket, that bad things happen. I don’t fear it, I prepare for it. It isn’t a constant thought in my mind, it doesn’t hinder my everyday life in any way. It isn’t an obsession. For me, being ready as I can be for the moment is as simple as you checking to make sure the oven is off or that you switched off all the lights – because I have prepared. The main reason I sleep soundly and have a great time with my family is that I don’t always have to worry about my burden as the man of the house because I have God. It always helps to have him backing you up. For many just the thought of him is enough.

      • I’ve been thinking about something. Why exactly did you have to “fight a lot?” Having two younger sisters doesn’t really work for me. Could you describe it a bit better?

        • Where I grew up some of the men, older men have no reservations about who they date/do. It is so common that some people accept it and stat rape is very, very common. Our family did not accept it.

    • Would being unprepared for a home invasion while living in a bad neighborhood be a superior way to live? It seems to me that it would only benefit the criminal. Burying one’s head in the sand will not change the fact that bad people do bad things, and if you live around them, they might take the opportunity to do bad things to you.

  2. Your point is very well made Buuurr. When I was 17 I took Kenpo Karate at the local dojo and I quickly learned how truely unprepared I was for a fight. I was only 5’7″ and 120 pounds (I’m still 5’7″ but 145 pounds now) and I got my butt kicked every single week. I still remember getting a bloody nose for the first time and I was seeing stars when my sensei shouted at me “Jose your getting blood all over my floor”. He stopped the action for a moment and told me to clean up the blood, (I thought for a moment that he just saved my ass) but when I was done he sent me right back in to continue the beating. When it was all over he explained to me that it’s good for me to learn to take a beating and still continue to fight. I didn’t believe him at the time, but I eventually realized that he had a great point. If you stick it out and continue to battle on, then you stand a much better chance of winning. Even if you lose, it’s still better than just giving up, at least you know that you tried your best.

  3. Almost nobody has ever been in a real fight. You’ve more likely been in scuffles, and there is a big difference. There are playground scuffles and there are barroom scuffles, the latter being essentially an inebriated version of the former. A real fight is something completely different, and nothing like what you’ve seen on television. A guy who knows what he’s doing only a little bit can tag you two or three times in the face before you can bring up your hands. So real fights will tend to be rather short unless the opponents are rather well-matched, which almost never happens except in the ring.

    …when I was a young man I considered myself pretty dangerous, and I like to play pool. This combination presented many opportunities to make an ass of myself. At that time there were several well-known proponents of martial arts who incorporated pool cues into their methodologies in various moves, which impressed me a great deal. This is useful stuff, I thought at the time.

    I eventually determined that this approach is not terribly brilliant at all. No matter what you think you know, you are never going to out-badass a badass. They’re just bad — in ways you can’t readily comprehend. Bad is the only thing they are any good at. Many don’t even have jobs so they can practice at being bad people 24/7. It doesn’t matter how skilled or cunning you are when, say, your opponent’s girlfriend comes out of the bathroom and hits you over the head from behind with a full beer bottle. Or his four buddies get bored with the pugilistic contest and decide to stomp you as a fun group activity.

    So no, you are not going to out-bad bad people. However, they are dead easy to outsmart. For example, you can simply take note of all the billiard establishments in your area where the patrons enjoy clubbing each other with cues, and then not go there. You can go play pool somewhere else, where the pool players are much better and you find a nicer class of people altogether. Just think: Somewhere tonight, there is some guy who’s never even met you but is dying to club you to death with a blunt instrument. But you’ve outwitted him — you won’t even be there. If he wants to give someone a concussion, he’ll have to settle for someone as stupid as he is.

    In a nutshell, that is my approach to protection and self-defense — learning how to spot and avoid trouble in the first place, everywhere you go.

    • Ladies and gentlemen, this is the reason why we do airsoft force-on-force training. To help you make the best informed training decisions that come as close to real-life stress as possible.

      Avoidance should always be a high priority on everyone’s mind, but there are some times where you read wrong, or places where you thought were safe, well, weren’t.

      • Spotting is great, Magoo. But what about when it isn’t enough? What about you do everything you can to avoid trouble but it comes your way anyway? Anti makes a great point. I am good at reading people. Lets say you were a ninja and you were the best at reading people. There is still the chance you are wrong because no one is perfect. What say you miss your exit and decide to swerve out and come around another way and boom you are in the middle of what might as well be a warzone and your car dies? What then?

        • Buuurr, if you take all the precautions you listed in your article to secure your home, every day and every night, I can only say that you are either

          1. Paranoid beyond any sense of reality, or
          2. Definitely living at the wrong address.

          There is no possible way I would continue living at a location where I had either a real or perceived notion that I had to bunker up every time I was at home just to survive the night. I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine what makes you consider a life at such a location as worthwhile and proper. You need to get out into the real world where it is not a constant day to day struggle against the forces of evil.

          You remind me of the “minorities” who refuse to leave the ghetto or barrio and then complain constantly of racism and how miserable their lives are. The only thing holding them in those hell holes is their own decision to stay there.

  4. Excellent stuff Buuur. Reminds me of the classic scene in “True Romance” between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper.

    I did have one observation/question. This-

    the room I sleep in has its door shut and locked, my gun is under the bed, my ammo next to it, a hammer and knife hidden on a stand next to me. My wife has a phone on her side, one on mine.

    Seems to imply that your wife is a non-combatant/victim in your scenario. I don’t know if you are just being coy about your actual plan, but from the way you describe your neighborhood I would think every responsible adult (in the Jewish sense) should be armed, whether they have taken a punch in the nose or not.

    • My wife has not received any firearms training as of yet. That is why I keep saying ‘at the moment’. Current funds dictate we have to wait. If the money was there the training would be. That said she is attending a range with me very shortly to get to know what she will be using. I am a firm believer that every adult should be armed.

  5. “The first time I was jabbed, really jabbed by my instructor I literally watched in slow motion as he straight punched me in the stomach as hard as he could. ”

    Always nice to hear about slow-motion moments since some people say such things are crazy. I had it happen once during a football game with a pass thrown at me. Everything went slow-mo, and it was like I had a full 20 seconds to think about what to do instead of only 2seconds. My friend was in a car accident the other week and everything went slow-mo on him, too. Except his only slow-mo thoughts were, “This is gonna hurt.”

  6. My .02, take it for what it’s worth: To be safe on the street, there are things you need to know whether you carry or not, because the handgun can’t help you in most situations. Meanwhile, these things are even more important to know when you carry a firearm.

    Muggings and beatings: these perps are at/near the bottom rung of the criminal element. Lex Luthor, not. Limited mental capacity, mental illness, drug users, quite possibly all three. And they are typically beginners or amateurs at crime, so the usual encounter may not start as a cold call. Often the person will first approach and ask for a cigarette, a few dollars, directions, etc.

    So there will be a 5 to 20 second window while the criminal is sizing up his prey, assembling his nerve, and timing his move (or a schizophrenic is deciding if the victim is Satan). Meanwhile, the average citizen and nice guy is merely trying to negotiate his way through what he thinks is only an awkward social situation. The two people are operating at entirely different levels. Because the victim is not a criminal or lunatic, his mind doesn’t run in those circles, so until it’s too late he doesn’t realize he is being robbed by a two-bit thug or assaulted by a deranged person. These initial seconds are crucial in deciding if you are dealing with some harmless lost soul, or if you need to put some distance on this person in a hurry.

    • But what if you can’t put any distance? What if you have no choice but to react and fight? I just don’t get your non-violent attitude about defending yourself. Yes, know your area and what is on about you but isn’t that just a starter? Where is plan B? I just don’t get it.

      I get where you are coming from with the watch out and stuff. I am very aware of strangers and whatnot. I shout or ask someone what they want if they get within ten feet of me or mine in a secluded scenario and I make myself ready for it.

      I don’t know about yourself but I am more than a match for any combatant one on one. Yes, if it is a group most everyone is screwed but the point of my post was that I am doing everything I can right now to ensure my odds of a favorable outcome. Watch, react and if you have to make sure you have the means to fight whether it be a gun or yourself that is the weapon. Just my two cents.

      • So what are you suggesting, exactly, that everyone should go out and let someone punch the crap out of them as part of their self defense training?

        I do not tolerate beggars of any sort approaching me and I stay clear of groups of young men I do not know on the street. I never walk into a business without looking through the window first, if at all possible, or pausing just inside the door if necessary. I may someday be taken by surprise, it could happen, but I stay away from stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Meanwhile,

        “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” John Wayne, “The Shootist”

        That said, I have been wronged and shrugged it off. I have been insulted and just considered the source. But if someone wants to lay on hands the sum total of my defensive actions is to get as much distance as I can quickly and pop the son of a bitch. I am too old and fat to go one on one with any young punk and I will not even try. If he scares me he’s going to see my pistol. If that doesn’t scare him he’s very likely going to get shot.

        Meantime I live where I do not need to carry to take out the trash, nor do I need to keep multiple weapons stored around the house behind barred windows and doors. Location, location, location.

    • Again. Force-on-force. Not that hard. The training you take will soon become a subconscious response. Defending yourself doesn’t look easy because thanks to people like you, you attempt to whitewash and insulate the reality of the types of violence from everyone. Hence the training.

  7. Buuurr, thank you for calling me non-violent. That’s the furthest thing from what I am, but at this stage I consider it a compliment. What I am saying: When you really examine the potential opportunities to use violence to extract yourself from trouble, they are a lot less numerous than they might appear, and this is true with firearms most of all.

    A few years ago I had some serious trouble with the neighborhood handyman. Pothead, lived in his mom’s basement etc, decent worker with some skills. Neighbors tried to warn me about him but I had never had any trouble with him. What I didn’t know was he graduated from pot to meth. He wouldn’t do the work on time or follow directions and in general behaved like a bullying jerk, so I fired him. At that point he began stalking and threatening me in the belief I owed him money. (His 2.0 business model, it turned out. He menaced one woman who hired him pretty badly.) This guy has absolutely no chance in a physical confrontation with me, not if I see him coming. But that doesn’t matter because even when I win, I still lose.

    He has nothing and therefore nothing to lose. He’s what civil litigators call judgement proof. On the other hand, I have everything to lose: house, cars, bank accounts, everything. If I lay a hand on him and I can’t prove it was justified, he can take me good. In my mind he is a dangerous thug, but in a court this is a business dispute gone wrong and I am the bad guy. So I couldn’t use violence; I had to go another way. I had to dot my i’s and cross my t’s, go through all the nonsense of obtaining a protection order and then have him prosecuted for assault. It was a pain in the ass but it was the only choice. I won, he lost.

      • I get what you are saying, Magoo. I do. I just don’t see how it is relevant to what I am talking about. I am clearly stating that that is a non – issue for me. If I am confronted and I have no way to get away or avoid the situation I will gladly accept all the court proceedings and whatnot. I will gladly jump through the hoops once the threat is gone. I will not accept being a victim nor my family.

  8. The real moral of the story is: if you’re caught by surprise, you’re chin deep in trouble and you just might drown. Keep you head on a swivel, don’t ever be walking aound in condition white, stay alert and it will be more difficult — but not impossible — for a BG to surprise you. If you are surprised, let the animal inside you loose. You might be shocked at how effectively violent you can be.

    • Thank you, Ralph. Somehow you find a way to say what I am thinking. This is my point. Be aware but be prepared – for anything. Don’t stick your head in a mire of confidence. Just be ready when it happens. As you said, let loose. Worry about laws and all that crap after you are fine and you have avoided possibly being killed or worse.

      • I don’t understand this ” That’s beyond preparedness in my book” that Magoo is talking about? I don’t see anything wrong with being to prepared for any situation. I also wish I was psychic (my lil sis says I’m a psycho) and a mind reader, then I would always know when something bad was going to happen. Unfortunately I live in the real world, so I guess it’s better to be prepared just as Buuurr and Ralph said. I hate picking on Canada (cuz I really do love going there) but in our country we don’t have to be SHEEP.

  9. Buuurr writes: “But what if you can’t put any distance? What if you have no choice but to react and fight? I just don’t get your non-violent attitude about defending yourself. Yes, know your area and what is on about you but isn’t that just a starter? Where is plan B? I just don’t get it.”

    Objective risk management. When I analyze my odds of being a victim of violent crime and then factor in all the pros vs. cons of using/carrying a gun for protection, I don’t need it. In my view a firearm is not Plan B but more like Plan D in terms of the actual protection it affords.

    Meanwhile, we all have to weigh our fears and violent crime is not on my short list. I can get hit by a truck. I can catch a virus and develop pneumonia. I can fall off a ladder. These are all rational fears but when they rule your life in any significant way they have become phobias. I’d rather get on with living my life.

    • Good for you, Magoo. Might I suggest that you re-read my original comment that became this thread for some reason. You will find that we agree on many things.

    • As I said – everyone has their idiosyncrasies.

      If you are not causing any trouble, and you have a good support network – then everything is fine.

      For all of us gun owners who choose to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights and make sure we are well-versed in its proper usage, leave us alone and stop slandering us.

  10. I carry 2 secret service agents with me at all times. I feel well protected, and once my liberal friends in congress enact gun control, ill have an advantage. Personally, i always have that frshly punched in the face haze. How else can you explain my policies?

  11. Totally absent from the video above is any mention of Mark Alan Wilson, a firearms instructor and gun range owner who was killed by David Arroyo when he attempted to stop the rampage.

    Wilson’s apartment literally overlooked the scene of Arroyo’s attack, and when he realized what was happening, Wilson attempted to stop Arroyo.

    Wilson shot Arroyo multiple times with a .45 ACP handgun, only Arroyo was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. After the pistol rounds hit him and failed to penetrate the vest, Arroyo wounded Wilson, and then managed to finish him off as Wilson lay on the ground behind the vehicle he had used for cover.

    Even though Wilson died, it was his shots on Arroyo that caused the murderous bastard to stop shooting near the courthouse, get into his pickup truck and flee, which eventually allowed the police officer to finally end the situation with a well-placed shot.

    The Texas legislature passed a resolution officially recognizing Wilson as a hero.

    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/79R/billtext/html/HR00740F.htm

  12. I’ll I’m saying is getting punched in the face could be overrated. I can see how it must seem terribly vital and exciting — life lived close to the bone and all that — but I can tell you that mainly, it just hurts a lot. Sure, it could produce a moment of clarity, heightening one’s situational awareness. That’s possible. Or it might produce the proverbial red mist, impairing one’s judgement significantly. Or it may well interrupt consciousness altogether, so you wake up 20 minutes later in the back of an ambulance. So I think I’ll be sticking to my original strategy, which is to avoid getting punched in the face as much as possible.

      • “I’ll I’m saying is getting punched in the face could be overrated. I can see how it must seem terribly vital and exciting — life lived close to the bone and all that — but I can tell you that mainly, it just hurts a lot. Sure, it could produce a moment of clarity, heightening one’s situational awareness. That’s possible. Or it might produce the proverbial red mist, impairing one’s judgment significantly. Or it may well interrupt consciousness altogether, so you wake up 20 minutes later in the back of an ambulance. So I think I’ll be sticking to my original strategy, which is to avoid getting punched in the face as much as possible.”

        I totally agree, Magoo. But you need to read my post again. I am saying that having had PAST encounters of such punches in the face I know and have confidence that I WILL respond favorably when in a surprise situation. That is all I am saying. I am not saying that before a fight to act fast you need a punch in the face. I am saying that it is favorable to know what kicked up adrenaline feels like before you are in the ‘surprise! I’m going to attack you!’ state.

        An example: I need to find a good pilot. Do I pick the trainee who hasn’t had the engine cut scenario yet? Or do I pick the other option of the Gulf War fighter ace? I will pick the ace because he knows what it is like to have been in unpredictable situations and has coped with them (he is alive). I don’t pick the trainee because he will freeze when surprised because he is, as yet, untested.

        To elaborate: I am NOT going to punch my ace pilot in the face to make sure he knows this flight is serious. I am not going to yell, ‘Boogey Boogey!’ to get his adrenaline pumping. I am going to rely on the fact that his PAST tells me he will act favorably in most situations and get us through whatever comes.

        To put it even more plainly. To live it, is to know it.

  13. The first plan most likely won’t work in life. In a life threating situation run and if you can’t run then look for cover and draw your weapon, now the fight is on!

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