Hollywood doesn’t call them “set pieces” for nothing. Even in movies where the good guys’ gunfights go wrong the action has a certain inevitability to it. Stupid stuff is notable by its absence. No bumping into walls by accident. No tripping over things and falling down. No dropping the gun by mistake. No limp wristing. No bystanders causing complete confusion. No excruciating doubts. No insurmountable indecision. No twitching muscles. But those are exactly the kind of problems a self-defense shooter should anticipate. And train for . . .
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: there is no substitute for force-on-force training. All the gun stuff—handling, shooting, reloading, etc.—pales into insignificance compared to the strategic component.
Where am I, what’s going on, what can I do to protect myself and my loved ones and how can I GTFO (Get the F Out)? A firearm is a tool you might be able to use to achieve your ultimate goal (survival). But nothing is as dangerous as armed self-defense—when it’s the only plan you have.
As the rabbi and I discussed yesterday, a huge part of DGU (Defensive Gun Use) concerns the time – distance calculation. Do you have the distance to have the time to draw your weapon? In the time spent fumbling for your weapon you could be attacking, doing the GTFO thing or finding cover. Something.
Notice the word “fumbling.” If you believe that you’ll draw your weapon smoothly in an actual gunfight when adrenalin’s coursing through your veins, you’re kidding yourself. ALL your motor skills will degrade significantly in a genuine crisis. Tunnel vision? The Holland Tunnel ain’t go nothin’ on you babe.
In a DGU, chances are you’ll be moving (I hope) while shooting (maybe) at a moving target which will (Heaven forfend) be shooting at you. This is not a scenario for which a range session can prepare you. Not even FATS. At the risk of extreme double negativity, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train like a demon. Quite the opposite.
If you train to your A-game and maintain it through regular practice you’ll descend to B in battle. Which is better than C or D. Which is where your skills levels will go if you train to B. Of course, if your skills start at D, you might as well be a New York City cop for all the marksmanship you’ll muster.
Train to the highest possible level and expect to not achieve it when push comes to ballistic shove.
Another key: keep all your systems simple. For example, I have a six gun locker near my bed. It contains one gun. Just the Benelli M2. Nothing else. The odds of me grabbing the wrong gun are precisely zero. All I have to do is grab it, switch off the safety, aim at the perp and press play (provided my life is in imminent danger).
I carry a Glock 30SF. No safety. The odds of me forgetting to switch off the safety are precisely zero. Reliability is high. I’ve shot thousands of rounds through the gun and I’ll shoot thousands more. I train with snap caps and carry a spare mag. I plan for failure.
Small stuff I know, but keeping it simple increases the odds of not screwing up. Or screwing up as badly. I have little faith that I will do exactly what I need to do in a DGU. Or that things will go exactly as planned.
In fact, I know they won’t. But I won’t freeze-up in frustration. I will do something to save my life. I hope. And that’s about as good as it gets.