TTAG’s team is preparing to head to the National Rifle Association’s OFWG hoe-down in St. Louis. Once again, it’s NRA convention time. We’ll be blogging the beJesus out of the world’s largest gathering of gun-loving Old Fat White Guys. Ahead of that blessed event, let’s focus on the big O. Just after the NRA confab, Force Science Analyst Colonel Robert A “Bob” Lindsey [above] will be in Wheeling, IL presenting “Always the Warrior at Every Age.” Well he would say that, wouldn’t he, being 68-years-old and all. Anyway, Bob raises some interesting points in his pre-conference questionnaire. The basic one is this: are you dealing with the fact that getting older makes you a less capable armed self-defender? Well that’s my take. Make the jump for the full interrogation . . .

What do you do on a regular, consistent basis to keep your professional edge as you go through the aging process? How do you stay fit–or make adjustments–to be ready physically for foot pursuits, gunfights, hand-to-hand encounters, etc.? How do you stay sharp mentally to make sound decisions in crisis situations and avoid routine, mundane thinking? How are you accommodating the emotional changes that come with growing older? What role does your spiritual life play in your job, your family and friends, and to yourself? What obstacles do you encounter? What adjustments do you find necessary/useful? What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of your approach? In all candor, do you think you’re winning the battle?

Sorry, Bob, that’s one battle we all lose, eventually. And a very good morning to our readers too!

34 Responses to Question of the Day: Are You Adapting Your Self-Defense Style to Your Diminished Capacities?

  1. It sounds like you’re mocking the guy for asking these questions. Don’t you think they’re important? Don’t you think too many gun owners ignore them.

    I’d say most of you do or will ignore them. That’s because you place too high a value on being armed. You won’t admit it, but to many of you it’s like a magic talisman that will keep you safe. Chances are it won’t and you fantasy dwellers who find this guy’s questions odd are the most likely to pay the price, either yourselves or someone else.

    • I don’t think he was mocking the statement so much as the fact that it is an obvious progression to any of us who do take our (and our family’s) defense seriously. To overlook the inherant degredation of our capabilities as we age is to deny who we are.

      It is generally agreed on that any weapon, whether that weapon is a gun, knife, cane, or hand to hand combat skills, is of little use without continuous, dedicated training. However, continuous training of your body and mind are equally important and should never be overlooked. That is the point being made here.

    • 73 year old Detroit resident Julia Brown would disagree with you about guns. Unlike other cities run buy corrupt Democratic Party organizations and their gangbanger allies, Detroit residents can easily get a CHL. The number of DGUs resulting in a dead thug have almost doubled. Some Detroiters are fed up and are taking their streets back.

      It is very easy for you to wag your finger at gu owning Americans from your safe perch in Italy. Perhaps it’s time for you to come home and live in a place like Detroit. Walk the walking mikey.

      If you want to reduce crime ban Democrats, not guns.

    • Mikey,

      All you do here is whine, complain, and criticize gun owners, while behaving like a narcissistic child in need of attention. Let’s hear some realistic and better solutions — based on facts, history, and statistics — to crime/violence, and to the possibility of a future social/economic/political breakdown with the potential rise to power of a tyrannical government that will oppress people.

      If you are sincere in believing the value of what Bob Lindsey is teaching then do you really imagine that by acting like an insulting ass to us you are improving your chances of getting gun owners consider your views? Grow up and get real. People who spew vinegar and bile don’t get taken seriously or given much consideration.

        • Maybe you’re too easily insulted. I “spew” out the idea that some of you are unfit to own and carry guns responsibly. Serious reflection on that does some people good. Asking oneself what makes a responsible gun owner and what distinguishes him from the irresponsible one, is a good thing to do.

          Why are you so offended by it? Those are usually the kinds of “insults” I bring. What about you? Let’s take that one comment. There are five or six good ones right there, including things like I’m a “narcissistic child in need of attention.”

          Even if that were true, what the hell does it have to do with the discussion? It’s name calling.

    • Yeah the millions of defensive gun uses every year must be wrong.

      The only people dwelling in fantasy are the gun control nuts. Each year our gun laws become more liberal, there are millions of Americans with concealed weapons permits now. And those scary black semiautomatic rifles are flying off the shelves. And crime just keeps going down.

      Support for gun control laws is at an all time low. The only person living in a fantasy is you Mike, wake up and smell the gun smoke. Freedom isn’t so scary.

    • I would say most old people are aware of their limitations as they age. The media just likes to slam old people. Sometimes old people have to take chances just to function in society. I think as you age, you realize there are no safe guarantees in life.

  2. Are you winning the battle???
    Is this guy kidding with that question? Of course you lose the battle. I know this from personal experience. And Mikeb302000, do you think that as you age and become less agile, strong, and quick that having a gun would not become MORE important? If I want to retain some control over my own safety, I will place a very high value on being armed. Maybe you should wait until you are 70+ before you think “too” high a value is placed on being armed.

  3. Everyone is of course different yet aging and diminishing physical and mental fighting awareness is an important issue to consider. Last year, when I broke my shoulder resulting in my left shoulder/arm/hand becoming useless for awhile I became keenly aware of how much I appreciated my double-action revolver.

    Cane Masters is an interesting organization utilizing the cane, long and short staff, (and related training accessories) as tools for self-defense, exercise, and physical rehabilitation. I’m seeing a physical therapist now for my shoulder injury and she speaks well of the Cane Masters idea. Canes can even legally go on aircraft. I’m not a senor citizen yet working out with two 29″ long heavy iron wood fighting sticks can be good exercise.

    http://www.canemasters.com/index.php?main_page=index

  4. I no longer run and dive and roll to make myself a harder target (I might break a hip). My lateral movement is at the speed of a Texas two step. My eyesight is not so good, so I use highly visible sights and/or a laser.
    I would like to comment on revolver vs semiautomatic. A few years back my mother and sister were getting their CHL and trying to figure out what to carry. We went shootin’ and my son then 10 years old also came along.
    All of them had weak hand strength. The semiautomatics were hard for them to rack (some more than others). The double action revolvers were hard to pull the trigger in DA. My LCP was hard to rack and my mother could not even pull the trigger.
    Carry what you feel comfortable with. My mother settled on a Charter Arms .38 snubbie that she could just barely pull the trigger in DA. My sister went with a Bursa Thunder that she could just barely rack. My son liked my 1911 that he could not rack, but I told him as long as it functions flawlessly (it did) he never needs to rack it. He was strong enough to activate the slide release and put 5 mags through it without any help.
    While my sister’s capacities were not diminished, she was never strong enough to operate some of my weapons. Revolvers over semiautomatics is not a one size fits all solution to week hand strength, (although everyone could fire every revolver in SA).
    Just my two cents. YMMV.

  5. Well, I know I’ll loose the battle in the long run, but I’m not about to roll over and give up.
    As an Advisor to a Venturing Crew for 15 years (co-ed part of the BSA for 14-20 year olds) I have tried to keep as fit as a cube-farm-dweller can. Went out for a hike through the woods last night. Per the GPS I carried, I averaged a 3.7 mph pace over 3.82 miles in the twilight/dark through bush and over downed trees. Not too bad for someone with 6 decades of wear and tear, I guess.
    What to I do to help keep my edge:
    1) read things like TTAG to maintain awareness of the issues of DGU
    2) read simpliciter – It keeps your mental abilities honed. Right now I’ve got bookmarks in a book on Scottish History, a tome on baptism in the early church, a book on modal logic, a book on free will, and an account of one man’s experiences in Viet Nam in 1967 – all beside my chair where I sit in the evening.
    3) practice and exercise to keep my physical condition in some reasonable shape – and remind myself that I will never be 20 again.
    4) eat healthy, drink moderately, sleep reasonably.
    5) let the doctor check me out once a year.

    Hopefully, I’ll get to be like my great-grandfather and keep rocking along well into my 9th decade. If not, it won’t be for lack of trying.

    • This is not gun related, but you read things like me. I will give you suggestions for future reading material as follows.
      Life of St Columba by Adomnan of Iona
      No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War by Hiroo Onoda
      Both are short reads, but have been translated.

  6. Firearms become more, not less, necessary the older you get. If you take stock of the various self defense options, the one that remains applicable the longest is the gun. As long as the user can point the gun, operate the trigger, and manage the recoil, they can use a gun. They don’t need to be especially fast, strong, agile, or coordinated.

    The recently posted story of the 87-year-old who defended himself against a burglar is the perfect example. At 87, he might not be as fast or as fit as he was when he was a platoon leader in WWII, but he still knows how to use his 1911, and therefore was able to protect himself and his home.

  7. At what age do you become worth less as a human being and, therefore, no longer entitled to defend yourself? And who determines this?

  8. Once upon a time, I was able to kick butt and take names at will. Now after a few decades and some very hard miles on the chassis, I walk with a noticeable limp, am deaf in one ear, need glasses to read, can’t run any more, and I have come to realize that in certain environments, I’m going to be a target (slow old fat white guy). Much more so now than say 30 years ago. I sometimes will use a cane, and have trained on it’s use as a defensive weapon. I also am much more aware of what is around me, who is around me, I scan more, am more on guard than I used to be. Being “tactically” aware of your surroundings is definitely a plus. Because the old saying. the wisdom and treachery of the old will usually defeat youth and enthusiasm has some truth in it. I saw a TV documentary a while back about human weapons. There was this ancient Japanese fella, a lifelong master of the martial arts. He was maybe 5′-3″ tall and not over 120 pounds. And he EASILY stopped repeated physical attacks on him by much younger, larger, faster individuals. The answer was training, knowledge, training, practice, training and patience, with a little more training. He knew he didn’t have massive amounts of physical strength, and adjusted his technique to where he didn’t need it. What worked for me at 25 years of age doesn’t work now. What works for me now wasn’t needed whan I was 25 if you catch my drift.

  9. Have to remember that people age differently, so certain people lose certain abilities. I would select a gun and defensive strategy around your strengths and weakness.

  10. Okay, I’m getting older. I used to be able to shoot ten rounds into a gnat’s ass at ten meters. Now it’s only five rounds. But the gnat is still dead, so really, what’s the difference?

    • Ah the difference is you saved 5 rounds for the next gnat. See, what I mean about the wisdom of old age? You are learning grasshopper.

    • Are gnats this much of a problem in Massachusetts? Man, whacked gun laws and killer gnats? It’s way past time to move.

  11. I am a supporter of the constitution and in fact, love guns. Even though I am a woman, I have an extensive collection of everything from handguns to assault rifles. However, I rarely participate in these websites because you see, I am a very unwelcome Liberal Democrat.
    I do not like to be insulted, called names and bullied for my politics , so I steer clear.
    I was googling something else when this caught my eye and I decided to respond.
    If we say we should have the elderly retake a driving test to see if they are still capable of driving, then why not ask the question if someone might not be able to use sound judgement with a weapon? When my grandmother started showing severe signs of dementia,hell, we didn’t even let her use the stove. She was unable to sign a contract, she had to have supervision to protect herself. Why is it not OK to merely ponder the question?
    Gun owners age and as they lose their ability to react quickly, see well, or make good decisions sometimes it might be prudent to limit their access. After all, dont human beings have a second childhood? Would you allow a child to have a gun with no restrictions? If they get to that poin they probably should not even be living alone, so a guy for protection is moot. I’m not sure how to fix it as every case is different ,but I’m not denying this is worth discussing. To attack someone for merely asking the question and attempt to,bully them into silence is to make gun lovers look exactly like the stereotype I try so,hard to avoid. Irresponsible cowboys, rednecks who engage in name calling, statements rife with anger and even hatred. Yes, some of you make the rest of us who are NOT hot heads look very bad. We should be able to engage in intelligent discourse about a legitimate concern. Oh and by the way, aren’t you suppose to be mentally competent to own a firearm? As I said, whe people become unreasonable, as demonstrated with some of these comments, you hurt us all.

    • I think that by the time advanced dimentia occurs, a person’s self defence days are over, and they should have their firearms locked up out of reach. As to people being “unreasonable”, I reread all the above posts and aside from mikeb302000 poking a stick at us like he does a dozen times a day to get folks half angry with him, I thought this was a reasonable discussion. I see where many of us have posted of how we have adapted to age, old injuries, and physical limits. That was what I took the original post was asking, not so much about when Alzheimer’s wipes out our brain’s ability to do anything. Glad that you enjoyed the discussion, and hope you come back and contribute on other topics.

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