Props to the straight man. Dean Martin. Moe. Bud Abbott. Without a great straight man, the funny guy isn’t nearly so funny. Although the relationship between the two trainers at firearms.atactv.com is extremely tight, it must be said that Jim is a world-class straight man. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the video. So click here to watch the latest episode of their Saiga shotgun instructional series. Click here for my favorite Jim vid—even though his finger is gasp! on the trigger. And now the TTAG QOTD: do you think you’ll have enough presence of mind to think strategically in a gunfight? I know that many of you train yourself to react, rather than think. But brain dead can mean dead dead. And the more of you ask and expect of yourself mentally in a gunfight . . .

The less you may be able to do. Shouldn’t you follow the KISS principle, learn how to move to cover, shoot and run; and call it good? Do you honestly think you’d be able to do something as complicated as decide what zone the bad guy occupies and switch from shotshell to slugs? Under fire? How many of you carry spare ammo anyway?

To give us an idea of your combat capabilities, think of a highly stressful non-gunfighting situation where you had to think quickly. How did that pan out? Do you have grace under pressure? The TTAG militia master wants to know.

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11 Responses to Question of the Day: Will You Be Able to Think in A Gunfight?

  1. I “THINK” that I would be mighty scared, but hopefully my training would kick in and save my ass. I’ll never know (or will anyone else) until something bad actually happens. I’ve been lucky so far and plan on staying that way, but anything can happen in the real world.

  2. Robert, I think both linkys go to the same place. Unless that’s intentional. In which case please disregard the Fritz.

  3. As an ex-Army grunt from the Gulf War, I’d like to think so.
    But I can’t be 100% sure, because I’ve never been in a gunfight. My (very limited) combat experience was less intense than some training. Military histories are littered with accounts of trained troops who are useless (or detrimental) when SHTF.

    All you can do is train realistically for the mission. (And, truth be told, the military’s individual firearms training, outside of certain units (and maybe all of the Marine Corps), is often lacking).

    If you have a CCW, think through your personal “rules of engagement” and know the law. Practice every couple of months (as you normally carry!) with a partner who is not a cheerleader. Cheap self-video taping can also be useful. Read Ayoob’s interview here.

  4. The enemy rarely attacks you where you are strongest or your wall is highest. You should constantly work to strengthen your weaknesses and build up the lowest of your ramparts.

  5. 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.

  6. Well, military aviation has a saying, written in blood, that applies directly here: “Train like you fight; fight like you train.” And that’s pretty much exactly how it works.

  7. Well here’s the issue for us (no longer military) types, especially those of us who did not see combat: The chances of us actually getting into a fight are slim. The chances of us getting into a fight with someone who knows what he is doing are even slimmer. The chances that the Bad Guy we are likely to meet in the street or breaking down our front door have taken the time to get ANY training other than Grand Theft Auto are slimmer still.

    Know your equipment, be aware of your location and situation, and try your best to stay away from places where you may have to fight. Nobody knows for sure how they will react when the lead starts coming back their direction.

    We were robbed once at a theater in Dayton, Ohio. The usher came into the office, shouted that we were being robbed, and I was out the front door chasing the BG down the street, S&W in hand, without a moment’s hesitation. When I lost him in the dark neighborhood a block away it came to me that I was a sitting duck if he wanted to fight back, so I retreated. (He was shot dead in a Burger King robbery 2 weeks later.)

    I regularly made cash deposits after the theater closed, sometimes much as $15,000. One night, 2:00 AM. I was ready to drop the bag in the night deposit slot when a car pulled up behind me, headlights off. I had my Model 19 pointed at the driver immediately, before I realized it was Dayton PD. He smiled, waved, then backed out of the drive and went about his business.

    The only time it came right down to it was in Hayward California, and of course (!) I had no pistol. I was in the checkout at the grocery when a scuffle took place at the entrance. I immediately assessed the situation, decided who was trying to escape and who was trying to detain, and waded in immediately to restrain the bad guy. No weapons involved on either side, thank goodness, but my ability to act rationally in that situation has always given me to believe that I would respond appropriately should the occasion arise.

    Still, you have to think about this stuff and be psychologically prepared to do what needs to be done and not anguish over it later. If you are going to cry over the results of what you might do with your EDC then you may very well hesitate when the SHTF. If you train enough you treat it like all those drills and it comes without thinking about it, but how much time and money do people who have a regular life to live have to train to that level?

    Run through scenarios in your head when you are in public. What would you do? How would you react. Where are the exits and how many people will you need to leave behind if you bolt? Can you do that? What would be your best course of action if something happened and could you actually drop the BG if it came down to it? This is the best training you can do (IMO) and you have to be very honest with yourself, because if you can’t envision pulling that trigger you are still going to be just another victim.

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