Creative Training Tip: Lose Some Blood

I try to make it a point to donate blood as often as possible. I’m marrying an ICU nurse, so I get a second row seat to understanding how important it is to have blood in the system. Normally, I donate on my lunch break so that I can spend the afternoon in my climate controlled office building while taking in gallons of water, cookies, juice, and kudos from my coworkers . . .

With a day off on Monday (President’s Day), I decided to go donate and then head to the range. My range trip was bearable, but I certainly wasn’t on top of my game. My brain seemed to be running at half speed and my fine motor skills went to hell. It turns out being down a pint is an excellent training opportunity.

Here’s the rub. People get shot in DGUs. There aren’t many good opportunities for you to experience a little blood loss in a somewhat controlled fashion. You should be making it a practice to donate blood every 8 weeks anyway. Only 3 out of 100 Americans donate. Why not squeeze in a training opportunity while you save 3 lives?

Disclaimer: You should only give blood if you are healthy enough to do so. If it is your first time donating, go home and monitor yourself. Everyone reacts differently to losing a pint. Know your body before you try to shoot while your dipstick is dry. DO NOT do an intense training session. YOU WILL pass out. Take a spotter/training buddy/friend/non blood donor with you. In fact, get on an alternating schedule with your blood buddy. Spot them when they donate and have them do the same for you. It should go without saying, but if you start to feel crappy, pack your gear and head home.

If gun owners can mobilize to buy a crappy cup of coffee, we can do the same to donate blood and make the best of a great training opportunity.


  1. avatar Joe nobody says:

    Sorry, but this just seems like a bad idea, intentionally impairing yourself and shooting dont really go together

    1. avatar Jase says:

      Wow I must confess you make some very trncnhaet points.

  2. avatar Evan Easton says:

    The Red Cross bans guns at their facilities, though.
    Do hospitals in your area accept donations directly?

    Question: What level of philanthropy is required to get you to forgo your refusal to patronize organizations that ban guns?

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      While I understand and support the whole you don’t allow guns, you don’t get my money philosophy, the Red Cross will come to you for a blood drive and they are not anti-guns, just misguided in thinking banning guns in their workplace makes it safer. Since they are not only saving lives, but also a major supporter of our soldiers and sailors they have my support.

      My Mom “works” for the Red Cross (almost everyone at the Red Cross is a volunteer, but she has regular hours there) so I know first hand how they have spent their money to pay for those stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, and other area bases, to go home to see sick relatives when they otherwise could not afford it. They also spend a good deal of money on care packages for those deployed, and work to help out the families they left behind.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    Giving blood is a great thing to do, and anyone healthy enough to donate should do it. There’s even some evidence that donating blood improves the donors’ health while potentially saving the lives of others.

    But Tyler, dude, I think you’re taking this training deal a leeeeetle bit too seriously.

    1. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      I’ve got to hand it to Tyler; it’s an interesting, out of the box idea that never occurred to me. I might just give it a go after my next donation.

      Every healthy citizen should try to donate blood a couple times a year, IMHO.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I’m down with the whole donate blood thing.

        OTOH, I think that to get the full DGU experience, we’d need to have a buddy beat the hell out of us with a blunt object before we go to the range. ‘Cause most bad guys don’t use a thin needle to extract our blood and then give us a refreshing glass of chilled orange juice.

        1. avatar Greg in Allston says:

          In for a penny, in for a pound, eh? That’s taking “big boy rules” to a whole ‘nother level. And you thought Tyler was taking the whole training thing a little too seriously.

          If we shoot well, do we get to have some orange juice?

  4. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I used to donate pretty regularly, made it to 5 gallons about 10 years ago, and now I can’t donate for health reasons. Maybe the Red Cross is anti-gun, but the folks saved by my donation are not neccessarily of the same belief. And if you want to get some good press, get your whole gun club to donate or sponsor a blood drive, it looks really good in the newspaper. Makes us look “civilized” instead of the drooling knuckle draggers that many folks think gun owners are.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      the drooling knuckle draggers that many folks think gun owners are

      You’re not keeping up with the Brady literature. Drooling knuckle-draggers is so last year. We’re now insensitive, uncaring savages compensating for our small peckers.

  5. avatar bob says:

    Most ignorant thing I’ve ever read on here.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Keep reading. I know we can do better.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      what? your own comment?

  6. avatar Jeff O. says:

    I don’t see what’s so wrong about this.

    I’d try it at least once just to see the difference in abilities.

    Optionally, don’t sleep for a couple days straight, then go see how you do.

    Done in a controlled way, there should be no issues.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Optionally, don’t sleep for a couple days straight, then go see how you do.

      I already know: I passed the bar exam.

      1. avatar Bob H says:

        Wasn’t that painful? Those booklets are pretty big…

  7. avatar Eric says:

    I think Mas Ayoob used to do something similar at one of his advanced courses. Bleed the student so they see what it is like.

    It’s not a big deal to train a pint down.

    It’s also not a bad idea to take a pint of some colored fluid and drop it on the ground so you can see what it looks like. It looks like a lot. Especially when it’s your own blood.

    1. avatar C. Walther says:

      I’d never read that, but I know he talked about injecting his advanced students with adrenaline (or at least the synthetic equivalent) then making them shoot so they’d feel what the effects were.

      As noted above, if these, ah, “modifiers” are applied in a controlled environment (in other words, with a spotter), I don’t see the issue.

  8. avatar KYgunner says:

    As a nursing student with extensive medical background, I say go for it. Save a life or three then go learn train to save your own? What’s not to like?

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:


  9. avatar Martin Albright says:

    I’m not sure about the “training value” of diminishing your blood supply, but IMO there’s no such thing as a bad reason to donate blood (I was always in it for the cookies and juice myself.)

    Sadly, I’m not allowed, nor is anyone who served in the armed forces in Europe in the 1980s (and there are a lot of otherwise willing blood donors out there in the same situation) due to as-yet unproven connections between European meat and mad cow disease/CJD. At least this was the case last time I checked.

    Given the way the blood banks were blamed for the spread of AIDs in the early 80s, I guess I can’t blame them but it was disappointing to me to find out I couldn’t even donate blood for my father when he underwent surgery in 2002.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      Ironically most soldiers and sailors cannot donate. Between having been stationed in certain countries, visiting or passing through others, to the one year wait after getting any tattoo (us sailors love to get tattoos) we are usually not allowed to give to the Red Cross. I was ineligible for a couple of years because we entered Hatian waters to sea drop humanitarian supplies to UN workers. I never stepped foot on Hatian soil but it was enough for the Red Cross to send me away and ban me from donating.

      1. avatar Martin Albright says:

        The frustrating thing about the mad-cow-disease rule is that there is no objective basis for it and therefore there is no “presumed safe” time period and nothing they can test for.

        I could actually donate blood 6 months (I think) after I was off of anti-malarials from being in two of the most AIDS-ridden countries in the world (Haiti, Zimbabwe) but because I spent more than 6 months in Western Europe in the 1980’s, I am forever ineligible to donate (or at least until they change their rules.)

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          So what are the rules for blood donors in Britain?

          It’s kinda crazy. You were there for a relatively short period of time thirty years ago and can’t give blood here. Brits who’ve lived there all their lives can and do give and receive blood every day.

          Until I read about millions of Brits walking around London scratching their udders, I have to suspect that this Mad Cow prohibition is just kinda stoooooooooopid.

        2. avatar Robert Farago says:

          I was in the UK when mad cow disease toppled our bovine friends. They banned T-bone steaks and ordered all restaurants to cook all burgers well done. And now I can’t give blood in the states. Or pass up a good T-bone. Steak.

        3. avatar Ralph says:

          I was in the UK when mad cow disease toppled our bovine friends.

          That explains a lot.

  10. avatar Graybeard says:

    As an acknowledged (by my blood center) 4-gallon donor, I think this is a great idea. (I’ve been donating since the mid-1970’s, so I’ve really given more than that, but from when they started keeping track I’ve gone above the 4-gallon mark.)

    I know how my body reacts to being down a pint. I know I’m not going to win any foot-races under those circumstances, but it would be a great idea to know how it affects my shooting as well.

    As for whether or not this is going “too far” it depends:
    1) How likely are you to be shot during a DGU?
    2) How great is your will-to-live through a DGU?

    Consider this: what we are really training for is a combat situation. Murphy’s Law of Combat states that “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Which is why those who train for serious combat (e.g. Infantry, Marines, Special Forces, etc.) train in as many circumstances as they can to try to be ready for anything.

    Or, as Robert Lord Baden-Powell established for Scouts: “Be Prepared.” When asked once “Be prepared for what?” he responded “Why, for any ol’ thing.”

    Training while a pint low – especially with a “spotter” to help keep you safe – sounds like a very good idea.

  11. avatar MadDawg J says:

    Wow, thanks for making me feel like a fool. I donate every time I’m eligible since I am a universal donor but I usually then go enjoy a nice scotch and the nice buzz that results from low blood + single malt. I never thought of delaying the scotch and hitting the range first. That is a good and safe way to get some realistic training in.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I never thought of delaying the scotch and hitting the range first.

      Just don’t screw up the sequence and you’ll be fine.

      1. avatar MadDawg J says:

        Agreed. Usually the biggest problem is not tossing the gun oil coated toothbrush into the scotch instead of the cleaning cup during post range cleaning. It is not a good flavor enhancer.

        1. avatar Graybeard says:

          Isn’t ruining good Scotch a capital offense?

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          If it isn’t, it should be. In fact, it should be felonious to add ice.

  12. avatar Wes says:

    I think donating blood is a great thing. It is of no training value.

    If you lose a pint in the few seconds that DGU situations occur in, you are a dead man walking anyway. You have lost the fight regardless of the condition of the other party.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      2 liters of blood loss is fatal, one pint is no where near fatal.

      1. avatar Wes says:

        The point was missed. It is not that you have already lost too much, it is that you ARE losing blood too quickly. At the rate of a pint in 30 seconds you will exsanguinate soon even if the other guy is dead.

  13. avatar John says:

    Sorry, I HATE needles, and if their was some other way, I would. But this makes me hurt thinking about it…

  14. avatar Joseph says:

    Anyone who is thinking of doing this please post a picture of yourself on here so that I can immediately leave the range if I ever see you.

    This “training opportunity” as you call it crosses that magic line going from “hard-ass” to “dumb-ass.”

    The loss of a pint of blood impairs your body to the same degree as being legally drunk.

    This basically seems like a really good way for you all to end up the subject of your very own IGOTD post.

    1. avatar Czechnology says:

      I second that.

      If you want to test your weakened body reactions, use an airsoft gun.

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