The other day I did something I haven’t done a long time: I shot my everyday carry gun. OMG did I suck! My target looked like swiss cheese. So I went back to basics. I loaded a single round at a time, brought the target in to five yards, turned the paper to the blank side, concentrated on my form and breathing, and tried to stack my rounds on top of each other. I eventually succeeded, shooting slowfire.
And that, my friends, is the key to accuracy. Slowing down. Focusing. Which is relatively easy (though not easy per se) at a gun range…shooting at a glacial pace. Out in the real world, in the middle of a life-or-death situation with an adrenaline dump turning fingers to flippers, not so much. Which is why it’s almost always best to aim for center mass. And stay calm. If you can . . .
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.
Rudyard Kipling’s poem If offers a complete list of requirements to be “a man.” But it’s the first one that concerns us here: keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs.” How do you do that in a defensive gun use? Three considerations . . .
Fight, flight or freeze. I believe we’re genetically wired with a predisposition towards one of these reactions in a life-or-death situation. I’m not sure practice can change that instinctive pattern. And if it can, how much of an improvement it creates.
Other than actual combat, force-on-force training is the best stress innoculation available to armed Americans. If familiarizes you with your physical and emotional reactions and gives you a realistic idea of your gunfighting skills under duress. And improves them.
3. Mental training
As a former hypnotist with ten year’s practical experience, I have a pretty good understanding of the subconscious mind. While I’m not a big believer in self-hypnosis, I’m familiar with the benefits of visualization. I do it whenever I enter a new environment, checking out my potential responses to danger.
What’s your take on this? How do you perform under high stress? Do you do anything to improve or at least maintain that performance?