The Jake Zweig SEAL controversy continues to simmer. The former Navy man makes for interesting drama queen TV at Top Shot, but he’s taking massive flak for being an a-hole. As well he should. The shooting show’s producers may abhor sportsmanlike behavior but Zweig’s Richard Hatch-like “I’m in it to win it” ‘tude reflects badly on America’s military ethos. Anyway, you can tell a real bad ass Spec Ops type (or not) by their lack of any resemblance to Zweig. They are as low key as you wanna be. Modest, self-effacing, non-confrontational. Except when it’s go time. Then they’re focused and extremely aggressive. In other words, they have two modes: off and on. So should you . . .
There’s nothing wrong with having fun on the range. Hanging out with your homies. Bustin’ a few caps. Checking out some new iron. Generally goofing off with guns in a safe environment (depending on the shooters, of course). But that has nothing to do with training for armed self-defense.
If you’re serious about training for armed self-defense—and if you’re carrying a gun at home or on the streets that’s a damn fine idea—you need to take it seriously.
First, you need some sort of training regimen. This isn’t a post about that so I’ll only say this: have a pro make sure you’re not doing something that will work against you in a gunfight. Like using the slide stop to release the slide. Or always emptying your magazine when you shoot.
Second, focus deeply and completely on the task at hand. If your ballistic BFFs are not part of the solution, if they’re not training seriously with you, they’re part of the problem. Go for parallel play; shoot next to them but not with them. If they come over to schmooze, tell them to give you fifteen minutes.
Second, spend some time visualizing. Other than real-life simulations, nothing puts you in the right frame of mind more than imagining a situation when you need to be in the right frame of mind. Get ready. Close your eyes. Mentally rehearse what you’d be doing before, during and after the shoot. Open your eyes and shoot.
As the OCD amongst you already know, rituals are good. A key word or specific breath can serve as a signal to your mind and body that something serious is about to go down. That said, make sure you vary and violate your own training routine from time to time so you’re ready for Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition.
Move with intent. Not speed. Total focus. If you’re lucky enough to be able to move and shoot, do so with determination. If something goes wrong, keep going. A shoulder shrug and a sheepish grin do nothing to train you to stay alive.
Once again, we’re into genetics vs. training territory. The people who are good at focusing in a crisis are, for the most part, born that way (Spec. Ops finds ’em). But people who are prone to panic can train themselves not to freak—IF they spend their range time based around the idea that this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around. ‘Cause it ain’t.