By Fred Mastison
As responsible firearms owners, many of us spend significant time and money honing our shooting skills—all with the hope of only having to press the trigger on the range and nowhere else. That can sometimes leave us lacking in the necessary mental skillset department.
While you may practice hundreds of draws, and dry-fire thousands of times, have you practiced calling 911 and then talking to the police?
That kind of scenario-based training is something that can help build a skill that is critically important and desperately needed in the stressful moments following a defensive gun use. Don’t dismiss this as “overboard” or “silly.” In fact, I believe it’s every bit as important as the fundamentals of shooting.
A sample scenario to practice would be engaging one target. You use verbal commands, telling the attacker to stop. Once you feel it’s necessary, you fire your gun. You do your after-action scan of the environment to make sure there are no other threats.
Check the subject one more time, then place a pretend call to 911. Tell them you need help and that you are the victim. Provide your location and then…stop talking.
Now, it will be helpful to have a training partner to assist you. They can play the role of the police officer and should ask you very open-ended questions like, “What happened?” They should even badger you a little to the point of annoyance to up your stress level.
Your job in this kind of training is to be disciplined and provide a simple statement along the lines of, “I really don’t want to say anything until I have had time to calm down and talk to my attorney.”
Encourage your partner to probe for more information but hold your ground. Repeat that sentence above as many times as necessary. While this kind of practice may seem a bit melodramatic, it’s an excellent way to practice what will be one of the most difficult conversations of your life. Train hard and train smart.
As an attorney I know once said, everyone has the right to remain silent, but very few have the ability to do so. Practice it often until it’s as second-nature as your draw from concealment.
For more training tips or to learn more about the legal aspects of firearms ownership and use, visit uslawshield.com.