The Object of Defensive-Gun Handling: Stop the Threat

In mid-2019, I posted a piece called “The Caliber Wars,” which pointed out that being able to shoot well and properly place the bullet was more important than the particular cartridge that a person chose to use. A few of the responses suggested that the .22 LR has killed more people than any other round. While this may well be true—I haven’t adequately researched it—it brings up an important point about personal defense. As lawful gun owners, we shoot to stop the threat, not to kill someone.

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Aiming for ‘Condition Yellow:’ A Lesson in Awareness

Annie Oakley Wilson, The Dachshund. Sheriff Jim Wilson

Annie Oakley Wilson, mistress of condition yellow.

My little Dachshund has me pretty well trained. That little girl will come and stare at me until I understand that she needs to go outside. When I open the back door, she only sticks her head out and then looks around before going on out. And the amazing thing is that, while she’s been to Gunsite Academy, she’s never actually trained there.

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Long-Distance Practice: A Good Idea for the Armed Citizen

A Misconception: Sheriff Jim Wilson

Various reports indicate that most gunfights occur at seven yards or less, and my informal research seems to back this up. It is a certainty that these close-range encounters are the most dangerous. Consequently, we suggest that most of the defensive shooter’s practice be with these close-range attacks in mind. However, what happens if you become the exception to the rule? What happens if a threat presents itself at 25 yards? Can you handle it?

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Shooting vs. Fighting: Know the Difference

When a criminal attack is put upon you, it’s always best if you can multiply your chances for survival. You want to be able to use every legal advantage against your attacker. In short, you should do your best to make it the worst day that crook ever had. Here are some ideas for doubling down on the bad guy.

Once you have learned to shoot–marksmanship and gun handling–you need to learn to fight. Shooting and fighting are not precisely the same thing. For instance, you might be really good at hitting a target but have never been taught the proper use of cover and movement. The same goes for the benefit of a fast, smooth pistol presentation and the flash sight picture. These are just a few of the fighting skills that go beyond basic marksmanship. Once you have gotten a handle on the basics, it’s an excellent idea to find a school that teaches gunfighting, taught by people who have actually done it. Gunsite Academy is one such place, but there are several good schools out there.

Another thing that multiplies your chances for survival is to get your hands on a long gun. This is especially true if the long gun is one that you have been trained on. Our chances of getting quick, fight-stopping hits go way up when we are using a shotgun or carbine. The introduction of a long gun into the unfortunate situation may cause it to end without a shot being fired–sort of a variation on the mine-is-bigger-than-yours theme.

Survival chances are also increased when we are joined by a partner—wife, best friend, business partner—who is also trained in defensive shooting. Of course, this means that the two of you have actually trained and practiced together. It’s also quite advantageous to have taken the time to develop defensive plans. One can create a distraction while the other tends to business, or one can hold the crook’s attention while the other flanks and takes care of business. The possibilities are endless, and the success rate goes way up.

Finally, you multiply your survival chances by continually working to improve your awareness skills. If you look out the window and see the crooks bailing out of their car, you are way ahead of the game, because you have time to put a plan into action. This is way more advantageous than to look up and find two crooks standing right in front of you with guns pointed your way.

These skills and many others are what can make you a survivor. Knowing how to hit a target with your gun is nice, but knowing how to be a successful fighter is much nicer. It’s all about continuing the education that we all need.

This article previously appeared in Shooting Illustrated.

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