It’s Hump Day, which means it’s time for education and enlightenment! Claude Werner talks about mindset, decision making, and training both; a defensive shooting what really wasn’t, despite what your friends think; Greg Ellifritz shows you how drug stores are really dangerous places, and what to do about it; some tips for women on learning defensive shooting skills; dealing with a disaster when away from home; how to properly evaluate a belt for concealed carry; some thoughts on what experience means in a teaching context; and a look at an article that tries to be helpful, but fails miserably. Enjoy — and share!
Mindset and Decision Making
Claude Werner, “The Tactical Professor”, recently posted an interesting article looking at mindset — what it is and isn’t — and decision making, which he considers more important than learning how to shoot. I’m in general agreement with him; very little of self defense instruction, particularly with regards to defensive shooting, really deals much with the decision making process. In my classes I force students to process information, to make decisions, before they get to the point of pulling the trigger. I’m always experimenting with new and better ways to force that kind of mental activity into the shooting process, and Claude has taken it to the extreme of a class that only deals with the decision making.
A Waffle House defensive shooting — or was it?
A customer at a Waffle House recently shot a robbery suspect who was armed with an AK-pattern rifle. Many people, especially in social media, praised this concealed carry holder for his actions that day. I’m not so sure he deserves the praise! This wasn’t a self defense shooting, and it wasn’t even a shooting to defend against a robbery; the robbery had already occurred and the suspect was out of the building in the parking lot with the “good guy” following him. The concealed carrier called to the suspect, who didn’t even know he was there, and the suspect turned around with the rifle pointed at our “hero”. The customer then shot the suspect, killing him. In many jurisdictions the concealed carrier might be up on charges for initiating a conflict that wouldn’t have existed had he not made contact with the suspect. This is a cautionary tale: when the incident is over, don’t prolong it or (worse) start another incident! You are not the police, your concealed carry license isn’t a badge; your concealed handgun is to protect you or other innocents from the immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm. Anything else opens up a legal can of worms!
Prescriptions are dangerous, and not in the way you might think
There are two great lessons that you can learn from this Greg Ellifritz article: first, those prescription pain meds you just got from the pharmacist are probably a greater theft target than the car you drive; second, attacks happen a lot faster and more violently than most people imagine. No matter how good your “situational awareness”, the attacker has the advantage of watching and waiting until you’re momentarily distracted — and then he pounces. Managing distractions, processing information about your surroundings, and most importantly reducing your victim profile should be your first defensive thoughts. When it gets to the point shown in the video, your fastest draw is of little use!
Women and defensive shooting: some good advice
For the women who are just getting into the world of self defense with a firearm, Il Ling New has some pointers to make the introduction more pleasant and more productive. I’m glad she starts off with getting professional instruction! As a teacher I’ve seen quite a few women whose initial “training” has come from a well-meaning but ignorant family member and the results were almost uniformly bad. I like her approach: if a friend or family member insists on “teaching”, just say no! (I’ll suggest the same response to that guy at the range who insists on “helpin’ out the lil’ lady.”)
Away from home when a tragedy happens? Here’s what to do.
I’ve occasionally mentioned the need for a plan and supplies to get you home after a disruptive incident (whether natural or man-made.) It’s one thing to plan your way home from, say, your workplace; what if you’re a LONG way from home? It’s not inconceivable that, like the airline passengers on 9/11, that you could be stranded thousands of miles from your home and family. How would you get home? How would you stay safe doing so? Modern Survival Blog has a thought-provoking article about some of the things you need to consider, and the plans you need to make, to ensure you get home safely and as quickly as possible. If you travel, you need to read this article.
Belts are more important than you think!
Over the years I’ve told countless students and readers that the belt they use to carry their defensive handgun is probably more important than the holster they choose. So many people, though, clearly spend a lot of time agonizing over their holster choice and almost none on their belt. I’ve lost count of the number of students I’ve seen show up with a high-end gun, the tactical holster of the week, all hung from a sorry and embarrassing piece of thin, sagging leather. I cannot emphasize this enough: if you’re going to carry a defensive firearm, you need a belt that’s designed to hold it securely and predictably! I recently saw an article describing how to look for a suitably stiff CCW belt, and it’s definitely worth reading.
What is “real world experience”?
Want to start a fight on social media? One of the surest ways is to put up something about instructors with (or without) “real world experience”, and watch the craziness ensue. It’s a hot-button issue these days, with each instructor claiming that their “real world experience” is better than the next guy’s. In an article at Personal Defense Network, Aaron Janetti looks at the whole controversy with a fresh and cool-headed perspective. If you’re tired of the infighting, his article will be a relief.
Here we go with the situational awareness stuff again…
Every so often I include in this list an article that illustrates what’s wrong in the defensive training world and today’s article is one of those. The author means well, and is no doubt sincere in his desire to help, but his account of a robbery that went from bad to worse shows a lack of understanding of the topic. In this case, a man was the victim of an attempted robbery; he drew his concealed carry handgun and shot the robber, only to be attacked by an accomplice who stole his gun and got away. The author’s prescription is for more “situational awareness”, which is a dangerously simplistic belief. If an accomplice is hiding prior to the attack no amount of awareness will reveal him, and once the fight is on (with lethal force being employed), threat fixation makes it quite difficult to ascertain another threat. This is one of the reasons most instructors today teach some sort of assessment action after shooting to find out of there are additional threats in the environment, but even that isn’t a sure thing. We have to acknowledge that the immediate aftermath of a fight is the easiest time to be successfully attacked and we shouldn’t give people a false sense of security by invoking the ridiculous “condition yellow” mantra. Instead, we need to help them recognize and implement a valid counter-ambush training methodology that acknowledges the realities of how attacks happen and how our bodies react to lethal threats.
– Grant Cunningham