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Defender Mindset

We see a lot of beginners in the gun world. This is an awesome thing because there is really nothing more powerful to a human than to have command of a firearm.


My wife is not short, but not tall either. At 100 pounds soaking wet she may appear to be a perfect victim for any perp who considers their size an advantage.

On the other side, at 6.4’, I am sure most perps would think twice before engaging in anything physical with me. And that is why they have to employ force multipliers like guns, knives, ambush, or outright violence in order to gain advantage. To get what they want!

But even the most demure person can defend themselves effectively against nearly any attack. It isn’t the size of the defender that matters here, it is the force of the response to a threat that turns tables.


When I train at the range, I make an overt attempt to put my mind in the worst situation I can think of, killing another human. I am not simply punching holes in a target, the goal of my practice is to place mortal blows against my attacker to end both the fight and their life.

Unfortunately, unless you are exposed to active shooter training or high stress drills, usually conducted by a professional trainer, it is very difficult to understand what it will feel like when you become engaged in a real defensive situation. You will be shocked at how poorly you respond and even worse, how poorly you shoot.

Most active shooter situations cause a multitude of involuntary responses that you simply must train to overcome. So it is important when you have the opportunity to put yourself in that mindset, you do so with all seriousness and focus. You are training for your life!


Here are some tips to get you started:

Eliminate Distractions - As you are shooting, ensure there are no distractions that take your mind off the drill.

Train with Intent - Before you go to the range, set three goals. Maybe employ three of our targets and set your goal to hit 100% in the A-Zone. Always have a goal when practicing, otherwise you are just wasting ammo.

Target = The guy who wants to kill you! - If you only see a target when you train, your mind is not training to kill a human. When you actually have to flip that switch in a live situation, those involuntary responses will guaranteed get in the way of your response.

Slow is Fast - Most experienced shooters can draw from holster and fire a round within 3 seconds. Well trained shooters in less than 2. Watch Pat MacNamara here attempt to shoot over 2 seconds. Think his draw looks slow? Yep. A slow draw forces you to be accurate. Don’t be in a hurry to miss!

Repeat and Repeat - You don’t have to shoot live ammo to get yourself into a defensive mindset. Simply dry-fire practice at home. Stand in front of a mirror, pretend you are the bad guy. Aim for your chest on the first shot out of holster. Remember slow is fast! Now do this 50-100 times per day. Notice your heart rate going up? You are getting there!


Here is what you should expect. If you take a novice shooter, equip them with basic pistol training, and give them 6 months of dry fire practice combined with approx. 2,000 rounds of live fire, you will see a monumental change in their shooting abilities. This is basically the formula for most shooters.

But if we only practice accuracy, we miss-out on all of the defensive work we can be putting-in at the same time. And it costs nothing!

Unless you are training to become a competitive shooter, or you have more money than sense, shooting a gun is practice for the real thing. Don’t confuse it with anything other than preparing to defend your life.


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