Most new shooters display a youthful enthusiasm for guns. For some, that excitement tends to fade after they have acquired just a few basics. For others, it becomes an unquenchable thirst, driving them to learn far more about the art of the gun than is necessary for self defense or simple gun manipulation.
I am here to tell you being a novice shooter isn’t enough to defend yourself. I am also not advocating becoming so involved in your hobbies that you forget your kids names. It’s all about balance. But most importantly, it’s about continual learning and the preservation of lives.
JOHN WICK V. JOHN SMITH
Of course we would all love to be skilled like John Wick, but you don’t have years to put aside and an unlimited budget to concentrate on training. And you also don’t have a Hollywood editor who cuts all your bad moves from the film. But we can all agree if you were in a self-defense situation, you would at least prefer to perform at even 25% of his skill; chances are the other guy won’t even be 10%. And that is exactly why the bad guys require a force multiplier.
Darkness, surprise, weapons, and violence are all tools of the perp’s trade. If you assume they will always have the upper hand, you, John Smith, need to be able to respond at least at a level that preserves your life, and perhaps extinguishes the life of another. Self-defense is not an action film, it’s more real than you can imagine. And your response, if unprepared, will be even more alarming.
Take heed, you are not prepared for every self-defense encounter. You spend hundreds of hours at the range, become deadly accurate, and have killer mindset, and then some drugged-up woman, flanked by a pack of goons, loses her shit on you at a grocery store. What are you gonna do, shoot her first then start working through the rest of them? See ya in 25 to life.
Once you have enough training to manipulate your defense pistol effectively, you need to start working on your Situational Response. This doesn’t mean signing-up for a bunch of tactical classes, although that would be a great start. Learning from an experienced professional is always the preferred path. But you can start on your own if you maintain the proper mindset.
Situational Response means you recognize the factors around your current situation and can quickly formulate a response plan based on that information and your experience. Here is an example, you are walking to your car in a dark parking lot at a mall. Are you carrying kids or have your face buried in your phone, if you do, you have already lost the fight.
Start using any situation you experience as training. Think how you would respond if approached by a perp. You will find an endless supply of situations that help you develop your response program. What steps would you take to be prepared for the surprise? Is your draw hand free? Is there cover? Where is your car to get away? How would you move your family safely out of danger? Remember, the bad guys always have the upper hand, and they rarely have an escape plan.
DE-ESCALATION AND PRESERVATION
Sometimes the best self-defense response is simply to retreat. This is not admitting defeat, and you won’t win every encounter, but you, John Smith, also have more to lose than an escalated misunderstanding or verbal assault.
In the example of the crazy woman and her posse, while they may be bruising your ego, nobody is threatening your life. Presenting a gun here is going to get you shot by someone actually defending themselves against you!
I had a situation on Bourbon Street in New Orleans a few years ago. Two drunk losers picked a fight with me because, well, they didn’t have a beautiful woman on their arm, and my girl wasn’t going to be much help in a fist fight.
But they weren’t threatening my life either. Of course I was carrying, Louisiana has reciprocity with Oklahoma, but I also had a very lethal Karambit knife on my belt. Should I have deployed either I would have likely killed one or both, and been easily convicted of homicide in the uber-liberal New Orleans courts. Instead, I simply de-escalated the situation, said whatever they wanted me to say, and walked away unharmed.
Had the situation turned any more violent, and I felt my or my partner’s life were being threatened, I would not have hesitated. Before the first “m*th*r f*ck*r” was heard, I had already determined which point in the altercation I would deploy my knife or gun. I knew the tough guy was likely the one I would take-down first, his buddy might even run after that. I also knew my partner was smart enough to seek cover, I was not worried about her.
But none of this comes naturally unless you train like a Protector. I don’t consider myself an expert at every situation, but I am constantly leaning. And with each new scenario, my Situational Response program continues to grow.