When it comes to running and gunning, so to speak, there are a handful of things that will help keep you prepared to win.
Vision is essential to tactical preparedness. In nearly all cases, you cannot be legally justified to shoot another human being in self defense unless you can see your target and identify it with precision. That, of course, requires adequate visual acuity and overall sound eye health. It may also require light. Getting a weapon-mounted light or using (and training with) a handheld flashlight solves this problem.
Furthermore, your eyes should be constantly scanning the environment for threats, which means keeping your head on a swivel. This also means you need to keep your head up during reloads, malfunctions and other tactical movement.
During the draw, target acquisition, reloads and so forth, there needs to be little to no wasted movement. In gunfights, nanoseconds matter. Speed is developed through the mastery of the right movements (i.e. technique) and not necessarily quick reflexes. Being fluid and unrushed while acting smoothly—though quickly—will make the biggest difference overall when it comes to increasing speed.
Speed is also a derivative of how well you can react under stress.
If you haven’t experienced major amounts of stress that stems from lethal encounters, it’s important to gain some stress inoculation through simulated scenarios that mimic life-and-death situations. The mind and the body works differently under stress. The biggest difference, sometimes, between a winner and a loser in a gunfight is the person who can control the “fight or flight” adrenaline dump and continue to act and respond appropriately.
You must train using gross motor skills and gain the tactical tools necessary to act in ways that will keep you from freezing, hesitating and making the wrong move when it matters most. In addition to gross motor skills, controlled aggression and violence is imperative to winning.
4. Rapid follow-up shots
When it comes to handguns or long guns during close-quarters battle, get “one shot, one kill” out of your mind. Don’t even go to the range and practice two shots and assess. Forget that. You need to shoot until the threat stops and that may mean six rounds in the torso and another six rounds after that. There’s nothing legally “excessive” in continuing to shoot unless the threat has fully stopped.
Mastering accurate follow-up shots is all about quick recovery from previous shots. Finding the right gun, the right caliber, and the right grip will help in this regard, but nothing will take the place of training and repetition. Remember also that your sight alignment doesn’t have to be perfect for a flash sight picture, which can be more than adequate for some lethal encounters and could potentially save you some life changing milliseconds.
Unless you’re training every day, keep your movements and training simple. Complexity will just add hiccups. For instance, don’t engage in bi-lateral shooting with shoulder-mounted weapons, and don’t practice switching from the left hand to the right hand (or vice versa) to shoot around corners. I don’t believe in that anyway, but if someone were to do it, they’d have to be practicing all the time. Unless you’re training every day, base your training on a moderately trained person.
Sadly, too many people don’t practice enough. Take the time and get some training. If you don’t train by engaging both your mind and your body through physical movements while shooting or dry-fire training, you simply won’t improve your skill. If you’re not spending the same amount of money that you do on your gun on training, then you ought to reconsider your self-defense funding.
Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.
Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time self-defense professional and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training. Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.