Too often, the enthusiasm of the gun gurus distorts the realities of personal defense. To listen to some, you just aren’t going to survive without this latest and greatest new gun. Others will suggest that you have to be carrying two guns, a box and a half of ammo, and a tactical flashlight. Oh, and let’s not forget that fighting knife.
Now I certainly have nothing against new guns or new gear, for that matter. But I think that some folks are turned off by the idea that you need to leave your home geared up like you are going to spend the day in the Sandbox. The fact is that what you carry is not nearly as important as what you can do with it. That’s right. The gun you carry is not nearly as important as your ability to hit the mark with whatever gun you can afford to carry and like to carry.
And then there are all of those training drills that some people practice. In fact, you can go to social media and see some absolutely ridiculous training drills. And each one of these gurus, in their little videos, are suggesting that you are just bound to die if you don’t learn their particular shooting exercise. Realistic training drills are of value, but you don’t need to be able to run and jump over stuff, or stab one way with your knife while you are shooting in the other direction, to save your life.
The basic requirement, and one that is often overlooked, is the ability to draw a handgun smoothly and quickly and hit the target in the vital zone with the very first shot. In your practice, this should not be something that you are able to do occasionally, but virtually every time.
We begin by working on our draw stroke. The idea is to work for smoothness and efficiency of movement. With practice, that smoothness results in greater speed. If you work for speed instead of smoothness, bad things can often happen—like bullet holes in stuff you don’t really want to have bullet holes in.
Remembering that criminal attacks against citizens nearly always occur at close range, we begin our shooting practice very close to the target. Working on a smooth draw stroke, proper sight alignment, and trigger squeeze, we make sure that we can hit the vital zone of the target every time. We move back from the target, extending the range, only when we can deliver virtually all of our shots to that vital zone at the previous distance.
On the practice range, we may shoot at multiple targets that are conveniently set side by side. When we get a vital zone hit on the first target, the other two targets obligingly stay right where they are, just waiting for their turn to receive bullet holes. In reality, if you drop a bad guy with a smooth draw and first shot, his companions are very likely to beat feet in the opposite direction, no longer presenting a threat to you. Nothing discourages crooks like dropping a bad guy with your first shot.
So instead of buying more guns and more gear, it might be a really good idea to buy lots of practice ammo and spend more of your money on professional training, with the emphasis on “professional.” Instead of practicing running, jumping and stabbing in all directions, it might be a really good idea to work on perfecting the basics. It is only when you have truly perfected the basics that a person is ready to learn advanced skills. Nothing will end a criminal attack like a smooth draw and an accurate hit to the vital zone.