Stunned with a question from a student.
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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member bttbbob's Avatar
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    Stunned with a question from a student.

    After doing this for 42 yrs, I rarely get asked something new. It is normally the same questions over and over. But last night in a course, a student asked a profound question. I had to actually think about it before I answered. It took time to formulate the answer in such a way that was not shocking to the class.

    His question, "What is the most important few points you would give a new person to carrying a concealed weapon?"

    Now, I can remember when my answer would have come out off the cuff. It would have had to do with training, learning the operation of your gun, your equipment, fundamentals of shooting, time and distance. And a plethora of other answers that would have come to the top of my head. They all would be sound and solid answers, but they would not be the correct ones.

    Yes, here is a shocker. Firearms shooting fundamentals are important. A reliable gun is also. Proper ammunition for your gun is also. Good equipment placed in the same spot every time so that there is no hesitation in where everything is located. Repetition and muscle memory. Good solid training and a practice regimen.

    All of these are correct answers. But are they actually the best? After thinking about it, they are not.

    The two most important skills when carrying a gun in self defense are very basic.

    Here is my opinion.

    Willingness- Many people do not have the determination or stamina nor nerve to do what they have to do for self defense. The ability to take a persons life with your actions is not an easy task. Many times people lose their life by hesitation when confronted with a violent encounter because they do identify the threat as it is. And even when they do, they cannot believe it is happening to them.
    Gunfighting is a compound word with the key portion of it being FIGHT. And when guns/knives/striking objects, you are actually in a fight for your life.
    You must be willing to give your all to survive and possibly prevail. Notice I did not use the term win.. I believe there is no such thing as winning a fight. Everyone loses. This is called a warrior mindset.
    Your mind must be dedicated to that survival and prevail. And you need to be willing to use it at a moments notice.
    Can you answer the question "Am I willing to do whatever it takes to react violently to a violent attack?" Most people brush that question off with false bravado as if they were answering the question "DO you want mayo on that sammich?". NO, it is not that easy. So what do you do to increase your willingness without preparation?

    Preparation- It never ceases to amaze me that people will spend 1000's of dollars on guns, training to use them, equipment, ammo, range time and youtube. Then forget about preparing their minds. I have taken many many training courses over the years. Spent tons of money both mine and the governments. And I can count on one hand, the instruction that prepared the mind for violent encounters or to avoid, evade and escape techniques. It is the one part of a complete warrior training that is missing in the majority of curriculums that I have seen. Yes, firearms manipulation is important, ability to put shots on target, movement and cover, all of these are important. But nothing is more important than first trying to avoid a fight, then being prepared to fight, preparing your mind to prevail. Preparation comes in many forms. Instruction, practice, qualification, and gaming. Buying quality firearms, holsters, extra mags, lights and peripherals. But how do you prepare your mind? What do you do?

    Life and death fights for survival are not a movie. There is no do over. There is no timeout. The end results are sometimes terminal. And even when they are not, they are painful both mentally and physically.

    A good read is "On Killing" By Dave Grossman

    The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.
    Sun Tzu

    Just my .02
    BTTBBOB
    President & Chief Instructor
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    "Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense."
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  2. #2
    Distinguished Member brownie's Avatar
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    The mind is the limiting factor

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

    Stay Sharp

    Brownie

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member NotXskinnyXBarbie's Avatar
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    More than .02! Totally agree. 3/4 of the fight is mindset and that includes even avoiding to be there.
    I'm typing mostly from a cell phone, errors are common, but keep in mind 90% of my grammar errors and 100% of my stupid ideas are my sole responsibility. I ALWAYS use sarcasm...

    -"You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it."

    - "The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions."

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    Distinguished Member substratum's Avatar
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    A late friend of mine who was an instructor used to recommend reading these three books on the topic of being prepared to kill, or being aware and prepared to suffer the consequences of killing another human being:

    On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by Dave Grossman
    Sharpening the Warriors Edge: The Psychology & Science of Training by Bruce Siddle
    On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman (same book that bttbbob recommended)

    I've had these three books on a wish list on Amazon for about 5 years. I need to get around to ordering them.

    My late friend would echo the sentiments of the OP, that being prepared to use a firearm is more an occurrence between your ears than it is shooting skill, muscle memory, equipment, and such. If your brain won't let your finger pull the trigger, you may well present a stationary paper target moment for the perp. He would also say that many perps have a distinct advantage because odds are high that they have committed this same crime before... it's not their first armed robbery or mugging rodeo, and they may have even experienced a gunfight with rival peers. They probably have given thought to how the crime is going down (not withstanding impulsive drug addicts who likely don't plan crimes in detail), while most of us will be first-timers when it comes to a gunfight or even pulling a gun on a perp.
    Last edited by substratum; 05-19-2017 at 12:39 PM.

  6. #5
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    BeerHunter's Avatar
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    Yes, a whole lot more than $0.02 in that post, Bob!

    Of course, because of the training I've taken to date, I agree that mindset is the major variable in the equation and what I worry about most! I'm confident in my equipment and grasp of the physical fundamentals of using it, but having not been tested in battle myself, it's the mental aspect of the fight I seek to train for much more.

    ETA: Had started reading Dave Grossman's books but had to take a hiatus while working 80-100 hours a week. So I've not yet finished and will get back to it RFN!
    Last edited by BeerHunter; 05-19-2017 at 10:45 AM.
    -BH

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  7. #6
    Member MisterEd's Avatar
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    Well said, Bob.
    Mr. Ed < of course^2>
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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member brownie's Avatar
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    Willingness- Many people do not have the determination or stamina nor nerve to do what they have to do for self defense. The ability to take a persons life with your actions is not an easy task. Many times people lose their life by hesitation when confronted with a violent encounter because they do identify the threat as it is. And even when they do, they cannot believe it is happening to them.

    As most know, it takes the military many weeks of intense training to develop a mindset of not hesitating when the elephant in the room appears. An important subject for sure, but I'm not of the opinion a warrior/fighting mindset can be imparted in a 2 day or week long course of fire either. The military would have adopted training that didn't take the amount of time they take to create the proper mindset if there was a shortcut.
    The mind is the limiting factor

    https://www.youtube.com/user/azqkr

    Stay Sharp

    Brownie

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    Distinguished Member 10x's Avatar
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    :thumsu

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    Thank you. Very well said. In the fight of my life, I didn't want to hurt the person. When I had the knife in my hand I could not stab him. I was getting the crap beat out of me. I was only blocking. Till finally my arm was broken. I was too beat by the time I realised the seriousness of the situation.
    Now I put myself in the fighters mindset each day. I also learned that you don't want a self defense firearm that requires both hands to operate.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member safetyguy60's Avatar
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    Yep. When you find yourself in a thorn patch and full of thorns you have learned not to go into Thorn patches anymore. If you survive, you will have what it takes to stay out of that patch!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquajim View Post
    Thank you. Very well said. In the fight of my life, I didn't want to hurt the person. When I had the knife in my hand I could not stab him. I was getting the crap beat out of me. I was only blocking. Till finally my arm was broken. I was too beat by the time I realized the seriousness of the situation.
    Now I put myself in the fighters mindset each day. I also learned that you don't want a self defense firearm that requires both hands to operate.
    All lives matter! Speak softly but carry a big stick!
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