What Does it Take to get into Defensive Shooting?

I am often asked by beginning shooters what it takes to get into defensive shooting.  Many, it seems, are under the impression that the techniques needed in a defensive situation are somehow more advanced and more complex than those typically needed for basic marksmanship.

In truth, these defensive shooting skills are not more difficult to learn.  The same amount of time and energy is needed to set them into neural pathways.  In fact, some of these skills are less complicated than those used in marksmanship shooting.  Learning to use the sights on a gun is a relatively complicated skill.  Kinesthetically orienting the gun toward the target is much more natural (you point at things every day) and, therefore, easier to learn.

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Why?

As a trainer, do you have a reason for teaching everything you teach? Do you have a reason for why you include every skill, concept, idea, or tactic in your curriculum? Can you articulate those reasons? Are you prepared to explain, in a detailed manner, why you teach each skill or concept in the precise manner you teach them and why, in your opinion, “your way” is the best for your students? And furthermore, are you able to articulate how you arrived at your current conclusions? Continue reading

The Goal of Training

Missouri law has a very minimal shooting requirement for to qualify for a concealed carry permit.  The entire live-fire exercise consists of a student shooting at a B-27 silhouette target set at twenty-one feet with either a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun.  Twenty rounds are fired as a live-fire demonstration and another twenty are fired as a live-fire qualification.  Fifteen of the twenty qualification rounds must be inside the silhouette portion of the target in order to pass.

For anyone that has even minimal shooting experience this qualification is a breeze to pass.  It can become very easy to take for granted the minimal skills required to successfully complete it.  For the novice, however, the task can require a significant expenditure of concentration and effort.

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AAR – Immediate Action Jiu-Jitsu & Immediate Action Pugilism

Instructor: Cecil Burch
Company: Immediate Action Combatives
Dates: January 21st & 22nd, 2017

I want to apologize in advance to those of you reading this.  This is a pretty long post.  I was trying to capture both the basics of the material, which was all new to me, as well as how this kind of training had affected me both physically and mentally.

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Get Your Mind Right

I’ve previously written about the importance of a defensive mindset HERE and HERE.

The defensive mindset is the foundation to your entire defensive strategy regardless of the training you’ve had or the tools you carry.  Just as a building with a compromised foundation can result in a crumbling structure, an inadequate defensive mindset can result in your entire defensive strategy falling apart in the midst of a fight for your life.

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Obstacles to a Solution

The choice to carry a gun each day is nothing more than an extension of a previous decision one has made in their life.  This decision was that of self-preservation.  The concept that my life, or your life, or the lives of those we care about is more valuable than the lives of criminals that would seek to do us harm.

Anyone that has made such a decision generally then takes steps to ensure they can prevail against a criminal attack.  They acquire the tools and training and they develop a mindset and lifestyle that will allow them to avoid a fight if possible but win a fight if necessary.  It’s only logical that handguns would come up in this evolution of tools and training.  Handguns are easy to carry on your person and they are generally more efficient at ending a fight than a club, knife, or any less lethal weapon at stopping an attacker.  In fact, the only things that usually perform better than handguns are rifles and shotguns.

Having said that, self-defense is not about guns.  Continue reading