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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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

Why Don’t You Take a Class?

Have you ever considered taking a defensive shooting course?  I’m talking about a course that goes well beyond the basic firearms safety and operation taught in most concealed carry classes.  Most people that take a concealed carry class or other basic firearms course never consider continuing their training.  Others think about it but never do it.  Then there are those that buy a gun for “self-defense” but never take any formal training of any kind.

How can you expect to use a firearm as a defensive tool with minimal or no training?  How can you expect a basic firearms safety course to prepare you for a life and death fight with a gun?

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AAR – Martial Arms Tactical Vehicle Gun Fighting Skills

Date: 9/26/2015
Instructor: Steve Collins

Some have asked why I would spend my time taking a course like this a second time.  The answer is simple; there’s no way to adequately remember the lessons learned in such a course by going through only once.  Too much time passes from the beginning of the course to the end of the day and there isn’t sufficient time to take notes even if note taking were more practical on an outdoor range.

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