Humans do many things in a day. Just stop and think about all the tasks you complete on a daily basis; from the time you wipe the drool off your face in the morning, until you put your Spider-Man pajamas on each night. Most of these tasks are mundane, simple things. You go through the day picking your nose, driving your car and shoving gruel in your pie hole, all the while never really thinking about what you’re doing. But, you do a good job of it.
Your personal protection should be just as incidental to your everyday life. It shouldn’t be complicated and shouldn’t be a chore. It should be as seamlessly integrated into your lifestyle as that morning cup of coffee. Survival should come as natural to humans as it does for animals. After all, we are animals and we are driven by the same needs, safety, sustenance and sex.
Some instructors like to complicate the concept of self defense with a handgun. They make the theory of concealed carry out to be almost as complicated as calculus. Granted, if you are a member of SEAL Team Six, you have a lot of skills to learn. But, the truth of the matter is these advanced gunfighting skills aren’t really needed in your everyday life unless you are a SWAT team member or monster hunter.
When it comes to everyday survival and the basics of personal defense with a firearm, the old axiom, “keep it simple” applies. Think about it — all you really want to do is live out your life without interruption from thieves, vagabonds and creatures of the undead. Which brings us to what I call, Gunfighter Logic, and my 10 simple rules for those that carry concealed.
RULE # 1: You gotta be willing.
If you are going to rely on a handgun for personal protection, then you have to be willing to carry it, and you must be willing to use it. If that’s a commitment you cannot make, buy pepper spray, a Rottweiler or hire a bodyguard.
RULE # 2: Have gun, will travel.
The lesson here is simple; when you select a defensive handgun, choose one that you will carry.
RULE # 3: Learn to run your gun.
In truth, guns are really very simple tools, and you need to follow only one safety rule: Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. When everything goes to hell in a handbasket, be prepared to manipulate your handgun without conscious thought.
RULE # 4: Learn how to shoot.
The secret to learning how to shoot is simple, it’s not a secret, and it’s not really all that difficult. All you must learn is how to operate the trigger without disturbing the sight picture.
RULE # 5: Set a performance standard.
Mine is simple, but not easy. I call it the “Forty-Five Drill.” Practice until you can stand 5 yards from the target, fire five shots in to a 5-inch circle, in less than 5 seconds.
RULE # 6: Be justified.
If your perception of the situation leads you to believe the only way you can survive without grave injury is to shoot your attacker, then that perception is the reality you must act upon. If you thought your attacker was a werewolf, you might have trouble later in court later . . . I’m just saying.
RULE 7: Don’t be stupid.
Don’t put yourself in bad situations. Stay out of the bad side of town, don’t park in dark areas, and avoid shady characters. If you end up in a gunfight, then move fast, find cover, don’t stand in doorways, don’t linger in hallways, and don’t hesitate.
RULE 8: Shoot fast, don’t miss.
Do I really need to explain this one?
RULE 9: Everything looks better with light on it.
Light equals control, and bad guys are somewhat like vampires (don’t tell the jury that.) They like darkness because it provides anonymity. Compact flashlights weigh only several ounces and have enough power to temporarily blind an attacker. Handgun lasers — another light thingamabob — can help you shoot better in low light and from unconventional positions.
RULE 10: Never be more than six shots away from a long gun or a reload.
Expect your worst shot in practice to be your best shot in a do-or-die situation. That means your handgun might not hold enough bullets to stop a fight. Also, you can’t walk down the street with a pump shotgun or an AR hidden in your underwear, but you can keep one at the ready in your home or vehicle. From a fight-stopping perspective, handguns are not in the same league as long guns.
Editor’s note: This column is a condensed excerpt from Richard Mann’s book, “Handgun Training for Personal Protection.”
Images by Richard Mann