Step Away from The Gun: Five Core Skills for The Modern Survivalist


You have become an ardent student of the handgun and have developed a proactive concealed carry method for your daily life. Perhaps you have attended an intermediate and advanced pistol schools. You can be found on the range consistently fine tuning your shooting skills. But is all of that enough for day to day life and the challenges you in all reality are more likely to face than an armed attack?

Even if you are not carrying a handgun for self-protection the following types of training can only help build confidence and awareness for day-to-day living.

Reality Based Training

Modern Survivalist
Reality based training sharpens your mental tenacity

While this area of training is most often associated with gun carry and self-defense, at its core it is based in decision making and taking action while under stress. I have been involved with this type of training for many years in law enforcement and continue to utilize it today in teaching civilians. There is no better method of training for sharpening your mental and physical reaction if forced into a high-stress incident. It will help clarify your thinking and reaction time in the real world. Highly recommended!

Emergency Medical

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Last Ditch Medical, learn it!

The phrase I like to use here is “last ditch medical.” This training is intended to deal with grievous bleeding events no matter the cause. Most often we are talking a situation where emergency services cannot reach you or others in an efficient time. This discipline teaches the use of tourniquets, pressure bandages, occlusive dressings for penetrating chest wounds, and establishing an airway. It is not your everyday basic first aid or CPR, although you should include those topics in your training regime as well. I carry a tourniquet every day, you should too.

A discussion of this topic is included in all gun courses I provide.


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Integrate combatives into your training. Photo by AmTac

Very few confrontations escalate to the level of the use of a firearm. In fact you should seek to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. However realizing that a skill set in hands on combatives may in fact prevent a situation from going to guns makes this training worth the effort. Research training techniques by highly qualified folks such as Thomas Kier, Kyle Defoor, and Bill Rapier and attend one of the courses they offer that provides a blend of gun and combatives. It will be well worth your effort.

Wilderness & Urban Survival

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Wilderness Survival a skill set worth having

How much time do you spend traveling in or through remote areas? Or perhaps most of your days are spent in and around a large city. In a backcountry environment you should be well versed fire making, shelter building, finding water, and food procurement, among other skills. In a highly populated urban environment you’re more exposed to civil unrest, blackout conditions and an immediate lack of resources during a time of turmoil. You cannot be too well-trained in either of these disciplines. Where to look for training in these realms? Kevin Reeve owner of “On Point Tactical” offers some excellent training to address your skill set in these arenas.


It should be no surprise that the higher level of fitness you can achieve and maintain the better off you will be in any survival or self-defense situation. Your fitness training does not have to exclusively be based in the gym. Outdoor activity to include hiking with a weighted pack can do wonders for building stamina. Couple that hike with an uphill grade and you will give yourself a substantial workout. This is only one option of an outside the gym exercise regime limited only by your imagination, and there are many more unique to your geographic location. Test your fitness and stamina by competing in a run-and-gun style biathlon. These events, usually in the two- to seven-mile range, will test your shooting ability, gear, stamina and mental tenacity. Go with the aim of competing with yourself and build up from there.

Modern Survivalist
A Run & Gun competetion will challange your fitness. Photo by Kirk Wheeler

The end result in adding all of this training to your list of accomplishments is an increase in self-awareness, knowledge, abilities and confidence to live day-to-day life. Someone once said “only a fool confuses preparedness with paranoia.” I would have to agree.

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