Saturday, July 5, 2014

Training – Are you preparing to be the Victor . . . or the Victim . . .


I mowed the lawn yesterday. Honestly, it’s not something I enjoy. When we first purchased the property I enjoyed the fact it was in the country, in a wood patch and while there are a handful or homes in the wood patch with us – as I look out our front window I seen nothing . . . only our yard and fields to our west . . . for miles. I like it. It comes at a price though, namely the mowing and upkeep of the yard. I mow a tad less than two acres. This time of year I mow frequently . . . We have been through a succession of riding lawn tractors with beds up to nearly 60 inches. It took nearly 2 ½ hours to mow the lawn . . .The killer for me is that my brain simply doesn’t shut off when I do things like that – rather it works on its own projects at full speed as I barrel across the lawn wishing it were over so I could get on with all the “real” projects I have to do. (My wife assures me that keeping the lawn neat and mowed IS A REAL FRICKIN’ PROJECT!)

With time I learned the subtleties of the lawn, ways to do things a bit quicker, faster . . . A few years ago I bought a Zero-Turn lawnmower – HOLY CRAP!! What a difference in mowing time – nearly an hour difference, down to 1 ½ hours to complete the entire lawn. Here the differences are a bit more nuanced – turning is quicker, easier . . . more efficient.

Efficient: capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy

Let’s ponder parts of that definition – without wasting time or energy . . . I like that.

This post came to me as I sat in the mower cage looking at this:


I have a row of three crab apple trees behind my office. They are between me and the lot behind and, as you can see here – they are in bad need of a haircut. So, while my “efficiency” has been significantly increased by the hardware I am sitting on – I have degraded my overall “efficiency” by not tending to these trees as I should have. The result – mowing around them is an tremendous pain in the butt and I once again promised myself I’d remove the branches back to “walking height” before the next cutting is due. I’ve made this promise to myself longer than I’m willing to admit on “paper”.

I am willingly being less efficient . . . and that got me thinking and wondering how many folks are being “willingly less efficient” with their Every Day Carry gear? By the time I finished this small portion of the yard I had an hour of mowing remaining and as I said, my head does have a habit of thinking about things so I put it to work on this post. Let’s chat about gear, weapons, modes of carry and the “efficiency” of it all when it comes to our personal defense. Are you preparing to be the Victor should the need arise . . . or are your preparing to be the Victim?

Efficiency – in a gunfight or a fight for your life – implies that you can employ your defensive weapons quickly, easily. A favorite saying revolving around this concept is “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” – meaning if your rush your actions so much that they become clumsy, they are valueless – and your day will end badly. But, if you slow down a bit, use well practiced motions – while you may well be moving slower physically – your final result will be quicker because of no wasted movements. In other words your “efficiency” improves.

When speaking about your carry weapon, efficiency speaks to both its ability to be presented quickly and consistently and to your ability to “run the gun” smoothly. In my opinion – fewer controls are better. That is why I shy away from handguns with external safeties, de-cocking levers and low capacity magazines. Fewer levers to operate and fewer reloads make me – personally – more efficient and more likely to survive a violent encounter.

If I look at how I react to an external threat – realistic training on the range helps my body remember how to “get the job done” (draw, extend and engage the threat) even though I may be startled initially. When someone talks about “startle response” let’s see if I can set that in a bit more context with this video. Funny – but what if the threats were real?? In my opinion that’s why it’s important to integrate a “startle response” and some movement to your training simply because that’s what your body is going to do anyway – why fight it?

I also watch my mode of carry – if I can’t efficiently draw my defensive weapon – my day will not end well. For me that means strong side, 4 o’clock carry each and every day. And, it also has meant a reworking of my wardrobe . Untucked shirts, shirts that are a bit longer, patterned shirts – all help conceal my defensive weapon.

My holster has also gone through the “efficiency filter” – does it allow me to draw quickly and consistently? Does it firmly retain my defensive weapon and hold it in place? Does it conceal well?

Spare magazines also dial into the overall efficiency equation. For me that means my spare magazine rides in my rear left pocket and provides an additional 15 rounds should I need them.

So how does this transition to range drills or real life? Everyone points to the “Tueller Drill” – you have approximately 2 seconds to respond to a threat that is approximately 21 feet away with a blunt instrument intent on doing you harm. It has morphed into “the standard” of being able to draw and engage a threat in that time. Reality is a bit more messy than that. Hence the integration of a startle response and movement to such an event because that is what your body is going to do anyway.

So how can you “prepare” today . . . to be more “efficient” should the need arise?

Purchase a defensive gun that fits and that you can run perfectly every time you pick it up. Cut back on the controls – fewer buttons and levers means fewer “mistakes” and a more efficiently employed defensive weapon.

Adopt a single mode of carry and then work on it until it is SMOOOOOOOOOTH! And if you simply can’t get there . . . abandon it and adopt one you can make smooth!

Same with holsters and belts – if they are unable to secure your defensive weapon in the same spot each and every time . . . abandon them and find a holster and belt that will get the job done.

Finally – range work. If you go to a range, stand in a little cubical and punch holes in targets . . . the only thing you are doing is working on a very limited portion of your entire defensive response picture. You MUST . . . simply MUST find a range that will allow holster draws, movement and strings of fire on a simulated threat. Because THAT’S the real world . . .

Bottom line . . . what are you preparing to do? Are you preparing to be the Victor . . . or are you preparing to be the Victim?

1 comment:

  1. Hoping I'm working on victory, but it's a challenge...