On The Right to Self-Protection Blog
Think – Because Survival Isn't a Sport

The Dangerous Reliance on Firearms and Sport Training for Self-Protection


The current situation we find ourselves in is the “gun culture” or more aptly the “gun dependency culture”. It is a culture that emphasizes reliance upon the use of a tool such as a gun or knife to defend oneself. Now in many instances this is a sound choice. When confronted by an armed thug it is nice to have the option to deploy a tool to counter that threat if we have time, distance and capability. The problem for most people is that they do not have the proper training to use that tool successfully in a high-stress physical conflict. This applies to everyone; police, security, civilians, anyone who faces a close quarters threat. It is one thing to draw and shoot at a paper target where you are not under threat and another to have someone putting rounds into your area of operation or rushing at your from a distance close enough to lay hands on you before you draw and orient your weapon.

Please understand I am not discouraging that people seek out training from credible sources to learn combative firearms training. I think that is a good and timely thing. The problem is that where most conflict takes place, especially for security and LEOs, at 10 feet or less, you realistically won’t have the chance to draw and use what you view as your weapon. And if you can’t draw the tool you have become reliant upon, and you have not learned the essentials of hand to hand combatives (read not sports or “reality-based” martial arts, but an actual combative that works on anyone, every time) you stand a very good chance of becoming the victim. Not to mention that in many places you cannot carry your firearm/knife/stun gun/other tool of choice. You can take your body and mind anywhere you go.

The thing that makes anyone truly dangerous is the conscious thought to do violence unto another. Period, full stop. If you do not have intent to cause trauma to someone when you engage in protecting from an asocial criminal attack, you have already lost, it is just a matter of time. If you are going to “counter” or “submit” a criminal you have made the decision, perhaps unwittingly, to become a victim by not seizing control of a situation and directing the terms of the engagement. After all, in criminal violence, there are only two possible roles, the person delivering the trauma into someone or the person having trauma inflicted on them.

Think about what I have just said for a moment. What does that imply? Why can’t you submit or counter the persons actions? Well to counter is to be defensive and to be defensive against someone whose goal is to get what they want by successfully using violence upon you and who is willing to do to you whatever is required to gain that, it means you will let them set the agenda and eventually cause a trauma that will render you the person having damage done to them. To submit relies on better skills, strength, speed or a combination thereof coupled with one other essential criterion – the person you are trying to submit must be attacking you within a sporting framework of rules of engagement. If this last criterion is not there then, as you are going for your arm bar and he drives his thumb into you eye socket and ruptures your eyeball, you will be in an induced reaction letting go of the arm bar and he will continue inflicting trauma on you until he chooses to finish.
Unless our officers and people in general can begin to get past he reliance on tools such as firearms, tasers, mace and the like, they will not take the time to learn the physical responses that they will most likely have success with in close quarters terminal combat settings. From 0’-10’ the ability to counter an attacker with only the use of your body is imperative. The body can be a fearsome tool if the weapon of the mind is intent on its’ survival.

There are other concerns besides the depth and breadth of training to deploy effectively one’s firearms. The environment comes to mind. Are there women and children around? Do you have a clear line of fire to engage prior to him delivering trauma unto you? Do you risk penetration of rounds into civilians? All these things can weigh heavily on an event in which a firearm is discharged regardless of the merits of the decision to use it form a self-protection point of view. What happens if the round penetrates the perpetrator and kills an infant or pregnant woman? Or any individual caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? What happens legally then? What happens to your own sense of judgment and conscience? What if, instead of pulling your firearm you simply shut off the attacker’s brain and, using a combative system broke him into a non-functional state with your body instead?

We need to get past the MMA/sporting mindset when we train for survival and the focus on firearms and other tools as necessary for keeping us safe. Firearms and other tools have their place and useful functions; they are a great skill set to develop to be well-rounded in self-protection for all ranges. But for extreme close quarters threat mitigation and termination, knowing how to use our body to carry out our intent is something we overlook at our peril.

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