While Hollywood makes it appear that anyone with a firearm can wield and shoot it accurately a moment’s notice, this is far from the truth. Using a gun properly in an unexpected and extremely stressful situation takes lots of practice—and the right mindset. Make sure you’re prepared with advice from a self-defense expert.
First, the basics. You have to know how you’re going to carry your firearm, where you’re going to carry it, how you’re going to get it out and how to use it once you do. You have to develop a system and continue to learn it.
Keep everything similar. Don’t go out one day with an inside-the-belt appendix carry and the next with a shoulder holster. You want to learn repetitive motion with the same system. We go to the gym and do reps to make our bodies stronger. We go to the range and do reps to make our shooting process stronger.
Taking It Further
If you carry concealed, a kill-or-be-killed situation could arise. Will you be able to act? Have you trained to act? Former Army Ranger, Ranger Instructor and sniper Jim Gilliland, knows from experience and shares his insights.
Gilliland is an intense operator who performed a pair of tours in Afghanistan and another two in Iraq. Currently, he is a competitive long-range shooter and owns Shadow 6 Consulting. He quickly points out that nobody in their right mind wants to be in a life-and-death situation. Nobody wants to be in a gunfight. However, sometimes an individual, for whatever reason, pushes our hand and we’re forced into action.
He recommends jumping in a timed competition to prepare for this. As a self-defense trainer, he sees lots of people who can shoot tight groups. But put those same people in a stressful situation like a timed event, and they fall apart. You need to train like you’re going to fight, and you need to fight fast.
Another thing to consider, something Gilliland preaches regularly, is perfecting your draw process.
“You can’t practice it enough,” he says. “No matter where you carry, but especially if you carry appendix, you need thousands of dry-fire runs before you ever attempt to draw and shoot. It’s not as easy as it looks, and if you try to draw and shoot without lots of dry-fire runs, you could seriously injure yourself. Never assume your knowledge is the same as your ability. You may have read all the literature available and watched tons of YouTube videos, but you have to perform the task yourself. Everything from the draw process to the grip to the sight picture—you have to train hard.”
The Mental Side
But there’s something that goes beyond skill—mentality. Gilliland has two rules. First, when it comes to violence, you have to be more violent faster. Second, you have to possess the intestinal fortitude to survive. “It’s complex, but it’s really pretty simple,” he says. “The training and the like are the complex part. Mostly, though, you have to be willing to kill if your hand is forced.”