Action vs. Reaction

In all of my firearms and self-defense training, I have been shown over and over again that action defeats reaction.

Recently I produced an episode of Into the Fray in which I showed a robbery victim apparently being set up for execution. As the man was ordered to the floor, he decided to fight back and ended up getting shot but winning the fight.

As you can imagine, that little video generated lots of questions and comments, many asking basically, “What should I do if…?”

Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, because the last part is where the details simply overwhelm the number of possibilities. To give a good example of this, one question came asking, “What should I do if a guy already has a gun drawn on me?”

That’s where the question stopped and, frankly, that question does not give anywhere near the required amount of detail for me to give a sufficient answer. There are so many variables in this question alone that we could offer at least half a dozen options and then fill pages and pages of questions and comments and what my father liked to call “Yeah, but…” statements.

Here’s the quick and dirty on this: If the guy with the gun is close enough for you to grab the gun AND you have some training in CQB techniques, you are more likely to be able to attack his gun more quickly than you will be able to draw yours. And by controlling his gun, even for a moment, you can direct it away from you so that when it fires, the bullet will not strike you.

Now in this scenario, you have a choice to make once you have attacked and redirected the gun. Do you continue to attack the gun hand in an effort to disarm your adversary or do you work to briefly control the gun hand while you attack other parts of his body by striking with your elbow, knee, or forehead? Or do you work to apply some sort of joint lock or pain-compliance hold? At what point do you go for your gun?

The answer to each of these questions is, “It depends…” The answers depend on your training, your fitness level, your surroundings, your opponent’s movements or attempted movements, the differences in your body weight and positioning, the differences in your relative strength…and the list goes on.

The point is that you need training. No matter who you are, you can acquire some level of training—and that training will improve your defensive capabilities.

Just this week, I sat down for a glass of whisky at the local watering hole and a man who knows what I do asked which concealed carry gun he should buy. I gave him the standard speech about the gun that fits his hand and is comfortable enough for him to carry. Then I asked, “What are you going to do for training?”

His reply made me shudder. “Oh, I’m a pretty good shot,” he said. “I suppose if anything happens I’ll know what to do.”

I then asked him, “If you live, will you know what to do in jail?”

He just didn’t want to think about training. He didn’t want to talk about it. He didn’t want to hear about it.

I am hoping that those of you reading this are different. I am hoping to inspire you to seek training, be accepting of the information knowledgeable trainers have to offer, and be willing to incorporate into your personal defense plan the information they share with you.

Training is the action we take before we are forced to react to a violent encounter. And action beats reaction every time.


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