Being a Good Shot Does Not Make You a Good Fighter

You’ve heard the old cliché: Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over by the train if you stop moving forward.

What have you done lately to move your personal defense training forward? Did you stand at the range and fire 50 rounds into a 6-inch black circle and call it training? That might make you a good shot, but it does not do anything to improve your self-defense skills.

Trigger time is important, but it is not as important as understanding that defense is dynamic. If you don’t move, you will die. Dry training that includes drawing your firearm and moving while you acquire the front sight is every bit as important, perhaps more so, than shooting a tight group at 25 yards.

If you don’t have a training pistol, you can use your defensive firearm for this type of training, as long as you make triple sure that your pistol is cleared before the training begins. Let’s review those steps: 1. Remove the magazine and set it aside. 2. Retract the slide and allow the live round in the chamber to fall to the ground. Rack the slide three more times and lock it to the rear. 3. Visually and physically inspect the chamber and magazine well to ensure both are empty. 4. Remove all live ammo from the room in which you will train.

Now you are ready to conduct dry training with your pistol.

Something to remember when moving with your pistol: DON’T CROSS YOUR FEET.

Crossing your feet is the best way to fall down. Falling down limits your movement, can cause you to drop your gun, and you could be injured or even knocked unconscious when you hit the ground. I think we can all agree none of these options are good ones when involved in a deadly force incident.

So let’s start simply. With your cleared weapon, drop the slide and holster the gun. Set up a target against a safe backstop and back away from the target about 10 to 15 feet. If you have an assistant, that person can shout, “Gun!” On that command, simultaneously take one large step (you choose the direction) as you draw and come up on target. Give a verbal command. Then decide if you need to fire. If so, press the trigger to the rear. Move as quickly as you can effectively perform all the steps. As you get better, your speed will increase.

Here are some things to think about. I suggest you give a verbal command. In a real situation, you may or may not have time to do so. You are not legally obligated to give a command, but doing so will help with your legal defense should you decide to shoot. The command turns bystanders into witnesses. Someone will hear you shout, “Stop! Get back!” That information will likely end up in a police report of the incident. Train yourself to do this. Shouting also ensures that you are breathing. Some people hold their breath when scared. Don’t be like some people.

Notice I also said, “decide if you need to fire.” During your training, you should only complete the trigger press about half the time. This ensures that you don’t automatically shoot the bad guy. Think about this: You shout, “Stop. Get back!” as you draw your gun. At that instant, the bad guy throws his hands into the air in a classic surrender pose and all those bystanders who are now witnesses look your way. If you have completed 5000 repetitions of this drill and each of them ended with you pulling the trigger, what do you think you will do when the assault is real?

We are responsible for every shot. Think before you fire. Don’t make it automatic.

Marksmanship skills are not fighting skills. Know the difference. Use this short dry-fire drill to get you into the habit of moving in the face of danger. If you stand still, that is likely where you will die.

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