When was the last time you stepped up to the firing line at your local range and shouted, “Stop! Get back!” before engaging the target?


Why not?

Do you think people will look at you funny? Do you think you will disturb the other shooters? Do you fear you will be asked to leave the range?

Frankly, I don’t think you should worry about any of that. If you believe that you fight like you train, then you had better start training the way you are supposed to fight. Part of effective self-defense with a firearm typically includes verbalization.

If you begin to see a situation escalating, a verbal challenge is the first step to getting things under control. At the very least, a good verbal challenge will call attention to your situation and turn bystanders into witnesses. Some of those bystanders may even come to your aid.

Consider this: a man approaches you quietly in a parking lot and, without yet displaying a weapon, says, “I’m gonna need your wallet.” At that point, he raises his shirt to display the butt of a pistol.

At this point you have every right to draw your gun. If the criminal reaches for his gun, you will have the right to shoot him and you may need to do so. But those people standing across the parking lot know nothing about what’s going on between the two of you—and the first inclination they have that anything is going wrong is the sound of a gunshot…your gunshot. So when police get there, the “witnesses” from across the parking lot tell the police only what they think they know.

“Well officer, I saw two guys talking by that car and then the one guy just shot the other guy. Didn’t say a word. Just shot him.”

On the other hand, if you shout, “Gun! Put your hands up! Don’t move. Don’t touch that gun. Don’t move!”…well, now the witnesses have a different story to tell the police, don’t they?

“Those two guys were talking by that car, then the one guy started shouting that the other guy had a gun. He was telling him ‘Don’t move!’ Then I guess the other guy must have gone for his gun because the guy shot him.”

Don’t imagine it will always work so perfectly, but that is the general idea.

On a side note here, does anyone know why you would not tell a man with a gun in his waistband to “drop” the gun?

It’s because if he doesn’t have his hand on the gun, you don’t want him to PUT his hand on the gun. That’s just giving him a head start if he tries to shoot you. Telling him to keep his hands up and not move is a better plan of action in this case.

All right, back to verbalization. Another reason to keep talking during a violent encounter is that if you are talking you are breathing. It may sound funny, but some people “forget” to breathe during high-stress encounters. You can overcome that by talking. Use words to help control the situation and to keep oxygen flowing to your bloodstream.

But you won’t do it if you don’t train to do it. That verbal challenge gives you a great many benefits in the face of a violent encounter. Don’t worry about how you look on the range. Practice your verbal skills every time you practice your shooting skills.


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