How To Survive A Gunfight



Most people would assume that I would have just one word in this post, TRAINING. That would be quite incorrect. Don’t get me wrong, training is an essential part of survival, but training alone will not keep you alive. There are many other components that go into your survival in the real world.

SPEED? There are  competition shooters that have national and world titles under their belt that would quickly fail in a real world encounter. You may say. “How is this possible?” Yes, I understand that these guys can put hits on targets in times that are mind numbingly fast.  Fast doesn’t win a gunfight and those targets aren’t shooting back.

Ok, so speed and skill don’t win a gunfight! Really? Nope, I’m not kidding, they won’t keep you alive.

Well, it must be the ability to stay cool under pressure and make decisions quickly. Right?  Again, no that isn’t it.

Having a survival mindset? No, again this alone will not make you a gunslinger.

The truth is that you need all of the above to stay alive in a real life shooting scenario. The first and most important aspect to survival in my opinion is your mindset. All the training, speed, and skill in the world won’t keep you alive if you aren’t mentally and emotionally ready, willing and able to pull that trigger. The idea that a dead victim is morally superior to someone that has the  courage to fight back is a load of crap! The most important question is, can you pull the trigger when the time comes? If you can’t, sell your gun, there is no reason for you to have it. Biden’s suggestion to fire warning shots will get you arrested in most states, and won’t stop someone intent on doing you or your family harm. Think long and hard, pray, do whatever you must to determine if you can really do this. Taking the life of another human being is an experience that changes you forever. The fallout and after effects can be long lasting and life altering.

Secondly,  you need the ability to be cool enough under extreme stress to make clear and concise decisions. After you pull the trigger there  is  no recall button that brings a bullet back. Is the shooting legal? Was the area behind the aggressor clear of innocent people, or heaven forbid  a child. The fact is that things happen very quickly, and you have to be able to keep pace with your situation. To share a personal experience, I was working in a government subsidized housing complex a few years ago when a shooting occurred. It was my job to keep these people safe, so I did just that, I pursued the shooter. He took several shots at me from a position of concealment  where I couldn’t get a clear shot. One of the bullets was close enough that I felt the air as it passed my head. That’s an odd feeling to say the least. This wasn’t the first time I have been shot at, but honestly I was extremely angry. This person had shot a resident, and attempted to shoot me! The bottom line is that I didn’t have a safe shot and I waited for the local Police K9 unit and support officers to arrive. You have to make the decision of when to shoot and when not to pull the trigger as well.

The third most important aspect in my opinion is training. If you can’t hit the target, then all if for naught. You need endless hours training you body and mind on all aspects of the shooting arts. From your stance to your after shot follow through it needs to be drilled into your muscle memory and into your mind. When the time comes, only training will make your actions second nature. Under extreme stress you can’t think about what your next step is, you must react without thought to what your body is doing. Everything you do affects your marksmanship, so get it right and keep doing it until you can do it without thought. When I was on patrol, as part of my routine I dressed for my shift and practiced while in uniform. Yes, I unloaded my gun in another room, stood in front of a mirror and practiced everything from my stance to my trigger pull. Is it extreme? Not in my opinion. Fifteen days a month I was able to dry fire practice without the use of a range and you’d be amazed how much it changed my ability when I did get to the range. I suggest looking into some of the many training systems on the market these days. It works!

Finally, the last thing one needs to survive a gunfight is speed. What actually keeps you alive in a shooting situation is your ability to put accurate shots on target quicker than your opponent. You may ask “how exactly do I get faster”, and my answer to that question is easy. Go slow! Wait, what, go slow? Yes, go slow!  If you have ever been around really solid shooters then you have heard, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” There is a lot of truth in that adage. If you try to go too quickly you forget the basics and cut corners in order to get the shot off faster. For new shooters you form horrible habits that will then haunt you for years. I personally don’t like shooting competitions because of the habits that are formed with so much focus on speed. Being fast is only important after all other aspects of your training are taken care of. Fast will get you killed if you don’t have a solid foundation. It truly doesn’t matter how fast you can miss a target. Steve always preaches speed and violence of action in a shooting situation which is training left over from his military days. His supervisors at his police department would cringe every time he said it.

I’ve given you a lot of food for thought and some homework to do. Only after you address all aspects, mind, body and spirit can you be ready. Yes it’s a bit Karate Kid, but it’s true. With that in mind, put some lead down range and I’ll see you soon!



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