Every class at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference is chock-full of some of the tastiest personal defense training nuggets you can find. Three classes this year stood out in particular for me. Tim Chandler and Ashton Ray’s shotgun class, (which will be incorporated into an upcoming article for work) and also John Hearne’s “Performance Under Fire” 2 day lecture and Scott Jedlinski’s red dot class. Both of these classes were based on how the human mind and body work (or don’t work) when it comes to using a firearm for self-defense, and both classes have changed how I train and how I teach my classes.
One thing I’ve realized from taking these classes is how unnatural using a firearm as a defensive tool actually is. It really does go against everything we as a species want to do when lives are on the line. We need to do three things in order to get rounds on target as quickly and accurately as possible with our defensive pistol:
- Focus on the front sight, or at least be aware of where the front sight is in relation to our opponent
- Stand still
- Not move any major muscle groups, just hold the gun steady and move the trigger smoothly to the rear
The problem is, every single one of those actions goes against everything we as a species have learned about fighting. We learned long ago that if a lion was approaching our family, the best things we could do were:
- Look at the lion. He/she’s the problem, not what is in our hand (or not).
- Move out of the way of the charging lion.
- Hit it really hard with all our strength, and do so over and over again until one of us stops moving.
If we do that with a pistol, we lose. Okay, granted, a red dot sight allows you to focus on the target in an encounter, but moving big muscle groups while shooting (and moving itself) means your accuracy is going out the window in a hurry. Can we overcome this? Obviously yes, yes we can. But let’s start off knowing that what we’re asking our students to do goes against almost everything our ancestors learned about how to succeed at applied violence.