A great article found via Says Uncle reminds us that just owning a firearm isn’t enough in a self defense situation.
The article covers a few things. For instance the important question is asked, if you locked your gun up will you be able to get to his when you need it most? But most importantly are you prepared to use it. In a self defense situation your adrenaline will skyrocket and your fine motor skills will plummet. Things that are simple is a calm situation will become exceedingly difficult in a stress situation. For instance something as simple as reloading your pistol may become next to impossible when your under stress, and I’m not even going to mention the massive drop in your accuracy.
The only way to overcome these things is making the operating of your self defense weapon a reflex. The only way to make an activity a reflex is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Further you should practice under stress conditions if at all possible. This can be accomplished by practicing under something like a shot time to time yourself on drills such as failure and reloading drills. The idea would be to perform a failure drill or reload the gun than shoot at the target while timing yourself.
Another thing I like to point out is knowing your self defense weapon in and out. There are two types of people when it comes to gun owners, those who own many and those who own few. The ones who own few generally know those weapons very well and those who own many usually known each weapon in a general sense. The trick is to known at least one or two weapons very well. If you’re like me and own multiple firearms designate one or two as self defense guns and practice those every time you head to the range. For instance every time I go to the range I practice with my carry guns (My primary is a Springfield XD in .45 auto and my backup is a Ruger LCP). When at home my defense weapon of choice is a Remington 870 Marine Magnum shotgun. Finally my go gun so to speak is my M-14 SOCOM 16. Yes that’s more than two but I always put my focus on my carry guns since those are what I’ll most likely be using and they work for home defense situations as well. Knowing your defense guns is critical, knowing your other guns is just nice.
Another rule I like to practice is to keep things simple. My carry guns are bare minimum. They have no additional attachments that need to be operated. I simply pull them and shoot them. If your defense gun has things you need to do before shooting practice that. For instance I sometimes carry my 1911 which has an external safety. Although I always keep the gun cocked and locked in my holster I never engage the safety. Yet when I practice drawing it I always move the thumb to disengage the safety. If it’s already disengaged nothing happens but if it become engaged somehow I will instinctively disengage it under stress. You need to make every action needed to bring the gun into firing order pure reflex so keeping things simple is the best bet. Another thing to keep in mine is laser sights. They are great on self defense guns because they allow you to make quickly acquire the target and shoot. The downside is they use batteries. So if you have a laser equipped gun practice using it without the laser so you can operate the firearm should the battery die in the laser sight. Always know how to operate your weapon in it’s absolute bare bones setup.
But most importantly you must be willing to use your firearm should you need it. Many people have the mindset that they could never harm another human being. This is really a load of crap because most people have a self preservation desire that can override their moral standings. In other words you will harm or even kill somebody to protect yourself or those you love. The thing is you need to realize this because if you don’t you may hesitate at the time self defense is needed most. Even a second thinking you don’t want to harm that person can cost you your life so get over that mindset immediately. I’m not advocating saying you will wantonly kill anybody for anything, just engrain the idea that you will harm of even kill somebody if they posed a threat to your life or the lives of your loved ones.
Simply owning the gun isn’t enough you need the practice and mindset to use it. Always keep that in mind, it may save your life someday.