Self-defense is a basic human right, and accordingly, so is having the means of self-defense. You should in fact be armed for your personal protection, but it’s the wise armed citizen who seeks training to be as competent as possible with their defensive firearm.
The content of that training should include making sure that you have a solid, reliable defensive firearm from a major manufacturer, a good secure holster, belt, and mag pouch. The training should include lessons on how to properly conceal, and how to draw safely, smoothly and cleanly from concealment AT THE RIGHT time, and put fight stopping hits on target to save your life. The training should be repetitive and realistic, teaching you as the student to operate under stress, and under a variety of conditions.
Those who are entrenched in the concealed carry and training lifestyle will recognize the value in the above paragraph. However, there’s more to the story. Being armed and trained for your personal defense is good, but not HAVING to resort to using that defensive firearm is best.
In our Self Defense Pistol Skills Level 2 class, we teach a four (4) part model that consists of ‘Awareness – Conflict Avoidance – De-Escalation- Fight!’ As the pic illustrates, this works on a sliding scale, with ‘Awareness’ being ideal, and ‘Fight!’ being less than ideal.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say that you are armed and trained, but in dress and comportment, you are ‘under the radar’. We call this being ‘gray’…..you are not drawing attention to yourself. As you go from point A to point B, your head is up, and you are paying attention to your surroundings. This is the ‘Awareness’ level of our model. This doesn’t mean that you must be hyper-vigilant, which in truth can be exhausting. It means you are aware of your surroundings, but you pay attention to any anomalies that you see. The trick is to NOT use your thinking brain to talk yourself out of what your gut just told you. You shouldn’t dismiss the hairs sticking up on the back of your neck.
Once you’ve noticed an anomaly, you move to the second level in our model, which is ‘Conflict Avoidance’. You switch directions, pick a difference entrance, wait until the issue has passed, etc. Your goal at this point is to avoid the situation, if possible.
If Conflict Avoidance doesn’t work, then you move to the third level on our model, which is ‘De-Escalation’. Diffuse the situation, to include apologizing…even if you are not in the wrong. You are doing what you can to avoid going physical (to include armed conflict) if possible. This is all with the understanding that you can do so SAFELY.
If De-Escalation fails, or the situation is such that it’s not available, then you are now on the fourth level on our model, which is ‘Fight!’ This means that the choice of doing otherwise isn’t present. You are presented with a situation in which your safety is in jeopardy and your life is on the line, so you must act decisively and affectively to address it. At this point, it’s obvious that being armed with a solid, reliable weapon, and being well trained in its use is a good thing. However, looking at our four-part model, you will see that ‘Awareness’ is at the top, and ‘Fight!’ (Resorting to using your defensive firearm) is at the bottom of the model.
The greatest self-defense tool therefore is Awareness, as it comes before all others. This all reminds me of something I came up with a few years back;
“While it is good to be a warrior, your ability to get along with your fellow man should be prized above your ability to do harm to him. The latter ability is only invoked upon failure of the former ability.”