Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Dealing With Fear In A Self-Defense Situation

By Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated

The defensive shooter must, at all costs, differentiate between fear and rage. Rage, for our purposes, is uncontrolled anger, blind rage. Rage, just like fear, will cause us to do foolish things, things that we will likely regret at a later date, assuming we live that long.

Using anger to overcome fear is the reason that military leaders, throughout history, have made rousing speeches to their soldiers. The reason is that just about the only way to overcome violence that is visited upon us is through controlled anger. It is another way of instilling the idea that right is upon our side.

A.Y. Allee, a crusty old Texas Ranger captain, used to tell his men, “It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let those bastards know it.” While in law enforcement, my greatest fear was failing to do my duty. For me, that was enough to cause me to grit my teeth and take the fight to them.

For the defensive shooter, the idea is to instill in one’s self that you are well trained, well equipped and well versed in the law regarding personal defense. In addition, you have given serious thought to the types of criminal attack that might be visited upon you and have made a plan. Most importantly, you are prepared to put that plan into action instantly.

This need to overcome fear is also one of the main reasons that I continue to harp on the need for training and practice. Training and practice build confidence. Confidence in one’s abilities is also an excellent way to overcome fear. A punk, hopped up on dope and using a gun that he just stole, is going to have to get awfully lucky to overcome trained and determined shooters who are coolly putting their defensive plan into action. Col. Jeff Cooper used to respond to the idea of a criminal encounter by saying, “They told me that this could happen, and I know just what to do about it.”

Of course, some folks think they can get by with just talking a tough game. That is just false confidence and they know it. We push through fear with a controlled anger. And that is backed up and supported by the amount of training, practice and planning that we have taken advantage of. It also gives us the confidence and presence of mind to turn the anger off when the criminal breaks off the attack and turns to run.

The choice is yours. Are you really prepared to deal with a criminal encounter? Can you push through your natural fear and do your duty? Think about it.