By Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated
I suppose it is just human nature that we imagine episodes and events that make us look good. Further, we often see and hear things that sound really cool and repeating them makes us sound like we are really experienced in this business of personal defense.
One of my favorite myths is, “I use my handgun to fight my way to my rifle.” Now I am sure that that has been successfully accomplished, but I submit to you that those times are very rare. Researching actual gunfights indicate those fights are usually over, one way or another, long before someone could run to get a rifle. And my question would be, “If you are going to run and get your rifle, why didn’t you just keep running and get away from the threat?”
Another one is, “One is none and two is one.” Defensive enthusiasts are all about carrying a backup gun, a knife, a flashlight or two, a tourniquet—oh, and lots of ammo. In the real world, we instructors are just concerned with getting people to carry their gun all the time and practicing with it enough to actually be proficient. In the real world, getting good enough to make a fast, first shot stop trumps toting all sorts of gear every time.
A favorite of mine deals with the number of people who choose to carry their primary defense gun in an ankle holster. Some of those folks will assure you that they are so into awareness that they will have plenty of time to get that gun out. Well, years ago, I carried in an ankle holster while off duty. One bright, sunny afternoon on our little town square, I rounded a corner and came nose to nose with an armed felon. That little gun on my ankle might as well have been in New York City. I had to go to Plan B, and in an almighty hurry. Thanks to a patrolman who happened by, we got him disarmed and arrested. My main take-away from that experience was that there wasn’t anything wrong with my heart.
Instead of imagining events that make us the winner and hero, the defensive shooter is far better off to imagine scenarios when everything has gone wrong. It helps us to evaluate our tactics, our guns, our carry methods and our ability—or lack of the same. And it helps us to take a realistic look at our personal-defense plan.
I have hunted buffalo in Africa and Australia, and bison in this country. The one thing that I got from the professional hunters is that they don’t plan for when everything works right—they plan for when everything goes wrong. And, just like the smart defensive shooter, it effects their choice of guns, gear and tactics. And that, I submit, is a good way to stay alive.