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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is long but it is very informative!

"Fight to the Finish"
by Glen Evans

The silence is broken when you hear your child crying, and time speeds up to real time. Your body feels numb, and your heart is pounding through your chest, as your mind begins to register that you have just survived a critical incident.

Your vision begins to return to normal and your mind reels as you begin to ponder what has just happened. Smoke rolls slowly out of the gun barrel, and you realize you have just used your weapon in defense of your life.

Mere seconds have passed, and you are not even sure what happened. All you know for sure, is you felt like you were going to lose your life, and the next thing you know you have been involved in a shooting.

A body, the man who seconds ago threatened your very existence, lies a short distance from you, and you begin to grasp the grim reality of the situation.

You holster your weapon, and check on your child. You block her view, so she somehow won't be marred by this toxic and most violent act.

The shooting, the training, and the visualization process have all come together to give you the edge over the aggressor, and you responded almost on auto-pilot, and you have won another day of life.

A sense of exhilaration and excitement comes over you, as the adrenaline continues to course through your body. You feel a tinge of guilt because you are happy to be alive, and your see your opponent is not -- or is he?

All these thoughts and activities pass in a matter of seconds. It is then you see the perpetrator begin to move slowly. He begins to sit up as his firearm rests upon the ground right next to him.

He looks around for his gun and then you realize the fight isn't over! There you are, with your child next to you, standing a short distance away, as your weapon rests in its holster.

Wait a minute, is this really happening? This isn't how it was supposed to happen. On television, the bad guy gets shot and stays down. You saw him get hit, blood has been drawn and he looked like he didn't want to fight anymore, but he's still moving.

Welcome to the chaotic world of combat and presumed compliance.

You've heard it a thousand times before.

Train like you fight, and fight like you train. How many times have you gone to the range for target practice, hit the mark, and then holstered your weapon?

Depending upon how long you have carried a weapon, this has happened perhaps hundreds to thousands of times.

Shoot, hit, reholster…shoot, hit, reholster…shoot, hit, reholster.

I have personally seen it more than I care to admit. It is a matter of attitude on the range. Not a bad attitude, just a wrong attitude. Everyone goes to the range for different reasons, but isn't the biggest reason for those who carry concealed firearms to improve their combat skills?

If this is true, then those who take the right of gun ownership and self protection seriously should rethink their attitude on the range.

The real reason we practice on the range or on the back forty with a pistol is to hone our skills for the possibility we may have to defend our lives against aggressive criminals. We owe it to ourselves, our families, and our fellow citizens to make sure we do it right.

Our attitude whenever we train should reflect our belief that it may be for real someday, so we should do it right.

Training is a simple way of saying "brain imprint."

When under stress, our bodies go through an amazing, and instantaneous survival process physiologists and psychologists have termed "fight or flight."

Our intuition, the body's scout, is always on the look-out for threats to our survival and safety, and alerts our body when there may be a problem. In an instant, our brain switches from logical thought to survival thought and releases a flood of adrenaline into our blood stream.

The heart reacts by pumping out more blood to the large muscle masses for improved reaction, as we make split second decisions to stay for a fight or to flee to fight another day.

As the heart rate increases beyond 140 bpm, fine motor control ceases and we become subject to large gross motor movements.

For the untrained and unprepared, all fine motor control (like pulling a trigger) and close distance sight become almost useless, as we struggle to react to this aggressive action against our lives.

Time becomes distorted. For some, the violent encounter rushes by quickly. In others, time slows down and it seems like you have all day to accomplish the task. In fact, you are amazed at the visual clarity you now possess, you see the weapon and your hand draws the weapon, raises up, and you target the assailant.

Our eyes bulge out of the eye socket in an attempt to garner as much light and information as possible, and our ears shut down in auditory exclusion.

Our brains are left with only what we have programmed them to do, and programming the brain only happens when we repetitively do an action correctly thousands of times.

The wrong way: Shoot, hit the target, reholster your weapon.

But the fight isn't over!

I recently observed presumed compliance in action on YouTube. A police officer, after having pursued a known subject, jumped out of his police car and ran to the driver side door of the suspect vehicle.

He blasted the driver in the face with OC spray, turned his back to the driver, and began to walk away. Presuming the OC spray did the job and thinking the driver would comply, the officer made a fatal error. The driver, who was known to the officer, drew a semi-auto pistol and shot the officer four times in the back killing him.

A citizen, a former Marine, had the presence of mind to place his vehicle in such a way as to attempt to protect the officer, drew the officer's side arm, and verbally challenged the suspect to drop his weapon. When the suspect wouldn't comply, the Marine shot the suspect and "stopped the threat" by killing him.

Never assume the fight is over until you know for sure the fight is over. Always stay tactical, cover the threat, issue verbal orders and retreat to cover if viable.

Five steps to train yourself to stay in the fight until it is completely over.

As discussed earlier, the amount of correct repetitive action over time is the only indicator of possible future performance. Even when you train correctly, your body doesn't always do what you have trained it to do, but it will perform better than having never done anything at all.

First, when going to the range prepare your mind with the reality that you are going to practice the art of combat with your hand gun. I'm not saying going to the range has to be all work. Shooting on the range can be and should be enjoyable and fun. Mental preparation, however, is the first step in making sure you are dialed in and ready to go into battle when necessary.

I always remind myself and my students that they are there to learn the art of killing. Even though it isn't politically correct to say this, or even pleasant to think about, it is the stark reality of a gun fight. A metal projectile hitting vital areas of the body increases the risk of death, even though the more sensitive people in today's world don't like to talk about it.

Secondly, realize when rounds are being fired at you that you are generally focused on where the rounds are coming from and that you will generally shoot toward the perceived threat without sight alignment. The fight or flight response may sometimes increase the difficulty of obtaining the sites while under stress and pressure. At close range it is a good idea to practice point shooting. Pick an area on your target like a pre-marked area or a button on a shirt and stare at it.

Generally speaking, and at close range, your rounds will go toward that area. However, if the subject on the target is holding a gun, given sound shooting principles (good stance, grip and trigger squeeze), it is likely you will hit on or near the gun on the target -- assuming you are shooting at a good human form target. If you are still shooting at bull's eye targets, get rid of them and replace them with human form targets.

The unfortunate truth is bull's eye targets have never been known to appear threatening. When you practice, it is a good idea to train as realistically as possible. Starting with a silhouette or picture target helps you condition your mind and body to shoot at a person.

Thirdly, when you have shot the initial rounds and see the perpetrator going down, move laterally and out of the area of the enemy's line of site.

When the rounds begin to fly, the human tendency is to duck for cover. When he raises his head again, it is only natural to assume you will be in the last place he saw you, and you will be if that is how you practice.

If possible, move to good, solid cover (like a brick wall, engine block or fire hydrant) and make yourself small. On the range, shoot the target, be satisfied you have hit the target and then move laterally to cover if possible.

Fourthly, when you are on the move toward solid cover, keep your weapon pointed toward the target, covering the target as you move. Keep your finger off the trigger and on the trigger guard. However, be ready to fire again with control.

Once behind cover, breathe deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Combat breathing has the ability to lower your heart rate quickly, which helps you restore logical thinking under stress.

As you do this, ask yourself these questions:

- Did the rounds do the job?
- Do I need to fire my weapon again to stop the threat?
- Are there any additional threats I need to address?
- Verbally address the target (yes, even on the range). Tell him to roll onto his belly and place his arms out and away. If he is still holding the weapon, tell him to drop it. If he doesn't, he is still a threat, and it must be addressed.
- As you cover the aggressor, stay behind cover and tell onlookers to call 911 for police and EMS

Fifth, develop a plan of what you will do when the police arrive. Will you holster your weapon? What will you say? Of course, it is a good idea to do exactly what responding officers tell you to do. Do not say anything that may incriminate you or answer any questions until you have spoken to an attorney.

Excited utterances have put many people in hot water. When we have just defended ourselves and won a confrontation, it is exciting, exhilarating, and it feels good. We might say something in that moment that could haunt us in a court of law.

A good thing to say to the officer may be, "Officer this man attacked me, and this is a serious situation I find myself in, so I don't want to say anything right now."

Most reasonable officers completely understand this
The number of times you do this sequence on the range will determine how you respond in a real life encounter. Making sure you pay attention to detail in the training process will increase your chance of survival in a real world encounter. The process entails training the body as well as the brain, so you become conditioned to a violent encounter, and perform and respond in a way that ensures you will be there to fight another day, and to ultimately get home to be with your family.


Glen Evans is a fifteen year police veteran, SWAT Officer and defensive tactics trainer. He is the owner of ASSERT Personal Safety, LLC, and provides personal safety training for women and children. Sign up for our free personal safety newsletter and watch the Finish the Fight video at .

Example Training Evolution
Dry Fire/Airsoft
- Visualize yourself walking and being confronted with a weapon or threat of a weapon.
- Draw your weapon from the place you carry it.
- If appropriate, tell him to drop his weapon
- If not appropriate, DO NOT give verbal commands!
- With sound shooting principles, fire until the aggressive threat stops.
- MOVE LATERALLY three steps right or left toward cover.
- Make yourself small behind good cover. Reload.
- Combat deep breath, in slowly through the nose, out through the mouth.
- Assess the aggressor
- Did the rounds do the job?
- Are there additional threats?
- Do I need to shoot again?
- Tell the aggressor what you want him to do.
- "Lay on your belly"
- "Don't reach for the weapon"
- "Keep your hands out!"
- Practice telling someone to call for help or simulate calling on your cell phone.
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