Many words written about mindset and self-defense are misunderstood, wrong or both. I would like to take a different path to mindset. Most people are slow to use force. The reason is usually due to ignorance of the law. They have not read and understood how to apply the law to force. Once they do use force it is late in the encounter. Using force earlier in the confrontation often results in a better outcome.

As you parse the law and it’s application in your,  “What if” scenarios you will know exactly when (mental trigger) to use a certain level of force. That is everything from running, fighting with your fists, pepper spray, improvised weapons and firearms. You should become an expert in mental triggers long before you become an expert with the firearm.

I did not talk about being tough. It has absolutely nothing to do with mindset. As a human you have everything inside you to survive.

There are somethings that tend to go wrong during force encounters with people who are new/untrained. When they do go wrong it is often attributed to not having a proper mindset. I’ve already mentioned not understanding the law. Next is people in a life threatening encounter tend to shoot very fast. But if you’ve never shot fast, then what you are doing is over driving the gun past your skill level. What happens is that you miss more and the bad guy gets to continue to shoot at you. You need to shoot fast while maintaining control.

A person should always practice pushing beyond their abilities of speed and accuracy. Shoot strings of fire that are faster and faster until you start to miss with 3 or 4 out of every 10 bullets. Then concentrate to see that front sight centered on the blurry target sooner and clearer. Tighten the group up while shooting the same speed.

At the end of each practice session you should shoot a few strings of fire at a slightly slower pace. That pace should insure your hits at 100% but still be at the faster end of your ability. This is learning to control the rate of fire while still shooting fairly fast.

Another problem with many encounters is not moving enough. I’m not talking about running and shooting like in the movies. I’m talking about taking from one to four steps while you are drawing and shooting two to four rounds.

The last big problem is people not changing their focus from the bad guy’s weapon(reason for using lethal force) to the center of the target. Many people shoot the arm and gun during force on force training. That’s not the end of the world if you hit it under real life stress. But not so good if you miss. Training to look at the waistline (or wherever the weapon is) and then changing focus to the center of the target as the front sight is coming up is a good procedure to practice. It should become an unconscious procedure. You can even practice at home during dry fire practice where it’s waistline or face changing to torso and the ending on front sight.



  1. Reflex Handgun

    Great post. I agree completely with your note on training to push speed, far too few shooters do this. Accuracy is “final” but you need to be able to make hits fast, which alludes many.


    • OneGun

      You are correct. Making those hits fast is not only important but having the control to make the hits is trainable. We as shooters forget that everyone was new once. I can do things with my pistol that I never dreamed of when I was new. But with slow steady progress a new shooter can be a fantastic and quick shot after one year. It’s just not that hard. It just takes time and money.
      We mistake having a tough mental mindset when we are actually just untrained or improperly trained. My whole idea in training is to get people to see that and just start on the journey. They can get to 70 to 80% of a world class shooter over time. Why not start today. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s