Decades ago while beginning a life long passion for Martial Arts training a concept lived by those most experienced was drummed into my brain. Training to win a fight is designed to provide the confidence to avoid them if at all possible. This can apply even if your job in life may be as a warrior (those that go to WAR). Having trained with numerous elite military fighters the ones living long enough to pass on their experience often believe the same thing. Look for a fight and you just might find it, and seldom is it the one you wanted. Early in my firearms training career Clint Smith said the same thing. He often stated “We seldom get the fight we want, how long you live depends on how well you handle the one you get”. You train to win the fight you get, not look for one to test your skills. Unfortunately that seems these days to have been turned on its head.
I am old enough to remember when police firearms training was lacking at best, rarely available, and a secondary consideration. Quality civilian training was all but non-existent. Really good training was incredibly costly. Thankfully that has changed. Training now ranges from completely useless to incredibly valuable, but it is available. Like all things, it brings the bad along with the good. Over the last few years it has produced an entire crop of tactically trained ( or at least they think they are) people looking for a reason to practice what they have trained to do. Rather than training to avoid the fight they are practicing for what they believe is the inevitable. It sells the hell out of classes for sure, but it creates a sort of self fulfilling prophesy. Unfortunately shootings don’t go down in reality the way they do in your video game, from your couch, or the way it works at training. Even if the actual “action” works out as trained, the aftermath carries huge consequences neither taught, covered, or considered.
Spend any time reading or following various websites or social media pages and it is all but constant. So much so you can predict the most common responses with incredible accuracy. So, “fill in the blank” happens, WHAT WILL YOU DO!!. Almost without question someone trying to sell training spews forth their doctrine followed by “come train with me” I will save your life. The next guy having just come from training spits out the latest guru driven dogma. Jump out, whip out the latest combat plastic, deal with the evildoer, vigorously spin 360 degrees while maintaining a ninja like steely glare prepared for the next 15 bad guys, zombies, or invading horde. Or, working your way back to the belt fed machinegun or gadget laden AR you have “just in case”. Ya, is there a bit of sarcasm in there, sure, but unfortunately there is more truth than there should be.
The old adage that you should be prepared to end any fight coming your way while avoiding them remains true. Granted, depending on where you live or what you do that fight may be more likely, but its damned likely if you go looking for it. Its right up there with those who think the only people qualified to teach “real street tactics” must have killed someone in a gun fight. That is so ridiculous as to be moronic. I get it if you are a combat soldier preparing for war, maybe the guy who survived numerous battles is a good bet. But for civilians (and that means cops), it may not be a bad idea to learn from the guy that managed to be prepared for killing someone, but avoided it through sound tactics, a cool head, and solid training.
Having investigated numerous shootings over the years involving both sworn use of deadly force and self protection, they never seemed to go as planned. Shooting the guy trying to kill you is pretty simple, or the intruder in your house, or all the cookie cutter scenarios. Unfortunately most involve some complicating issue like road rage, or domestic violence, or alcohol, drugs, or simple bravado. Those may not be as clear cut as your last instructor seemed to think. Nor did what was about to occur afterwards ever seem to be included in the training. I get it, be prepared, seek out quality training, be prepared to use any firearm or other weapon you carry properly. Preparing for the fight can be fun. But just a thought, maybe spend as much time practicing avoidance and awareness as you do “gun fighting”. The stories aren’t as nearly as cool, but it makes life a ton more enjoyable, and increases your ability to enjoy it long enough to save the world.