ARE YOU REALLY PREPARED TO USE A FIREARM IN SELF-DEFENSE? Part 2
ARE YOU REALLY PREPARED TO USE A FIREARM IN SELF-DEFENSE? Part 2
You must be Able to Move While Drawing Your Firearm.
I’m not sure there are rules regarding drawing your weapon during a self-defense situation. But if there was a rule, Rule #1 would be “You must move while drawing your weapon”. Rule #2, if there was one, would be “You must be able to draw your weapon safely while moving”.
Rule #1 could help you avoid being shot. It applies if you are confronted while standing or sitting still. Let’s say you and a bad guy are in a Walmart parking lot. You are standing near the rear of your vehicle and he has just stepped into sight about 10 feet from you. He is pointing a firearm at you and telling you to give him your wallet. You are standing between parked cars and clearly in the direct line of fire. You also know that sometimes the bad guys shoot compliant victims no matter what, (knowing why doesn’t matter right now). You know that if you just stand there in front of him and attempt to draw your firearm, he will have a bullet in you before your gun leaves the holster. On the other hand, you think you could move to the rear of the car next to you while drawing you gun, duck down behind it, and perhaps get a round into the bad guy. If nothing else, just scare him away. If you have decided to draw your weapon, and that is totally up to you in the circumstances, getting out of the line of fire while drawing your gun is more than a good idea.
If you have never moved while drawing your gun from your holster, unload your gun, and try it at home. While moving from a standing position, finding your gun in its holster while uncovering it from concealment is a different experience. It is not automatic. If you have not done this before you may find your hand does not immediately know where your gun is. Your gun will be in a different position relative to your body. Your hand will be confused, so to speak, as it tries not only to find the gun but to also figure out where the butt of the gun is as your moving body keeps changing the gun’s position.
Try this from a sitting position. Unload your gun and put on your Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. (If you do not go to church, imagine you are in a restaurant or at a lecture.) Sit in a chair that would simulate sitting in a pew, a chair in a restaurant, or in a booth. Without standing up, draw your firearm as though an active shooter has just entered the sanctuary and is beginning to shoot members of your church. You may find that you are sitting on your concealing garment. Shifting your body so you can get off the garment, and then changing your position so you can pull your gun out probably added at least 1 second of time before your gun was entirely clear and ready to shoot.
OK, you say. “I’ll just start moving at the sound of gunshots which means if I was sitting on my concealing garment, I will move while getting off of it.” I say OK, but (if you are a hunter) you know movement draws a hunter’s attention. So if your movement causes the bad guy to notice you before you are ready to defend yourself, you have increased your risk of being injured or killed.
From a sitting position, an alternative to standing to draw your weapon is to draw your gun from concealment while remaining seated. Then, once your weapon is at hand, lower yourself to a kneeling position while turning to face the shooter to engage him from the concealment of the pew (or chair or booth). The pew will not stop bullets. It might, however, make you smaller as a target, small enough that the perpetrator will have trouble finding you as a target and thereby giving you a very slight edge to get off a round before he can get a round off towards you.
An active shooter situation is always chaotic and filled with extreme risk. But once you identify how difficult it would be for you to draw your firearm while seated, you can figure out other ways to move while drawing your weapon which reduce the risk to you.
Rule #2 applies while you are walking or running. Let us say you are walking in a parking lot. You have your gun in your purse, hands and arms relaxed at your sides. You are using situational awareness so you notice a bad guy with a knife just off to the side already moving toward you. Well, first of all, you should have your gun correctly gripped while it is in the holster in your purse, not outside the purse like you do not have a care in the world. Drawing your weapon from your purse while continuing to move, getting the gun on target, and shooting if the threat does not cease, could save your life. If you have not practiced drawing, getting on target, and firing your weapon while moving you will likely stop moving once the gun is out ( if you can get it out). At that point you become a stationary target for the bad guy. Probably not a good thing.
So, you should keep moving even while drawing your gun and firing if necessary. You will not be able to practice this at an indoor range where the lanes are narrow and straight. You can, however, practice this inside your house or in the backyard. I am an absolute believer in dry-firing your concealment gun(s). But you won’t really know if you have it down until the experience finds you or, preferably, you find an outdoor range that allows this practice.
Rule #2 requires complicated muscle memory. You must train large muscle groups (arms and legs), small muscle groups (fingers and eyes), and middle sized muscle groups (neck muscles). Soldiers learn this because someone makes them learn this. No one will force you to master Rule #2. It is entirely up to you. It looks easy in the movies and on TV. It isn’t. But mastering movement as you draw your weapon, getting on target, and firing if necessary can save your life.
The holster you choose for concealed carry must allow you to swiftly draw your gun while beginning to move. Yet it must be able to retain your gun during regular movement during the day. Many holsters today provide for the user to adjust the retention level of the holster. Check it out. Do not leave this to chance.
And as you are investigating which holster to buy for concealed carry keep the following in mind. If you are involved in a shooting it will be wise to have empty hands when the police arrive. This means the holster you choose for concealment must also allow you to return your gun to the holster quickly and safely. Flexible nylon style holsters can be very comfortable to wear all day. However, many of them totally collapse when the firearm is not in them. The result is that re-holstering can require the use of two hands. This might put you at risk if the bad guy is still capable of movement even if he has been wounded. If your gun is in your hand when police arrive, their training will require them to assume you are one of the bad guys. Insisting you are a good guy or gal while a gun is in your hand will likely get you shot. If you cannot get your gun into your holster when the police arrive, put it down away from yourself and the perpetrator.
Buy as many holsters as you need to ensure each holster fits each concealed firearm you will carry and that allows you to re-holster one handed.
Part of being prepared to use a firearm in self-defense is having a holster that will maximize concealability, will retain your gun under normal circumstances, will allow you to easily draw the firearm during a self-defense situation, and will also allow one-handed return of the firearm to the holster so police rushing onto the scene will not be confused about who is the bad guy.