The Other Guy’s Weapons

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

It’s common, when talking about defense, to concentrate on what weapons we have available to us and what we can do with them. That makes sense in one way, as we are trying to win the conflict. But we need to remember, winning doesn’t necessarily mean killing the other guy; it means eliminating their ability to fight. This is a concept of warfare that is alternately remembered and forgotten by armies around the world; but it applies just as well to us in any one-on-one warfare we are involved in.

Eliminating the other guy’s ability to fight is only half the battle, at best. The other half is staying alive ourselves. This has to take precedence over stopping the other guy. You’re not going to stop him very well, if you’re laying there in a pool of your own blood.

Cover and concealment are an important part of keeping from being killed, as well as moving to make yourself a more elusive target for the other guy to hit. In addition to that, it can be very helpful to pay attention to how your adversary is armed. That includes not only the weapon they are using at the moment, but any other weapons you can see on their body.

Weapons only have so much capability, so knowing what weapons they have can help you make an educated guess on what they can do. If they’re shooting at you with a snub-nosed revolver, and you’re more than a car’s length away from them, the only way they’re going to hit you is by pure luck. Knowing that helps you make tactical decisions, like whether or not it is safe to move from your position.

A good idea of their weaponry will also help you know how many shots they can fire, before being forced to reload. That reload time is important, as it is the best time to move, due to their inability to fire. Many a battle has been won by taking advantage of the other guy’s limitations, rather than by the winner actually having superior abilities of their own.

Few criminals bother to do things like carrying a spare magazine or a second gun. However, they might carry a knife; lots of people do, even without thinking of the knife as a weapon. But that’s not to say they can’t or won’t carry that spare magazine, so don’t make that assumption. Rather, look for evidence to back that up. If they reach the point where they are out of rounds and you don’t see them trying to reload, then you know that you have the advantage… at least for the moment. If they grab their knife, that probably means they’re out of ammunition too.

If they have more than one weapon available to them, are they using the most capable one or sticking to something else? Perhaps they’ve got a rifle, but are using a pistol. That can be because they are more comfortable with the pistol or perhaps because they don’t have ammo for the rifle. Either way, it affects their ability to fight, which ends up affecting your ability to beat them.

While being able to shoot accurately is important, strategy and tactics are more so. More battles have been won due to outstanding strategy, than outstanding marksmanship. That’s not to give anyone an excuse for not practicing; but rather to illustrate how important it is to think in a fight. If you want to win, than take the time to think, not just to fight.

In the Army, the lesson is “reconnaissance, reconnaissance, reconnaissance.” That’s essentially the same thing. A commander makes good tactical decisions because they figure out what the enemy is capable of doing and then finding a way to use their assets to do better. The same can apply to any sort of fighting, whether we’re talking about a shootout with a guy trying to rob you in a parking garage or competing in martial arts.

This is how winners fight. They compare their own ability to those of their opponent. That’s not what they think their enemy’s ability is; but what they observe of their ability. This includes:

  • How do they hold their gun? Do they look like they know what they are doing?
  • Is what they’re doing reasonable for the weapon they have? In other words, if they’ve got that snub-nose, are they trying to get close, in order to get the shot or are they shooting from a distance?
  • What’s their demeanor like? Do they appear confident, afraid, angry or confused?
  • Are there any bulges in their clothing that could hide additional weapons or magazines?
  • Are they aiming their shots or just shooting?

All of these factors affect their ability to fight effectively. But seeing it starts with seeing what sort of weapons they have and what they are doing with them. Figuring that out is the beginning of winning the mental battle, which can then lead to winning the physical one.

Just think of this as one more thing to have ready. But practice noticing such things, in non-threatening situations, so that you’ll be ready when you need to be. Just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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