Winning the Gunfight

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Hopefully, neither you or I will ever have to draw our guns in anger. While I carry every day, and maintain myself in condition yellow, with my situational awareness turned on high, I don’t relish the idea of having to shoot someone. Twice in my life I’ve drawn a gun against someone who was armed and both times that was enough to send them packing. If there is ever a third time, I hope the results are the same.

Even so, I can’t assume they will be. That’s why I continue to study, practice and train. When and if the time comes when I need to draw my gun in self-defense or the defense of someone else, I want to be ready. Part of that is planning out what to do, so that I can win.

One of the important parts of that is controlling the fight. Since you can’t really control what the other guy does, that means controlling yourself and what you do. If you do that well enough, you’ll be able to influence what he does. You might even be able to get him to do what you want. If not, it won’t go well for him. There are four critical things to make this happen.


The first thing that’s important is timing. One of the advantages of carrying concealed, is that you can control when you bring your gun into the situation. If your clothing conceals your firearm well enough, that moment will be a total surprise to the bad guys. Surprise, of course, works to your benefit.

What this means, in practical terms, is that you don’t draw your gun until you are ready to fire. You’ll want to practice drawing and getting your sight picture quickly, so that you can make the maximum use of that surprise. The idea is to be ready to pull the trigger, before his mind can register “gun.”


If you’re going to be ready to fire as soon as you draw your gun and align your sights, you need to utilize the time you have before drawing it to get into a good position to fight from. That may include getting behind cover, if there is any available. It also needs to include making sure that there is nobody between you and the bad guys or behind the bad guys.

You have to assume that more than half of your shots are going to miss. I don’t care how good a shot you are, when it becomes real, your shooting ability is going to be degraded by 80%. Unless you want to go to jail for manslaughter, you can’t afford for any shots that miss to hit an innocent bystander.

The other thing you want to do here, if you can, is get out of the direct line of fire. If you can attack them from the side, you’ll be at an advantage. If there are multiple criminals, then you want to get into a position where you can move your gun from one to another with minimal lateral movement, so that you don’t have to waste a lot of time. There’s a lot you can do during this phase, which can help you win.

The Pause

Statistically, 70% of the times that someone with a concealed carry license draws their firearm in response to a criminal threat, the criminal flees. That’s actually an ideal solution to a dangerous situation. If you can get the bad guy to break off the engagement, without having to fire a shot, then you’ve won and you won’t have to deal with the emotional problems of having killed someone.

I know my viewpoint on this is controversial, but I train to draw my gun, align my sights and then pause. If I’ve taken proper advantage of my timing and setup, the bad guy should instantly see that I have the drop on them. If they have any brains whatsoever, that should be enough to convince them its not a good day to die.

The controversial part of this is that I’m taking a huge risk in putting that pause in there. If they don’t decide it’s a good day to quit the scene, before the shooting starts, I’ve just given away any advantage I have. I’ve given them the opportunity to take the first shot. That could be a deadly decision.


This is the important part; what I really wanted to share today. The American military uses the tactic of massive firepower in the attack. They try to get as many shots in at the enemy, in as short a period of time as possible. There are two reasons for this: the shock value and the increased chances of hitting the targets.

This same tactic is very useful here. The problem is that you’re probably going to be very limited in your ammunition availability. I carry 2 spare magazines, but that only gives me 21 total rounds. I can’t exactly do a lot of “massed fire” with that few shots.

But what I can do is take those shots as quickly as possible; that being defined as “as quickly as I can fire accurately.” If I can do that, then I might still manage to instill fear in my target, even if I don’t do the best job of hitting them. Always attack with the maximum violence you can, so that you can get the biggest impact out of your attack.

Don’t lose control doing this though. When they are down or when they turn to flee, you have to be able to stop yourself. Shooting at them in either of those cases doesn’t qualify as self-defense and the courts may not see it as such. Fast and violent are important to defeat the bad guy, but control is important to protect yourself. Besides, you’ll shoot more accurately if you can maintain control. And as I always say, be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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