Your voice could save your life. Using it effectively is the single most important defensive tactic I learned in my latest self-defense and survival training course. Over the eight-hour course “Introduction to Defensive Shooting,” the third installment in a four-part shooting development series at Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, New Hampshire, there’s a lot of screaming. On the way home, my friend and I, voices shot, were rasping about how much information was thrown at us. As our academy director and instructor, Adam Painchaud, warned us in the morning, information hit us like a “fire hose.”
“Gun!” was the first word Painchaud screamed as he demonstrated the power of your voice. It was startling even with earmuffs on. It was the first lesson on having the right mindset. You need the intensity to be able to stop a threat from taking away your constitutional rights. Your voice can set the tone. That’s the first step in becoming a tactician, because anyone can shoot a gun.
Being a tactician is hard. As a tactician, you have a defensive mindset, you are analytical, and you are ready to stop a threat without being paranoid. As a tactician, you’re always thinking about the guy who is a wolf and who will kill you. You’re taught to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk to your car, for example, with one hand in your purse fumbling for keys and the other holding your cell phone to your ear. Wolves like it when we act like sheep.
As a wolf, you give yourself every possible edge you can. What’s better than a gun? Two guns. If attacked by a knife, then counter with a handgun; if by a handgun, then with a long gun; and if by a long gun, then with three friends with long guns. Always work up. Be prepared. Buy what you need. Especially when it comes to ammo, I’ve had to really dig to find what I need. “We’re paying a good amount of overtime to try to keep up,” said Jeff Hoffman, the co-owner of Black Hills Ammunition, a manufacturer based in Rapid City, South Dakota. “For the most popular caliber, we’re quoting delivery times of early next year,” he said. Once you’re supplied, remember your voice.
We practiced shooting all day no further than 3–5 yards from our target because if you’re 30 yards away, you’re probably better off running. Painchaud ran us through drills with eyes down, arms crossed, and backs to the threat. When he blew the whistle, we’d turn, recognize the threat, scream “Gun!,” stop the killer with accurate shots within an eight-inch diameter, then yell “Everybody down, get down, call the police” without forgetting to breathe. By the way, you never know how many shots you’ll need to take. You’re not counting them off in your head, “One, two . . . OK, I’ve got how many left?” In real life, as Painchaud explained, you shoot until the threat is stopped.
I was shooting next to a police officer with nine years of service. In the debriefing room, she explained how she and her partner had to Taser a petite teenage girl who was hopped up on crack. The girl looked at them and while pulling out the Taser prongs, laughed and said, “Is that all you got?” Hopefully for you, it isn’t.
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