A friend and I recently completed a handgun course at Sig Sauer Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. One drill showed how quickly someone can steal your birthday. The speed was literally breathtaking.
First off, I highly recommend a handgun course for anyone concerned about self-defense. I’m not recommending gun ownership for you. That’s a very personal decision and best made between you and your spouse.
You will learn a lot about self-defense at a handgun course. And don’t be intimidated. You will not be the only one there who is a beginner, if that’s your concern. There are all levels of classes available. Your comfort level is not lost on the instructors, but you do need to show up with your game face on and be ready to participate. This particular class wasn’t for beginners, but all handgun classes build upon a strong foundation of fundamentals, just like any skill or sport. It’s worth noting how we parents spend hours teaching our kids about sports like soccer, which is embraced by society. But why not talk about self-defense with the same enthusiasm?
The eight-hour course I took went well into the night. During this session, we worked at the inside range. Here’s how one of the more memorable drills worked. First, all pistols were holstered with chambers emptied. The instructor selected two volunteers. One took off his firearm while the other kept his. They stood back-to-back. The idea was to see how fast a threat could be upon you. One was to run away while the other was to draw his sidearm and pretend to shoot in the opposite direction.
On the first run-through, the runner was at least 50 yards away by the time the shooter had fired his pistol. In other words, if a threat approached the shooter from less than 50 yards away, it would have been upon him before he could have fired. The second time around, the runner didn’t get as far, but the distance travelled was still discomforting. That’s what real time looks like.
The exercise illustrated exactly what proximity means in a life-or-death gunfight. The instructor explained how police officers are trained to delineate a circle of awareness around themselves for that exact reason. He said the police use a short 30-yard radius because of the speed with which a threat can move. One has literally only seconds to react. That’s good situational advice for all of us who tend to mind our own business, because a few do not. Walk with your head up so they know you’re not an easy target.