Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Creating A Winning Mindset

The threat attacks. You issue verbal commands, move to create distance, drawing your pistol and engaging with accurate shots. Your slide locks back on an empty magazine. Smoothly you perform a practiced reload, reacquire a sight picture and press the trigger. No bang, no recoil, nothing. You stop moving, your body relaxes, and mentally you freeze. Standing there, staring at your pistol, you realize the mag wasn’t seated during the reload.


Today you’re lucky. This “fight” was during a practice session on the range. Tomorrow you might not be so fortunate. In a fight, just as with everything else in life, things never go like we planned, we’ll make mistakes, and the unexpected occurs with regularity. The difference is that in our daily lives we usually have time to think about how to solve our problems. Fights don’t allow that luxury. When things go wrong you don’t have time to stop and consider your options, you have to know how to react. You make a mistake. Immediately correct or compensate and continue with the fight. Any delay in your reaction puts victory within grasp of your opponent.

This mindset must also extend into our everyday life. We assume an area is safe because every other time we’ve been there it was safe. We talk on the cell phone while walking through the parking lot, oblivious to what is happening around us. You’ve made hundreds of traffic stops, so why should this one be any different? This is a dangerous way to go through life. We cannot afford to let the “range-mentality” creep into our thought process, and must guard against becoming complacent during our daily activities.

Obviously during a fight we need to prevent the range mentality from manifesting itself. There are too many examples of this to deny that it does occur, and normally with fatal results. In a fight you’ll do what you’ve trained to do, except under actual combative conditions you probably won’t perform nearly as well. If you don’t train and practice you’ll revert to natural instinct, which is often counterproductive to fighting with firearms. (See Tactical Wire Aug.14, ’08.) If you’re not training and practicing proper techniques, nurturing the proper mindset, you won’t fight effectively. Fights don’t contain time to mentally unplug or get distracted.

During classes I sometimes refer to our training as life-lessons. Some students laugh about this. Others get it, recognizing that developing the skills to win a violent confrontation does modify the way you live. When you realize that a dangerous situation can develop at anytime, and anywhere, it changes the way you look at things. Ideally we spot trouble before it develops into a fight. Depending on who you are and what you do this allows us to avoid or escape the situation, call for backup and support, or prepare for combat. So, make sure to apply good habits, tactics, and the correct mindset to everything you do, regardless of how mundane it may seem. Then, if a problem does occur you’re ready to solve it immediately.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Defensive Mindset

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