Developing your fighting skills, especially when it comes to firearms, is all about relationships. There are a variety of relationships at different levels. Understanding how this applies to your defensive skills is extremely important.
For over 20 years this was the only pistol I carried, every day. Eventually it became an extension of my body and mind.
All tools require skill and experience. Knowing how to use a hammer is one thing. Understanding and developing the skills to use a firearm is more complex. In other words you spend time, dry and live practice, to develop a relationship with your weapon. Eventually that weapon starts to feel like an extension of your body. Through practice you learn how to manipulate it, without having or needing to look at it. You know what the trigger feels like as you press off a shot. A bad shot is recognized immediately, without having to look at the target to see where the hit is. The mag runs empty. You feel the slide lock to the rear and know it's time to reload. Developing a relationship with your firearm is mandatory.
Over time you develop a relationship with other shooters. Finding partners means you can split the cost of travel for training. With partners you can work in a "coach" and "shooter" format during practice. One shooter watching the other, applying constructive criticisms. You seek out those better than you, soaking up their advice on skills and gear. And, you learn part of the gun culture is spreading the word, teaching what you know to others. You develop life-long relationships that are rewarding for all parties.
There is also a relationship between you and the threat. According to the data in a majority of attacks the victims know their attacker. The threat may even be a close friend or family member. The fact that you have a relationship with the threat cannot prevent you from stopping the attack. Even prior to the attack there's a responsibility for you to "know" the threat. How will they act or what techniques will be used prior to launching the attack? A good source on information on these matters is The Gift Of Fear
. Another good reference on pre-attack indicators is Left Of Bang
Finally, you establish a solid relationship with yourself. It's essential to understand your limits - the two cardinal sins are underestimating the threat and over estimating your abilities. Decide in advance you will do whatever it takes to win; never let the thought of defeat creep into your thoughts. Ultimately you must make peace with the fact that if you're forced to shoot the threat may die. Just keep in mind when you shoot it's to save lives, not to take life. If they die it's their fault.
Relationships are a key component to life. They come in all flavors. Developing the right kind of relationships is critical to being prepared.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html