MARCH 26, 2020

Skill Set: Control

In a dangerous situation there are only two things you can control – what you do, and the speed at which you do it. Everything else is beyond your command. If you’re not in control of your actions, or let the external dictate the speed at which you perform, all you’re doing is reacting to what’s being done to you. In other words, you’re always behind, and more importantly you’re being controlled.

A big part of being in control is being prepared. This means you’ve thought about what might happen, and you’ve taken steps to meet the challenge that might come. The important thing is to differentiate between “possible” and “probable.” For example, it is possible that we have a “Red Dawn” type situation – communist launch an all-out attack on America. But I think we can all agree that while it’s possible, it’s not very probable.

For self-defense, this means planning on a violent attack from one or more individuals, at short range and taking place over a short span of time. Based on data from previous attacks we know that it’s likely to occur during hours of the day associated with adverse light, and -- if you’re forced to fire -- you’ll likely fire about three to four shots. With this in mind your practice – preparation – should include the fundamentals – movement, communication, the use of cover, marksmanship and manipulations. The most important factor is the ability to assess and make decisions, usually in a compressed time frame.

Situations like what’s occurring today – the virus – are still pretty much the same. Again, there are only two things you can control – what you do, and the speed you execute those actions. The difference is that normally these type conditions don’t require making split second decisions. Yet, you still have to be in control of what you’re doing, acting as opposed to just reacting and then responding at the appropriate speed. Overreacting, panicking and becoming convinced that it has to be done “right now, as fast as possible,” when there may actually be time to ponder and consider your actions is not the answer. Regardless of what the media is saying, I’m not fully convinced we’re at “war.” A bad situation, sure, but it’s a far cry from what we as a world faced during WWI and WWII.

No matter what the situation is, and whether it’s a violent attack on the street or in your home or a pandemic that may or may not be a serious as “they” say it is, there are still only two things you can control. So, now is the time to maintain a calm, level head.

The ability to maintain control is based on confidence. A positive self-image, ego or confidence – whatever term you choose to use – is mandatory. Otherwise you begin to question your condition, sometimes even to the point of giving complete control over to someone else.

Confidence must be cultivated. You acquire an education on the subject matter, discovering what’s required to handle a particular situation. You acquire the proper assets and cultivate the necessary skills until you can say - with confidence - “I’m ready.” From there on, no matter what happens, it may not be easy, but you will be victorious. This applies to all situations.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. Visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.