The gun has long held a position as the great self-defense equalizer. Particularly in America. “God created all men equal, but Sam Colt made it so” or any other number of variations on the phrase have been in circulation since the creation of Colt’s revolvers. But success with a firearm requires more than the ability to pull a trigger. Shooting success requires fitness.
“If you’re attacked, and you’re carrying, just shoot ’em.” This idea pervades the culture of self defense, even today. Leave aside all the obviously problems with the legality(or lack thereof) of such a statement. It ignores the simple truth of handling any type of weapon; you need to be in good shape in order to efficiently use it. I explore the mains reasons for this below. For those of you only interested in the sporting side of shooting, fear not. These things will help you just as much, too.
- Efficiency Requires a LOT of Repetition
If you’ve never done something like this, take a two pound weight in your hands. If you don’t have a weight, you can do this with a properly cleared empty firearm(always follow your safe gun handling rules) as well. Get comfortable, take your shooting stance, and extend your arms with your weight as if you are on the line at the range and sighting down at a target.
Now hold that position.
If you’re really ambitious, time it. You will tire shockingly fast. Proper stance will alleviate some of the strain on your musculature, but at the end of the day you need quality repetition of both live and dry fire in order to master the craft of shooting, regardless of the weapon platform you train. The more fit you are, the more training you can get in. The more training you get in, the better prepared you are to utilize that weapon, whether in a real-life or sport shooting scenario.
- You Can’t Shoot Anything if You Can’t Get Your Gun
If you have never been involved in any sort of combat sport training (judo, Jiu jitsu, MMA, etc) you might be surprised at just how HARD it is to get free of a determined person grabbing you. This is something else which can be easily tested; just go take a class at your local club or dojo. As much as people might like the comfort carrying a firearm brings, if you are in poor physical shape you’re only tackling a piece of the self-reliance puzzle. Shooting is not the solution to all potential problems.
We know, from statistics and videos, that a majority of self defense situations start at extremely close distances. After all, if you aren’t looking for trouble and avoid seedy bars, your eliminating a majority of those superfluous altercations. What you have left to contend with, then, are the small percentage of situations which cannot be helped, and we know from the numbers these occur at close ranges. You can brag about that custom .45 all day long, but if you can’t fight free of somebody in a worst case scenario to use it, it means nothing.
- Being in Better Shape Improves Decision-Making Under Duress
The human brain runs on oxygen. The brain will fail when it receives too little oxygen. It should seem pretty obvious, but being able to make split-second judgments in a self defense scenario is a crucial and perishable skill.
You just left a restaurant. A shady individual approaches. Can you spot it and make the call to draw? Maybe you thought you were dealing with a single attacker, but a second is coming up from your side. You’re sucking air now trying to breathe and have lost your situational awareness. Maybe someone approached with a weapon, you drew yours, and they immediately surrender. Do you have the wherewithal to understand the fluidity of the situation? Are you able to instantly determine whether or not shooting is still required? The more efficiently your body deals with stress and strain, the more effectively your mind processes these key details.
For the those interested in sport shooting, this also applies to decision-making on the course of fire. Running through complex patterns, switching weapons, reloading, and shooting from odd positions all get easier the more fit you are.
If you’ve been considering getting your first firearm, or if you’re a veteran shooter looking for that new piece of gear, head on over to Liberty Shooting Sports today. We carry a wide variety of firearms from an extensive selection of manufacturers. We strive to provide the highest level of customer service and products to all of our customers. Check out our blog for other articles full of useful shooting information!