Lots of people get into firearms with self defense in mind. Fair enough. An old quote is “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal.” I’ve seen a firearm equal the odds. One night an 80 year old man that could barely get around shot a home intruder that was assaulting his granddaughter with one of the biggest pieces of junk 22 LR revolvers I’ve ever seen. The intruder would have physically overpowered the octogenarian with ease had it not been for that old wheel gun. I pulled up on scene at the park one night where 4 thugs had tried to rob an ER nurse walking his dog. Unknown to them, the nurse had taken his CHL class & some training from one of my coworkers not too long before, was wearing a pistol and put it to good use. Nothing is more effective at evening the odds.
But a firearm is not a magic talisman. It is of no use if the person welding it doesn’t have the skill and knowledge to employ it.
The vast majority of our society is not acquainted with violence. If you are going to defend yourself, preparation will help and the mind is the most important tool you possess.
In those life threatening moments, lots of things are happening fast. The more you can do on an autonomous level, the more of your mental capacity you can free up for processing situational data, and the better off you are. Stress inoculation is a term I like to use. Confidence becomes important.
I’m just touching on very deep concepts here. Entire books have been written on the subjects, some experts spend their careers and even their entire lives delving into the finer points.
But for an example normal people may understand: Have you ever heard of buck fever? It’s that phenomenon of adrenaline dump when (especially newer) hunters have a trophy game animal step out in front of them that they’ve been hoping for. Many experience the shakes, become barely able to speak, or make minor errors like forgetting to click their safety while trying to get the shot off under the pressure.
In competition, we have buzzer brain. It’s where the shooter has a stage plan, they have visualized their movements, but when the buzzer sounds or shortly after, some error occurs and the shooter loses track of the entire plan or makes unnecessary follow up errors to exacerbate the situation.
These are examples of a break down in processing power. I have experienced them personally. If minor events can cause this, what do you think will happen in your first life threatening encounter?
Things like this are why training is so important. You need to build comfort & confidence in your weapon handling. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more you will grow. The brain must be exercised like any muscle. If you experience smaller doses of stress often enough, when that big dump of “oh my God” happens, you are more likely to handle it correctly.
No matter why you pick up a gun, get out, train, and expand your limits. Stagnation is death.