Why Learning To Fight May Matter More Than Learning To Shoot

At my heart, I’m a gun guy. I’ve been fascinated by the things for decades now. Every since I first pulled the trigger on my dad’s Smith & Wesson .38, I’ve been a gun guy, even if I didn’t actually know anything about them.

However, while studying conflict through the years and trying to figure out the best way for a person to train to stay alive and safe, I came to the conclusion that they’re just not as important in many ways as some of us like to think. Don’t get me wrong, if you need a gun, you need a gun. There’s no real substitute for a gun in many circumstances.

That said, the truth is that shooting is actually way down on the list of priorities.

More specifically, it’s way up on the Warrior Pyramid because it’s not as vital. In fact, for many people, it’s completely irrelevant. If you’re not a gun person, or you live somewhere that it’s not an option or something, you can still accomplish a whole lot without actually needing to touch a gun.

Additionally, let’s be honest, the vast majority of people will never draw a gun in anger.

But the idea of being in a fight? Well, that can happen pretty damn quickly.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. After all, former special forces soldier John Mosby wrote on a similar topic earlier today.

The above quote from TC 3-22.150 does illustrate some of the contextual tie-in though. In the current context, unarmed combatives, and the related disciplines of what I will refer to as “contact weapons” is generally going to be at least as important as our gunfighting ability. That statement may come as a shock to some folks, coming from a “gun guy,” but it’s simply the truth. The reality is that right now, and for the foreseeable future, unless you are running covert/clandestine commando raids targeted at assassinating your political rivals in your community (and we’re really not at that point yet, as far as I can tell, although I increasingly doubt it is far off), there are far more situations that you are going to resolve efficiently without your gun than you will with your gun.

Like Mosby, I’m a gun guy. It’s how I make my living, after all.

But there’s simply not any basis in reality that most problems will warrant being resolved by firearms. It’s just not.

However, I’m amazed at the resistance gun people give when you suggest that learning to fight is more useful. Maybe Mosby’s readership doesn’t have a problem with that, but mine at Bearing Arms sure as hell does. They believe that age is somehow a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card for using lethal force in a non-lethal encounter.

Well, I’ll just say that I hope they enjoy being someone bitch in prison.

After all, they have already skewed the skills needed to protect themselves in a gun free zone like a prison, and that’s where they’ll end up if they use lethal force in an encounter where it’s not warranted. George Zimmerman only got away with shooting Trayvon Martin because Martin was bashing his head into the pavement, a potentially lethal act. Had Martin just kicked the crap out of Zimmerman–and he apparently was able to do just that–and ended it, that encounter would have gone down in history very differently.

The truth of the matter is that like a gun when you need hand-to-hand skills, nothing else will quite work.

However, let’s also ask around at how many people have been involved in a physical altercation rather than an armed altercation. What you’re going to find is that far more people get into a fight.

It can happen in an instant, and while there are de-escalation techniques one can use to reduce your chances of being in a fight, it’s a lot better from a personal perspective to know you could go to town on the jackass, but you’re de-escalating because it’s the right choice. Trust me, no one likes preventing a fight simply because you’re afraid.

Plus, let’s also face facts. Martial arts training is actually a good way to help get yourself in good physical condition. There’s some strength aspect to much of the training and there’s a conditioning element. In fact, starting with your hand-to-hand training is probably a smarter place to start than weight training like I did.

Yet shooting a gun isn’t exactly the most physically taxing task you can engage in. Oh, you can add physical elements to it if you want, but you can also stand in one place and shoot an awful lot and still get a benefit out of that kind of training.

However, the benefits you’ll get have little to nothing to do with getting more fit.

It’s yet another way that learning to fight might well be more important than learning to shoot.


Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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