27 Apr 17

“Willingness is a state of mind. Readiness is a statement of fact!”

First heard (by me) in Marine Corps OCS, Quantico, VA, 1967.

The definition of “security” is:

“Whatever you have with you at the moment, and how smoothly and incisively you can put it all into action it to make things go your way”

Evan Marshall

At a recent ARTA Course (Armed Response to a Terrorist Attack), I orchestrated many drills where students have to run to where their rifle is, unpack it, and get it running. They then complete the exercise.

Sometimes, you may have your rifle physically on you. Yet, most of the time it will be locked-up and/or secreted in some way so as to get it out of sight and thus lower your profile.

So, I think it is important to practice getting to your rifle, and then getting it into action smoothly and quickly. And, it is here that we see difficulty.

My student gets to his rifle, unpacks it, grabs it, and then raises it to his shoulder in an attempt to get on target, only to discover his optic is turned off. He hurriedly gets it turned on, only to discover his adjustable stock is not adjusted to the correct length. He re-adjusts his stock, only to discover the rifle’s sling is too short, and he thus can’t get the rifle correctly mounted. He gets that all sorted-out, moves off the “X” (at long last) and finally gets his red dot on target, presses the trigger, only to discover there is no round chambered, and/or no magazine in the weapon!

By this time, it’s mostly a moot point, but he angrily chambers a round, reflexively pushed the manual safety lever to the “on” position, and then presses the trigger once more. Of course, the manual safety functions normally, and as designed!

At each frustration-point, the natural tendency is to plant your feet in cement and then stand there interminably gawking in amazement at your still-silent rifle!

Our first task is to help the student understand that, when he is not actually shooting, he needs to be moving!

Then, in repetition after frustrating repetition, we smooth-out all the speed-bumps and reclaim squandered seconds!

One critical disservice performed by most (cold range) shooting competitions is getting into the minds of participants that they will always have plenty of time to “get ready.” They further dulude themselves with the personal assurance that nothing bad will ever “start” until they clearly indicate they are “ready!”

This is a poisonous self-delusion we must immediately get all competition shooters out of!

We’re preparing you to successfully confront a personal security emergency. You don’t get to “make an appointment!” They’ll be no time for you to “get ready,” and you won’t know the scenario beforehand. You’re either ready and alert all the time, as a unchanging lifestyle, or you’ll predictably flunk your first (and last) Test!

Of course, The Test may never come your way. Let’s pray it never does. Can you bet your life on that? (You have!)

For one, I’m not depending on Providence. I’m depending on me!

Some may hesitate.

I won’t!

“When we least expect it, life sends us a challenge… At such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened, nor in insisting that we are not yet ready.

The challenge will not wait!

Life does not look back!”

Paulo Coelho