The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Your Eon-Old Operating System May Need an Update"
The rigors of our tool-saturated lives are betrayed by how easy it is to learn and use these systems from a position of comfort...but what about from a position of crippling stress? Are you banking on 80% success rates at the range to carry you through a real-life gunfight?
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Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.
Hello, and a good week to you, my fellow Guardians.
This week I’ve got the story of a gunfight a friend of mine was involved in with some pretty wild lessons that can be drawn out of it, but first, two housekeeping items.
First, my apologies for abruptly taking a few weeks off the Guardian Broadcast. The final stages of Volume 3 of 3 SECONDS FROM NOW required all hands on deck and full focus, and so we’ve been busy, busy, busy!
Second, I still owe you a follow-up broadcast to my Hierarchal flow of Operation Planning and Execution – I haven’t forgotten. The story here is that to explain anything well, I always feel the need to be very thorough. And twice lately, this urge has bitten me in the bottom. I’ll dive in and begin outlining, and I’ll quickly realize: this needs to be a book! And so now I have an outline for a book on Strategically Sound Operation Planning and Execution, and a third of a book written on Church security. Well, that’s life.
Okay, for today’s broadcast.
This is the anonymous story of an active-duty police officer – the first gunfight he was ever involved in. And his primary lessons coming out of this gunfight was this: you’ve got to PRACTICE gunfighting. You’ve got to practice it mentally, you’ve got to watch other people gunfighting, and you’ve got to practice it physically, with your own gun. Ideally at the range in live fire where you draw and move against targets – but at the very least, in your home or garage; you’ve got to draw your safe and unloaded weapon with speed while moving, and you’ve got to move around with your home with your safe and unloaded weapon and get used to moving around with a gun in your hand. If we don’t, the kind of things you’re about to hear will happen to you.
Meet officer Grady. He is a non-combat infantry veteran of the USMC, and active USMC reserves. He is in his first year as a police officer. All his life he has lived and breathed guns and gunfighting, and there’s not a place he’d rather be but on a call with suspicious activity reported followed by a woman’s scream.
Grady is walking silently beside the array of outlet stores in the pitch dark. His right hand is on his pistol, in his left hand he has a large Maglite flashlight, switched off. His eyes are adjusted to the darkness, and he wants to keep the element of surprise. If there’s a crime in progress, he wants to watch them!
Well, catch them he did. When he neared the back corner of the line of outlet stores, which terminated in a tall, solid, wooden fence, he definitively heard a muffled woman’s scream. Suddenly, the call is much more real than it was before! His heart is instantly racing, his pistol is drawn, and he springs around the corner, switching the Maglite on. What he sees is this:
Time slows down so much in his adrenaline rush and perceptual amplification that he sees a slow-motion picture. A man is on the ground, on top of a woman. He appears to be raping her, with one hand pressing her mouth and nose closed over her face and the other pinning her elbows to the ground above her head. Standing over him is an accomplice standing guard holding a pump shotgun at low ready. These guys are about 40 feet away from him. As Grady is processing this scene, he realizes that the shotgun is coming up to level with him. As this happens, he instinctively begins throwing his handgun out in front of him, pointing it at the shooter. But his limbs are like lead, or at least they feel that way in the explosiveness and irrationality of adrenaline time. He sees the muzzle flash from the shotgun. He sees the shot and wadding zipping by his head. Now time harshly jerks back to its senses, and Grady finds himself zipping back around the corner of the wooden fence. This is where it gets silly.
Grady’s brain is jammed with the realization that he was just shot at. All he can think about his survival, and mitigating the risk against him. So, he begins shooting through the fence. Yes, he fires through the fence at approximately where the three people were a moment before, even though one of them was an innocent victim of rape.
He fires most of his magazine, and then hears an explosive roar – the shotgun firing again. Grady then retreats a bit further down the wall, and re-holsters his handgun. He then pulls the magazine out of his pistol with his right hand, then moves it to his left hand. Then he draws a fresh magazine with his right hand, and inserts it into the handle of his holstered handgun while putting his mostly empty magazine back into the magazine pouch occupied moments before with a full magazine. Then he re-draws his pistol, and begins moving back toward the corner, suddenly aware that he hears the woman crying.
Carefully, he peers around the corner with his gun at the ready. Now what he sees is this: The woman is sitting up, head in hands. One of the men is gone entirely. The other is lying on the ground next to his shotgun, and he is very clearly dead from a massive headwound.
The situation becomes clear after he approaches: the gunman killed himself. Despite firing 15 rounds through the fence, none of them hit the woman or the gunman; the other man – who was involved with the woman in some way – was caught later. He also wasn’t shot.
Later, Grady realizes that he didn’t at all even remember reloading his pistol, but when he found the partial magazine in his magazine pouch, it jarred his memory and he put two and two together – this is exactly how he re-loaded at the range, on casual shooting days.
So, we have a few take-aways here:
First, that classic lesson about the brain’s behavior under stress. We won’t ever, ever rise to the occasion in a gunfight. Instead, we’ll do what? We’ll revert to our most basic level of training. That’s it. Whatever we’ve trained and then rehearsed mentally in visualization practice and then physically in our practice, that is what we’ll do under stress.
Second, we see another instance of what: of the perception of time when we humans are under stress, which are half spiritual and half physical beings according to ancient Christian tradition – or half angel and half animal, in other words. But these bodies are what – 100% animal, and like a car whose throttle gets stuck wide open, it IS possible for our consciousnesses and awarenesses to lose control of them. They literally take on “minds of their own”. It’s almost as if our brains are saying: “Hey man, you haven’t done anything at all to prepare me for this, so out of a desire for self-preservation, I’m just going to do what comes natural.
For Grady, “what came natural” was standing still like an idiot while a load of buckshot passed 6 inches from his head. What came naturally was shooting through a fence, wasting ammo, endangering a civilian, and giving the guy with a shotgun a perfect opportunity to shoot back through the same wall with a nice buckshot pattern.
It reminds me of what comes natural to the thousands of people who are killed by deer collisions in their cars every year – not because hitting a deer is usually even remotely dangerous, but only because they do what comes naturally: which is to swerve.
Or what comes most natural to 98% of humanity when they’re faced with a lethal threat: freezing in place.
So the lesson here is simple: Our bodies natural disaster response systems were VERY useful 6,000 years ago. But today, when we have surrounded ourselves with intricate tools that require fine motor skills, these natural responses are suicide devices. They WILL betray you and they WILL get you killed – if you let them. To prevent that, you need to educate your mind and body through mental and physical training, exposure, and practice.
This is not optional. If you don’t want to carry a gun, it’s totally optional. You roll the dice. But if you want to consider yourself a guardian, then you NEED this exposure. My solution to this is my 3 SECONDS FROM NOW SERIES, and guys, we have a former West Point psychology professor who literally wrote the books On Killing and On Combat who says this 3 SECONDS series is brilliant, brand new, and that it WILL save lives. Do not waste this opportunity if you want to consider yourself responsibly and adequately prepared and trained.
And that’s exactly what Grady does today. He’s still a police officer, but he spends his free time educating regular people like you and me in pistol combat. He was given a second chance in life, and he begs us not to take it for granted.