The Guardian Broadcast

"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."

A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.


"The Two Kinds of Gunfights"


In this episode, Pat covers a universal and innate fact regarding violence: there are two basic ways it can develop and each one necessitates its own response.

The Guardian BroadcastPatrick Kilchermann
00:00 / 01:04

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Hello and welcome to the Guardian Broadcast. In this short broadcast, I want to put to audio a concept that we’ve been discussing here at Concealed Carry University, which I call “the two kinds of gunfights.”

A quick disclaimer. The phrase “gunfighting” can make some people squeamish, and I get it. From a purely legalistic perspective it’s best if self-defense is always referred to within the context of victimhood. “I was attacked.” “I defended myself.” “I used my firearm to defend myself.” But it is within this Concealed Carry University that I’m delighted to provide a sanctuary from the need to be so cautious and guarded with the way we speak. We need a place to do that: a place where we can speak bluntly and frankly. And so, please understand that when I say “gunfighting,” of course I’m referring to the act of using a handgun in complete self-defense: a situation where your life would be taken if you didn’t defend yourself. However, within the entirety of that three or five or ten second self-defense incident, there is a moment where the initiative changes hands and where you become the counter-aggressor. You must do this. This is the only way fights are won, and once you resist, that’s exactly what an attack morphs into: a fight. You become a combatant; a fighter. And you do so with a pistol in your hand; you become a gunfighter. And if you are attacked by someone with a handgun – as probably will be the case – you become a gunfighter within a gunfight. 


So, my fellow gunfighters in training: let us explore our art, science, and craft a little bit. We will begin with this notion of “the two kinds of gunfights.”


You see, most educators and trainers teach reactive-based gunfighting. This is where you, as the victim, can say: “I realized I was under attack… I was in fear for my life… so I drew my gun and defended myself.” In other words, this is the ambush attack. Where you are attacked and where, if you do nothing, you will lose. So, you REACT. You REACT with the force that you have, the equalizing force, which is your gun. You enter a REACTIVE gunfight.

In those situations where you’re completely blindsided by deadly force, the ability to make an explosive presentation of your own force is critical. You move, you draw, you shoot until the threat is no longer a threat.


These are great skills to have. Developing the ability to react decisively to an ambush is an incredible boost to your confidence and that is the goal of a lot that we teach here at CCU, especially within Volume 2 of 3 SECONDS FROM NOW, The Fighting Principle of INTENSITY.

And learning these skills is critical for all gunfights or defensive use-of-force situations, because once it’s on: IT’S ON.

But here’s the thing:

More than half of the deadly force scenarios that we’ve reviewed do NOT begin in a violent ambush. In those situations, something else happened first.


  • What if someone enters your proximity, and you begin getting the FEELING that something is off…

  • What if someone enters and begins escalating violence toward another individual?

  • What if they enter and begin escalating violence toward YOU, but it doesn’t warrant drawing your gun?

  • OR, what if they enter with guns blazing, and then point their weapon right at you, and begin approaching?


We’ve seen all these scenarios play out again and again. And even though in some of these scenarios deadly force may soon become necessary, you can’t draw your gun until it’s absolutely required to save your life. Right? Otherwise YOU become the escalator, and YOU become the aggressor, and YOU become the instigator, and YOU will suffer the consequences for that.


In those scenarios where you’re getting strong vibes that you’ll soon need to defend yourself, two self-defense principles become critical for you.


One is PRE-POSITIONING. The other is the WINDOWS concept of effective self-defense.


I will be explaining these principles more in future Guardian Broadcasts, but for now I want to re-emphasize this important point:


SOMETIMES, when you’re attacked, it’ll be a blind-sided ambush where your aggressor is seeking to kill or incapacitate you as quickly as possible. But in other situations, your attacker will simply begin his crime by putting you in a compromised position.


In other words, your attacker is either going to try to CHECKMATE you, or to put you in check. And the survival and legal and tactical protocol for responding to these two kinds of attacks is quite a bit different. If he’s trying to kill or CHECKMATE you, you’re in a reactive-based gunfight and you must react, and the faster the better. If he’s put you in check, then the game is not over yet. In fact, it’s just beginning.


And very few instructors or courses are equipped or have given much thought to teaching you how to survive and win amid this second kind of gunfight.


Okay, we’ll discuss this more, next week, here in the Guardian Broadcast.