The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Should Aggressors Get to Control Every Situation?"
Self-Defense is usually thought of as a singular concept where you are attacked with little to no warning and where you have to react immediately if you want to preserve your life. Unfortunately, that doesn't cover the totality of circumstances you might encounter.
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This week, I want to highlight an important distinction that I’d like you to begin thinking about. This is the distinction between self-defense that is Proactive and self-defense that is Reactive.
Early on in this Guardian Broadcast, in fact it was episode 3, almost 2 years ago back in November of 2014, I introduced and defined the two unique doctrines within the overall idea of carrying a concealed handgun.
One doctrine was to carry concealed defensively. The other doctrine was to carry concealed defensively AND offensively.
Now, this distinction immediately gave some people indigestion, because it’s bad enough to have to explain that we’re carrying concealed handguns – to introduce the idea of carrying in an offensive capacity is just too much for some people. And that is understandable, but the reality is that these two doctrines clearly exist.
Even the nature of the firearms and gear we purchase highlight the existence of these two doctrines. For example, take the Ruger LCP and compare it to XD9, or the GLOCK 19.
The Ruger LCP is combat accurate within 15 or 20 feet and combat effective in close range against an attacker or small group of attackers who are eager to get their prize but are unwilling to shed blood over it. So, imagine a woman who was followed into a parking lot, now being drug out of her car before she could lock the doors. She kicks at the face of the kidnapper rapist, but then pulls her LCP from her purse. Before the third shot is even fired, this man is scrambling on hands and knees back to his car.
The XD9, or GLOCK 19 however, is combat accurate out to over a hundred feet – far further with an added red dot optic - and combat effective against several attackers who may be motivated to get their prize even past the point of death. So, imagine two terrorists pulling out SKS rifles in a shopping mall, and beginning to walk through the lobby shooting at people as they run away, or as they find them hiding.
A person with a Ruger LCP drawn behind a pillar 25 yards away, even with the element of surprise and the luxury of firing the first shot unseen, almost certainly lacks the amount of physical and psychological canned resistance necessary to stop that attack. He might – maybe – put a hole or two in one of these guys before he is taken down with rifle fire while holding an empty gun. But those holes are – probably – not going to be what ends that attack. Either somebody with a bigger gun is going to end that attack, or these guys are going to kill themselves. I’m not saying it’s impossible to take them down with an LCP, but if we ran this situation in a controlled Force on Force environment, I am certain that 99 times out of 100 - maybe 999 times out of 1,000 - the LCP guy is not going to control the outcome.
However, give that guy a GLOCK 19 and a spare magazine or two, and suddenly it becomes a lot more possible that he is going to control the situation’s outcome. Don’t get me wrong, the GLOCK 19 guy would need to have some skill, but not an unreasonable amount. A controlled head shot on one of them from 25 yards becomes possible, and that head shot would penetrate the skull and disable the shooter. Then, a barrage of a dozen rounds on the second shooter would add at least a couple holes and send him zooming to cover. From there, any number of things could happen. This G19 guy still might lose. But there’s no denying that running this in a Force on Force simulation is going to give him far better odds of survival and controlling or seriously altering the outcome of this attack.
And this helps define and explain the difference between carrying in a purely defensive capacity, versus carrying in a defensive AND offensive capacity.
If you’re within the Defensive doctrine, you are primarily focused on your survival against violent attacks that happen between 0 and 20 feet, against an attacker or small group of attackers who are eager to get their prize but are unwilling to shed blood over it.
If you’re within the Defensive and Offensive doctrine, you are focused on all the above, but also geared up, practiced for, and mentally prepared for potentially using your handgun to preserve other innocent lives by engaging a lethal threat out to over a hundred feet – far further with an added red dot optic -, against several attackers who may be motivated to get their prize even past the point of death. And anything and everything in between.
The existence of these two doctrines, these two groups of people, is as clear as day to me, and having interacted with so many thousands of people who carry concealed in this last decade, I know that the members of each are proud, capable, smart, GOOD people. Our country needs them all.
That said, not everyone in this space is aware of or is willing to acknowledge these two doctrines. Some believe everyone should be full size red dot pistols with 4 magazines, and anything less is ignorance.
Some on the other side see the red dot guy as extreme, as bloodthirsty, as a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I know better than that, and I have a feeling you do as well. I know that in the heart of the defensive Guardian is a love of life and family, and a desire to take practical steps to ensure that life ends in a soft bed, in old age, in peace, surrounded by loved ones. To ensure that the Guardian, and God, and Nature determine his demise, not some criminal.
And I know likewise that in the heart of the offensive-capable Guardian, there is a deep passion for innocence and peace, and a deep sense of injustice over the clear existence of wolves who are committed to destroying goodness, and beauty. I talk to people on both sides all the time, I respect both groups purely, I think excellence within each doctrine is uniquely achievable, and I love and wish to support them all.
Now that said, after mulling over this concept of offensive and defensive carry for a couple years, I was given a far better linguistic tool by Gabe Suarez last month, when he was up here in Michigan for a few days, pushing Caleb and I to our limits in both rifle and handgun applications.
As a side note, I’ve always respected Gabe Suarez immensely. Not for any reason except that he’s got the habit of being correct about just about everything related to self-defense. He is a man who, like me, I see as having worked extremely hard to eradicate fog and bad conclusions from this space of armed self-defense. When I hired him to come up to Michigan, my dealings with him were purely professional stretching back to 2008, and to be honest, I expected to find what you find in most mentors: a person whose profession had totally consumed him – someone who had become so one-tracked in his focus that he was totally unrelatable, but someone who, conveniently, anyone hoping to use weapons more effectively could learn a lot from.
I braced for the worst, ethically and morally, willing to endure the negative because of what I stood to learn. And this is nothing to do with any preconceived prejudice against Suarez, this is just usually my experience with any mentor. Well, that said, I was incredibly impressed and pleased with Gabe. He proved to not only be every bit the strategician and tactician I’ve come to know through his contributions to this cause, but after spending most waking minutes with him for 3 days, delving into the personal and private, I came to the conclusion that he’s a good husband, a good father, a good employer, and something of a renaissance man whose interests and passions and skills excel far beyond the realm of guns and ammo.
I was impressed. I can tell you from experience that it’s rare to find someone in this space who not only ‘lives it’, but also is courageous enough and smart enough to question industry titans, to re-test old conclusions that were determined with either poor data or in another era using old technology and a pre-positive-self-defense legal system. He is not afraid to say, “I used to do this, this and that - but then we determined through Force on Force that it was a bad idea. So, I no longer do it, and I no longer teach it.” He does all these things, which is why I respect and trust him as an intellectual and as a pioneer.
All that said, he introduced to me way to define the two circumstances in which we’ll have to deploy our handguns to preserve innocent human lives, and this speaks directly into the heart of carrying Offensively versus Defensively: The Reactive situation, and the Proactive situation.
Reactive situations are those where we need to deploy lethal force to preserve innocent human life, but where we are already the target of our aggressor’s violent focus.
Proactive situations are those where we are forced to deploy lethal force to preserve innocent human life, but where we are not YET the target of our aggressor’s violent focus.
The textbook reactive situation is the statistically most likely situation where you’ll ever have to use your gun. We discuss this immensely in the Armed American’s Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense. We discuss how they happen; we reverse engineer them to teach you how to avoid these situations, and we then dissect them to teach you how to fight and win and survive if you are attacked.
Put simply, the Reactive situation is the 3 foot or less, low light, ambush scenario. These are the scenarios that the Defensive Guardian is preparing to endure and survive.
That said, Proactive situations vary more widely, but again, encompass any time where we are forced to deploy lethal force, but where we are not YET the target of our aggressor’s violent focus. This would include, for example, having to sneak up on and shoot someone who is committing an active shooting, however, there are many more examples.
I want to get into Proaction versus Reaction, and all that this entails, more in next week’s Broadcast, because this is a beautiful concept that can and should cause us to evaluate the ways we prepare, the way we carry concealed, what we carry, and how we will fight. In short, this concept will help you determine if you really are where you want to be as a Guardian, and it can help illuminate your path on how to get there.