The Guardian Broadcast

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

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


"Winning the One-Second Advantage"


In this week's Broadcast, Pat highlights yet another critical observation he's made during our lethal-incident reviews and Force-on-Force training. This lesson is: how critical of an advantage 1 second is during a self-defense incident. 

The Guardian BroadcastPatrick Kilchermann
00:00 / 01:04

Listen using the audio player above OR read the text transcript of this podcast below.

Note: 100% accuracy on text transcription is not guaranteed.

This week, I want to discuss another of the extremely important lessons that we’ve learned through force-on-force gunfighting training, and that is: that 1 second really matters. Big time.

Consider this situation:


You are standing, face-to-face with your opponent, maybe 4 feet apart. In your holster is a Sim gun loaded with red paint bullets. Your eyes are locked on each other, and you know that any moment he will begin to draw his handgun to try to shoot you. Your challenge is to begin drawing as soon as you can once you see movement, and shoot him back, hopefully, before he has a chance to shoot you. This is a classic quick draw scenario, and while it’s in no way analogous to real life, it demonstrates a key point of successful self-defense.


So: as soon as he begins drawing, so do you – and both of your minds are 100% focused on only one thing: getting that gun out and shooting the other guy as fast as you can, as many times as you can. That's the goal both of you have in your head. Well, what do you think happens when you run the scenario?


Answer: Both guys get shot a whole bunch of times without really moving that much.


Because, they both firmly believe that they each have the initiative – they both believe success is possible. That they can shoot the other guy before he has a chance to shoot them.


But a very interesting thing happens if you change that scenario just slightly. If you tell one of the people that they CAN’T begin drawing for 1 second AFTER their opponent begins to draw, the outcome is completely different.


They don’t just stand there, waiting for that 1 second to pass. Why? They don’t want to get shot? Not really. The truth is, they know their odds of outdrawing and WINNING are no longer good odds. So instead, they use that one second to either gain distance, close distance, or get to cover.

But the point is, in this second scenario, the person being told to wait knows that he’s lost the initiative. He knows he’s at a disadvantage. He knows he’s REACTING.

See, the feeling of ACTION and ACTING and DOING and making the world react to you is exhilarating. It is almost always better to be the one who is acting and have other people react to you. The Championship race car driver, the CEO, the successful entrepreneur, the man who “gets the girls”, the prizefighter who always wins – these people act. Most of us usually have areas in our lives where we ACT, where we have the initiative. We usually choose hobbies that give us these feelings. The bottom line is, when we are in charge in life in this way, we know it. We know what, on a macro scale from year to year, and we know it on a microscale from second to second.  


And similarly, we KNOW when we are reacting to other people. We know when we are not in charge of our schedules. We know when we are not in control of our jobs. If we are fighting, we know when our opponent has the upper hand. We know when life has the upper hand. When the world has the upper hand. And very often it does not feel good. Very often, we order our lives around working toward gaining control, and when we can't, life becomes a game of endurance so that we can get to those moments where we do have control.

This is human nature, and in most cases it is universal. And for our purposes here, just like with the force on force situation I explained a moment ago, it is very true for the criminal within the context of a deadly force attack and self-defense incident.

Criminals depend on having the initiative. If they don't have initiative, they almost never will launch an attack. It’s even true with active shooters. Most of the time, they don’t survive and we can’t ask them why they selected the locations of their shootings. But in recent history, two have survived. The racist murderer from South Carolina, and the red-haired murderer from Aurora, Colorado.


The racist said, he chose a church because “I thought about a black festival or something like that, but they have security.” The movie theater killer said he “ruled out an airport or another location, because they would have too much security.” You see, these people are cowards. If they even think they might not have or might quickly lose the initiative, they don’t attack.


And when they lose the initiative, they almost always break off the attack – especially the “average criminals” that you and I might face. That's because there are very few robberies lucrative enough to risk their skins over. If they launch an attack, it's because they are pretty certain they can get out of there without getting hurt. When you put that confidence in jeopardy, they almost always break off.

That means survival. It means you win.

So what's the big lesson here?

If somebody thinks they can beat you, you may be in for a fight. As soon as those tables turn and they sense that you have the initiative over them, as soon as they find they’re reacting to you, every fiber in their body and every scrap of logic in their head is going to be pushing them to disengage and get away.

And so, a 1/3 of a second advantage matters. 1/2 of a second advantage matters. 1 second really, really matters.


So: We need to look for ways and practice ways right now, ahead of time, to win a 1-second advantage against our eventual attacker.

Yes, there is your carry position. You need to carry your handgun in a place where you will actually be able to draw from quickly, from as many standing or sitting or lying down body positions as you can.


You've got to be able to draw fast and with a minimal amount of motion. The quicker you can get your gun out before your adversary realizes that you are drawing your gun – that is a good way to win this 1-second advantage.

But speed and draw stroke, while important, are REACTIVE skills. They are useful to us AFTER we are already engaged in what we have decided is a life and death encounter.

Far better is to win this one second advantage through PROACTIVE skills. And proaction begins before the fight starts, with situational awareness.

Situational awareness is a gigantic topic, but its advantage all boils down to this: seeing him or them before he or they see you.

How do you develop situational awareness? Well, that is almost the entire focus of disc 3 of The Armed Americans Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense. But a few of the keys are these:

-First, we each have to take situational awareness not as an item to check off our preparation list, but as a lifelong discipline. It has to be a game, and it has to be fun and rewarding.

-Second, work on expanding your radius of awareness. This is key. The further away from your body you are aware of, the more effective of a person you will be.

I remember when I was 19 years old. Freshly married, I had just bought a house, I didn't make squat for money and I had zero influence. In every sense of the word, I was reacting to life on a day-to-day basis, usually an hour to hour basis. And if you asked me at that time what my disaster planning was, I would probably have pointed to the single magazine of Russian surplus steel case Wolf .223 ammo in my old Ruger Mini-14. All I could envision during a disaster was shooting hordes of looters, because in my immaturity, the only radius of awareness I could envision or control was the personal space extending maybe 50 yards around my house. That's pathetic, it’s extremely unrealistic, and it wasn’t even a service to the family I was trying to protect. I should have sold the rifle and bought dried beans.


But if you look at somebody who is truly effective, what is their radius of awareness? It’s not measured in feet, it’s measured in miles. They are probably in local politics, they probably have some real wealth established, and they probably have some influence. Certainly a gun is an important part of disaster preparation, but even in a disaster, gunfights are rare. So, 90% of their thoughts are probably on logistics and keeping businesses and investments going. Keeping their family fed, sure - but they are just as concerned about keeping the roads clear and keeping traffic moving so that Walmart keeps getting trucks. They are concerned about getting fuel to hospital generators, making sure that their county or city is high on the list for government emergency management money, and making sure shelters are established for the families of police and emergency workers so they still feel they can go to work without risking their families’ safety.

That's how we all need to be, not just in disaster preparation, but in regard to concealed carry and personal protection. Most people are only aware of what lies directly in front of them. Sometimes, not even that.

But at minimum, you and I need to have 30 feet around our bodies in our awareness. But if you train your mind properly, you can automatically become aware of a far greater of radius than that – again, just look to The Complete Guide, disc 3, for more training on how to do that.

With good situational awareness, you will have the best chance of always having at least a 1-second advantage over anybody who tries to attack you, and I promise that this will pay off BIG TIME for your survival.

With this 1-second advantage comes not only the life-saving window in which drawing and successfully fighting are possible, but also the far more important window of time in which you are able to make good and effective decisions during that cascading moment where you are called to decide whether or not to engage, how to engage, and what to do while you’re engaging.

And if you practice good mental awareness and relaxation strategies as outlined in The Complete Guide, you can achieve all this with balance, without stressing you out, without it exhausting you, and without life becoming a chore ordered around personal protection.

In a deadly force situation, having a 1 second advantage will be worth more to you than three mortgages on your house. With wise preparation ahead of time, you can get that advantage. And with diligence, you will avoid ever selling it cheap to a potential attacker.

Very soon my friends, during the first part of January, I'm going to be giving you a brand-new-to-the-industry educational tool that I believe and hope will revolutionize the way that people like you and I take all of these skills to the next level, building on top of the foundation that we got through The Complete Conceal Carry Guide, and truly teaching us to make excellent decisions FAST under fire. Everything depends on that – and I promise I will not let you down. Over and out.