It is my responsibility to train & learn any techniques that will allow me a chance to survive.
And nobody better than the late Colonel Jeff Cooper to illustrate this point.
“Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”
It would seem quite obvious but it is quite amazing to see people owning a firearm that do not have a basic understanding of its use. Also, they do not go farther than the TV’s remote control to acquire training or learn basic defensive strategies and that is dangerous ’cause most 100% of the gun play we see on TV is tactically, morally and legally wrong. It is like the old Stephen Wright joke: “Put on your seat belt. I want to try something. I saw it once in a cartoon, but I think I can do it.”
What we need to do is to learn Defensive Shooting.
Defensive shooting is not regular marksmanship shooting. You can go to the range, get you gun out of the box, shoot two hundred rounds through a one-inch hole and impress the heck out of everybody in the nearby booths and still get killed by a one legged drunkard with a knife in the parking lot. Defensive shooting is a combination of Marksmanship, Gun Handling and Mindset which is also known as the Combat Triad. I can expand into a long explanation on each of the parts of the Combat Triad, but it will be an exercise in futility since I am not the best writer out there. Instead I will recommend you search for a nearby school or instructor and please make sure you are realistic about your level of proficiency. In doubt, start with the basics and that would be NRA’s Basic Pistol Class. After that you can start searching for a local instructor in Defensive Shooting or again try the NRA’s Personal Protection Inside the Home and Outside the Home. A good source for information might be an Internet firearms forum where you can ask other shooters where to find somebody and what kind of instructor he/she is.Also and a great help would be to take up some competitive form of action shooting like IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, ICORE, etc. Any of these sports will teach you to shoot on the move and from different positions plus will add a slight shot of adrenalin to your range time. It beats being bored to death at a static range limited to one shot per second.
You can start giving yourself an idea on Mindset by reading and perhaps the best book would be Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense. It is a short book but filled with so much no-nonsense information that it will scare you. You may want to follow it with Massad Ayoob’s In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection to give you an idea of what you may face in a lethal force confrontation.
You have a gun to defend yourself and it is your responsibility to know how, when and the consequences that come with using it.