Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Self defense strategy

I may be going on too much about this. It's the third time I've brought it up. The last two times didn't stir much reader interest. The shooting community in general, even the defensive and practical shooting segment, does not seem to be deeply interested in examining strategy as it applies to personal defense.

None the less, I will go on about it a bit more, hoping to generate some interest in the matter. I have identified several force multipliers you can use in personal self defense with a firearm.

  • Take an ensconced defender role. As a defender fighting from chosen cover you have at least a three to one advantage, which ideal circumstances can boost as high as eight or nine to one.  

  • Maximize your hit probability. Do all you can to improve your likelihood of connecting with your target. This involves choosing your weaponry based on efficiency not style and also carefully evaluating how you go about target practice. Most shots fired in anger miss. You want to drive down your proportion as best you can. 

  • Use surprise if possible. The advantage of surprise can be enormous or slight; it depends on how big a surprise it is. At Pearl Harbor it was the decisive factor of the battle. Some other attempts have not come off so well.

Doing any one of these will increase your odds of surviving a gunfight. Done together they represent a very substantial increase in your chances. I concluded that from reading dry military studies and applying a bit of common sense to them. I have never been in a self defense shooting situation--will be pleased if I go to my rest without doing that--but I think preparedness and knowledge are good things. If you own a gun for defense it takes more than the occasional sunny day at the range to be really ready to use it to best effect. A bit of planning helps.

I will be writing more about these three strategic advantages, returning to the subject from time to time. Knowing about them and factoring them into my thinking makes me safer if some bad thing happens and I need to defend home and hearth.

Are there any advantages I have missed? Other strategic advantages can be identified but they do not seem highly relevant to personal self defense. They have more to do with the movements of armies and securing big swaths of geography than with individual efforts.


  1. How about the difference between soft cover & hard cover. ie The best hard cover in a vehicle is behind the engine block, stuff like that

  2. Good idea! I'm thinking I'll go into detail on the three points one by one and talk about cover, then in another post hit probability, then one on the element of surprise.

    I saw a situation once where three cops were taking cover and only one was doing it right, behind the engine and the wheels of his copmobile. One of them was resting his gun over the roof of the car! Okay, he had a vest on, but still! So yeah, thanks, that surely needs covering.