We make thousands of decisions on a daily basis. Most are mundane, but occasionally we make difficult choices based on our experiences and upbringing. In a disaster or major crisis scenario our choices become extremely difficult.
If you are trained in self-defense, you may find it straightforward to shoot an unknown person that is ready to attack your family. It would be more difficult to raid the pantry and supplies of your deceased neighbors next door. The second scenario will be more difficult for most people as it is personal and provides a source of inner turmoil.
If the disaster is prolonged, turning away someone you know that has no food or shelter will be an extremely difficult decision versus a stranger that you never met before.
During "normal" times, most of us try to demonstrate decency and caring for the fellow man. Our pride, honesty, and integrity must take a back seat to survival during a disaster. In a major crisis a switch needs to be flicked on: personal and family preservation MUST come first. Know who your true friends are: those that have a similar survival mindset. Talk to these people and your own immediate family in order to know who can handle such scenarios in advance. Understand everyone's strengths and "weaknesses". If the worst happens, you will know whom, if anyone, you can count on to survive.
We often stress to our students that every bullet has a price. If you are practicing, a 9mm bullet sent down range costs you about $0.30. If you are careless on the range and send an errant shot into a valuable inanimate object, that bullet just cost you a heck of a lot more. If you shoot an innocent human being, in addition to the cost of emotional trauma and guilt you will experience, how much will that cost? Someone said that every round you fire has a lawyer attached to it.
This is why many police officers and serious daily carriers of firearms dismiss competition shooting as a game. I know competition shooters that have conditioned themselves to shoot as fast as they can and they often dismiss their misses for the sake of speed. They would rather shoot a plate rack in less than three seconds with two misses than take four seconds to shoot it clean. I am not saying that competition shooting is bad. Just know that it is not real world training. Speed does not trump accuracy. Misses do not win a gunfight - and misses do not hit a safe berm in the real world.
If you own a gun for self-defense, you do not have all day to act. However, keep in mind that misses go somewhere and you are not stopping the bad person from doing bad things. When you practice, do not take your misses lightly. Correct them; get some help, or slow down (or all three). Misses are not the cost of doing business and collateral damage is unacceptable. You do need to go as fast as you can without misses. In order to discover this speed, you will miss. Terrific, now you know your operational speed. For the rest of your practice session, stay in that zone.
Self-defense shooting practice is about finding the balance of speed and precision (operational speed). This speed is always changing - it will depend on the type of threat and the distance to the threat.
Speed shooting is an important skill, but never trade speed for accuracy.
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA