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“The Core of Survival: The Fighting Mindset And Advanced Handgun Combat Principles.” September 2010 All rights reserved. Copyright © 2003-2010 by US Concealed Carry Association
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Introduction: Training Your Mind to Fight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 CR Williams, Suarez International Staff Instructor “Street Tactics” - Outdrawing the Drawn Pistol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Gabe Suarez Point Shooting Progressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Todd Burgreen The Counterattacking Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 CR Williams, Suarez International Staff Instructor I ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 What is your Mission? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Be the Apex Predator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Steve Collins Being A ‘Finisher’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Roger Phillips Afterword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 CR Williams, Suarez International Staff Instructor

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To the reader: This report confines itself to the contemplation of lethal-force attacks, that is, attacks meant to kill, maim, or cause grave injury. This report does not consider anything other than lethal-force attacks that require lethal-force responses. It is NOT intended to advise reader about responses to less than lethalforce felony assault. Nor should it be taken as strict legal or technical guidance. This report is intended for information and consideration, to provoke thought and discussion only. The reader is advised to consult local authorities and those knowledgeable of the laws at the local, state, and federal level regarding and restricting use of force in their area, and to educate themselves so that they can, ahead of time, know how best to respond to assault. Do not wait until a lethal situation arises to think about what the law says you can or cannot do. Do your homework now, and your thinking about legal response and levels of force before, not during, the attack. tap and assess” is exchanged for “shoot until they stop or shoot until they fall”. Revolvers are traded for semiautomatics, the skill of one-handed shooting is being taught again as a necessary skill, and the strict line between sighted and point shooting is crumbling like the Berlin Wall did not so long ago. This report represents another change, one that acknowledges this real-world necessity: We cannot defend without attacking. There are two reasons for this. One, the weapons we use to defend ourselves are offensive weapons, not shields and barriers. They do not stop force, they project it. That is, by definition, an offensive maneuver, it is a return of force for force. What is different, then, between defender and attacker? We, the civilian defenders, use our weapons only to counter an attack upon us; as someone attacks us, we counter to defend our lives and the lives of those around us. We do not initiate the attack, we respond to it, but we do so with equal and opposite force. We do this justifiably, with the law on our side, and we are able to articulate (the term will be explained later) the necessity of this action to anyone who needs or wants to understand what we did. The second reason we cannot defend without attacking is that we cannot perfectly and purely defend against everything and anyone that attacks us. Every pure defense will fail, and when that defense fails, we will die. Others may die with us. Even worse, perhaps, is the chance that we will see others die without being equipped to defend them even if we can perfectly defend ourselves. So, we must respond to aggression with aggression. We must, to paraphrase George Washington, be prepared to fight at any time if we are to ever be at peace. Not only that, but we must be prepared to fight, to move aggressively, to counter-attack with little or no warning. How do we do that? Mind-set. We set our minds up ahead of time so that the stimulus (the violent attack against us) triggers the response (the aggressive counter-attack that saves us). We do this first with our conscious minds using a few effective methods which I will outline below. The training of our conscious minds will then set our subconscious minds, and, in time, we will forget the set (in a manner of speaking; we will continue to practice and reinforce the set just as we continue to practice and reinforce physical skills of defensive offence) and continue with the business of the day. Most of us will never see the result of that set because we will never see the thing

Introduction: Training Your Mind To Fight CR Williams,


Suarez International Staff Instructor

t may be expressed as LEAVE ME ALONE. It may be expressed as DON’T HURT ME. It may be expressed as HOW DARE YOU. It may be expressed as I WANT TO GO HOME. It may be expressed as NOT THIS TIME or NEVER AGAIN. It may not be expressed by anything but action—a silent scream of indignant rage as Good advances to fight Evil. It may be driven by fear or anger or both at the same time. It may be carefully considered, or it may be instinctual. What it is, is the mindset of anyone who has been attacked and forced to counter-attack in order to survive. It is the attitude taken on the instant one realizes that it really is ‘FIGHT OR DIE’. It is the ultimate in task-orientation and fixation with one goal: SURVIVE AND WIN. It is what this Special Report is about. Just as change is a fact of life in general, so is it a fact to the civilian defender, the individuals among us who prepare for the possibility of unannounced violence against themselves or those around them. “Stand up, lock in, get the sights on,” for these few, becomes “to get moving, there are other ways to aim, get the hits in”. “Double-

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that triggers it. Those few of us for whom this subconscious set is triggered, however—if we have trained correctly—will show our attackers the real Mind and Spirit of the prepared defender. We will use whatever we have and whatever we can get a hold of and we will fight. Best of all, if we correctly train ourselves in such a Mind-set , we may not ever have to fight. Once properly integrated, the attitude, though imperceptible is most, will shine subtlety through for those who are sizing us up as potential victims. You will not have to be continually conscious of it and you will not have to make an effort to project it. Yet, it will be there for those who know how to look. (How do I know this? I know a few very dangerous men and women. All of them, so far, have been unfailingly friendly, polite, and considerate of others. I would not mess with any one of them for a truckload of gold and the promise of another after I made the mistake of attacking them.) Those who are predatory who know what to look for—not all do—will see the way you carry yourself and know that there will be a cost, a price to pay, for attacking you or those close to you. Criminals calculate risk like any business person, and the smart ones will pass you over in search of someone who will roll-over rather than fight back. It’s not a perfect defense—and nothing is—but it will help. So what can you do to develop this mind-set? How can you train yourself to go from peace to War without warning? Here are a few suggestions: Spend some time with those that you know or believe do have the mindset. Note: It will likely not be obvious who these individuals are; in my experience with the dangerously competent, it has not. I have learned, in fact, to suspect those who are too overt and obvious about their supposed preparedness. Develop your skills and abilities. Take classes, train with others, and practice on your own. Becoming confident that you can perform a defensive maneuver makes it more likely that, when necessary, you will be able to do so. As you train your body, train your mind. Focus in your training on the attacking defensive attitude. Work through situations and what-ifs in your mind at varying levels and intensities. Run the mental practice up from idle-consideration level to full-blown visualizations just as athletes and soldiers go through. Over and over again in your mind, see yourself moving immediately to the aggressive defense. See and feel your mind and attitude change instantly as you and others will require in the moment of crisis. Carry it through and see yourself stopping the attacker with efficiency and effectiveness. Knowing that the mind affects the body which, in turn, affects the mind, practice not only mental, but also physical skills in the arena of your mind from time to time to supplement and reinforce the muscle memory acquired from physical repetition. This will start you on the way to setting your mind up for a sudden and violent encounter. As part of your mental training, listen to, read, and then carefully consider, what others have to say about the counter-offensive mindset and how to develop it. As with all things combative,

examine every idea, determine what works for you, keep it, and discard the rest. Speaking of reading…what you will find in this report are ideas of what you may have to face and illustrations of physical methods of training to face it. In the articles by Gabe Suarez and Todd Burgreen, you will also see some ideas about pre-facing it in your mind, and the process of mind-setting that Suarez and Phillips (and, for that matter, every other SI instructor I know or know of) will begin to instill in their students during their training. Following that, I will return with thoughts on the Mind-set, the nature and direction of it, and some of the components that I believe should be included in it. Finally, Roger Phillips and Steve Collins will offer their thoughts on the mind-set and attitudes to carry with you before, during, and all the way to the end of a physical confrontation. You do not have to accept everything we say here, but do please consider it. Whether you accept anything here and act on it or not, begin now to develop the single most important part of your ‘weapon system’, begin to develop the mind that moves the hand that fires the gun. Begin to develop the thought that precedes the action. Begin here. Begin now. Good luck to us all.

CR WILLIAMS CR Williams has been a member and moderator of the USCCA member forum almost since its inception, and is a regular contributor to USCCA publications both print and online. He also produces the Video Tips series for USCCA members. He is also a Suarez International Staff Instructor for, primarily, the state of Alabama.

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mission was simple: Shoot without being shot. Carry was not unrealistic, square range, open carry, but true, street concealment. Distance was just outside of combative range, or about twelve feet. We wanted to test the dynamics and technical problems inherent in this situation. They were the only variables being tested. The problem with every drill is the element of surprise. It must be fabricated in the drill or it will not be there. The other issue is that if we allow “role-playing,” some students turn it into a try-out for drama queen. This was not a role-play event. While we accepted that it would be good for those involved to have such a distraction, we set that aside and looked at it from the angles mentioned. Results: Every good guy was hit. A few managed to be hit peripherally, rather than in the center of the body, but nonetheless, they were shot. If they stood still to draw, they were pegged immediately. The best results were achieved by moving off-line and sharply to the adversary’s outside line (the 1:00 O’clock or 11:00 O’clock) while drawing. Will it be easier on an untrained and unprepared thug? Maybe, maybe not. The conventional dynamics of the problem show that you will probably still be wounded or killed should such an event arise.

Moving drastically and dynamically off-line bought you a sliver of time reducing the likelihood of a centermass impact on you. This was no guarantee of success in this bad situation.


“Street Tactics” - Outdrawing the Drawn Pistol Gabe Suarez

If the gunman was within arm’s reach a disarm was the most logical choice so we eliminated this option by establishing the distance as twelve feet.

an you outdraw the drawn pistol in the bad guy’s hands? That is a question that has been at the forefront of much firearms training since the early days. We see John Wayne, James Arness, and Clint Eastwood doing it onscreen on a regular basis. It is a cornerstone of much of the training doctrines of modern gunfighting. Well, we tried this at the Extreme Close Range Gunfighting class in Atlanta, GA this last June. We had a couple of federal police officers, a military officer, two Executive Protection Specialists from Europe, an American military contractor, and a miscellaneous collection of CCW folks from various walks of life. A couple of them had been through point shooting schools and quite a few through modern technique based schools. The drill was simple. We set up a bad guy pointing an Airsoft pistol at a good guy, simulating a typical situation where the adversary has the drop on you. The instruction given to the bad guy was to shoot the good guy when he went for his gun. The good guy’s

Some Points: Appendix carry and cross draw carry (centerline carry) had serious advantages over traditional, strong side, hip carry due to the smaller arc of motion needed to draw the gun. We all agreed that using a ruse to change the adversary’s focus was essential. We tried the John Wesley Hardin ruse (throwing money down to get his attention away from you, then moving and shooting). We also considered the “Lone Ranger ruse” of looking over his shoulder (“Is that my faithful Tonto coming up behind you?”). This is difficult to experiment with reliably in a drill setting, but it can be done. The theory of beating the drawn gun assumes speed, but speed in open carry is an entirely false notion. What you can do from concealed carry is what matters; everything else is an imagined skill set. The other problem is the follow-up. I do not believe that you will drop your bad guy with one shot. I think that it may easily take

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several. Thus, having a follow-up plan is important. Some might think that if they can score one good hit with their “manstopper” ammo, then the bad guy will be unable to fire in return. I think that this is excessively optimistic. To put it in perspective, a student of mine recently called me to report a shooting that he was in. He is a narcotics cop in the South. He shot the bad guy with a Federal Tactical Slug from a shotgun! The bad guy was hit from right shoulder to left scapula, yet he lived long enough to drive away, get in another gunfight with several officers, and flee the scene in a stolen car. He turned himself in a week later to get medical attention. All of that after being shot with a slug! Please don’t tell me how deadly your pistol ammo is! Getting the first hit is all well and good, but what is your followup? If you are locked solidly into a shooting position or otherwise immobile, he will simply shoot you a millisecond later and you may be wounded superficially or fatally. The goal is not in outdrawing anyone. It is in shooting him without being shot... before or after. We tried the “turn and run like Hell” tactic, not at this specific class, but elsewhere. We tested it at the Warrior Talk Symposium in Memphis last January. As I recall, it had some degree of success (peripheral hits instead of center hits). The problem is that unless you have somewhere to run to, you generally wind up being shot in the back. Also, few of our students fit in the 18-25 year age group, and while “seasoned warriors” can explode off of the X pretty well, exploding into action too much or too far becomes physically problematic.

must do so under pressure, as in a situation like this, they fail. After basic level training, all training should be from concealment. Again, my thinking is that if you can touch the bad guy’s gun (reach it), you can attack it and disarm. You may be able to draw then and fire, but remember the “two hands on one hand” concept. I can easily pull out of a one-handed grip on my gun wrist. Not so easy when it’s two on one. Disarming under duress is another skill set that we may test in the future. If you are outside of arm’s reach or more than one step away, the draw against the drop in some form will be what you need. This has been shown to be extremely difficult and the chances of success are very slim. In fact, your chances of success, without considering additional factors, are about one in three. But that is what you have to work with in this deadly event.

Gabriel Suarez is an internationally recognized trainer and lecturer in the field of civilian personal defense. He has written over a dozen books and taught courses in several countries. http://www.suarezinternational.com http://www.warriortalk.com Suarez International, Inc. - 303 E. Gurley St., Ste. 461 Prescott, AZ 86301 USA - (Office) 928-776-4492

The better option when you find yourself at closer distances is to prevent the adversary’s gun from being drawn...if you can.

There are many issues here. One is the situational awareness and profiling issues that we discuss. Another is surreptitious weapons access (more easily done with some carry modes than others). One other factor is the ability to distract or deceive. Other issues out of our hands are the adversary’s coolness and focus, as well as his willingness to shoot. Speed of draw is essential. Foul the draw and die. I think that so many students spend so little time on CCW draw that when they

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training, due to proven Glock reliability. I was not disappointed this time either. The G17 (9mm) and G30SF (.45 ACP) that I used performed without a hitch. The G30SF was out-of-the-box new, yet did not exhibit any need for a break-in period to perform reliably when subjected to a demanding course of fire as found in PSP. Anyone familiar with Suarez International knows that the instructors will not be drawn into caliber debates or handgun preferences. What works best for you is what you should train with and carry. The seventeen-member class predominantly consisted of students carrying Glocks, along with a few Sig Sauer users and a sole 1911 shooter. Roger typifies the Suarez International Instructor in being very serious about his subject matter, yet approachable for questions and comments. He also has a clear methodology and teaching method. The PSP course started with participants establishing a baseline of proficiency with aimed, sighted fire. Several drills were run extending to the fifteen to twenty yard line. This served as a good warm-up and allowed shooters a chance to relax from pre-class jitters. Roger then launched into his ideas for the role of point shooting. To clarify, point shooting is not random, mindless firing from the hip or substituting mass of fire for accuracy. Point shooting is fire aimed by means other than your sights. Other indexes such as the slide orientation below your line of sight, shoulder alignment, wrist cant, and forearm positions are all used as aiming references. Hand-eye coordination is a premium when using point shooting techniques.

Students were closely monitored for safety during drills which forced them to respond to a challenge from both left and right angles to the rear.

Point Shooting Progressions


Todd Burgreen

uarez International training courses, newsletters, and Warrior Talk forums always strike a chord of realism and common sense with me. My participation in an Interactive Gunfighting Force-on-Force course a year ago opened my eyes to many things, illuminating many misconceptions I had previously held about personal defense and how an attack and response would actually occur. A corollary to this experience is that I realized much of my prior training was incorrect due to it being based on square range concepts of marksmanship and limited dynamic movement. Wanting to continue my training based on what I had experienced in the Suarez Force-on-Force class, and based upon the suggestion of Suarez International Instructor Jack Rumbaugh, I participated in Roger Phillips’ Point Shooting Progressions (PSP) course held near Winchester, VA at Crooked Creek Investments (CCI) range, a range affiliated with Stonewall Arms located in Winchester, VA. Let me quote the course description listed on the Suarez International website for Point Shooting Progressions: “Force on force training has proven beyond any argument that the traditional shooting range methods are simply not suitable for reactive gunfighting. In this course, Suarez International Specialist Instructor Roger Phillips will teach you the ‘Fight Continuum.’ Roger has studied extensively with Suarez International. He has also researched virtually every threat-focused shooting system for many years. This course distills it all into one well thought out and extremely applicable system that dovetails neatly into the regular Close Range Gunfighting matrix, presenting the full aspect of the integration of sighted and unsighted fire at CQB distances.” Sometime ago I converted to using Glocks for most of my

Every individual has personal strengths and weaknesses. This shooter is exploding off the “X” as he fires, while another shooter might be less able to move but just as capable of producing accurate hits with the first round fired.

Roger eased shooters through various methods of point shooting to wean us away from our dependence on the sights. He noted that participants with more training, especially of the Modern Technique variety, found it harder to divorce their brains from the ingrained relationship between sight alignment and trigger press. A flash sight picture was used in a couple of drills before the handgun was brought even lower from the line of sight, eventually ending up with the elbow anchored in the hip socket. Roger stated that ideas derived from the square range or competition shooting

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may very well get you killed in a hostile encounter, especially if you find yourself behind the reactionary curve when surprised or ambushed. Point shooting is all about confidence building and establishing what feels right, while producing the best effect on the target. Practice is crucial on both points. I soon discovered that pressing the handgun out while focusing on a very specific spot on the target produces the best results. “Focus on the target” was a constant refrain echoed by Roger during the weekend course. This proved critical to our ability to produce solid hits on targets regardless of what position we were firing from. The ability to gain a slightly crouched, athletic stance while delivering fire also proved important. The Fairbairn-Sykes shooting crouch was introduced as segue for a block of instruction, stressing the importance of obtaining both proper foot work and body positions in order to produce combat-accurate hits on a target, especially while shooting on the move. Most of the drills after lunch on the first day had some component of moving while firing incorporated into them. The PSP course pushed the limits of the square range experience. Several drills were done dry and with “finger” pistols to establish weapon movement arcs so as not to cover the shooter and others on the line. Other drills were limited to one or two shooters at a time to ensure safety. This allowed Roger and assistant Jack Rumbaugh to give more attention to the shooters engaging the targets. Once basic drills were completed, Roger upped the ante by introducing movement while engaging the target. This is where the PSP method really started to shine. By eliminating reliance on perfect sight alignment, which is near impossible to obtain during the dynamic action typical of a gunfight, the shooter is better able to deliver ballistic effect on an adversary.

Aggression was advocated as the best method for reacting to an attack since it is not the expected response. Roger was adamant that mind-set is most important for personal defense, backed up with a solid skill set and practices tactics.

Shooters practice an extremely compressed point shooting position, one which may be appropriate for firing from an automobile during a life-threatening carjacking attempt.

Roger’s PSP course has shooters easily going through 1,200 rounds or more over the two day seminar. Shooting time is particularly important for PSP so that participants learn what feels right for instinctual aiming versus sighted fire. The first day serves as a building block for the second day, where movement is the norm while engaging targets. Suarez International methods of reloading and scanning after engaging are shown for informational purposes but not instituted as a matter of procedure due to the effort to maximize time spent training on point shooting while the instructor is available to mentor and give feedback. PSP is one of those courses which can be taken multiple times continuing to yield beneficial results with each session. While point shooting is instinctual and thus easier to retain compared to other weapon skills, practice is still important for refining one’s abilities. PSP is the definite “meat and potatoes” of a gunfight and would qualify as a must-take course for someone who could only take a single handgun combative course. Many times Roger referred to the fight continuum. The fight continuum is characterized being in continual flux depending on who has the initiative, the present range of engagement, and what method of fire best handles the situation. Roger is not hindered by doctrine and warns students to be wary of any instructor or method that is represented as the be all and end all of methods. Why be confined to a total reliance on sights when point shooting is capable of producing combat accurate hits at distances up to five yards and often beyond? Kudos go to Roger for stressing mental toughness and flexibility in adapting to wherever you find yourself in the fight continuum.

After minimal practice, many students were hitting targets while moving.]

Roger does not argue that point shooting is the exclusive method to use for hitting an adversary. As engagement distances increase, so does the need for sighted fire. Certain scenario drills kept shooters honest by forcing them to “stand and deliver” aimed fire as the best way to resolve a situation. Other drills demanded dynamic movement to disrupt the opponent’s decision-making cycle and give the defender time to present the firearm and engage targets.

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One of the last exercises conducted by students was to start engaging targets twenty-five yards away with “stand and deliver” sighted fire, transitioning to controlled movement while firing, ending up with close-range point shooting. The pace of movement and rate of fire was expected to increase as distance to target decreased.

Point shooting gives a person a fighting chance to succeed if forced to react to an attack at close distance. Point shooting can produce on target hits from a concealed position in times usually reserved for professional shooters during competitions. Point shooting is a skill that should be explored and learned by any practitioner of concealed carry. It can truly increase your odds of surviving a gunfight. Roger Phillip’s Point Shooting Progressions is one of the most informative courses I have ever taken part in. Not only did it resolve many of my questions regarding how to respond to threats at close range, it increased my general desire to train. It built on experience I gained in FOF. The more I learn and experience, the more I realize that an actual fight on the street will be a close range affair with little time to react.

Todd Burgreen is a freelance writer with work published in Precision Shooting, The Accurate Rifle, The Varmint Hunter Magazine, and SWAT. His topics have covered the gamut, including but not limited to, a CQB tomahawk article, long range rifle, single-shot rifles, full-automatic rifles, hunting handguns and defensive handguns. Todd lives in Virginia with his wife and three sons.

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The Counterattacking Mind
“The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.” — John Steinbeck

CR Williams, Suarez International Staff Instructor

deflect the blade of the knife thrust at my face? No: I use the gun to stop the attacker, not the attack. How do I stop the attacker with a gun? I shoot him. I don’t take the gun and put it against his arm or hand or trigger finger to block his action. I shoot him with it. I point the gun and I pull the trigger and I project force enough (I hope) that he becomes unable or unwilling to keep projecting force at me. I attack back. I attack the attacker.

And so do you. You also attack—to be more accurate, you and I counter-attack, because we know that will be the only way to stop the violence once it has begun. We acknowledge the reality that Steinbeck speaks of, which is that pure defense, however perfect, does not produce victory (however we define victory at the time). The reality is that we must have the sword and we must respond in force with it. It may not even be a physical sword…we are discussing mind-set here, after all…and it may not be a physical attack we employ even if we have a physical sword, or knife, or gun, in our hands, but it will be a counter-attack regardless. It will be an attack made in response to an attack (against our body or our mind and spirit or any combination thereof) which is intended to stop the attack against us from continuing. Whether we do that by affecting the will of the attacker alone (and this is the most effective thing we can do to stop them) or by affecting both the will of the attacker and their physical ability to attack (by damaging them) or, in a worst-case scenario, by affecting only their physical ability to attack (and where the will remains, this is the hardest option of the three to accomplish), we must still counter-attack. Whether we use a gun or a knife, pepper spray, or our bare hands, we must still counter-attack. Whether we do that by exploding off the X, dynamically drawing, and running a burst of rounds up their centerline or by standing tall, locking the gun out and the sights on and sending a round precisely into the base of the attacker’s nose from sixty feet away, we must still counter-attack. To do otherwise is to risk death. To think of defense alone is to risk death. To think of what others will think of us in that moment, because of what we did, is to risk death. To worry about courts and lawyers when the attack is come upon us is to risk death. To think of the sword as a shield is to risk death. Our death, the deaths of others, the death of the way we live that occurs if those who are evil are able to do evil things to us and those we love. To properly defend against that death, physical and otherwise, we must in the moment of the threat put aside thoughts of defense alone. We must take up the sword, and we must attack those who have attacked us, and we must do it until we win, however we define winning at that time and place. Not only must we counter-attack, but we must do that with all the force and aggression we can muster. We cannot afford to measure the counter-attack until we have, without any doubt, dominated the attacker. We cannot think of a certain number of rounds fired, we cannot think of a certain number of stabs or slashes with the

“Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.” “If you want to have peace, be prepared to fight for it.”


or the civilian defender, here are the seeming paradoxes as I see them:

We live in a peaceful world, but we see a need to be able to enter a violent world at any time with little or no warning. We provide ourselves with offensive weapons to defend ourselves with. We plan and prepare to defend ourselves against force by projecting force. We have to. We have no other choice if we do not wish to surrender to whatever violence is offered to us. There is no perfect defense. No shield, no armor, no barrier, nothing that man has produced will stop every attack, every bit of force offered, every strike and stab and bullet, every time, all the time. “This (device, substance, technique) will stop most attacks that you are likely to be subject to,” someone says. Is “most” good enough for you? Let’s put a figure on it—97%. This—whatever—will stop 97% of all attacks. Do you want to risk being in the three-percent of cases where it does not? And do you want to believe that an attacker, without being resisted, will not continue, will not repeat the attack until they hit the golden three-percent mark? The reality is that most of us already have those odds of not being successfully attacked without the magical armor or miraculous technique, because most of us will not be attacked at all. The odds that you will be attacked at some point in your life, however, are higher than the odds of winning almost any lottery you can name, and we know that people win lotteries all the time. So we are back to those paradoxes. We’re back to carrying weapons and learning hand-to-hand combat. We’re back to being able to project force to resist force projected at us. We’re back to attacking the one who first attacks us. Defend myself with a gun? How? Do I use it to stop bullets or

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knife, we cannot think of certain blows with the hands and feet. We cannot think of this before, and we cannot think of it during. We must think only of results—getting results, measuring results, observing results, acting upon results. No pre-set limits; only results. To set limits is to, again, increase the risk of death. Reality Says: Think ATTACK, not defense. Reality Says: RESULTS MATTER. We have begun the study of mind-set.

and accomplished, but the core Mission, the one that drives you forward past or, if necessary, through any obstacle, should be as simple as it possibly can be. The subconscious will perform a simple directive much more easily that a complex one; it will focus more easily on it and assign more resources to it once it is understood that this is important to you. Do NOT have a Mission that can be separated into parts. It must be a singular concept. It must be a unified goal. There must be a single focus. Your life, in this case, will depend on it, so keep it simple if you want to have the best chance of survival. Example: An infantry company has been assigned a hilltop to take possession of. There is in this a Mission, and there are missions. The missions, the sub-tasks, might be phrased this way: “1st Platoon will advance partway up the objective’s north slope to fix the enemy’s attention and distract them. 2nd Platoon will simultaneously maneuver to the right flank and, once the enemy has committed to dealing with 1st Platoon’s advance, attack up the west side to the objective. 3rd Platoon will split heavy weapons section off to support 2nd Platoon, provide light fire support for 1st Platoon, and provide the reserve to exploit the breakthrough to the objective.” Those are missions, small ‘m’. What’s the Mission? TAKE THE HILL. Or even more simply put, WIN. Once the ‘subconscious’ of the company internalizes the Mission, the actual steps to achieving it are worked out based on knowledge and experience. The process of supporting and achieving the Mission becomes automatic, instinctive, and adaptable to circumstance once the Mission is properly internalized. It will work the same way with you. Determine your Mission and accept it. Your ‘command staff’, your subconscious and conscious mind, will take your knowledge and experience and adapt it to the demands of the encounter. For best effect, I believe that the Mission should have a ‘Why?’ attached to it. There must be a reason why you want to accomplish your Mission. Captain Miller wanted to go home to his wife. Why? Because he loved her and wanted to see her again; because she needed his support and needed for him to come home. Private Ryan wanted to be a Good Man. Why? Because someone who had died to keep him alive had wished him to do so with his last words; because he wished to honor the sacrifice made for his sake. SURVIVE, or WIN, are simple, easily understood Missions, but without a ‘Why’, I don’t believe it is enough just to have the Mission. I don’t believe the subconscious, especially, will grasp the centrality and importance of the Mission unless a solid ‘Why?’ is attached to it. Because, for most of us, simple existence is not enough. For most of us, simple victory is not enough. There has to be something more to existence or victory for most of us. That’s what the ‘Why’ is. So increase your chances of winning by making sure you have one. That’s the basics of making and having a Mission as I see it. Closing this subject out, let me say one more thing: You may fail anyway. There are no guarantees. Understanding the need for the counter-attacking mind-set, having a Mission, knowing Why, none of these things will guarantee your survival in the face of

What is your Mission?
There are missions, and there are Missions. Small ‘m’ missions come and go and vary in importance depending on time and place and circumstances; large ‘M’ Missions, are the core, the central theme and focus, that all the small m’s support and move you toward. There will be many missions, but for each major area of your life, only one Mission. I submit to you that developing the proper mind-set for no-notice counter-offense begins and depends on you developing or discovering your Mission. In the first part of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller says, as best as I can recall, “If finding this guy gets me home to my wife sooner, then that’s my mission.” His mission, his immediate goal and task, is to find Private Ryan and get him headed home. His Mission, the ultimate goal and his central task, is to go home to his wife. Everything else he does in the movie is in support of that Mission. At the end of the movie we see the older Ryan as he falls to his knees at Miller’s grave and says to his wife, “Tell me I’ve been a good man.” This is because, when Miller died in the defense of the bridge, his last words to Ryan were “…earn this. Earn it.” Whatever Ryan’s Mission was before that time, I believe that after hearing those words it became, Be A Good Man. Everything else he did after that in his life was in support of that Mission. His question to his wife could have been, “Have I accomplished my Mission? Have I?” Your Mission does not have to be kept in your conscious mind. Miller was more conscious of his Mission than Ryan was throughout most of the film. While you do, I believe, decide or discover consciously what your Mission is, once you have done that, and once you understand that it is THE Mission and not a waypoint, you can, for the most part, stop thinking about it. Your subconscious mind will understand its importance and maintain the focus on it that you need for decision-making and action after that. Your Mission should be simple in concept. Other, small ‘m’, missions can be as complex as they need to be to be understood

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unexpected assault. It did not save Miller in the movie; it has not saved people in reality; it may not save you. Nonetheless, I very firmly believe that you are more likely to survive with these simple tools than without. I believe as firmly that to neglect these central principles is to increase the risk that you will not survive the fight. So, I urge you to start now and get these few things straight. Get them inside of you and make them part of you. Don’t just decide that you will fight and win; DECIDE that you will FIGHT and WIN, and know WHY you’re going to. More than you may know depends on your doing that.

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Be the Apex Predator
Steve Collins


hat is an apex predator? One that has no fear or natural enemy. An example would be the Great White Shark, a creature feared even by man and at the absolute top of the food chain in the ocean. Nothing hunts it, and it hunts all. There is the grizzly bear. When a grizzly walks up on something, it comes ready to fight, and kill whatever is in its way. Nothing stands up to it. The same can be said for the alligator, and the African crocodile. Seemingly unchanged since the age of the dinosaurs, it is the same whether large or small, all fight and no give. What separates us from them? The ability to reason, to think, and the fact that we have opposable thumbs! There are still apex predators in our midst, however. They are the gangbangers and terrorists that have little fear of the police, and no fear of you and your little CCW pistol. They are ready to fight and kill you with no worry that you can put up any kind of effective resistance. I submit to you that if you are only training to be defensive, to get away, to use minimum force, you are setting yourself up for failure. You need to become the Apex Predator yourself. How? Watch the news. Watch reruns of the attacks of 9/11 again and again. Watch the video footage of the Mumbai attacks. Get angry! Stay that way! Channel that into your training. Don’t just go to the range and shoot around, train to kill your opponent by whatever means necessary. Take knife training, empty hand training, combative pistol training. Pursue every new skill you can acquire! Learn to fight! Think about your family as you train. Think about your wife or significant other being a casualty of violence, or worse, being killed because of your inability to defend them. Develop your mind-set. You need to accept that you need to not only be ready to fight, but you need to desire it! You want to sink your teeth into another mans throat, rip it open, drink the blood of your enemies, then point to his homey standing close by and tell him “you’re next.” Challenge yourself in your training. Make yourself so dangerous that your potential enemies see you as the fellow Apex Predator you are. Be ready to fight, and kill. STEVE COLLINS Steve Collins is the Suarez International Staff Instructor for the State of Missouri. He has been a competition shooter for over twenty years, and an NRA instructor for the last ten years.

A graduate of many firearms training institutions, he began training with Suarez International in 2004, and has been a Suarez International instructor since 2008. He is certified to teach all of the SI series of classes, and will travel to any venue to do so. After serving two decades in the US Army, he now teaches and writes full time.

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Being A ‘Finisher’


Roger Phillips

n any fight, having the ability to finish an adversary is a trait that separates good fighters from great fighters. To make this happen we need to dump the pansy, politically correct mindset of “stop the threat”. This type of mind-set can get you killed! What is in our head (mind-set) and what comes out of our mouth, need to be two very different things. If you are in a fight for your life and you are thinking “stop the threat,” in my humble opinion, you are probably going to die. We need to take it to another level beyond this “defensive” thinking. We need to become “offensive” and I mean that in more ways than one. If your mission is to “go home” then you must stop the threat. Is it possible that the best way to achieve that goal is not just to stop the threat, but to ruthlessly annihilate the threat? It is acknowledging the need for this ruthlessness that leads to the ability to be a finisher. If we do not finish our opponent as quickly as possible, we endanger our mission of going home. In this case “quickly” means “ruthlessly.” The mind-set of stopping the threat leads to hesitation...to being overly careful. Hesitation allows your adversary to “get off of the hook,” to gain control of the situation and start dictating your next move. If you allow him to “get off of the hook” you have significantly diminished your ability to succeed in your mission. As the good guy, it will be likely that you are starting out behind in the reactionary curve. You must regain that lost initiative. Once you have done so, you must finish the adversary as quickly and ruthlessly as you possibly can. The longer the engagement goes on, the more things can go wrong. So, in short, hesitation puts your mission in jeopardy. We must ingrain the mind-set of the seamless integration of defense and offense. We may need to think “defense” to survive the initial attack, but we must turn the tide as quickly as possible and go on the offensive. Once you “own” the adversary, you must finish him quickly, ruthlessly, without mercy. You must reach and exceed the level of violence that was attempted to be perpetrated on you. In the world of the gun, some may call this “shoot them to the ground”. As we shoot them to the ground we need to keep things in perspective. The OODA loop concept tells us that every decision we make takes one-fifth to one-quarter of a second. If it takes us that long to make the decision to shoot, how long does it take for us to make the decision to stop shooting? Is it possible that you are going to pull the trigger two or three times more than was needed to stop the threat? Since we are imperfect human machines this is a very likely possibility. Let’s say that you have an adversary that is fighting you all the way down. You are making the hits and they are having a significant effect, but he keeps fighting as he falls

forward. Just as he is about to hit the deck you get a good high line CNS hit and he is done. Is there a chance that you are going to put a few more rounds in him before you work through the OODA loop and you stop shooting? This is very likely! It happens often! And it is completely defendable in a court of law. If you try to mitigate this phenomenon you will hesitate in your attempt to be overly careful. Do not let the fearmongers of the recent past keep you from going home. Go offensive and ruthlessly finish the adversary. Stop shooting as soon as you can, once you realize that you have completely stopped the threat. This is the line that you have to worry about! Do not do anything obviously illegal, immoral, or unjust, but realize that you may have to live with the fact that you are an imperfect human machine that takes a good portion of a second to ascertain that it is time to stop shooting. This is completely defensible, but you need to make sure that you have wrapped your head around this potential reality. Do not let the guilt of being an “imperfect human machine” keep you from going home. A quality mind-set and outstanding articulation* need to go hand in hand. One without the other could have devastating consequences. *Articulation: The ability to tell a story, without lying or exaggerating, that convinces a reasonable person that what you did was reasonable, even if they would not have done the same thing. ROGER PHILLIPS Roger Phillips is the Suarez International Staff Instructor based in Southern Nevada. He is a lifelong hunter, shooter, competitor and training enthusiast. He became a Suarez International Instructor in the summer of 2006. Roger was originally brought in as a Point Shooting Specialist. He is the author of the book Point Shooting Progressions (PSP) and is featured in the Infidel Media training DVD under the same name. In 2010 his second DVD was released titled The Fundamentals of Point Shooting. He has now written seven point shooting course curriculums for Suarez International, including his flagship course PSP, PSP/ Fighting at Night, Long Gun PSP, Advanced PSP, Introduction to Point Shooting, Point Shooting Gunfight Skills, and PSP/ Force-on-Force co-developed with Richard Coplin. He is also qualified to teach numerous Suarez International courses as a Tier One Staff Instructor. Roger travels all over the country instructing these courses. For information about classes by these and other instructors in your area, contact: Suarez International at 928-776-4492, or email: SIS-contactus@suarezinternational.com. To host a class by a Suarez International instructor in your area, call the office at the number listed for information about how to or go to http://www.suarezinternationalstore.com/freetraining. aspx on the web.

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CR Williams, Suarez International Staff Instructor
HERE BEGINNETH THE LESSON What?...Did you think this was all there was to it? Learning never stops. That said… Thank you for reading this. Thank you for considering these ideas. Thank you for starting to develop your mind-set. Don’t stop here. Keep going. Don’t forget to get some (physical) training too. See you in class.

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