As most of you know, I do not use the term muscle memory. Muscles don’t have memories and what we are really talking about are habits, good ones and bad ones. And, if we pay attention and think about what we do, we can identify those bad habits that need correcting. Or we can just develop a good habit that enhances our defensive abilities.
For example, instead of just taking your handgun out of the holster to put it away, lay it down or perform some other maintenance function, it might be a good idea to use this moment to draw to the ready position (while pointing in a safe direction with a proper backstop) and then do whatever we need to do. Drawing to the ready gives us a chance to regularly practice our pistol presentation and it creates a habit in the way we handle the gun.
We also should examine our habits of going about our daily lives. Without knowing it, we may establish routines that a crook can pick up on. For example, leaving your car running while you run back in the house for something that you forgot, is probably a really good way to lose that car, especially if that has become some sort of pattern that a crook can observe. On the other hand, locking the door behind you whenever you walk into your house would be a really good habit to acquire.
In my case, I live in a small town in the middle of big ranch country. Murder, armed robbery and other violent crimes are very rare. I am in the habit of carrying a defensive handgun whenever and wherever I legally can—and that’s a good habit. My bad habit is that, because of the lack of violent crime, I am not always as aware as I should be. I have to continually remind myself that violence can occur anywhere and my little piece of the desert country is no exception.
I’ll let you in on a little secret—armed citizens, defensive instructors and even gunfight survivors have one or more bad habits that it would benefit them to identify and correct. Instead of denying the fact, we ought to take the time to identify those bad habits and begin to correct them.
There’s no need to publicly admit some of those bad habits, as I have done. Just take some time to think about what you do and what you could do that quicker, safer, and smarter. When it comes to personal defense, good habits are your friend.