All of our information was that this dude always carried a gun, a Bauer .25 auto, in his right front pants pocket. The night we went after him, he spotted the uniformed officers from about 25 yards away. As his right hand went to his pocket, I stepped out of the darkness about 5 yards on his right. There was enough light that I could clearly see the front sight of my Colt 1911 lined up with the side of his head.
The first that he knew I was there was when I said, “Don’t do it.” His empty hands shot up in the air like they were going to jerk his arms out of their sockets. Because he believed me, he went to jail instead of the morgue.
And he was lucky that he believed me. The particular gun that I held on him had been expertly tuned by Lou Williamson. It was one of the most accurate Colts I had ever owned. And, just that past weekend, I had used it to win a local IPSC match back in the days when IPSC was really practical. I had confidence in my gun and confidence in my ability to use it.
Building confidence in our personal defense skills is critical to survival. It helps us survive deadly attacks and often we are able to survive those situations without even firing a shot.
Now, mind you, I am not talking about developing false confidence or courage. That’s the kind that you get from the bragging and boasting sessions at the local gun store or hanging out behind the lines at the local gun range. When you hear that sort of thing it is usually an attempt to control fear or to conceal it.
True confidence comes from knowing your gun and knowing how to use it. It comes from practicing with that gun every chance you get. Confidence also comes from studying the law and developing a working knowledge of useful tactics.
While the average crook probably can’t give a very good explanation of body language, you can bet they have a natural understanding of it. They know when a potential victim just doesn’t look or act scared enough. They know when their control is being subtly taken away from them. They know when they are no longer in command of the situation.
Working to continually improve our personal defense skills will give us a greater ability to handle a situation. It helps us to immediately understand when we need to shoot and to understand when we don’t need to shoot. By developing our skills, we build confidence and most crooks can read that loud and clear.