Is Mindset or Gear More Important?

Keeping your head in the game is better for your safety than buying the latest gear.

posted on August 26, 2022
Sheriff Jim Wilson

As a group, defensive shooters seem to be extremely gear-oriented. Listening to gun shop talk and reading posts on the internet, one gets the impression that a lot of folks fear they won’t survive unless they have just the right gun, the proper ammo and the latest in accessories. Well, here are a few things that I think are more important than your choice of guns and gear when it comes to personal defense.

Awareness is a critical personal defense skill. We can educate ourselves by studying news reports of criminal activity in our area and obtain a better understanding of what and who the local crooks are targeting. Also, don’t forget the Armed Citizen page in your NRA magazine for case studies of actual criminal encounters. 

In addition, we continually strive to be more alert to what is going on around us. The earlier that we alert to possible criminal activity, the more options we have for dealing with it. By honing our awareness, we minimize the chances that we will be surprised by a criminal attack.

Another important defensive skill is perfecting our ability to function under stress. Stress is compounded when we are surprised or faced with a threat that is totally unexpected. The more that we can understand what could happen, the more we can reduce the pressure that stress puts on our bodies and our ability to function. Once we understand what could happen, then we also need to develop plans to deal with the criminal attack. Prior understanding and prior planning will reduce stress and allow us to function more effectively.

Finally, we need to understand and set a goal to master the basic skills of marksmanship. Sight picture, proper grip, trigger press, and other functions are critical parts of marksmanship regardless of whether we are shooting at paper or shooting to live. And, truly mastering those skills allow us to do well with just about whatever defensive firearm may be available to us. How many of us have been in classes where a student is just not shooting well and, of course, blames it on the particular firearm that he is using? Then, along comes the range master, who takes the student’s gun and shoots a perfect score.

So I suppose we’ll all continue to drool over the latest guns and gear as they become available because that’s just what gun enthusiasts do. But you should just realize and remember that the most important defensive tool available to us is the one between our ears.


shooter at the range
shooter at the range

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