Just about every group has slogans that define them, and those into personal defense are no exception. And most of these slogans have the value of helping us focus on the task at hand, whatever that task might be. However, one defensive slogan that I hear from time to time really bothers me, and it is this: “I’ll use my handgun to fight my way to my long gun.”
When a person takes the time to actually study encounters where citizens have had to deploy firearms to protect themselves, it becomes apparent that these situations happen very quickly and are over just as quickly—win or lose. The vast majority of them involve some two to three shots being fired and are over within seconds. There just isn’t time to run somewhere and get another gun.
The simple fact is that the a person will have to defend himself with whatever defensive tools he has on, or immediately near, his person. And therein lies the value of the handgun. It is relatively portable and can, and should, be worn whenever legally possible to do so. The fight, when it comes, will more than likely be in your face, and an instantaneous response is what is called for.
But there is also another side of the argument to “I’ll fight my way to my long gun.” That opportunity, assuming it exists, would be far better spent fighting your way to protective cover. From protective cover, one is less likely to get hit from incoming rounds and more likely to take care of business with the handgun. After a defensive scenario, one might also be asked, “If you had time to run get a long gun, why didn’t you use that time to run and get away from the attack?”
This is also a case where awareness becomes very important. If we are alert enough to become aware of the problem, say a home invasion, before entry is gained, it would be smart to arm oneself with a rifle or shotgun to begin with. In this case, we aren’t fighting our way to anything but, rather, arming ourselves with the best defensive tool from the outset.
The armed citizen is well advised to carefully study case histories of actual citizen-involved shootings and model his own defensive plan accordingly. Invariably, he will find that the criminal will get in his face very quickly and the citizen will only have time to respond with whatever he has on him at the time. The fight will be over before that shotgun in the hall closet or car trunk can be brought into play.
Defensive slogans are nice and I enjoy them as much as anyone. But we should always apply common sense and reasoning before we make them an actual part of our personal defense plan.