Firefights are scary and a live-and-death battle – but they are survivable. And as a lawful citizen you are already at a distinct disadvantage.
You do not get to choose the time and place that a firefight happens. It will always be a surprise or an ambush on you and your fellow citizens. This means we must always be prepared. These are my top five ways to survive a firefight.
No. 1 — Have the Right Gun
The best way to survive a firefight is to be able to fight. Unarmed versus a gun rarely turns out well for the guy with empty hands. But when the rounds start going down range, you shouldn’t just have a gun; you should have “enough” gun. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pocket pistols stink.
Tiny little guns like the Taurus TCP, Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 and Beretta Pico are all well-built, functional weapons. They are all guaranteed to go bang when the trigger is pulled and that’s great, but they are poor fighting weapons. Limited capacity, under-powered round, small grip, short sight radius, etc. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but I don’t count on luck to survive.
I’m not advocating carrying a full-sized 1911 or Glock 17. I’m all about compact weapons. Weapons like the Glock 26 are an excellent balance of firepower and size, and the same goes for the Walther CCP. They’re easy to carry but big enough to fight.
No. 2 — Have Proper Ammunition
I’m not starting a caliber debate between proponents of the 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP or the 38 Special. What I am saying is to carry a duty caliber. By this, I mean any of the aforementioned, as well as the 357 Magnum, 357 Sig, 45 Colt, etc. I stay away from the mouse gun calibers like 380, 32 (except 327 Federal), 22 long rifle and Magnum (rimfires are nowhere near as reliable as centerfire) and 25 ACP.
Another factor is being equipped with proper ammunition. Winchester white box is good for a lot of things, but not so much for carrying. Modern defensive ammunition has bridged the gap quite a bit between the big three: 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. It’s gotten to the point where the bigger calibers offer very little advantage but are still very viable rounds. Whenever someone asks me my opinion on carry ammo I always say Speer Gold Dot or Hornady Critical Defense (for compacts), or Hornady Critical Duty (for full size). These rounds are proven over and over again by law enforcement around the world, as well as enough ballistic gel tests to prove their worth.
Avoid the gimmicky rounds like the G2 RIP ammo and research online. YouTuber ShootingtheBull410 has good videos. Ask your local police what they carry, and follow up with: Why do you carry it?
No. 3 — Have Enough Ammunition
It’s very easy to get in the mindset of “I’ll probably never get in a gun fight anyway, so I’ll just take the gun and be good.” First off, that’s a bit lazy and somewhat of an oxymoron. If you don’t believe you would ever need your weapon, then why do you carry it in the first place?
Also, it’s complacent. Complacency kills, and it kills hard and fast. I suggest carrying at least one reload with you, one extra magazine, one extra speed loader, or speed strip. In all honesty, I carry two extra magazines. I’ve been in a few firefights and I could not imagine the fear and desperation that would come with running out of ammo in the middle of a fight.
No. 4 — Know the Difference Between Cover and Concealment
Have you ever seen the movie Lord of War? Nicholas Cage plays an arms dealer who travels across the world and makes millions illicitly selling guns to anyone and everyone. In one of the early scenes it shows some local mobster attempting to kill another mobster. They come with their AK 47s and start spraying, and their intended victim flips the table over and it absorbs dozens of rounds. (It was quite amusing, as little wooden tables are not prone to stopping bullets.)
Some items are great for hiding behind, and some are great for soaking up bullets. Seventy-five percent of a car won’t stop a bullet, but most engines can soak up rounds decently. Cinderblocks rarely take a direct hit but may deflect a round or two, but I wouldn’t count on them to save my life. Bullets are powerful things; it takes dense material to absorb a bullet and protect you.
No. 5 — Get Trained … and Practice
Carrying a gun does not make you a gunfighter; it doesn’t make you anything more than a guy carrying a gun. Training is what separates winners and losers. In other words, just because you have a pair of boxing gloves doesn’t mean you are ready to step into the ring with Manny Pacquiao.
Find a competent source of training that can instruct you not just how to shoot your gun, but how to fight with it.
I’m not saying you need to be a Delta Force member, but some basic instruction can do wonders. More important than training, though, is practice. This is where you will sharpen and refine your skills. Practice shooting with your weak hand, with one hand, from behind cover, from the ground, from a knee … and the list goes on and on. Even practice reloading and clearing malfunctions.
Believe it or not, training can be a lot of fun. In fact, it is easy to get somewhat addicted to it. Once you take your first class, you’ll be hooked, and you’ll want to learn more and more — especially when you see your proficiency increase.
Of course, in a firefight could do everything right and still get hurt or die. You can minimize the risk by being cautious, being well-armed, and being ready for that day if and when it comes.
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.