Battery-Free, Life-Saving Info
By Tiger McKee
For sources on the use of firearms you’ve got DVD’s, the ’net and ’Tube, thousands of videos on websites and of course training classes to attend. Yet we need to keep in mind personal protection is an individual responsibility.
It ain’t all about guns and gear.
Being fully prepared means educating yourself on a wide range of subjects. The best way to learn the mental aspects and physical skills necessary is from the experiences of others. You can get that experience by attending classes, watching videos … or reading.
Read anything and everything by Jeff Cooper. I’m honestly shocked at the number of newer shooters who don’t know who Cooper is. At one time a lot of his works were out of print, difficult to find and expensive. Now, most everything has been reprinted. Also make sure to pick up The Modern Technique Of The Pistol by Morrison. Although not written by Cooper, it is the “official” book on the Modern Technique.
Although most people carry semi-auto pistols now, we still need to study the classics such as McGivern’s Fast And Fancy Revolver Shooting and Fitzgerald’s Shooting. McGivern was a S&W man and Fitzgerald was a Colt guy. Another classic is No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan. These books show us where we came from, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn from them. The fundamentals are the same, never changing.
For a “Post Modern” look at handgun use read Scott Reitz’s The Art Of Modern Gunfighting. This book, released in 2010, reminds me of The Modern Technique Of The Pistol by Morrison, except with material which has been developed since its publication in 1991. This is Volume I and Volume II is supposed to be out by the end of the year. Also check out Grant Cunningham’s Book of the Revolver and Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, plus The Snubby Revolver by Lovette. Again, regardless of the firearm you use these books contain valuable information.
Your reading should help cultivate the proper “mindset.” Physically you’re pretty much the same from one day to the next. The difference in how you perform is based on your mindset. I don’t know ’nothing ’bout golf, but one of the best books ever on the mental aspects of performing is Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect by Rotella. Another mandatory book is With Winning In Mind, by Lanny Bassham. Bassham is an ex-Olympic shooter and coach so he relates everything to shooting, which makes it an easy read for us gun-people. This is one of those books I read three or four times a year.
While none of us want to be involved in a violent situation, we study it in order to respond to it. Identifying potential problems before they turn into trouble is the key to applying our first tactics, avoidance and escape or preparing a proper defense. Left Of Bang by Van Horne and Riley is a breakdown of material assembled for the Marine Corps teaching us how to look for possible problems. I also highly recommend Rory Miller’s Mediations on Violence which covers subjects such as “The Four Basic Truths Of Violent Assault.” He’s one of the few writers who examine the action involved in violent acts by large groups.
Not all reading has to be gun related in order to improve our shooting, develop a better means of defending against an attacker or just be better at life in general. Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors, and Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking, helped me understand how we can make split-second decisions based on focusing on a few particular specifics related to the situation.
Steven Pressfield is another great writer. Most people know Gates Of Fire, his fictional account of the Spartans’ battle at Thermopylae. His non-fiction work is just as good. For example his book The War Of Art is about the creative process. “But,” you say, “I’m not an artist.” Tactics is problem solving at high speed; sometimes a creative approach is called for. There’s also The Art Of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. I know, An Inner Journey To Optimal Performance sounds a little hippy-like, but this book is all about the psychology of performance, and another one I read regularly.
The books listed here are educational and entertaining — nobody said learning had to be boring. Plus, reading one book leads to discovering other subjects to research and investigate. The cool thing about firearms is it’s an endless journey. You never ever get to the point that there’s nothing new. Enjoy your trip.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, www.shootrite.org.
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