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We’ve all heard the saying “You will fight the way you train, so you should train the way you want to fight,” or something similar to that. While I’m generally not a fan of self-defense clichés, this one rings very true. In fact, it is actually a great litmus test when considering the value of any training activity.

Another good piece of advice is to “Keep your guard up.” Figuratively, it helps you remember to stay aware of your surroundings. Literally, it reminds you that when you’re faced with a potential threat, you should keep your hands up and ready to defend yourself. Our primal instinct—in the form of the “startle” or “flinch” response—further reinforces the wisdom of having your hands up and in the game when trouble looms. Despite the seemingly irrefutable logic of the previous two paragraphs, most shooters still learn to draw their guns the same way: by moving the dominant hand to the gun and indexing the non-shooting hand on the torso. From a range safety standpoint, this practice has undoubtedly saved a lot of non-shooting hands from having painful holes punched in them; however, as a defensive skill, it leaves a lot to be desired.

To put it bluntly, you are training to respond to a potentially lethal threat by purposely and consciously dropping both your hands and leaving your head and neck unguarded. In doing so, you are also directly contradicting—and trying to reprogram—thousands of years of evolutionary survival instinct.

Read more at Combat Handguns.

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