PART ONE: What Does It Take To Be A CQB Gunfighter?
The primary focus of this article is not going to be on the, ‘mechanical requirements’ of CQB gunfighting. Instead, I’m going to emphasize the correct and well proven psychological attributes needed in order to survive an, 'up close and personal' CQB confrontation with pistols.
First, you have to be able to, 'read' other people well; Yes, you’ve got to be faster and more accurate than most; but, in my opinion, you also have to understand, ‘Why’ you never want to be the second person to draw and fire. So, I'd have to say that being able to anticipate - 'to see it coming' - is a highly desirable personal attribute for surviving any CQB pistol gunfight.
(While watching all of these reality police TV shows and dash cam videos have you ever noticed that police officers are trained to never wait to draw their pistols! Whenever a police officer recognizes that he's facing real trouble, his gun immediately comes out. 'Why'? Because THAT is the right way to do it!)
Once you realize that you're in physical danger - danger from someone who might be faster, bigger, stronger, younger, or has an equal ability to reach out and strike you dead - your own continued survival requires you to be able to demonstrate a prerequisite ability to, both, mentally and emotionally, 'GO COLD' - 'GO COLD'! Whether this ability is genetic and inherent, learned and acquired, or both, I do not really know?
These psychological parameters may vary among different individuals. Some gunmen might need to demonstrate a great deal of (acquired) self-discipline while others might simply be highly neurotic. (I've known both types. All I'll volunteer is that the end result is usually the same.)
Nevertheless this is, in my experience, NOT an easy thing for many, if not most, people to do. (Most people are neither neurotic, nor highly self-disciplined. Even neurotic people, though, still need some experience and a certain skill.) Hence the reason, 'Why' so many self-defense shooters, so often, miss their targets with so many of their shots.
I'm sure that different people accomplish, 'GOING COLD' in different ways; but I'm, only, able to speak for myself. Me? I'm a very passionate person; I feel my emotions quite strongly; consequently, when I get mad - I really get mad! (I think it’s the Sicilian in me!)
This reactionary state causes me to identify emotional, 'PASSION' as the single most important motivational factor behind, 'GOING COLD' or divesting yourself of any sense of either duality-in-thought, or hesitancy-in-action, and going into a, 'HARD FOCUS' on the target.
'A HESITANT, OR DISTRACTED MIND DOES NOT A GOOD GUNFIGHTER MAKE!'
Anyone who intends to survive a life or death gunfight needs to be able to swiftly push aside many of the customary moral and political considerations that all of us usually carry around inside our heads. In all of these discussions, in all the gun forum threads I have ever read or participated in, never once have I noticed anyone (other than on occasion, myself) disagree with the strong contemporary axioms: 'Thou shalt not shoot first!' or, ‘Thou shalt not be the aggressor!’ (You want to stay alive, right!)
In today's often overwhelming and always politically correct Western World any sort of self-defense behavior like this - AMONG CIVILIANS - simply isn't publicly sanctioned; and, yet, without the willingness to shoot first - to strike the other guy BEFORE he's quite ready to strike you - the time required for a pistolero to morph from a competent CQB pistol gunfighter into an abnormally vulnerable target can be measured in milliseconds - Milliseconds! (If you’ve got to think about it, then it’s already too late!)
YOU, EITHER, MAKE THE CORRECT PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGE (ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT) WHEN YOU SHOULD, OR YOU END UP DEFENDING YOURSELF FROM, 'BEHIND A POTENTIALLY DETRIMENTAL MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CURVE'.
MAKE NO MISTAKE! IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO BE, BOTH, A GOOD POLITICAL, 'YUPPIE', AND A GOOD CQB PISTOL GUNFIGHTER ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
'Why' this highly practical behavior is, both, required and acceptable for ALL American law enforcement officers, but at the same time neither acceptable, nor condoned for citizen/civilians is a mystery to me?
STAYING ALIVE IS, AFTER ALL, STAYING ALIVE!
There is little, if anyplace, in CQB pistol gunfighting for what I would refer to as, 'the noble virtues'. Anything that slows you down - i.e.: an unwilling (perhaps moral) hesitancy to kill, a rational (perhaps habitual) tendency to control your temper, an active (consequently restrictive) sense of imagined personal guilt, or a strong fear of having to face the presumed civil consequences of surviving such an horrific event - is very likely to get you suddenly killed or badly wounded while in the midst of a CQB gun battle.
A savvy CQB pistol gunfighter has to be supremely single-minded; AND, he has to be able to, both, see beyond and go beyond the normal civilized rules of social conduct - Rules which usually govern all interpersonal social behaviors and of which, albeit by varying degree, all of us are rationally aware and normally obedient to.