Mindset: (mi~nd-set’) A course of action based on a previous decision, a set path based on reason and intellect.

“It should be understood that the ultimate weapon in your personal arsenal is the brain. Without a proper combative mindset the quality of skills possessed are for naught as it is the mind that engages in combat…the body just follows.” – Dave Spaulding

Training is a very important aspect of concealed carry, home defense and firearms ownership in general. If you do not train and you happen to be attacked you will be relying on survival instinct only. When you have your back against the wall you will not rise to the occasion. Instead, you will fight the way you train. Proper training allows you greater flexibility in your choice of tactics and techniques that can be used to defend yourself. Proper training allows you to manipulate your firearm using methods that are tried and true and have been used in the past successfully. Proper training techniques can be recognized by their simplicity and ease of operation while under stress. Overly complicated maneuvers and techniques are better left in the movies and are not suitable for use in life threatening situations. I like to use a simple formula taught to me by Dave Spaulding when evaluating whether to use a certain technique or not. Dave’s formula consists of three questions and goes like this, Is it simple? Is it sensible? Is it effective on the street? If I can’t answer yes to all three of those questions when evaluating a new technique, I won’t use it and neither should you.


Kevin “Rooster” Fox firing from the prone position during a training course at Stony Farm Defense near Brimley Michigan

In my career as a trainer for the Michigan Dept. of Corrections I have often witnessed defensive techniques being taught in which their proper use by the average student would have taken years to master. These types of techniques are better left in the dojo and in competition and out of the realm of personal defense. The use of overly complicated techniques will only get you injured or killed. It is much better to master simple techniques that you’re able to operate well when under stress. Remember, you will fight the way you train.


Jon Niggeling transitions to his handgun during an advanced shotgun course near Port Huron Michigan.

When training, it is critical that you train with purpose and drive. It is very important that during a training course you pay attention to the instructor and what they are explaining or demonstrating. This will allow you to perform the given techniques properly. It is also very important that if you have questions, that you ask those questions to obtain a correct answer. Otherwise, you may have missed a very important aspect of the training course. You must maintain an attitude during your range training that will transfer over into a real life defensive situation if and when the time comes that it’s needed. If you’ve taken any of my classes, you have heard me talk about a training technique called visualization. This is the time to put visualization into practice! For example, when you are shooting at a target imagine that the target is an assailant that is attacking you or a family member. Defend yourself against that target!

Let me put it this way, when defending your life you must always fight with the intent to prevail. It’s not a game. Simply surviving is not an option. If you have a family, there are other people that are depending on you. You cannot afford to lose and they cannot afford for you to lose. You must always fight to prevail!