Now that dust has settled from the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino (or at least they've slipped from the headlines), it’s time for us common folk to ask ourselves what we've learned from all of it. I'm not talking about why the attacks happened or the ways they could have been prevented. That's already being bickered over by plenty of other people. I'm talking about the only thing that matters to those of us who plan to fight back in the off chance that we find ourselves in a similar storm of sh*t.... how should we fight? If your answer to that is "shoot back… duh", you might be wrong, or at least not right enough.
To answer that question, lets first take a good hard look at the enemy. The San Bernardino and Paris attackers (including the Charlie Hebdo shooters) differed on a great many levels, but were identical in two crucial ways.
1. They were bad people intent on murdering as many innocent people as possible.
2. They were prepared.
Don't let the brevity of that second point take away from its importance. A prepared enemy is a dangerous one, chances are they've anticipated and are ready to counter your first reaction. I'm sure we've all seen enough pictures of terrorists recently to know they typically carry out attacks with AK pattern rifles and several spare magazines in some sort of chest rig. But let’s look at a detailed inventory of a Paris terror suspect that was killed by Belgian Special Forces.
1. 2 AK rifles (1 was misreported as an M16) with various accessories
2. 1 12-gauge pump shotgun with red dot and tac-light
3. 1 MP5K with red dot and tac-light
4. 1 MP5SD
5. A revolver of unknown make or caliber
6. Soft armor
7. Plate carrier with plates, blood type patch and numerous pouches
8. Ballistic shoulder and neck protection with Arabic embroidery
9. 1 bump helmet
10. 1 ballistic helmet with goggles, light, blood type patch and NVG mount
12. Ballistic riot shield
13. 2-way radio
14. Medical supplies
15. Food rations
16. Hundreds of rounds of ammo for all weapons including unspecified special purpose 12 gauge rounds
17. Anti-personnel devices (barbed caltrops)
18. Modified fireworks
19. ISIS flags
20. Dozens of more unidentifiable items
That there is one well-funded, well prepared, true believer. It’s important to also mention that the guy packing all this had spent some years in the French Foreign Legion and was a trained Para-commando. He's not the guy fighting on the front lines in the Middle East, he's the guy that’s been inside the border, under the radar, and living in a normal neighborhood with a full battle rattle in his closet for a very long time.
Now take an equally hard look at yourself, how you train, how you carry yourself in public, and what you carry on your person or in your vehicle every day. Ask yourself, if you ran into a dirt bag decked out in all the gear listed above trying to gun you down, would your "shoot back, duh" response be enough?
Maybe, it’s a good start at least. I’ll admit it, before 2015 my answer to that question was a big fat "NO". I wouldn't be walking away from a fight like that, but I would've winged him or at least scared him. Concealed carry is relatively new in my state, and like many others, I had my period of trial and error before finally feeling like I was doing it "right". Biggest mistake I made was my mindset. In an effort to save money and train efficiently, I trained and planned around statistics; mainly the fact that most self-defense encounters happen within 10 yards, against one opponent. The number of active shooter incidents and terror attacks around the world slowly changed my way of thinking. Screw statistics. Terror attacks happen, active shooters happen, all while those 10 yards or less scenarios also happen.
The good news is, with a few small tweaks to our training regimen and mindset, we can train for all those scenarios while still saving time and money. This is the first in a series of articles and videos which we will be calling "fight right", with the goal of reinforcing principles that will apply to all situations, and utilize the tools at your disposal to their maximum potential.
Stay tuned and stay dangerous.