by Steve Davis, Esq.
President, Guns Save Life

Just weeks ago, I helped instruct a concealed carry course to forty teachers and school staff.  Put on free for the school staff, the class served as collaborative donation by GSL Defense Training, Guns Save Life, and The DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club.

The great group of students, mostly female, attended and they wanted to learn.  Not only did they want to learn the “how” but also the “why” of what we taught them.  

GSLDefenseTrainingTeacherClass17As I have written before, I often see this among female students.  Frankly, I firmly believe that educators of both sexes share this characteristic. Beyond the desire to understand fundamentals and technique, we saw their desire to understand the threat for which they trained.

No one does a better job of defining the threat than Tom Givens.  

As part of my own continuing education, I’ve been privileged to study under Mr. Givens.  Twice now I have attended his outstanding presentation on this very topic.  He gets the credit for opening my eyes to the real threat out there and I try to share his information with my own students whenever and where ever possible.  

Active shooters get publicity, but we need to worry about garden variety criminal violence. With the exception of homicide rates (falling because of advances in trauma care), the rate of violent crime is going up.

A particular concern is the rapid increase in the number of aggravated assaults. Citing Bureau of Justice statistics, Givens noted there were six million violent crimes nation wide of which 1,209,730 were aggravated assaults. Other violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and burglary.

Taking the entire adult population, you have a one in thirty chance of being a violent crime victim each year. This scary statistic provides a pretty solid reason to invest in training, get a concealed carry license, and carry all the time.

Givens also provides statistics which indicate what the most likely shootout will look like. Studying reported encounters of the FBI, DEA, and former Rangemaster students, over 90 percent of the encounters took place under four yards.  Think of it as a car length or less.

Furthermore, on average three shots get fired.

Finally happens very quickly – in seconds.  

Taken all together, Givens cites the following to train for: 3 shots in 3 seconds at 3 yards.


We bring these very lessons home in GSL Defense Training classes.  We explained to our students why we have them shoot plain, blank 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper at about 10 feet.  Answer:  First, because we are cheap.  Secondly, (while holding up a piece of paper in front of the instructor’s chest) if you can make good hits on that paper, you can make good hits on a bad guy.  

Later, we explained why we spent a lot of time having them move off the axis of attack and to communicate where possible.  Furthermore, we constantly urged them to assess their surroundings after engaging the threat.  All of these tactics add up to help come out on top if the unthinkable happens.


What’s more, we drilled them hard in shooting around barricades.  After all, why stand in the open when you can shoot from around cover or concealment?  

In addition, we had them shooting controlled pairs and double taps – again, training them to win a fight.

Training for the threat is also why we have students shoot targets from positions 2 and 3 of their draw stroke…  Because sometimes a person may need to fire long before they can fully extend their arms and aim the pistol.  At two or three yards, one can make good hits from the hip.

Finally, the abrupt violence of a short range encounter explains why we spend so much time teaching and preaching the importance of situational awareness.  The best way to win a gunfight is to avoid it.  If one cannot avoid a confrontation, every foot of distance and every fraction of a second which you can wrest from an assailant tilts the odds of success in your favor.  Frankly, fractions of a second can spell the difference between your life or death.

I encourage all of our readers to seek out solid training like this fine class of educators and school personnel. Know the threat you most likely will encounter and train to meet it.   

After all, the life you save may be your own.  





2 thoughts on “Defining the threat. And training for it.”
  1. about 4 weeks ago I was in Walmart in Bloomington west store and a. Teenage black kid was driving around.  Inside the store on a handicapped scooter. He circled me about  3 times. And I assumed he was gettin ready to snatch my purse I had in the cart .   So I grabbed the purse and  stared him down and he left !!   2 weeks ago same wall mart and  about  8-12. People  in a bunch. 2 on scooters  one tryed to hit me in the back of my leg as I was walking , I put my heel back to stop the cart she saw it and didn’t hit me. This happened twice.   Then they all went thru a cashier line and all hell broke loose.  They were running and screaming  and a lot of associates  ran up there. I ran to the back along with many other customers ,  yea I was carrying but I sure didn’t want a part of that 

  2. Those damn Canadians. 

    I watch for all potential threats.

    btw, I see a lot fewer low class types at Target.

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