I have a gun, now what? In this blog, we will explore how to determine the best choices in gear, training, and practice for different people with various lifestyles. We will look at the benefits and drawbacks of these options and how effective they are for that particular type of shooter. We will also demonstrate that some gear, training, and skills are not a good use of your limited resources. Our goal is to help you maximize your ability to protect yourself and others, to help you determine the skills you need most, and the best training for you, and to give you the confidence that you have taken steps to improve your odds in a lethal force encounter. This will be sort of a “Dear Abby” column about self-defense. How about “Dear Chuck Norris”? No, wait; we don’t want to make Chuck mad! How about “Dear Big Shots”? We have to start somewhere so please let us know about yourself and your life. We will post based on how many responses we get for various types of people and their specific questions. Here’s a quick review of the principles that will guide us through this process. Don’t put the cart before the horse. The best way to start is to ask yourself some questions; “what am I trying to accomplish? Who am I willing to use lethal force to protect? Only myself? My family? Friends? Complete strangers?” The answers to these questions are crucial as you decide what to do next. You don’t determine your route until you’ve decided on your destination. Whatever your goal is, you want to have the greatest ability to defend, against the threat(s) you are most likely to face, based on the time, effort and money that you are able to spend. There is no “One size fits all” approach to self-defense. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything. Ideally, we would all like to have the best gear, training, and skills for every situation. But we can’t buy every product, take every course and practice all the time. We also can’t solve every problem. This is about prioritizing what we need to buy, which courses we need to take, and which skills we need to practice. Or maybe your decision is to try to be ‘ok’ at everything so that no matter what happens you can hope to deal with it. That’s up to you. You and your life are different than everyone else’s. Are you young or old, weak or strong, rich or poor, coordinated or clumsy? Do you have good vision or bad, fast reflexes or slow? Are you aggressive or do you hate confrontation? Are you decisive or are you slow to act? What kind of life you lead, active or leisurely? Where do you spend most of your time? At home, or are you always out and about? How much money can you spend on equipment, ammo, range time and training? How much time can you devote to acquiring new skills and more importantly, maintaining them? What do you do for a living? Foreman on a construction crew? A doctor in private practice? Stay at home mom? Do you travel for business or do you spend all day in a cubicle? Are you frequently in high-threat environments or do you lead a very quiet life? Are you responsible only for yourself, or do you have a spouse and children? What experience do you have? Have you hunted and used guns your entire life? Is this your first gun and you’re still not comfortable with it? What are your personal values? What is your philosophy? Are you willing to take someone’s life if it’s necessary? The answers to these questions determine a great many things; from the kind of sights you should have on your gun to the distance you should practice at. What is the best outcome you hope for? What results do you consider unacceptable? What are you willing to do? What are you unwilling to do? Whatever your course of action, you need to master the basics and have reliable equipment. High-end gear and fancy moves will not make up for basic incompetence. There are no shortcuts. Let us know what your questions or concerns are. We look to discussing how your life, gear and training options can come together to form a sustainable plan to help you improve your ability to defend yourself. Wherever you’re at in your journey, Big Shots welcomes the opportunity to help you take the next step. Thanks for your time and check back soon!