Say NO to ‘Favorite’ Weapons

By John Farnam

Pile of Hand Guns
Pile of Hand Guns
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “Warriors should not have ‘favorite’ weapons.” ~ Miyamoto Musashi, from his “Book of Five Rings,” written in 1645AD, near the end of his life

One of our students recalls a valuable drill, and now knows why we include it:

“Earlier this year, I was by myself in our remote mountain home.

Shortly after midnight, I was awakened by our driveway alarm and dogs barking. Getting up to investigate, I saw headlights on our steep mountain approach, heading in my direction. I observed for a few minutes as at least one car pulled below my drive and backed up. Very suspicious, as I was not expecting anyone!

I own two pistols, and on this particular day both were in the shop having sights installed. As a novice shooter, I only feel truly comfortable shooting my own guns.

But, my “favorite” guns weren't available!

My brain immediately flashed back to my training with Vicki and the ‘ Battlefield Pick-up Drill,’ where we all handled and shot every gun present. This has to be the most valuable training exercise of my entire shooting life, although I didn’t know it at the time!

Thanks to that training, I knew it was possible that I could pick up whatever pistol was available, and run it correctly and effectively. Thus mentally equipped with this ‘battlefield mentality,’ I retrieved my husband's 1911 (which I had never shot), and then called 911.

While I’ve never shot my husband’s 1911 pistol, I was not afraid of it. I have shot other 1911 pistols, and I know how to run them, even though they ’ll probably never be my favorite.

I stood guard, observing headlights crisscrossing below my property, until police arrived. I was informed the next day that several people in the cars in question had been arrested as burglary suspects.

No harm done, but as it turns out, this incident was a wonderful training exercise and wake-up call, and I discovered the true value of that ‘ Battlefield Pick-up Drill,’ which, at time Vicki put us through it, I thought was superfluous!

I have my ‘regular’ pistols back now, and all is well, but I know I will never again think in terms of self-imposed ‘limitations.’

I’ll find a way to win, not look for an excuse to lose!”

Comment:

Miyamoto Musashi in his day was a seasoned and exceptional fighter, the “John Boyd” of his time. He lived in a dangerous place during a particularly dangerous era, where the naive and unprepared seldom died of old age!

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

We are fortunate that he wrote down valuable and hard-learned advice shortly before he died (natural causes) at the age of sixty-one.

He knew, as we do, that a “favorite weapon” is little more than an excuse to lose. Thus, with the convenient absence of the “favorite weapon,” the fight is decided before it ever starts!

In his most famous duel, Musashi (age thirty at the time) was challenged by an extremely famous swordsman, known and feared throughout the region. The confrontation was pre-arranged and took place on a beach.

The challenger, waiting in full battle regalia, was astonished and disgusted when Musashi arrived, late, and barely dressed, as if he had just woken up. Musashi neglected to even bring his sword!

Enraged and insulted, the challenger move forward quickly to make short work of this impudent “Master.” His overconfidence was his undoing!

Musashi, using an oar from the boat in which he had just arrived, killed his hapless opponent in less than a minute, then immediately departed in the same boat!

As it turns out, the challenger was completely outclassed, not even in the same league! He paid dearly for his miscalculation!

Musashi was always “ready.” He never waited for perfect conditions. He never hesitated!

In his honor, we put students through the “Battlefield Pick-up Drill” today, with today’s weapons, so our students absorb this ancient wisdom well!

During our lifelong journey as Operators and students of the Art, we can’t help but develop preferences. We all like some guns better than others, sometimes for good reasons, but sometimes for no particular reason at all, at least none we can persuasively articulate.

No matter!

We must love, and be familiar with, all of them and never look upon the invariable absence of “perfect conditions” as some kind of limitation upon our ability to gain victory.

“The road of life is paved with flattened squirrels, who couldn’t make a decision!” ~ Anon

/John

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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Lou
Lou
4 years ago

Very worthwhile article. Sadly, with very few exceptions most folks just don’t approach self defense with firearms as a professional discipline. Perhaps if instructional venues were more available to the general public, this might change. A bunch of folks seem to feel that their defensive firearm is a good luck talisman, that, like a rabbit’s foot, or 4 leaf clover will magically pull them through a threat to their lives. I’m voicing a major grip of mine here. With the exception of places like Gunsight, and Thunder Ranch, and a few others, there just aren’t training venues, especially locally, that… Read more »

Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
4 years ago

I am totally familiar with every weapon I own, and do not have any “favorites”. I could easily put any one of them into service for defensive purposes if a particular one was not available for some reason, especially in the confines of my home and property. I never thought this ability was anything special, just the way I roll. Why bother having it if you are not going to use it and become effective with it?

Les
Les
4 years ago
Reply to  Witold Pilecki

Read it again.

oldshooter
oldshooter
4 years ago

Two things: 1) What most people don’t know about Miyamoto Musashi’s life would fill a book (and has!) but perhaps most interesting is the fact that almost all of his personal duels were fought with Bokken (wooden “practice” swords). He won them all. 2) “Back in the day,” we used to use time in between training exercises to talk to our old Gunny about all kinds of things we young folks thought were important. One topic (following “unarmed combat” sparring) was about preferred weapons. Someone asked the Gunny what he thought was the most dangerous weapon. He told us he… Read more »

Mike McAllister
Mike McAllister
4 years ago

Good advice.

Jim in Conroe
Jim in Conroe
4 years ago

The use of unfamiliar weapons was taught in a defensive handgun course I took. The basic instruction was that for any semi auto handgun, pick it up, rack the slide, which “defeats” any safety or decocking device and chambers a round, and get in the fight.

Rokurota
Rokurota
4 years ago

Great article! We are cross-trained in my house (every family member has a “favorite”), but need to do more. One other point I had heard about Miyamoto’s duel with Sasaki is that he possibly improvised his weapon to deny his adversary the advantage of intelligence. Sasaki carried an especially long sword and would have known how long his opponent’s sword was. So Miyamoto, by not being tied to a “favorite weapon,” was able to change tactics and throw off his opponent. I’m not an expert on Miyamoto — I get this from a friend who is a fencing master.