Teaching New Gun Owners to Cheat and Survive

Self Defense Training
Train early. Train often.

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- 2020 is unusual. We have added and continue to add millions of new gun owners each month. Gun ownership has been increasing for years, but 2020 has been remarkable.

Millions of us bought firearms when the government failed. We saw the police withdraw because of an epidemic. We saw courts put criminals back on the streets. We saw government officials overwhelmed by protests, riots, looting, and arson. We realized that we are on our own to defend ourselves and defend the people under our care. I’ve studied self-defense for a few decades, and here are some unmentioned truths that new gun owners need to know. The truth is that grandma can survive a break-in and defend herself against armed thugs. The secret ingredient in Granny’s self-defense is that she cheats. She didn’t fight fair, and neither should you. There are legal cheats that let the good guys survive.

The truth is that most people do a pretty good job of defending themselves without much training. The truth is that you are not a gunfighter. A gunfighter wins because of extraordinary speed and accuracy. You are a defender, and you survive because the particular way you fight makes you hard to kill.

Gun sales year to year, November to April. From NICS and TheSocietyPages.org

The truth is that crime happens all the time and everywhere. Of course, we want to stay away from a riot, but a third of us are violently attacked at home. The other two-thirds of violent attacks occur away from home. No place is absolutely safe, not at work, not at the store, and not as we travel. That is why you want your defensive tools with you all the time. Those tools include a firearm, a phone, and most importantly, the knowledge of how to use them. Your attackers expect an unarmed victim, but you cheated.

The truth is that you are not a TV action hero. You won’t be shooting multiple attackers as you slide across the floor. Let’s be honest. Without practice, you can barely load and unload the gun you just bought. You don’t know how to hold your gun or how to carry your gun, let alone how to shoot quickly and accurately. The great news is that you can fix most of that by talking to the people at the gun store where you bought your gun. Helping new gun owners is what they do for a living.

The truth is that you must be awake to defend yourself. That is why you lock your doors and windows. That way, the bad guys make noise as they try to get to you. You want an alarm. It can be an electronic alarm, or a dog, or both. Your dog is an alarm, but you are the defender. You need a plan that works when you’re only half-awake.

You survived an attack because you avoided a fair fight.

The truth is that people are irreplaceable. You want to leave the lights on in the center of your house. Let the thugs take your TV and your computer. Let them steal your bottles of booze. Hide your family behind you as they huddle in the far corner of a dark room. You survive because you shoot the bad guys as they come down your bedroom hallway with the light behind them. You survive because only a gun barrel and a small part of your face is exposed, but maybe the bad guys can’t even see that. You’re effectively invisible if you stay away from the door frame and stay hidden in shadows. You and your family survive an attack because you made the bad guys come to you. You survive because you can see them and they can’t see you. That said, you must see them so you don’t shoot your neighbor who is knocking at your door to tell you that thugs lit your fence on fire. Good guys identify their target before they shoot, and you want to be one of the good guys.

The truth is that you call the police as soon as you’re threatened, but a gun in your hands beats a cop on the phone. You defend your family when you face an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat, and only then. Keep shooting until the threat is gone, and then stop shooting. That is how you are hard to kill and also hard to convict. You can’t win, but you can survive long enough to ask the police for help.

The truth is that a little bit of knowledge and practice makes you much safer. Make a security plan and walk through it with your family. Include a first aid kit in your supplies and learn emergency trauma care. A little thought and practice goes a long way.

About Rob MorseSlow Facts

The original article with references is here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

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Deplorable Bill

If someone forces you to fight, they have already given up the use of diplomacy. The best way to prosecute a war is to get it over with as quick as possible. The longer it goes on, the greater the likelihood of higher body counts on both sides. Life is precious. The longer you are in a fight the more likely it is that you are going to get hit, or worse. The aggressor threw “fair and diplomacy” out the window when he/she attacked. They deserve any and everything you are able to give them until they are stopped or… Read more »


Something about your post just left me crying.


Thanks for your comments, Bill.


Never having had to use a gun in self-defense, I appreciate the directness of this article. And, I offer a few additional thoughts (happy to receive the Author’s reaction) – Forget “Warning Shots”. Forget “the noise of racking the slide”. Resist the impulse to “talk sensibilities”. Speak in direct commands. Remember “potentially deadly force” is used to stop an “imminent threat of bodily harm”. Proportionality is what you deem it at the moment you are threatened. Do not display a “weapon” until you are prepared to use it to its greatest effect. You need to reconcile your use of violence… Read more »


As one who has had two defensive gun uses, in my opinion, you are correct.
I didn’t have to fire either time. In the first the mere display of a firearm made the perp decide he had urgent business elsewhere.
Not so in the second instance. That’s the one that gave me the only instance of temporal displacement I’ve ever experienced. But that’s a very long story…


“Always Win, Always Cheat.”
Clint Smith
International Training Consultants, circa 1985
Known today as, “Thunder Ranch”;)


Sorry, the job of the guy in the gun shop is to sell, sell, sell. Witness the number of small guns sold to women for home defense: harder to aim, harder to shoot, less ammo on board. Just the other day I bought a EZ9 for my 74 year old wife because she had trouble with the slide on my Shield. The salesman made several mistakes when selling us the gun. Fortunately I knew better. We have been to the range twice a week for the last 6 weeks and she has made incredible progress. It is rare that a… Read more »


As the old saying goes, “If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it is time to reexamine your tactics.”

Your life and those of your family may be at stake.

Rules of a gunfight
1) Survive
2) Win if not in conflict with #1

That is all – except perhaps #2 may be dispensed with.


@wjd – Getting thugs out of house and entire family surviving is sufficient win. Let police terminate criminal careers.

That said, the best and most sure way to survive may well be to terminate their careers permanently and as quickly as possible. Most certain way to insure they are no longer a direct threat. Wouldn’t exactly classify that as a win – but in my mind the only real “win” is to have deterred criminal action before it begins.

Wild Bill

@Finnky, deter criminal action how? What is your plan?


I agree, deter criminal action; make your home a harder target. Keep doors and windows locked, don’t leave garage door open. Clear under windows outside. Have motion detecting outside lighting and timers on inside lights in multiple rooms that go on and off at various times when you’re away; own a dog. Don’t put expensive electronics boxes outside for recycle. These are a few ways; there are plenty of other softer targets out there, criminals will move on.


@wjd & @Bill – Don’t have any hard deterrent, but my family is well off enough to afford to live in a relatively safe neighborhood. Talk to neighbors so that everybody recognizes when something looks out of place. Semi active neighborhood watch. Currently four loud dogs in small suburban home. As @StreetSweeper suggests, closed and locked doors and windows, lighting. Our cars are crap compared to the neighbors making it obvious that we’re a less lucrative target. My multiple cars out front and much traffic – I suspect most burglars would prefer facing one or two adults mostly worried about… Read more »

Pastor Roy

Very well said. Short and to the point. Survive.

Pastor Roy

Blah, blah, blah. Hide in the bedroom. Let them steal your stuff. Well, that ain’t gonna happen in my house. I live in a state with Castle Doctrine and anyone in my home uninvited will be met with deadly force, period. And I won’t be waiting until/if they come to find me. I’ll be taking the fight to them. All they will see is my right eye as I aim the gun from behind the door frame and the flash of the muzzle just before they die. Break into my house, plan to meet Jesus!


I think I see the “cup and saucer” hand position, which may not be as good as fingers over fingers and thumb on frame, but, to each his own. Probably not a bad start. The first thing I noticed was that her left hand didn’t seem what I would consider high enough in support.


Salesmen at gun stores are the LEAST likely to have any valid opinions regarding self defense/firearms training/shooting skills. Most of them were selling TV’s or tires last week. And no, Rob, you don’t let burglars rummage through your home stealing stuff while you are home. What if the thugs light your home on fire instead of your fence? Now you are really up shirt creek without a tailor.

Wild Bill

@OV, Apparently, Clark has met every gun store salesman and made an appropriate categorization of each.
And that What if…” logic. What if the thugs had a change of heart and made supper for the family and they lit candles and all held hands and said grace before eating?
Bla, bla, bla.


Bill: You’d avoid all this trouble if you’d simply leave cookies and milk for the bad guys and tell them your unarmed neighbor down the street had far more stuff to steal than you!

Wild Bill

@Vann, That is funny. Hope you all are surviving all this heat, well.