Just “knowing” how to shoot won’t cut it for self defense…here’s why

I used to love watching GI Joe cartoons.

If you don’t remember or don’t know, they’d have little public service announcements like, “if some sketchy dude pulls up next to you in a van with the windows blacked out and asks if you want candy…say no!”

And then they’d say, “Now you know…and knowing is half the battle.”

With a lot of things in life, knowing IS half the battle.

But not with self-defense shooting.

KNOWING how to shoot simply isn’t enough.

Here’s why.

It builds on yesterday’s article and when you get in a high stress situation, both cortisol and the body’s stress response change how your brain functions.

Your brain streamlines the parts that it’s sending power to.

It sends more power to some areas and almost shuts down other areas.

The more stressed you are, the more dramatic this shift is.

But the important thing to remember is that skills that you can do (even at a high level) but have to think your way through are stored in a different part of the brain than skills that you can do without having to consciously think your way through.

That’s why “knowing is not enough.”

Skills you have to think your way through are stored in “conscious memory” in the hippocampus.  This type of memory and part of the brain gets shut down in high stress situations and you no longer have access to the memories or skills stored there.

It’s stored other places in the brain too, but most of my readers just want to learn how to shoot better…not get a neurology PhD, so I’m simplifying a little.

Skills that you can do without conscious thought are stored in “unconscious memory” and are stored in the cerebellum and motor cortex.

This part of your brain is way more resilient under high stress but even it can get overwhelmed by an out-of-control stress response.  And, you can perform skills MUCH quicker when they’re stored in this part of your memory.

It’s pretty obvious that if you own a firearm to potentially save your life, you want the skills to use it to be stored in the right part of your brain so you can actually use those skills when they might save your life.

People who own a firearm, but who haven’t taken the time to practice much probably only have the skill stored in conscious memory.

That means they can go to the range, hit what they aim at, and enjoy shooting in low stress situations, but have their minds go *poof!* completely blank under stress.

Read many after-action reports of self-defense shootings and you see that it’s common for people to miss most, if not all of the shots they fire.

You want to practice in such a way that your shooting skills are stored in “unconscious memory”…in the cerebellum and motor cortex, so you can have access to them under stress.

But who’s got a ton of extra time to train?

Not me.  And probably not you.

And that’s why we need better training methods…more efficient training methods that will help us improve faster with less time, effort, and cost.

Using traditional training methods, this takes A LOT of time and money.

Using modern brain science, it’s quick, fun, and easy.

Here’s an example…

Let’s say you found yourself with a little extra time and could schedule an hour per week to shoot at the range.  That would be a luxury for most, but just imagine that it was an option for a minute.

Your other option is…

Instead of driving to the range and shooting for an hour once a week, you simply do 1 minute of precise dry fire practice in the morning and 4 minutes in the evening.

Nothing fancy.  No big production.  Just 5 minutes per day.

Using the traditional method of doing a lot of training at once, you’d have a single block of 1 hour of shooting with a 7 day gap between practice sessions…and you can forget A LOT in 7 days.

Using the smarter method that takes advantage of modern brain science, you would have practiced 14 times for a total of 35 minutes with only half a day between training sessions…and you would have saved travel time, the range fees, and ammo costs.

These frequent micro-training sessions are sometimes called “synaptic facilitation” because they transfer skills to your unconscious memory quicker and easier than fewer, longer training sessions.

Which is just what you need if you want to be able to run your gun under stress.

What you’ll find is that when you minimize the time between these quick practice sessions, your “warm up” time essentially goes to zero and you’re running at full speed almost instantly…which is exactly what you want if you ever need to use your firearm for self defense purposes.

Combine that with some basic stress modulation skills to improve how you handle stressful situations, and you’ll quickly be delivering rounds exactly where you need them to go in extreme events when others are freezing or freaking out.

I encourage you to try that out this weekend and let me know if you can see a difference in just a few minutes of practice.

That’s just a tiny example of how we’re able to get better results in less time and for less money than what you can get with traditional training methods.

It’s not just a matter of dry fire vs. live fire…it’s a matter of HOW you train–training smarter–regardless of what tool is in your hands.

So, if you carry a firearm or own a firearm for self-defense purposes, you owe it to yourself to go through our training.  Now.

If you haven’t gone through 21 Day Alpha Shooter yet, it’ll guide you through a 5-15 minute per day follow-along dry fire training program that you can do in your living room.

When you finish it, your skills will be more refined than 90% of gun owners in America today.

It won’t make you a tactical ninja, but many high speed military and law enforcement shooters use this program to sharpen and streamline their fundamental firearms skills.  Start going through 21 Day Alpha Shooter right now by clicking >HERE<

Draw Stroke Mastery goes way beyond any other at-home training available today.  It delivers more value than a 3-5 day live training and will give you the tools to become one of the top 1% of shooters in less time than what is possible using traditional methods.  Elite level shooters have reported dropping .2, .4, or more on their draw stroke times in just a couple of weeks after being stuck at a plateau for years.  Start going through Draw Stroke Mastery right now by going >HERE<

Questions?  Comments?  Let me know by commenting below

Oh…and in case you want to dig into some of the geeky neuroscience behind this, here are some research papers that will get you started.  There’s a lot of overlap and Lars Schwabe wrote 3 of them in 2010, 2013, and 2017 showing an interesting progression of our understanding of what goes on in the brain as our imaging and diagnostic tools have improved:

Procedural memory retrieval and the retrieval of neutral verbal material appear to be less susceptible to stress..  Stress impairs retrieval from the hippocampus (declarative memory): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23491932_Stress_effects_on_declarative_memory_retrieval_are_blocked_by_a_-adrenoceptor_antagonist_in_humans


Under stress, rigid ‘habit’ memory gets favored over more flexible ‘cognitive’ memory.



Stress promotes a shift from flexible ‘cognitive’ to rather rigid ‘habit’ memory systems



Control of memory is biased towards rather rigid systems, promoting habitual forms of memory allowing efficient processing under stress, at the expense of “cognitive” systems supporting memory flexibility and specificity.



Separating out cortisol response vs. sympathetic response on memory



Hippocampus (declarative memory) highly susceptible to stress




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