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Gonna Take You Right Into The Failure Zone

Gonna Take You Right Into The Failure Zone

I hang out with a fair number of high-level instructors and shooters and writers and the like, and I am DEFINITELY the Junior Member in that sort of company. It’s not uncommon for one of that group to post something that is pretty much common wisdom (There’s no such thing as “pistol stopping power,” small of the back carry sucks, etc), and then have someone outside of the group counter with, “Well, I use (insert name of dumb idea here), and it works for me.”

Works for me. Works for me…

The thing is, it probably DOES work for them. The question is, what are the parameters for deciding that it “works for you?” Have you tested it to failure, and when and how did that failure occur? 

That’s the biggest difference between a “hobbyist” and someone who is casually involved in self defense. The people who go to Gunsite multiple times, the people who attend TacCon, the people who shoot matches on a regular basis are all perfect okay with the idea that failure will happen at some point in their process.

That’s why we do it. We test to failure, and then learn from where things went wrong. We’re okay with failure, because we know that’s where learning occurs. Makes sense, right? I mean, if you already knew how to do it, why would you do any training and practice? 

When someone says, “It works for me,” without context about the conditions which it works under, what they’re doing is SCREAMING to the world “Look, I’ve never really pushed myself, I’m hoping on Therapeutic Moralistic Self-Defense to be there for me when my life is on the line.” 

Good luck with that. 

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about: The Bag Gun, aka the Trunk Gun, aka a concealable firearm with a little more oomph than your daily carry gun. Most of my friends decry such things, and indeed, so do I, under most circumstances. 


One of my friends is in charge of security at his synagogue, and he mentioned he has a bag gun because he wants something that can augment his daily concealed carry gun if the need arises. He can shoot his carry gun well, that is not the issue. His feeling is that in the current political environment, the people standing watch over a synagogue should have all the advantages they can get, and I can’t fault his reasoning.

Moreover, he understands the context of how that secondary gun is going to be used, and he’s tested it to failure under similar conditions. For the armed citizen, a trunk gun or a home defense gun or a bag gun isn’t a gun you use when violence suddenly finds you, it’s the gun you use when you know a fight is coming to you, and you can’t get out of the way. Test your gear to failure, see if it “works for you,” and then adjust as needed. 

That’s what really works.