When I get to the range, there are two things I immediately do: stop and sniff. Stop – meaning I make a mental break from anything and everything, to the best of my abilities. I take a deep breath or two. Because here, I come to practice and hone my skills. Skills that could potentially save my life or another. And sniff – meaning I take that oh-so-distinctive scent of gun powder deep into my soul. Doing these two things helps my training. I’ve been doing this forever, so it isn’t as if I can compare it to a time before I did this.
I arrive, un-shoulder my range bag, set things up, then take a small break for breathing and taking it all in. This works more in indoor ranges, but the outer ones work just as well. If there is a place where I feel comfortable, it is at the range. There is nothing – seriously nothing – like squeezing off those rounds. Feeling the power of a bullet as it exits the chamber at breakneck speed. The targets here are made of paper, but the ones out there will be the very opposite. Flesh, blood, bone, and tissue. Just an absolute casserole of carnage. Especially that exit wound, man. A 9mm hits like a mo-fo. Talk about stopping power.
I don’t really put faith in stopping power. I believe that if you get a center mass hit with a projectile, the target should be neutralized regardless of the chosen caliber. After the whole Miami shootout of 1986, the FBI changed calibers a couple of times. I don’t blame them, I mean they had to appear to be doing something after that all went to hell.
Government agents are one thing, and everyday civilians are another. In fact, the FBI is going to probably go with 9mm again now. There has been talk of a major contract with Glock. I am not sure of when all of this is going to go down. We’ll see. Either way, stopping power is subjective. I feel that if you are a good shot, and if you ACT on time, one shot will be enough to do anything. All of this talk of extended firepower in a personal-defense handgun is somewhat inconsequential. If you fail to neutralize your target after a few rounds, then it will probably make no difference, you know? Check out Gunivore for all of your gun needs.
Nothing can truly prepare you for your first real armed encounter. The mind’s “fight or flight” mechanism is thrust into action, and you do what your instincts tell you to do. I am talking about regular civilians, mostly, but even military training doesn’t guarantee you won’t be running. When the moment comes, you may act totally normal, or you may begin to shut down a bit: eyes, ears, touch. These may become more difficult to deal with, and they may act differently. Like I said, a person never knows what will be. It depends on many factors, and practice can help those who stand their ground to come out victorious.