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Tactics & Training How-to Personal Defense

Training Under Stress: 6 Ways to Prepare for Defensive Scenarios

by James Tarr   |  June 19th, 2014 6

how_to_train_under_stress_FMany people train with their handguns for defensive situations without thinking about anything but the shooting part of the equation. The fact is that real-life defensive situations are more complex and instantly stress your body and mind.

Being surprised, threatened or attacked causes your body to dump varying amounts of adrenaline and other potent substances into your bloodstream. Those natural drugs in combination with a stressful situation cause well-documented reactions such as tunnel vision and auditory exclusion (not hearing sounds, even those as loud as gunshots).

You may experience involuntary shakes after an encounter, or even find yourself laughing or crying inappropriately—that is your body’s way of burning off the excess adrenaline. It’s also common to have difficulty remembering exactly what happened. Those reactions to stress are natural, and to be forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

A number of people with concealed carry permits regularly practice dry firing, drawing from a holster and target shooting to prepare for personal-defense situations, but that training doesn’t account for the physical and mental affects people experience when lives are on the line.

How do you condition your body and mind for the adrenaline dump that occurs during and after a stressful situation? Here are a few helpful hints and a video to help you make it out alive:

  • P

    I cannot read the article because of the ad that keeps blocking the story. I will no longer read your articles.

    • Don

      Don’t blame Handgunning…you need to learn how to use technology.

  • SageRange

    Good tips. I think what comes equally handy is having classes in which someone accosts you or you plan defensively to avoid to situation, making you learn how to deal with things before the gun ever comes into play. As my self-defense instructor once said, if your gun is deployed you already failed to proactively prevent the situation. If you do things right, the gun should stay in its holster.


      I would say that is true for 90% of encounters, but there is always the possibility that, despite your best efforts, an encounter with a violent criminal is unavoidable.

  • ghost

    The military trains as a team. Civilians don’t. Want a real defense tactic? Train with a pardner, buddy, neighbor, wife, girl friend, someone you trust not to do something really stupid, same principle as military combat team. Don’t go alone, and don’t go unarmed. Impractical? Yes. But, gangs seem to be able to do it well. It would be sexist to suggest women would benefit more from training together to use the team tactic, so I won’t. The only real defense is to see trouble coming, and not be there when it arrives.

    • regularjon

      You’re sentence about being sexist doesn’t have any place in that comment except that it implants that thought into people’s heads. I didn’t even think you were specifically talking about one gender until you added that little disclaimer.

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