The Tacticalwire.com Feature: Skill Set: Is the Fight Over?
(The Tacticalwire.com) When is the fight over? Ask most people this and they'll reply, "When the threat is down." There are several problems with this answer. We know from numerous documented situations a downed threat can still fight. They might be playin' 'possum, waiting on their chance to act. There is over a fifty percent chance of encountering multiple threats, and they won't all be lined up in a row in front of you. Because one is down doesn't mean the fight is over. Mentally - which implies the physical as well - you stay plugged into the fight until there is no chance of anything else happening.
The fight isn't over until everyone and everything is secure. For the armed citizen you stayed plugged in until law enforcement arrives, secures and locks everything down. In an urban area this might be a matter of minutes. Where I live it will likely take thirty minutes for officers to arrive. An officer working rural areas might have to hold for a long time. During a natural disaster or in a war zone the fight may last days. The point is we don't really know how long the fight will last.
In Men Against Fire: The Problem Of Battle Command In Future War - which I highly recommend - S.L.A. Marshall states:
Success is disarming. Tension is the normal state of mind and body in combat. When the tension suddenly relaxes through the winning of a first objective, troops are apt to be pervaded by a sense of extreme well-being and there is apt to ensue laxness in all of its forms and with all of its dangers.
The tendency, he adds, is to immediately relax after dealing with the immediate, first danger. As mentioned above, once a threat is down or gone, there are numerous other things to be paying attention to. You scan for additional problems, still checking on the original threat. Where are your family or friends? You're looking, locating and moving towards cover or a safe exit. You, or someone else, are getting a 911 call out. Does your weapon need reloading? Don't be standing there with the slide locked to the rear of your pistol.
Once things have settled down you have new problems to be thinking about. For a good idea of what someone goes through after having to fire on a threat check out After The Echo, by Russ Clagett, a law enforcement sniper who was forced to fire on a threat to save his team. The aftermath of what occurs post-fight is tougher than the actual decision to take the shot.
Following victory, it's best to reload. Prepare for the next thing coming. This applies to the mental and physical, as well as your weapons. Once that's over and done get ready for the next battle, which will be legal, financial, and emotional. Being prepared to fight includes a lot more than just knowing how to respond to an immediate attacker.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns," writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org