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The 10 Self-Defense Commands

August 24, 2019

This is a guest post from Roger Temple and used with permission. Self-defense is both simple and demanding. Roger made armed defense easier for his students for many years. His wisdom is worth studying. RM

What are the commandments of self-defense?

  • Scan the hands. Shoot upper chest.
  • Move to cover. Find the rest!
  • Carry a gun, phone, ammo and light.
  • Know the law, so you do it right.
  • When the threat’s over the shooting stops.
  • Call 9-1-1. Don’t talk to cops!

That sounds simple, but its deep. Let’s break down each of these commands:

“Scan the hands.”  This command refers to both threat assessment and pre-incident indicators. Notice the hands because it’s the hands that hurt and kill. Are both hands visible? Are the hands empty or do they hold a weapon? What other pre-incident indicators are present?

“Shoot upper chest.”  This command refers to shot placement. Many defenders neglect to adjust their point of aim after they scan the hands. Their eyes focus on the hands because that’s where they see the threat and they just start pulling the trigger. This command reminds them that the only effective areas for shot placement are the 9” critical circle of the upper, center chest and the 3” x 5” area around the Bad Guy’s eyes.

“Move to cover.”  The first thought that should enter your mind if you get into a life-and-death situation is to MOVE TO COVER before, during and after the shooting starts. The number one goal of self-defense is to survive the physical fight and the best way to do this is not to get shot. You must know the difference between cover and concealment. “Distance and cover are your best friends. Concealment is only an acquaintance.”

“Find the rest!” Once you’ve engaged the Bad Guy(s) in front of you, you need to scan the 360 degree area around you without moving your gun so you can look for the Bad Guy’s friends and/or the cops. Remember, the Bad Guys are like wolves in that they travel and attack in packs. This scanning also helps to break the tunnel vision you will get from the adrenaline rush you’re feeling. Take your finger off the trigger, keep your gun pointed in a safe direction and don’t holster it until you are sure you are safe or until the cops arrive.

“Carry a gun, phone, ammo and light.” These are the basic self-defense items you should have within your reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember “P.O.G.O.” (Pants On- Gun On.) If you can’t reach your tools when you suspect a threat then they are useless! “Ammo” means an extra magazine if you use a semi-automatic and “light” means a tactical flashlight. The FBI states that you are 5 times more likely to need non-lethal weapons than a gun so you should also consider carrying OC spray or a baton, etc.

“Know the law, so you do it right” The second goal of self-defense is to survive the legal fight after a lethal-force incident. You not only have to automatically know and apply the use of deadly force laws, you also need to know the laws for when, where and how to properly carry your gun.  The legal system doesn’t like people who use guns to defend themselves so you must be properly prepared to stay well within the legal boundaries. The best way to do this is to study Andrew Branca’s book, The Law of Self Defense and to study your state’s firearm/defense laws. A good starting point for that is

“When the threat’s over the shooting stops.” One of the biggest mistakes many self-defenders make is that they keep shooting after the threat ceases or they chase the Bad Guys. Once the Bad Guy is neutralized, whether it takes zero shots or a full magazine, you must stop shooting. And if the Bad Guys run away, which is common, you can’t pursue them because then you become the aggressor in the eyes of the law.

“Call 9-1-1.” It’s very important that you stay at the scene and call 9-1-1 if you can do so safely. This establishes you as the victim. Remember that everything you say to the 9-1-1 operator is recorded and can be used against you in court. Don’t make any “excited utterances” such as “He got what he deserved” or “I’m glad I blew his &%&%#@ head off”, etc. Also remember that the 9-1-1 operator is not a cop and you don’t have to do what they tell you to do. You are your own First Responder and you must handle the situation until others arrive to take over. Tell the operator your location and the bare-bone facts to get help on the way. DO NOT TELL THE OPERATOR WHAT HAPPENED IN DETAIL! Stop talking then leave the phone line open so they can record what’s happening.

“Don’t talk to cops!” THE COPS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! In this situation, their job is to put you in jail- not exonerate you. Anything you say to the cops will be used against you, so limit what you say and don’t give details. That’s your lawyer’s job! At the scene the only things you should say to the cops are as follows:

  • I was attacked and I was in fear for my life.
  • I will sign a complaint against those people.
  • There is the evidence. (Point out the Bad Guy’s gun, shell casings, knife, etc.)
  • Those people witnessed what happened. (Also look for video cameras in the area.)
  • I do not consent to any searches of myself, my car, my home or seizures of my property. (They may do it anyway but your objections should be noted and any evidence they collect will possibly be deemed inadmissible in court.)
  • I will cooperate with your investigation after I have consulted with my lawyer.
  • I INVOKE MY RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT! and then shut up!!

“MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL- HAVE A PLAN!” If you don’t have a plan your brain will freeze under an adrenaline rush. You need to build your “library of responses” using “what if” mental visualizations. The more you mentally rehearse hypothetical life-and-death situations and come up with multiple solutions, the better equipped you will be when you encounter a real one. The more detailed your plan the better but even a generic plan is helpful. A plan can be as simple as this:

Who am I going to help? Myself, my family, friends, strangers?
Where will I go? To my bedroom, out the exit door, get in my car?
What will I do? Do I run? Do I hide? Do I stand and fight?
What equipment do I need? Pepper spray, a gun, a knife, a phone, a flashlight?

Roger E. Temple

Roger gave us a thousand words. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment. RM

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