The Way of the Wheelgun: The Defensive Mindset, Pt 3

Posted on April 20, 2011 by


It’s difficult to quantify the defensive mindset, let alone distill it down to three essentially concepts. It’s even harder to say which of those concepts is more important, and which one should come first. The remaining two concepts that will make up the remainder of this week’s posts are interconnected, both with each other and with some of the items we’ve already discussed.

Willingness to Win and the Mental Trigger

In the first post on the Combat Mindset we discussed the importance of being morally, emotionally, and intellectually willing to take a life in the just defense of oneself or another.  The kind of willingness we’ll look at today is related to that – even grows from it. But it isn’t the same thing. We are now going a step beyond. The moral and ethical ramifications have been answered. The intellectual and emotional decisions have been made. You don’t have to think about those things in the fight. In place of them you only have one attitude left: the will to win.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to already have the proper mindset squared away before you actually find yourself in a violent “social situation.” Once you’re in a gunfight, you don’t have time to think about whether or not you’re really willing to do what you have to do. So make that decision before it ever comes to that. Tell yourself: “I am willing to do whatever it takes to win, no matter the odds, because the stakes are too high to lose.”

This is essentially the same logic that Nehemiah uses on the men of Jerusalem as they are faced with the prospect of defending an indefensible city against people who opposed them and their God. Let’s look at his words again:

And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” – Nehemiah 4:14

Here I think we see a model of a biblical combat mindset:

  •  Fear replaced by a reliance in God – Because gunfights are scary things, and ultimately all of your training, mindset, and equipment doesn’t mean a thing without God.
  • Willingness to win, to do whatever it takes, because the stakes are so high – Because we might not be fighting just for ourselves. What about the people who depend on us for provision or protection?

This will to win should then affect how you set your mental trigger. We’ve already spent a lot of time talking about the mental trigger, but essentially it’s made up of two parts:

  •  “IF” – This is the “When <X> happens,” portion of the trigger. It’s where you decide at what point you will take action.
  • “THEN” – This is the “…I will do <X>” portion of the trigger. It’s the action that you have already decided and planned to take once the “IF” portion of your trigger has been tripped.

The will to win mainly affects the latter – it determines just exactly what that “THEN” will be.

Think of it this way: If you are ever attacked, it will most likely be premeditated. The bad guy will likely have a plan. He has objectives and he is (he thinks) willing to do anything necessary to achieve them.

You have objectives too – like staying alive and protecting your loved ones. So you’ve got to be mentally willing to do more than the bad guy to achieve your goals. He is willing to prey upon an innocent target that he doesn’t think will fight back. You have to be willing to defend yourself, perhaps at a disadvantage, from someone who is armed and crazy and desperate.

The good news is that goblins almost never expect you to fight back. If they did, they wouldn’t be attacking in the first place. So if you have a proper mindset and your mental trigger is set, you can go from being a helpless victim to having the upper hand in the fight of your life.