Firearms

Marking the Boundaries of Your Personal Space

Degrees of a challenge

Every day that we interact with people, we enforce our personal boundaries. With strangers, these boundaries are usually quite distant (except on rush hour buses, elevators and TSA checkpoints), with acquaintances a little closer, and with family the boundaries are often nonexistent.

A very obviously "hard" target
This cowboy is no pushover, but would he end up in court for brandishing?
When people violate our boundaries by accident, a gesture, a facial expression, or a verbal challenge often suffice to correct the transgression. Property boundaries are fairly simple to post. A cowboy from a Western movie would have challenged the intruder and said: “This town ain’t big enough for both of us!” I have it on good authority that the law frowns on this mode of address at present. How do you mark your personal space to potential transgressors?
The fence is symbolic but the boundary is real
The fence is symbolic and can be bypassed easily, but the boundary is very real.
In more extreme cases, individuals might violate our space for nefarious purposes, often as a precursor to violating us. In that case, waving your hands at a person closing in with a weapon becomes the last thing you do. Pointing your own weapon — and possibly using it quickly and effectively saves your life — but what of the false positives? Most of us are strongly conditioned to keep guns concealed and pointed well away from other people. When under a threat, we somehow have to identify a threat, ready the weapon and possibly shoot in the span of seconds. Some criminals give us time and a prior warning by shadowing and “interviewing” the likely victim first, but some go straight for the kill, so to speak. So how do we decide where in the force level continuum each specific level of force gets used?
Degrees of a challenge
Degrees of a challenge: which level of force is appropriate?
Quite often in defensive encounters, having the weapon in hand and deployed in time matters more than the caliber, the bullet construction or even the marksmanship. This is why the reputable trainers like Mas Ayoob teach threat and force management as much as the mechanics of gun-fighting. Knowing when to fight and when to keep the gun holstered can be a harder skill to learn and apply in ambiguous practical scenarios than merely being able to use sights or perform tactical reloads. Moreover, the legal aspects differ drastically from state to state. So when budgeting time for becoming a better defensive shooter, remember to allocate some for becoming a more savvy and judicious force user as well.

About the Author:

Oleg Volk

Oleg Volk is a creative director working mainly in firearms advertising. A great fan of America and the right to bear arms, he uses his photography to support the right of every individual to self-determination and independence. To that end, he is also a big fan of firearms.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. SouthNarc’s Managing Unknown Contacts, Insights street and vehicle tactics, KRTraining’s AT series of Force on Force classes. All are designed to get you observant and acting not reacting and give you more options beside shoot/don’t shoot.

  2. Every word true. And oddly difficult to teach sometimes. Many people seem much more reluctant to say “STAY AWAY FROM ME” loudly in a public place than to at least go through the motions of shooting someone.

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