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. 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? 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? 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.