Irradiated by Stingray
“I am prepared for any defensive situation. My weapon has been customized by the spirit of John Browning, resurrected through magics I am not at liberty to discuss. It will never, ever fail or jam. It has night sights, and I always carry a flashlight. I have been to Gunsite and Thunder Ranch multiple times. I have developed my handloaded ammunition to put ten rounds through one hole at 500 yards, and it expands to almost a full inch across in soft targets. My family and I use a series of codewords for tactical awareness and situational alertosity. Our home alarm is a rabid wolverine with AIDS and an ingrown toenail, and I have enough food and water stored to feed the 82nd Airborne for a year.”
“Wow, sounds like you’re all set. C’mon, let’s run down and put up some fresh targets!”
“*gasp* *coughhackaaaaaack* *wheeeeezzzeee* Hang on, there’s no rush. Maybe have a cigarette on the way or something…”
As LawDog is fond of pointing out (at least when he’s not offering blasphemous guacamole recipes that lack chile powder), the only weapon anyone has is him or her self. Anything else is just a tool. With that thought in mind, cast your mind’s eye around the collection of folks you go to the range with, or the ones at the gun shop, or the last group you went to Blackwater with. How many of them had a gut that entered the room several seconds before the rest of them, or had to stop every few minutes for a quick puff? Given the amount of electrons spent on proper training, keeping your gun and gear in good working order, and paying attention to your surroundings, why on earth would anyone ignore the actual weapon to the point where its failure is more likely than any mechanical malfunction in a pistol?
“What? You want my wallet, Ray-Ray? Wow, that’s pretty messed up- hold on. *flick* *puff* Ahh. That’s better. FRONTSIGHTPRESS!”
Doesn’t work too well, does it? Maybe I’ve just spent a little too long on the interwebs, but it seems like there’s a whole host of folks spending all their time and effort raising the tools and accessories of self defense to damn near a fetish who would make any nearby EMTs warm up the meat wagon if they had to run a whole hundred meters.
Now before I get legions of gunbloggers protesting that they’re only big boned, take it down a notch. Nobody is saying you have to be able to out-swim Michael Phelps, out-lift Marius Pudzianowski, or finish the Boston Marathon in two hours, but for Browning’s sake, how the hell are you going to battle the forces of darkness, evil, and tofu promoters if your idea of “heavy lifting” is carrying more than one box of ammo at the range at a time? The goal is not to make the cover of the Swimsuit Edition, or make the American Heart Association declare you their poster boy. Hell, I’ve got a bit of chunk I don’t really need myself. The goal here is to be physically capable of hauling your own ass to a place of Less Suck should your daily life encounter a situation gone pear shaped.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard all this before. Eat healthier, eat less, quit smoking (or at least cut down a bit- it’ll be a cold day in hell before I give up cigars entirely), take the stairs, walk more, or even just park farther out in the lot. You’ve probably heard all the benefits too. Your reaction times will improve if you shoot competitively. You can do daily tasks more efficiently and with less difficulty. Hell, you’ll even get better in the sack. Funny thing is that’s all accurate.
But how should one go about that? Well first off keep in mind how much you paid for this advice. That said, if you’re into masochism and you’ve got access to a bit of equipment (pullup bar, some free weights) check out CrossFit over in the “LabRat Heartily Endorses” section of our sidebar. CrossFit is not for pussies. It is made of pain and agony and it is actually quite possible to hurt yourself rather badly in some of the exercises. On the other hand, the results come fast and furious, it doesn’t take very long, and the program is varied to keep those of us with short attention spans interested. If you’re like most tactical munchkins, you’re probably looking at the daily workout and saying either “Oh wow, that’s way too freakin’ hard” or “That doesn’t look like much. Are you sure that’s enough? Maybe I’ll do a couple in a row.” For the former, you’re right. That’s way too freakin’ hard. LabRat and I aren’t ripped enough to do the workouts as posted yet, so we do scaled versions which are posted at a CrossFit affiliate, BrandX. As for the second reaction…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Let me know how that works out for you. Anyway, yes it is difficult and you will want to die at the end of the workout, but I’d say that beats the hell out of wishing you weren’t going to die because you couldn’t move your 5′ 7″ 260lb self out of harm’s way. And like I said, the goal isn’t to be an Olympian. Do enough to improve your daily life.
That look like too much? Then just do some plain ‘ol vintage 1950s calesthenics. A few pushups here, some situps there, throw in some jumping jacks and squat thrusts for that authentic gym class vibe. Go for a walk in the evening – you can even practice your tactical observation drills on the way to count the number of potential threats or something. SimpleFit has a great catalog of bodyweight exercises you can do in the comfort and privacy of your own home (lets face it, going to the gym sucks when you’re trying to shed flab and you’re surrounded by walking steroid ads). Pretty much anything beats the hell out of just treating the latest Blackhawk catalog like Playboy and struggling to get off the can.
Either way, just remember. Your gun, light, knife, holster, etc are all tools. Maintain your weapon first.