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Why working out regularly could make you a better shooter


Some time ago, I wrote a post about how being in good physical condition is an important part of your self-defense plan. It's my firm belief that being soft and weak makes us more appealing to predators, especially the two-legged sort. They typically aren't interested in attacking someone who can effectively fight back; they want an easy conquest and a guaranteed outcome.

Being physically strong is one of many things you can do to stay safer, both by increasing your ability to fight and by making yourself a less attractive target to criminals in the first place. But even fighting with a gun requires a certain amount of physical strength. We think of firearms as great equalizers, and they are--there's no doubt that a 112-pound woman armed with a gun she knows how to use faces a much better outcome against a 200-pound rapist, than if she were unarmed and forced to fight with only her fists. At the same time, I feel it's important to recognize something that is sometimes overlooked by firearms advocates: stronger shooters are faster, have better endurance, and may even be more accurate. This is because shooting is a sport, and like all sports, it demands regular physical training.

Anyone who has spent a whole day at the firing range knows that physical stamina has a huge effect on shooting ability. Shooting a challenging qualification ("qual") for a class or professional requirement is far more difficult after a long and exhausting day than first thing in the morning when we're rested, caffeinated, and chipper (or at least rested and caffeinated). Having strong muscles and being able to work out with an elevated heart rate for long periods of time will make you a better shooter, because you will be a better athlete. And again, to emphasize: shooting is a sport. Athleticism matters.

So how does this relate to working out, and what does it have to do with fighting for our lives? To paraphrase Tom Givens, we don't get to choose the day and time that we're attacked--the criminal does. Thus, I believe we need to be as prepared at all times as is reasonably possible, and part of that is maintaining physical stamina and strength so that even if we're attacked at the end of a long and grueling day, our baseline energy level is still relatively high, and we can depend on a certain reserve of physical strength that a physically unfit person simply would not have.

I'm not saying you need to look like a fitness model and run marathons in order to be safer, though it certainly wouldn't hurt! I am saying that as people who are fundamentally aware of our responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones from violent crime, we should consider our health and strength a priority. Regardless of our age or current condition, there are things we can do to get stronger and build endurance. Sure, adding a fitness regimen and cleaning up your diet isn't easy, but it could actually save your life--whether through giving you the advantage in a fight, or signaling to a criminal that you will not be an easy victim.

Eat well, do daily cardio that you enjoy, lift heavy things and put them down again, and stay safe out there!

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