by Robert Cardente
Special to Outdoor Enthusiast Lifestyle Magazine

It’s not a good feeling being assaulted in the middle of the night, in a barely lit driveway, being struck by four assailants, and then hearing, “Get him to the ground!” Anyone who’s experienced a similar event will agree … the memories are burned into your brain for a lifetime.

I can tell you firsthand how quickly situations go from uneasy to life-threatening, and the seconds seem like hours before help arrives. Law enforcement officers are put in these situations every day they put their uniforms on to serve and protect.

For the law-abiding citizen, situational awareness will minimize your chances of being in this situation. If that doesn’t work, the key to making it through dangerous encounters on the ground is to  breath, think, and have proper training to rely on!

For one reason or another, most fights and/or assaults end up on the ground. If you find yourself there, one wrong move can have dire consequences. When you add the ingredients of being outnumbered, still being assaulted while you are struggling to get up, and having no knowledge of how far away help is, you have the recipe for a life or death situation.

Take a minute to imagine yourself in the scenario described above and you are legally carrying a firearm … what do you do? Ultimately that is a life or death decision you have to make on your own. What I really want to ask you is, “How often are you practicing your draw from unorthodox positions, and how often do you shoot from alternate positions?”

In a previous article, I talked about the importance of having a reliable holster and practicing your draw.  Now it’s times to challenge you! With an unloaded firearm and in a safe environment, practice drawing your firearm while lying on your side and on your back.  You don’t need to shoot your firearm to get the techniques of drawing down… getting your gun out of the holster is half the battle.

Now let me warn you: if you go to your local range and start shooting targets from your back, I feel confident in saying you won’t be shooting there for long! These types of shooting techniques are advanced and should be learned from an experienced instructor.

I know some people are reading this article and thinking, “Drawing and shooting your gun while lying on the ground sounds dangerous!”  I would ask you to consider this, “Is being assaulted by an assailant on the ground more dangerous if you don’t know how to defend yourself?”

Ultimately, the level of force you apply must be reasonable and contingent upon a number of variables.  But if you do choose to fire your gun in self-defense from a position other than standing, wouldn’t it be helpful to have practiced that skill before it’s a matter of life or death?

Robert Cardente is a law enforcement firearms instructor, CEO of Armed and Ready Consulting, and Chief Firearms Instructor at The Preserve at Boulder Hills.