Have you ever seen a drag race on TV or in person? They are pretty cool; a car can go a quarter mile in about 10 seconds, often finishing at speeds above 130 mph! Many amateurs take a normal enough car with a good engine and make some modifications to the engine and body and can typically double their time down the track for several thousand dollars. Now, once all of the obvious things have been done and the “low hanging fruit” has been plucked, they run into a wall, a very expensive wall… This wall is called the law of diminishing returns.
For this context this law means this: Once the maximum-median effort has been put into a process, your return will lower while your cost increases. Using the car analogy: To get a 15 second car to 10 seconds may only take a few thousand dollars. However, to take that same car from 10 seconds to 9 seconds may take tens of thousands…
Applying this to the self defense realm, shooting a dime is cool but what is the real benefit, and is it worth the time and resources? Now, before you get your feathers all ruffled up, hear me out! To shoot a handgun close range and be combat effective is not terribly hard. It takes some time and good training, but it can be achieved within a relatively short amount of time, then it is just a matter of maintaining your skill set. Being combat effective is a good goal to aspire to. Anything beyond that is just flash in the pan, yeah I said it. Frankly, I don’t care if you can put a whole magazine in the same hole. Further still, I can support why that is even less effective than a 6-9 inch well placed group through a little thing called compound trauma.
If you measure your accuracy, success, and abilities in the self defense world using a bell curve you will better understand my point. The middle of the curve is also the pinnacle. If you, continue to push beyond the pinnacle, your return begins to go back down. Why bother? I mean unless you are a professional competitor, what is the point? Why would you not invest your time and resources in to something new or different? What have you gained in being able to shoot a dime sized group, but you have no ability to fight to your gun? If you have no physical skill set to get to your gun in a fight, the gun loses a huge advantage and may never become part of a fight when you need it most.
This applies to more than just guns. How about striking? You can train for years to become a professional level striker and be able to take on pros in the ring. However, is all that time and money worth it? Do you really need to be a professional level striker in order to win a street fight? Of course you will have the obvious advantage, but what are the chances that you will be fighting a golden glove, or a MMA pro on the street? Not very high. However, reaching the pinnacle of the bell curve and having a good solid hand to hand game will give you a massive advantage over the vast majority of people, especially thugs and criminals.
Look, I am not saying that you should not train to be accurate. If you hear that, you have missed my point and need to go back and start this article over. What I am saying is this: Do not get so focused on mastering one niche that you allow yourself to become weak in other areas. The one who is most balanced in their self defense ability will be the most effective.
What can we learn?
- Train to be good, but not the best. If you spend too much time on one thing other areas will be weak.
- It is advantageous to be combat effective in numerous areas than master in one.
- Think of the bell curve when you train, reach the top, train to stay there, and find something else to work on.
- Diversify your abilities. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you are more likely to to lose them all.
- If you have no physical ability to fight to your gun, your gun becomes less effective and may never come into the fight.