The Safariland Group Blog

How to Win a Gunfight Part III: Keep Your Cool and You Might Get Lucky

August 14, 2012 at 14:16

Ice Water

This next part of the equation is harder to learn, if it can be learned at all.  I like to call it the Joe Montana or Roger Stauback syndrome.  It’s that ice water in the veins, that coolness under pressure effect that is hard to teach.  Most people that have it were born with it to an extent.  They just don’t tend to get that excited even when others all around them do.  This can be a huge advantage in a gunfight.

I do believe a significant amount of exposure and experience will somewhat de-sensitize one to the stimulus that others become alarmed by.  I believe that frequent exposure to the real thing or to realistic training can help.  One of the best gunfighters I ever knew was not that great a shot, but he was a deadly adversary to his opponents.  He was born with ice water in his veins and it served him well.

In the immortal words of a US Marine Corps. Gunny Sgt., “You, you, and you, panic, the rest of you come with me.”  That’s the guy you want on your side in a gun fight.


One of my best friends used to say all the time, “I’d rather be lucky than good”.  He was a hell of a good guy to have on your side in a gunfight.  He was on my side a few times and I was glad he was there.  The fact is,  I got lucky more than I would like to admit and I know others reading this article, if they are honest with themselves, will admit that they got lucky a few times or they wouldn’t be in a position to enjoy my ramblings today.

Luck is nothing one should count on, nor is it something to brag about, but it has had an impact on those in law enforcement surviving a gunfight more than a few times, so I thought it worth mentioning.  Or do we create our own luck?  Louis Pasteur once said: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

This is part three of a four part series; please click here for Part I or Part II and check back for the final installment.

Sandy Wall retired from Houston Police Department after 28 years, 22 of which were served as a SWAT officer. He is a three-term president of the Texas Tactical Police Officer Association (TTPOA) and the founder of the Less Lethal Solutions, Inc. and the inventor of “The Wall Banger.” Sandy is currently the Training Director for Safariland’s Training Group.

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