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Post-Surgery Considerations - Training and Tactics (permalink)

To misquote The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always pack what you want.”

After recently being gutted out with abdominal/pelvic surgery, it was blatantly obvious that I wasn’t going to be packing my normal daily tools of the trade for awhile. It was equally obvious that once I was back on my hind paws and outside the safe confines of my kennel, I was going to be a sitting duck for a predator, at least until I regained my pre-surgery level of physical fitness.

Since I was down to possibly only one trap-shot punch or blade thrust, and no ability to kick or move in a physical confrontation, the base defensive mechanism came down to a firearms decision.

Born and raised in a society where the cleaned-up version of the expression would be “making cake out of poo-poo”—the local version of the worldwide axiom that “necessity is the mother of invention”—the question became merely that of which gun (or guns). And having donned multiple high-capacity firearms for decades, it was apparent that some sacrifices would be required.

Sacrifices in gun size, caliber versus capacity, and positioning of the chosen weapon(s) on what remained of my body. Contemplating the problem, I came to two major realizations.

1. I had previously pre-planned for permanent physical disability and emergency “wounded-in-battle” techniques, but I had not given forethought to urgent surgery and the resultant recuperative process, whereby my physical ability to carry defensive weaponry would literally change from one day to the next.

2. The choices of weaponry governed by the dictates of society and/or department/military unit Standard Operating Procedures don’t apply when you’re out in an urban jungle, recovering from unexpected surgery and in an ever-changing transient physical state. If and when this happens, you’re in a betwixt-and-between state of strategic flux.

It’s not as simple as saying, “I’ll just toss the old .38 snubbie into a vest pocket.” Not when you don’t have the initial capacity to dress yourself, you don’t. And you also have to have the ability to instantly dump the weapon if an unexpected post-surgery Emergency Room visit is required—as happened to yours truly. (For some strange reason, ER security and medical staff frown upon firearms attached to their customers.)

It’s always interesting to listen to peoples’ inane arguments about what gun(s) you should carry, what action type, ammunition capacity, bullet caliber, holster system, etc. Unfortunately these opinions are directed at the physically fit, permanently physically disabled, or wounded-in-action types. Like politicians’ speeches, they’re just another mouthful of hot air if you don’t fall into the above three categories.

If you’re in the per-diem transient physical state that I was, you need—like most everything else foreseeable regarding strategy and tactics—to plan in advance (which I shamefacedly admit I had not). After all, why would I? “I don’t ever have short-notice emergency surgery or get into debilitating car wrecks. That only happens to other people; it’ll never happen to me.” Until it does….

And of course, the very day I’d “graduated” from a seven-round .380 to a six-round .45, I wound up in the middle of a confrontation between three large drunk males picking on a lone five-foot-nothing female. My feces magnet had apparently survived the surgery intact.

Did I really say “graduated” from a low-capacity .380 to a low-capacity .45? Yes, I really said that. It is what it is, and you can do only what you can do when your body is wrecked. In short, you make cake out of feces—because you have no other choice.

Two of the prerequisites for a gunfight are a gun and a quick drawstroke. From Day One of recovery, I at least had those two. Compared to my daily carry arsenal, did I feel partially disrobed with only a seven-round .380? Yes. Did I feel naked? Absolutely not.

Was it my first choice? Hell no—it was my only choice. Did I think it would get the job done? I don’t know. Here’s a suggestion: allow me to drain the .380 into you and let’s see if it works—because I’m damn sure not going to stand in front of your single-shot .22 at a country mile from the muzzle.

Moral of the story?

You can’t “what if” everything without going crazy, but there are some vagaries of life for which you can pre-plan. Due to circumstances, what you end up having to use may not be your first choice, but it will probably be a better option than a poke in the eye.

It’s not a matter of “no guts, no glory.” When your guts are stitched together, you’re not looking for glory—you’re merely pre-planning to try to avoid any additional physical damage.

Like the Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want.”

Louis Awerbuck is director of the internationally acclaimed Yavapai Firearms Academy. Course information and schedules are available at their website at http://www.yfainc.com

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