The Three C’s

The following was written by Tom Givens. I merely reformatted it.


I recently saw an interview with Bill Murphy, a senior instructor at Gunsite. He said the purpose of professional firearms training was the Three C’s: Competence, Confidence, and Control. According to Murphy, Competence begets Confidence. Confidence allows you to stay in control of yourself, and the situation. Sage advice.

Competence: It’s really hard to imagine how anyone could argue for less competence in a life saving skill. The defensive use of a firearm has vast, far reaching implications. You may not need a defensive firearm more than once or twice in your entire lifetime, but the need will be extremely severe. Your life, the lives of loved ones, and the lives of innocent third parties may literally hinge upon your competence. Your actions will be reviewed long after the fact by both civil and criminal authorities, and poor performance on your part may ruin the rest of your life, assuming you survived the encounter. There is simply no excuse for being incompetent with a firearm, if you’re going to carry one for self defense.

Murphy touched on the other, often overlooked aspect of competence. As you train and practice you build skill. As you build skill, you also build confidence. Confidence: This is an essential characteristic of successful warriors. If your team gets on the bus thinking, “We’re going to get our butts kicked tonight”, guess what. You sure are! You lost that game before you ever set foot on the playing field. Confidence in one’s skills allows the mind to remain calm and assess tactical options. This avoids panic and translates into efficient motion and good hits. You must be able to keep your wits about you in a crisis, and this is far easier if your own mind knows you have the physical skills to deal with the situation. Note that this is NOT bravado, but a calm assurance that you have the skills needed to win.

Control: Ninety percent of gunfighting is mental. If you can control yourself, you can control the situation. This is made infinitely easier if your physical skills (gunhandling/marksmanship) have been ingrained through hard work to a reflexive level. This frees the mind to work on the other issues, like keeping watch on their hands, being aware of nearby cover or escape routes, where are bystanders/family members, etc. You cannot keep up with these variables and think about how to run your gear at the same time. Confidence in your gear and your skills give you control.

Competence/Confidence/Control

Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.