What is Confidence?
The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
Confidence is something we all want to have, especially in areas important to us. When we are confident, we have the ability to perform under pressure – instead of crumbling. It doesn’t mean we won’t be nervous or scared, but it does mean we know we can and will perform.
There are numerous ways to achieve (a higher level of) confidence. One is to ensure a solid grasp upon and ability to apply fundamentals – the necessary base or core.
“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
– Michael Jordan
There’s really no super-secret ninja tricks. The best out there are just the best at applying the fundamentals – and they are supremely confident in their ability to do so.
Note this requires not only having the skill, but KNOWING you have the skill AND knowing that you can apply those skills, on demand, under pressure.
When it comes to defensive pistol skills and concealed carry, there is without question a need – a requirement – to have confidence in one’s abilities. You carry because you acknowledge the possibility you may have to defend your life or the life of someone else, so this is a realm where you must have a strong self-confidence. Anything else could put your life – or the life of someone else – at risk.
Step back and think about it for a moment.
You probably think you can handle these things just fine. And maybe you can.
But do you know this for certain?
In December 2017, Karl Rehn and I were on the Handgun World Podcast and discussed 10 drills we think make a good baseline set of drills handgun shooters can use to maintain and develop skills. It’s part of our ongoing study on minimum competency.
Can you shoot and pass these drills?
Or let’s make it simpler.
Going back to my 2013 article that started the minimum competency exploration I concluded:
So have I been able to define “minimum competency” required for defensive handgun use?
Maybe, maybe not – I’m sure there will be folks who take issue with what I’ve written. It seems when we look at what unfolds in a typical incident and what needs to be done to handle that typical incident, you get:
- drawing from concealment
- And perhaps moving on that draw (like a side-step then stop; not shoot-and-move)
- getting multiple hits
- in a small area
- 5″ circle? 6″ circle? 8″ circle? consider human anatomy
- from close range
- Within a car length, so say 0-5 yards
- 3 seconds or less
- using both hands, or maybe one hand (or the other)
That’s what you need to be able to do – at a minimum.
So let’s just look at the “Bill Drill” (#4 on our list) because it’s a short and simple drill that basically covers the above 6 points.
If I walked up to you and asked you to shoot a Bill Drill, right now, in front of me, could you do it? How does the thought of that make you feel? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you feel butterflies in your stomach? Do you know for a solid fact you could shoot that cold, on-demand, and rock it – or are you not certain?
If the thought of this makes you feel even one iota of uncertainty, then you do not have the confidence you need.
If you feel confident, then shoot it. Can you shoot it to an acceptable level? And can you do it again?
Or maybe you don’t feel anything, and you just admit you don’t know. Then well, you need to know.
If you don’t have the confidence you need to work to gain it. If you don’t have the knowledge, then you need to shoot it and gain that knowledge. And once you’ve acquired that knowledge, now you have measured and quantified knowledge of your performance, which not only gives you an articulable and tangible expression of your ability, but also the confidence in knowing your level of performance.
This is one reason why we at KR Training have our Basic Pistol 2 and Defensive Pistol Skills 1 classes. These classes are not just core curriculum, but are the two most important classes we teach, as they provide the student with the necessary fundamentals for defensive pistol use. We provide you with the knowledge you need, help you establish your skills, and provide you with a quantified measure of your skills (via the “3 Seconds or Less” test).
I’ll state again: if you don’t have the self-confidence to shoot and pass “3 Seconds or Less” right now, you have work to do and knowledge to gain. This is not a time for believing you’re “good enough” with no factual basis to back it up – do not let your ego get you killed; this is not a space where you can “fake it ’til you make it”. Your life, and the lives of those you love are on the line. You need a true, honest assessment and knowledge of your skills and abilities – and the confidence that knowledge brings.
Have that confidence. For when the flag flies is not the time to wonder if you can – you must already know you can.