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Fight or Flight Response Physiology During a Confrontation; Condition Red, Gray & Black. Regular Shooting Range Practice Can Save Your Life!

You finished all the courses and qualify to carry a concealed weapon. But what happens when you’re faced with a deadly force situation? Much of the following is taken from Lt. Colonel Dave Crossman, US Army Retired, well experienced in police training practices. Crossman has written two excellent volumes on the psychology of combat, “On Combat” and “On Killing”; both a good read for those who carry.

Importance of Firearm Training & Regular Shooting Range Practice

Your required response is to fight through the fear and terror of armed confrontation and train to survive, or literally “all is lost.” The only way to do this is to train regularly, and in as realistic environment as possible. There are many tactical schools that offer this training and regular range practice helps develop the necessary muscle memory and motor skills to survive.

Condition Black Combat

Condition Black is what happens to most of us when we face an unexpected life-threatening confrontation. You will or might die if you do nothing. You will go on “auto-pilot” and suffer irrational fight or flee response. You may enter a “do-loop” where you dumbly perform your last action repeatedly. You will most likely lose bladder and bowel control and suffer vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction shuts down blood flow to the outer body areas; this causes you to pale and restricts bleeding from wounds. The down side is you lose motor control over your muscles. Your pulse is greater than 175 beats per minute, there is a loss of perception and you only have gross motor skills. When stress levels drop you bleed profusely. Sound may diminish, and may be selective like not hearing expected noises. On the other hand, intensified sound has been reported. Some will experience tunnel vision. You become unaware of other threats around you; visual clarity can be heightened or undergo distorted depth perception. Another anomaly is sensory exclusion; no taste, smelling or feeling. Pain is shut down or different parts of the body react differently in feeling pain. Sensory overload may happen, like flash-bangs, as these are designed to overload the sensory system so that you are literally shut down.

Time Perception Psychology

It is common for time to slow down giving the impression that you have time to act but may cause temporary paralysis. Possibly time appears to speed up as your thought process slows. Frequently it happens in a shooting for someone to empty a weapon but only remember firing one or two shots. Dissociation causes a perception of unreality, or perhaps you undergo an “out of body” sensation. Several are subjected to intrusive thoughts that are totally unrelated to the situation. Psychological distortions cause you to focus on a basic emotional theme, like protecting others and placing their well-being above your own survival.

Condition Red Meaning

Training is the key to overcoming condition black. You have to convince yourself that the utilization of deadly force is justified in armed confrontation. You have to maintain a cognitive awareness of what is going on around you. Many police are taught the six “p’s:” prior planning prevents piss poor performance. The good ones evaluate multiple scenarios as they approach a call scene. If you walk into a bank, what is your response if a robbery takes place? When and how do you initiate deadly force; and when are you justified? Think about that before you pass through the door, a passive response may be called for instead of an active response. Many studies has indicated that if a man or woman appears to be alert to their surroundings, head up and looking around, the bad guys will pass onto a passive, unaware victim. So put your head on swivel. If you are trained and prepared you may be able to maintain a condition red. This is optimal survival rate, pulse is 120 to 140 beats per minute. Near the top heart beat range, your motor skills deteriorate as you approach condition gray and gray is the stage before black.

Custom Shooting Ranges for Law Enforcement, Military & Civilian Training

Training can overcome many physiological and psychological conditions experienced in a personal combat situation.
If you carry, it is only responsible to be prepared and capable. Contact Shooting Range Industries for more information on obtaining your own custom shooting range.

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