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He later defines mental toughness as “primarily made up of confidence acquired through training” and he goes on to advise mentally connecting with physical skills by incorporating visualization with training sessions. The end result? “If the learning occurs properly, then the subconscious skill programs will be developed right and applying them on demand and under pressure will be second nature.”

Without exploiting the power of the subconscious, the automation necessary “to perform complex movements at extremely fast speeds” is not possible, Seeklander posits. Remember, subconscious routines are established during practice and training sessions, so make each repetition perfect! The subconscious routines are of critical importance to the armed citizen, because they are the skill sets accessed during extreme stress that requires “conscious decision-making combined with properly ingrained skill programs,” he stresses.

In discussing the power of the subconscious, Seeklander emphasizes the need for perfect practice with the story of a competitive shooter who engrained a habit that caused missed shots on difficult targets. Not only did the habit require hard work to overwrite, but expectations of failure caused by repeated misses had to be changed, too. “Imagine what a training scar like that would cause in…a gunfight?” he exclaims.

Breathing exercises for stress control, coupled with use of a brief performance statement are fully described, as is the power and methods of incorporating visualization into training and practice. These pages expand on Seeklander’s comments quoted in this journal’s lead interview in the greater detail a 350-page book allows.

Additional chapters like the one about the relationship between physical fitness and surviving a stressful, dangerous incident, and handgun technique evaluation are just as full of important information, the details of which we lack the space to include here. Of course, that is the purpose of such a review – to hit the high points and interest you enough that you obtain and use the book!

Equipment selection has two faces and while Seeklander begins the hardware chapter by stressing, “It’s not about the gun,” he also emphasizes the necessity of reliability, ergonomics, accuracy and power in equipment on which we may bet our lives.

Once you have identified a handgun meeting those criteria, master it alone and avoid switching guns, he advises, going on to make recommendations for good, practical equipment.

As the topic turns to technique, Seeklander explains, “Technique is one thing that I don’t get tied to rigidly because I know in the future I will probably have evolved and made slight changes to any technique that I use. You will find yourself doing the same thing as you advance through your training programs and continue to gain skill.” He later adds, “Technique should always evolve. Always search for a better way to do things. Handgun skill has evolved to a very high level. This is due to the integration of top competitive marksmanship and manipulation techniques with tactical operators who have taken what works in a fight and rejected what doesn’t.”

A lengthy and well-illustrated technique chapter follows, concluded with warnings against drawing a handgun in a close quarters attack, tying nicely to Seeklander’s physical fitness chapter in which the reader is advised that the personal protection handgun is only a small part of fighting off an attacker. “Your primary goal during an assault is to prevent yourself from becoming knocked out or down, and to access a firearm when applicable,” he advises, relating gun manipulation to combative techniques.

Your Defensive Handgun Training Program realistically addresses time limitations and ammunition shortages, both of which many readers worry are cutting into their practice. While some live fire is required, a surprising amount of dry fire and mental preparation is recommended. Most of the book’s final 160 pages are dedicated to clearly written drills, diagnostics and commentary about both live fire and dry fire. These pages give specific details including start position, target and distance, action steps, and actions for which to watch, plus visual and mental components that are key to Seeklander’s integrated training concept.

Accelerating skills acquisition through scientific training methods is one of the book’s strongest elements, and learning from this book is made even easier by the summaries and action lists at the end of each chapter, a feature I really liked. Your Defensive Handgun Training Program serves as a unique adjunct “coach” to the armed citizen’s participation in traditional firearms training. Get it and use it!

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