I want to convey a great teaching point that I learned from John Correia at Active Self Protection. ASP is a massive YouTube channel that John founded to teach lessons learned from self-defense encounters caught on camera. If you haven’t heard of or seen his channel, he puts out a new video every day with a thoughtful analysis. Check it out and subscribe, tons of good info.

John and I got a chance to talk a bit during SHOT show and we discussed a dilemma that armed citizens might face in a self-defense encounter: Bad guy had the initiative, and he’s got a gun in your face. You’re behind the curve on this one and temporarily stuck at the mercy of an itchy trigger finger. Maybe he just wants your stuff and the safest bet is to comply, give him what he wants, and hope you can walk away. But suppose your child is strapped in a car seat and the suspect wants to take your car—compliance isn’t an option! John has a great way of addressing this problem. 

The principle to consider in John’s thesis is that a good time to launch a counter-attack is when the bad guy looks away for a brief moment. In one of our podcast episodes, Jim and I discussed timing and patience in tactics—Sometimes, we need to respond with immediate and overwhelming force, but other times we have to wait our turn, and seize the opportunity when it comes.

If compliance isn’t an option, and action is faster than reaction—you better be quick if you want to be successful in a counter-attack. Based on human performance research, John says that a good benchmark for evaluating your first hit (from the holster) is 1.15 seconds or better—this accounts for the approximate amount of time it takes for a person to pick up movement in their peripheral field of view and a typical reaction time. He’s looking for for A-zone hits from 5 yards. It’s a simple, measurable, and attainable goal.

Timers are great because they help us set milestones and measure our progress, but we have to ground them (and the rest of our training) in context. When John says, “The glance is the beep,” he implements the timer in a way that makes it relevant to our decision-making. I think John is spot on here. Of course, you won’t  always have time to wait—but it’s a great illustration of using timing and patience to your advantage: “I must shoot him, stand by…”

By the way, we recorded a podcast episode with John to discuss some other lessons—that will be available soon! Be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast app so you can get new episodes on the 1st and 15th every month!


Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle


Mike is a full-time police officer and tactical medic. He currently works as a K9 handler, SWAT team member, and Police Trainer. Mike started Tactical Tangents as part of his fundamental purpose to save lives. His goal is to enhance the survival of police officers and concerned citizens by helping them become better, smarter, faster, and more efficient. His opinions are for informational purposes only and do not reflect those of his employer or any other government agency.



Jason Sweet was a PJ and Division I college football player. Now he researches Human Performance for the University of Arizona and helps aspiring Special Operators prepare for enlistment. We discuss mental toughness, athletic performance, and a bunch more!

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