1The food is awful, but it feels good to sit down. A day of shopping at the local mall is not your idea of fun, but it keeps the peace with the family. Just as you are making that slurpy sound with the straw to annoy you wife (most men never really grow up) you hear full-auto gunfire and see a man spraying the food court as he screams “Allahu Akbar” over and over. The mall’s Rent a Cop, who likely can’t even spell tactical, falls before he can get his pistol out of his triple retention holster and the gunman is working his way through the crowd toward you and your wife.

2You grab the 1911 from its concealment holster and double tap him. You believe in the old saying of “beware of the guy with one gun” and it feels like an old friend in your hand. It should; you carry it every day, shoot it most days, and even use it to compete in IDPA matches some weekends. You believe that by sticking with this one gun you will shoot it well and always have the muscle memory to operate it no matter what happens. That theory clearly works; the dead terrorist is proof enough for you. But as that guy falls, two more guys with rifles run through the doorway. You shoot, a little too fast, and miss the closest guy with the first shot. But you settle on the front sight and hit him with the second. You swing to the second guy and dump two to the chest and one in the head. The first guy is staggering around, so you double tap him again. The magazine is empty so you reload with your one spare magazine just as you notice more guys coming from the opposite end of the mall.

3Suddenly all that bragging at the range about, “if I can’t handle a problem with two magazines and a 1911, then I deserve to die” rings a little hollow. There are a lot of bad guys coming your way and you start shooting at them. One falls and another staggers. You keep shooting and the others run for cover, giving you a window to de-ass the place. You tell your wife to run as you notice your handgun is at slidelock. When you run past the first guy you shot, you stop to pick up his rifle and a spare magazine. You notice a pistol in a shoulder holster, which you also grab and stuff in your belt.

4You and your wife run down the main corridor, but you hear them coming behind you, so you duck into the Radio Shack. Two guys follow just behind you, yelling and waving their guns. The AK 47 is empty and you try frantically to slam the spare magazine into the gun, but it will not stay. Dropping the rifle you yank the Tokarev pistol from your belt, but it also will not shoot. You try to rack the slide, but it won’t move.

5It doesn’t matter, it’s too late and you watch as one of them grabs your wife’s hair, yanks her head back and pulls a knife.

6Still think this “one man – one gun” thing is a good idea? If you knew that the magazine on an AK 47 had to be rocked in or that the pistol you picked up uses a half-cock on the hammer instead of a safety and that it locks the slide, you might have had a fighting chance. But you only know the 1911, because you thought it was more “tactical” to stick with one gun. 7My buddy Dan Smith at International Cartridge used to put on a unique shooting match. He supplied all the guns and ammo, but you never knew what would be waiting for you at any given stage. It might be a bolt action rifle, pump shotgun or a full-auto MP5. Or it could be an AR-15, AK-47 or a single action revolver. We shot Glocks, S&W revolvers, Berettas, Rugers – you name it and usually there was one on a table somewhere. Dan’s thoughts were simple. “I can run a standard match and the hot shot with a race gun will come in and win it, just like he expects to do every time. That’s because he shoots that gun all the time and knows it well. But, guys like that don’t like my match. This is a match for gun guys and if you are a true gun guy you should be able to shoot anything they hand you well enough to compete.

8It was Todd Rassa, an instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy who pointed out that we need to be able to run any gun we pick up in a fight. I used the teachings from his class “Civilian Response to a Terrorist Attack” to create this scenario. Todd picked those two Soviet Block guns because they are popular with terrorists.

But I would take it way past that. Instead of Islamic terrorist, it might be the next two little snots from Colorado.  This is not Hollywood and they won’t all have an MAC10 or a Desert Eagle like the bad guys in the movies always carry. They will probably have guns they bought on the street or stole from Dad and that means they could be anything.

9Who knows what they might bring to their mayhem party? Can you run a Benelli M4, Ruger P85, a Sig P229, FN FAL, S&W4013, UTS15, AUG, Beretta Storm carbine or 92 series handgun, SKS, Marlin Camp Carbine, Winchester 94, Remington 750, or any and all other guns instinctively and without thinking about it?

Probably not, I doubt I could either. But I make it a point to try every gun I have an opportunity to shoot. That at least expands my experience and gives me a better foundation to figure out the gun I don’t know a lot faster. I also shoot in a lot of matches, which I think teaches you to think and act under pressure a lot quicker.

10The tactical approach is to be proficient with as many firearms as possible. That at least builds the foundation of knowledge that will help you deal with one you are not familiar with.

You never know how a shooting is going to play out and if you can pick up a gun and stay in the fight, you have a chance. If you run your gun dry and don’t have a clue how to use the one the other guy was shooting at you with, or the gun the dead cop had in his hand, you will not have time to figure it out in the middle of a firefight. The one true thing that is inarguable is this, if you cannot shoot back in a gun fight, you will lose.

Become a gun guy; learn all you can about as many guns as possible. It’s the “tactical” thing to do and it may save your life..