Many people in the firearms and prepper-survivalist communities like to ramble about their impressive “combat mindset” and “killer instinct.” People who have repeatedly faced violence successfully, especially those who have done so in a professional capacity, understand that guns and gear are of tertiary importance, at best. Even physical conditioning is secondary to the critical importance of cultivation and continuous development of a proper mental attitude— combat mindset.

That mindset is composed of three attributes: an unwavering but well-founded conviction in the effectiveness of your training and ability, an absolute willingness, if not anticipation, to apply that training to kill bad people, and the intestinal fortitude to overcome whatever obstacles arise in order to survive to lay hate and discontent on the enemy.

Unwavering by well-founded conviction in your ability demands a “software-centric” approach to your training. It’s not about the guns and gear. Even within the ranks of the most vocal “three-percenters” there exist masses of gun owners who purchase an AR-15 or AK-47 at their local sporting goods store, along with a couple boxes of ammunition, based on the advice of some blog writer they’ve never met. Then, the rifle and the ammunition get tossed in a closet or onto a shelf in their “bunker” basement, to be promptly forgotten.  These people place absolute faith in the weapon, expecting it to solve their potential future problems. The firearm becomes a sort of magical talisman in their imagination. This is the “hardware-centric” approach that is the hallmark of amateurs.

The professional recognizes that man is a tool user, and values his tools. Nevertheless, he understands that those tools are inanimate objects. The weapon is only effective in the hands of a trained and aggressive operator. The trained, experienced gunslinger accepts the inarguable logic that training is more important than specific tools. If the only weapon available to the professional is a .22LR zip gun, he’ll use it effectively.  There is no time or space for the sin of mediocrity in the software-centric approach to training. The professional doesn’t go to the local strip mall karate dojo for his combatives training. He doesn’t mistake plinking beer cans in the backyard with a .22LR as combat rifle training.

Combat mindset and killer instinct means knowing the difference between confident assertiveness, animal aggressiveness, and false braggadocio… This confidence provides you the moral and physical courage to “flip the switch” to predatory, animal aggressiveness when necessary.

The motivated professional trains like the Type-A Alpha Male that he is within his tribe. He recognizes that his training is not just for himself, but also to protect his tribe, and to pass on that training on to members of his tribe. He seeks out the best training available and practices the skills he learns until he has mastered them, then he practices them some more. He spends hours every week practicing his combat rifle skills and his combatives. He spends hours every week doing PT to harden his body and his mind against stress and pain. Like some fabled warrior of old, he trains to perfection and then he trains some more.  Combat mindset and killer instinct means knowing the difference between confident assertiveness, animal aggressiveness, and false braggadocio. It allows you to carry yourself assertively because you know your own skill level, and recognize yourself as the most lethal man in the room—regardless of what room you are in. This confidence provides you the moral and physical courage to “flip the switch” to predatory, animal aggressiveness when necessary. Like mediocrity, hesitation is a mortal sin.

Effective training is an initiation into fear. It is an immunization against the effects of fear. It teaches the truth of the cliché, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” It teaches us to accept the truth without complaint. Training should be painful and frightening. Gunfights are painful and frightening.

Professionals expect to be punched in the mouth and to be slammed to the mats during combatives training. He expects to experience—and learn to tolerate—the flesh-bruising sting of force-on-force training munitions. He looks forward to the lung- and muscle-bursting agony of ridiculously strenuous physical conditioning training.

This is the most important aspect of training: dealing with and overcoming this pain in training is what starts building the intestinal fortitude and determination to carry on the fight and win, despite being shot, stabbed, or blown up. The professional accepts that he may be critically—perhaps even mortally—wounded, but rejects the popular myth of mediocrity that insists he will freeze in pain, panic and terror when that happens.

Realistic training should teach you that hatred is not a negative emotion, despite what you’ve been conditioned to believe. Hatred is nothing more than intensely-focused anger. It is just and righteous to hate those who would kill or harm you or your loved ones. Despite the whining protests of the weak-souled, hate is a positive energy. It is what allows you to overcome the cultural conditioning of a decadent, post-modern society to stab the enemy in the face with your bayonet. Our post-modern, apologist, soft and sensitive culture cries out that hatred and violence are never the answer. It has created a society of hesitation and fear that feels it necessary to apologize for its own righteousness and strength.

We want to be the “good guys.” We want to be “nice.” You must learn to damn the cowardice of the masses to an eternity of hellfire. Embrace the fact that you will be called upon in the righteous defense of Life, Liberty, and Community, to destroy the minds, spirits, and bodies of your enemy. Make peace with this ground truth so at the moment of truth, you are not plagued with the doubts and reservations of the weak. Focus on the sight picture and squeeze the trigger. Repeat as necessary. Hesitation is a sin.

Developing effective combat mindset and killer instinct is the most important aspect of tactical training. It is too often overlooked beyond, “You gotta have killer instinct.” Some believe this is something you have to be born with. They say it cannot be developed. They are wrong. We are all born with it. It is the legacy of our ancestors. We just have to learn to overcome post-modern cultural conditioning to bring it back to the forefront of our options.  Of course, the past of history may change course. The Republic may be restored peaceably, and you may never face violent physical danger. You may die of old age, peacefully in your bed, surrounded by a legion of loving children and grandchildren.

Or, you may die face down in the mud on a wet, dark night, choking on your own blood and lung tissue, a burst of 7.62×51 through the chest, listening to the screams of your wife and children as a mob drag them off to a living hell. The choice is yours.