After the smoke clears


I hope to not have to use my weapon, but I am prepared in case my life is at risk. So I’ve been a CCW carrier for over 2 years and I train with my carry weapon often , but what I have no experience in, is after the smoke clears and the PTSD that will follow. I have not served in the military, so, really I don’t have any Idea what I might expect. I have read articles of other people’s experiences and how they suffer from sleep deprivation, remorse, and even retaliatory experiences from the perpetrator’s family or friends. My question to you guys: is there somewhere that I would be able to go, maybe to gather more information ? or is this something that everyone handles different when the time comes ?


@FantasticFernando everyone handles it different. I served with a guys that laughed about it, guys that had to see mental health professionals, guys who just thought it was what it was. I’d just worry about it if the time comes. There’s no sense in worrying about it now.


Tthanks , just want to be prepared is all


Oh, I get it! Its smart to be cognizant that killing somebody might be hard to do!

1 Like

It’s an excellent question - firearms training isn’t all there is to it, there’s also training your mind and understanding the impact, emotions, and cost.

I’d start here with David Grossman… buy and read both of these, or get them on audio book. “On Killing”:

and “On Combat”:

this is absolutely the best information I’ve seen on both the physiological and psychological effects of killing, and also what actually equips you to function well enough in that kind of situation to be able to be clear decisions about shoot/don’t shoot, and capable of doing what is needed should you need to shoot.
His books are clear, easy to read, and provide insight as well as actionable information you can do something with. The audiobooks are really well presented, too.


Thank You for the information, I will definitely look into this. I appreciate it.

1 Like

Odds are, I’m more likely to hit a pedestrian than ever need to draw my firearm. Pedestrians here have the right of way however most just step in front of traffic without looking. Really hate when they die that at night wearing all black…

I’ve prepared myself should it ever happen… that… in the moment. With no hindsight play, I would make the same decisions as I would have already made and performed my best.

Somethings are just out of my control. You can dwell on what happened or move on with a reminder in the background that still says what if. It will always stay with you and the only way you may be able to change things is if you could travel back in time…


Those are definitely great books to read and will help give you insight.

Another tool is to find a force on force training class that uses simulation rounds. Or even one of those electronic simulations classes. Anything you can do to bridge the gap and get as life like experience as possible will help. It’s ok to be bad at it or nervous about the class. When you complete the class you’ll know much more about how you handle stress and what areas to improve on.

1 Like

@Sheepdog556 I’d love to do an electronic simulations class - haven’t found one yet.
The force-on-force ones intimidate the *** out of me. :grimacing: I’m just sure I’ll end up with a group of 20- and 30-something gym-rats in full tacticool gear and get my “somebody’s great-grandmother with the bad knees and reading glasses” butt so kicked that I’ll regret ever going :grimacing:


The more scared the more realistic. I understand being apprehensive about it. Theres always gonna be those guys. But most would respect you for showing up and try to make it as pleasant as possible. Yes it hurts but it’s only temporary. Pain is an incredible motivator to learn.

1 Like

I can sit here and say that if it were a bad guy determined to harm or kill me, I wouldn’t give a second thought about defending myself even to the point of the bad guy dying. But if it were to actually happen I may react completely different. Unless you’ve been in the military or law enforcement and have experienced it, I don’t know that anyone can say with any certainty how they would react until it actually happens. Only thing you can do is mentally prepare yourself every time you put on that EDC, that you do so knowing you’ll have to live with the repercussions of your actions should you be required to defend yourself that day.


The books previously mentioned address how the military trains people to be able to pull the trigger. It’s discusses what didn’t work, what they’ve changed and why it works now, it will give you tools to incorporate into your range time. Yes obviously until faced with a real life real time situation you’ll never know. But again doing everything possible to bridge that gap between training and real life will only benefit you.

1 Like

I’d agree with everyone here, you can prepare for it, but until you’ve been through it you won’t know how you’ll react.

Mental health professionals are definitely worth consulting if you’re ever in a self-defense incident. It’s a huge responsibility, and one you’re not taking lightly. Thank you for being a responsibly armed American! I’m so glad you brought this topic up.

1 Like