Is Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder a thing?

Having recently become a member of the USCCA, a lot of the training involved is how to handle post-incident aftermath. There still seems to be a lot of questions in that area however, which has led to many a sleepless night thinking of the different scenarios, possibilities of what can happen, how it will affect family, etc. Considering the possibilities of what can go wrong and how it can go wrong after a shooting has become very stressful mentally. Has anyone else experienced this? I don’t know if Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a thing, but that is the closest thing to what I’m describing. The overbearing stress related not to what has happened, but what could happen and how to deal with it. I know that is what the training is for, but there is still the fear of actually dealing with the situation if it were ever to arise.


Wouldn’t that just be called paranoia? I’m not making light. A touch of paranoia can be a very good thing.


Essentially yes. I’d like to think it’s just a result of being untrained, so I’m curious what others who have extensive training think about this.


I think what your describing is actually called “overthinking”. Obsessive. So it might be more appropriately described as Pre Obsessive Overthinking or just Afraid. I just made this up. But descriptive wise it’s more accurate than to hijack a term reserved for PTSD, which is more nightmarish to have to deal with. I personally know the difference. Your obsession derives from lack of preparedness/training I think. But it’s actually a good thing to realize you may not be prepared or alert to multiple possible scenarios. That’s instinctively part of survival.

Trust me PTSD really sucks. I wonder if there are any Psychologists in our ranks. They might be able to explain.


People who fair well in and around critical incidents remain calm and focused. If getting trained up is getting you worked up, you’re doing it wrong. FYI, distance learning doesn’t work well at all for acquiring physical skills, much less critical skills.

Find a highly qualified instructor/coach who has survived a gunfight or three. Pay them good money to coach you up to whatever objectives you have chosen for yourself. This is how legit human learning (the development, preservation, and distribution of skills and knowledge) has always worked best and always will.

In my EOT, if a student gets really uncomfortable/nervous/self-conscious it is because the teacher failed to lay the proper foundation and/or tried to “push” them before they were ready to progress. If you are attempting to self-educate (bad idea) and this happens, it is most likely for the same reason: you are not confident in the basics you’ve already been exposed to and attempting to move on to more advanced/complex stuff that builds upon those basics you haven’t mastered yet.

Back up. Go back to the last comfortable spot you remember on this journey. Dwell on that until it becomes comfortable and familiar like an old sweatshirt. THEN, try to move forward again. Repeat this as needed. Good luck!


I just say… Welcome to the Community @Venturous .

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Welcome @Venturous :sunglasses: You will learn to deal with it.


That’s just messed up :rofl:


That is called anxiety. It can be helpful, if it pushes you to learn how to handle the situations that are causing it. It is not helpful if you do not learn whatever it is that you need to learn to make you feel comfortable. Understanding what is triggering that emotional reaction and working to overcome it will help if you ever are in that situation.

However, depending on where you live, or travel to, for most people the likelihood of ever getting into a bad situation is quite remote. It is better just to focus on situational awareness, self-defense training, and becoming confident and proficient with your firearm(s), or other tools of choice (i.e., less lethal, flashlight, knifes, etc.), and unarmed defense, that will likely give you the confidence you need to allay your fears of “what if?”.

We all play the “what if?” game and try to determine the best way to avoid or defend. If we encounter a bad situation, we will have at least one practiced course of action to aid in our avoidance or defense. Lethal force is always a last resort, though that might be the only reaction left available. It is important to have it in your mind before an event that you will do whatever it takes to keep your family and yourself safe. That, too, will help instill the confidence needed.


First, welcome to the Community.

I am going to give you an answer that you may at first think I being unkind that is not my intent.

Practice, not until your are good, but practice until you can’t fail…

I don’t know what your ammo supply situation is. But if it’s really low. Buy a laser simulator round in the calibre, you are using as self defense ammo. Then download a program called G-Site and you can practice. Make sure all ammo is secure. Before you use it. It really helps with fixing trigger issues.

Next step. Before you leave home practice your draw 10 to 20 times from it’s concealed position. Make sure all ammo is secured before you draw. Practice proper trigger finger placement while drawing. Then go to your car, practice 10 to 20 draws being aware of your trigger placement. Once done, reload your gun and put it back at your normal CC. Go about your day.

When you get home secure all ammo and practice a few draws from where you normally relax at. Once done reload weapon. Then at Bed time do it one last time. Relax fires and put it back.

One last thing go to the USCCA concealed carry app and read up on your states laws on self defense and are you a stand your ground state or a Castle doctrine state or are you both.

Now to the point of this long written piece of advice. As you practice, your abilities start increasing, as they increase your confidence slowly increases until your body can do all of it as muscle memory to the point you cannot fail.

A few more pieces of advice

  1. You can not be the aggressor for a successful self defense
  2. We train to Shoot to Stop. If they are down you can’t give them a coup de gra to the head.
  3. You don’t shoot over property, only when you can reasonably explain that you felt you were in fear of mmediate grievous injury or death to yourself or others (I would make sure you knew everything going on before I jumped a shooting for someone else).

TLDR: PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE. Study your states self defense laws.

**Be the first to call 911

Finally learn the levels of alertness and how to use them for your surroundings and environment.


I think a lot of it comes down to my level of preparedness, or lack thereof. Financially, I don’t have a lot to spend, so being able to afford a class is not as easy as others. As such, a lot of my training comes from USCCA videos. I’m also only working with a .22lr caliber, which I don’t have confidence in to stop an attacker. Been trying to save for a 9mm, but again, finances are tight. I’d probably have a lot less anxiety about it if I was able to attend shooting classes, had a decent defensive firearm, and had the funds to properly secure my home.


All in good time!


Ah-ha! Much better explanation of your dilemma now.

You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by what you cannot control or influence. Focus on one thing at a time that is in your control.


Let’s start with

This is the fix that does not require a ton of time, effort, expert coaching, and money to develop skills you do not have. Start here!

Doors & Windows - there are some good tutorial videos and articles from USCCA on this stuff. Replace the screws in your door jams with 3 1/2" deck screws. These don’t cost much. Have a screwdriver? They’re cheap, too! Make sure your window locks work. Walk around your house/apartment and inspect the windows and ask yourself: how would I get in here if I was trying to break in or sneak in? Then make that time consuming, difficult, risky, and/or noisy in the simplest and least expensive way you can come up with.

If you aren’t a big fella with work boots, go to a second hand shop or garage sale and buy a pair of the biggest, old work boots you can find. Set them in plain view of any rear entrance to your home, but where some kid or dog won’t make off with them. (ie just inside the door or on a screened porch) You should be able to do this for about $5-10. It will deter a LOT of would-be burglars/home invaders without raising suspicion or offending anyone. Similarly, find a good window decal that firemen, welders, plumbers, or oilfield workers would have on their truck/window at home. Buy it. Put it on the front window/screen door glass nearest your main entrance. I have a deaf neighbor 2 doors down who has never served in the military because he was born deaf. He now flies a USMC flag on the front of his house. He has a tiny dog, but now has a mammoth dog bowl on his porch. Several months ago, he came to me asking about AR 15 basics. I helped him with that stuff, but made some far more effective deterrent suggestions which will probably make the AR 15 he bought irrelevant. Get the picture? Keep it simple! Deterrence = Job #1 for someone like you!

Meanwhile, make sure you are not neglecting SAFETY in favor of security. Make sure you have a good first aid kit and fire extinguisher.

Next, save up for a decent DIY home alarm system. Research these and figure out which is best for you. You can do this for under $200 nowadays. There are system packages for people who do not have wi-fi, too. There are gadgets you can set on a window sill (inside) that will sound an alarm if they are moved, but you can also put some cheap jingle bells on a string inside the window sill. Marbles in an empty peach can on a string works, too. There is no shortage of “Hillbilly Ingenuity” solutions for home security. But a decent modern alarm system for a small house or apartment is cheaper than a gun by a good margin. And you should have that before you buy a gun. If you sleep through the break-in, the gun will end up being used against you as likely as not. Early warnings = job #2 for someone in your situation.

Work this stuff out first. That .22 is not nearly as bad of a choice of self-defense weapon as you have been led to believe by people whose industry is fueled by the sale of guns and ammo. Could be better, but sure beats throwing rocks or swinging a hammer at a bad guy! Speaking of which, hammers, ball bats, etc. are great self-defense tools of last resort. Way better than fists and feet! Get all this other stuff squared away before you even begin to worry about a firearm. You will feel WAY better about self-defense because you will actually be ready – far ahead of the pack and with solid fundamentals instead of hype and delusions designed to transfer your $$$ to someone else’s bank account.

All the best!


Good info. I really like the boot idea. I have several dogs, so I’ll probably know if someone tries to break in and they can be a good deterent with the amount of noise they make. Will look into the other suggestions as well. Thanks for the tips.


Just keep fixing one little thing at a time. You will find that your attitude is changing as you go along. You will gain confidence and feel less overwhelmed and anxious, because you are doing things about it – taking control of your own destiny. This confidence born of stringing a bunch of small “victories” together is how you build the kind of strength to weather the sorts of storms you are having nightmares about now (so to speak). You will gain the self-confidence and competence to tackle bigger challenges. But the real secret is a) one bite at a time, and b) don’t stop…keep going…it’s not a sprint, but an endurance race. Faster isn’t better. Better is better.


According to the FBI, 50% of all defensive stops, when the defensive use of a firearm is used, are what you would call “Psychological Stops”. That means if you are forced to use your firearm due to being in fear of grievous bodily harm or death that when you fire your firearm 50% of the time, the intruder will run away. Criminals are usually looking for soft targets.

I haven’t heard anyone in a firefight ask "hey are you shooting at me with a .22 or a 9mm.

Just make sure you remember the 4 basic rules of gun safety, because you are responsible for every round you fire.

Those are a cheap and easy way to secure the doors to your home

3-Pack Upgraded Door Stop Alarm -Great for Traveling Security Door Stopper Doorstop Safety Tools for Home Set of 3


Ignore the people downing your .22. Statistically a .22 has a higher rate of stopping assailants from stats I read. Sure, 9mm would be better. But you can only do what you can do. Hell, I want to carry a .44 REM Mag because of it’s the stopping power. But I prefer semi-auto handguns so a 10mm is the direction I’m headed. Until then I’m using 9mm and working on my 1911 .45 acp. A good holster is my problem. Granted, I grew up with guns and served in a combat arms military. Barely missed deployment twice. Too many injuries making passing the physical readiness assessment feel impossible, which is why I finally got into CC.

You should train in your home Become intimately familiar with your weapon.


Thank you for that concept. I had never heard of that before. It kinda goes with your name, clever & creative. I will borrow it and use it well. It makes sense. As one of our neighbors here wrote, it can help empower you to learn more and become more prepared. I think over time, your so called stress will look more like, you’re better prepared and better trained.

Since we might not be training with live ammo as much as we used to these days, there is so much out there you can now use this extra time for to study, read, learning by video, dry-firing. I copied one set of examples below which the NRA sent to me today.

I appreciated the other post about how if one only has or chooses to use the .22 caliber for self-defense (if ever legally called for in a certain emergency), it can also be useful. Have one myself.

Hello, that laser ammo you speak of, what term would I use to find a 10mm round for a 1911 on a search engine? TY for the post also

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“10mm laser cartridge”

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