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F.A.S.T. (Fight, Assess, Scan, Top-Off) is a crucial acronym that encompasses essential steps for effective and safe gun handling. For years, I have diligently followed these principles to ensure my proficiency in tactical applications of ballistic science.

The first step, Fight, emphasizes the need to engage the target or targets that present themselves. It is essential to respond quickly and decisively, using appropriate force to neutralize the threat.

After engaging the threat, the second step, Assess, requires a thorough evaluation of the situation. It is crucial to determine whether the threat has been eliminated and whether your tactical approach was effective. This assessment must be a straightforward yes or no decision.

The third step, Scan, emphasizes the importance of being aware of your surroundings. After dealing with the immediate threat, you must deliberately and attentively scan the area in a 360º manner. This allows you to gather vital information and be aware of any potential dangers or innocent bystanders.

The fourth step, Top-Off, involves replenishing your ammunition supply. If you have discharged rounds from your firearm, it is essential to reload and ensure that your weapon is ready for any further engagement. Remember, a gun that has made noise is now hungry for more rounds.

Only after completing these steps should you hesitantly or reluctantly return your gun to the holster. It is crucial never to rush or hurriedly holster your firearm. If circumstances prevent you from accessing your holster, such as needing both hands for a medical emergency, it is always safer to set the gun down. Attempting to holster a weapon while your hands are shaking from adrenaline can lead to accidental self-inflicted injuries.

Regrettably, each year, individuals suffer self-inflicted gunshot wounds during training or practice due to the dangerous habit of rushing back to their holsters. This is often a result of inadequate or poor training practices. Remember, drawing your firearm should be done swiftly, but reholstering should be done slowly and methodically to prevent accidents.

By adhering to the principles of F.A.S.T., we can enhance our gun handling skills, prioritize safety, and prevent unnecessary injuries.

Keep your head down and keep the faith,


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