Every year, it’s estimated that 2.5 million people use a firearm in self-defense. Many in the gun community spend a lot of time and treasure doing what they can to make sure if they find themselves as part of their number, they come out victorious.
I had a confrontation in my back yard with two teens, one of whom had a thick stick that could easily have served as a club. I drew down on them and ordered them to leave the yard.
After that, my whole body shook like a leaf in a category 4 hurricane. My legs felt like they were crafted out of the finest quality half-melted Jell-O and I felt sick to my stomach.
I ventured onto the internet and hit up a web forum where I was a member. While many of the members were people who had never fired a shot in anger, there were plenty of active duty military who had multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, law enforcement.
I wanted to know if what happened to me was a sign. Was I just someone who didn’t have the testicular fortitude to carry a gun?
Their advice? “Relax,” I was told. “What happened was natural.”
You see, the situation triggered my fight-or-flight response. It dumped a pile of adrenaline into my bloodstream so that I would have the necessary tools to deal with the threat.
When the threat passed, my body began the process of purging the adrenaline. This causes people to have all kinds of symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, and leg shaking are just the tip of the iceberg.
The thing is, it turns out that while this is something that most gun boards and blogs don’t talk about, you’ve probably experienced it once or twice (or more) yourself. This is the same thing that many people, such as myself, experience after a near traffic accident.
They recommended some books, such as Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s On Combat, which I’ve read a couple of times since then, but the most important thing they did was tell me how so many of them had experienced the same thing. These were hardened combat vets, and they’d been through the same thing too?
It turns out that not only do combat veterans report experiencing adrenaline dumps, but numerous martial artists do as well. It seems to be a pretty common problem with fighters feeling the effects of an adrenaline dump during martial arts tournaments and it having an impact in their performance.
Unfortunately, this is something that is often glossed over in discussions within the gun community. While it would be easy to chalk this up to some kind of macho bravado within our subculture, I think it’s far more likely that those who have experienced it just never think to talk about it.
However, it can scare the crap out of someone who isn’t expecting it. Believe me, I know.
What about you? Have you ever experienced an adrenaline dump after a fight or having to draw your weapon in self-defense? If so, tell us about it. Inquiring minds want to know!