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Lessons Learned: Assassination Attempt

June 12, 2024
Gun Talk Staff

With a new season of Gun Talk's First Person Defender on the way, we're taking a little time to "deconstruct" previous episodes and isolate key training insights and critical takeaways from them.


Self-defense is a crucial skill that extends beyond basic firearm handling. First Person Defender, a show that places everyday people in simulated dangerous situations, provides invaluable lessons by immersing participants in real-life scenarios. In a recent episode, Gilbert from Pennsylvania, a competitive shooter with a military background, faces a harrowing test of his decision-making abilities under threat.

Our Defender, Gilbert is presented with an unusual situation. A man in front of him decides to assassinate another, and Gilbert has to decide…engage or not?  In a scenario that may or may not impact him directly, how should he act, and what will go wrong?
This episode of FPD is brought to you by HK. Training is provided by HK Brand Ambassador Philip Toppino of W.O.F.T. Training and Gun Talk Media’s Chris Cerino.

The Scenario: An Unassuming Threat

Gilbert, an experienced shooter, is placed in a situation mimicking a real news story. As he waits for a friend to pick him up, a man calmly loads a gun and executes another individual nearby. Gilbert must decide whether to intervene or retreat, balancing the moral implications and his own safety.

Initial Response: The First Encounter

When Gilbert first witnesses the unusual behavior, he is unsure of the man's intentions. His military training kicks in, prompting him to be cautious. Despite having his firearm ready, he chooses not to engage immediately, as the threat was not directed at him. This decision underscores a crucial point: not all threats are apparent, and immediate reactions might not always be the safest option.

Training Insights: Action vs. Reaction

The episode delves into the concept of action versus reaction. Philip from HK emphasizes that a potential attacker can act faster than a defender can react. This highlights the importance of maintaining distance and seeking cover when possible, rather than immediately drawing a weapon. Gilbert learns the value of pre-positioning his firearm discreetly and moving strategically to avoid direct confrontation.

The Second Scenario: Protecting a Loved One

In a rerun of the scenario, Gilbert faces an even tougher challenge. This time, his son arrives at the scene, adding emotional stakes to his decision-making process. Gilbert initially retreats to call 911 but loses sight of the threat, only to realize his son is in danger. This situation teaches a vital lesson about maintaining visual contact with both the threat and any loved ones involved.

Key Takeaways: Practical Self-Defense Tips

Stay Observant: Pay attention to unusual behavior and pre-threat indicators.

Maintain Distance: If a threat is not immediate, create distance and seek cover.

Pre-Position Your Firearm: Keep your weapon discreetly ready to avoid drawing attention.

Avoid Tunnel Vision: Keep track of all elements in a scenario, especially loved ones.

Training Matters: Regular practice in realistic scenarios helps improve decision-making under pressure.

Conclusion: Continuous Learning

The episode with Gilbert on First Person Defender reinforces the importance of continuous learning and training. Real-life scenarios, although simulated, provide crucial insights that static range practice cannot offer. For anyone serious about self-defense, incorporating dynamic training and understanding the complexities of real-world threats is essential.

For more information on self-defense training and to watch similar episodes, visit and sign up for the Gun Talk newsletter.

By engaging in realistic simulations and reflecting on their outcomes, individuals can significantly enhance their preparedness for actual threats. Remember, the goal is not just to survive but to do so responsibly and effectively.


Why real-life scenario training for self-defense?
Real-life scenario training helps individuals practice decision-making under pressure, understand the complexities of real-world threats, and improve their overall preparedness for actual dangerous situations.

How does maintaining distance help in self-defense?
Maintaining distance gives you time to assess the threat, find cover, and avoid immediate danger. It also allows you to respond more effectively if the threat escalates.

Why is it important to avoid tunnel vision during a threat?
Avoiding tunnel vision ensures you remain aware of all elements in a scenario, including other potential threats and the safety of loved ones. This comprehensive awareness is crucial for making informed decisions.

How can regular practice in realistic scenarios improve self-defense skills?
Regular practice in realistic scenarios helps individuals develop muscle memory, improve reaction times, and gain confidence in their abilities to handle actual threats. It also provides valuable insights that static range practice cannot offer.

What are pre-threat indicators, and why should I pay attention to them?
Pre-threat indicators are behaviors or actions that may signal a potential threat, such as unusual movements, aggressive behavior, or suspicious activity. Being aware of these indicators allows you to react proactively and potentially avoid danger.

Where can I find more information and episodes of First Person Defender?
You can find more information and watch episodes of First Person Defender on Signing up for the Gun Talk newsletter will also keep you updated on new episodes and self-defense training tips.

About First Person Defender

First Person Defender places everyday men and women from all walks of life into highly intense - oftentimes scary - situations where they must make split-second "life or death" decisions when it comes to their safety, or the safety of their loved ones.The situations are fluid, variable, and unscripted. We use Simunition® guns and marking cartridges that produce painful results - on bad guys and the good guys alike. See what works...and what doesn't.

The First Person Defender series isn't afraid to tackle complex, modern scenarios including: workplace violence, kidnapping attempts, school shootings, domestic violence, home invasions and so much more.Working with premium firearms and tactical trainers, FPD offers a unique learning experience for the participants and the viewers. Each episode offers individual perspectives on unfolding events, with endless outcomes possible.

Beyond the episodes themselves, the First Person Defender series showcases premium training tips from some of the top firearms trainers in the business. These are the people who've "been there and done that".Whether it's professional insight on using the latest gun gadgets and gear, training concepts you can immediately put to use, or a fresh take on your own defensive mindset - First Person Defender is the "infotainment" you've been looking for.

Learn more about First Person Defender HERE
If you're interested in being a part of the First Person Defender Experience, visit HERE

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