Rank the Seven Principles of Personal Defense

Rank the Seven Principles of Personal Defense

This is a discussion on Rank the Seven Principles of Personal Defense within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Time for some serious consideration concerning Personal Defense. Jeff Cooper wrote the book "Principles of Personal Defense", probably one of the top reads in the ...

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Thread: Rank the Seven Principles of Personal Defense

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Rank the Seven Principles of Personal Defense

    Time for some serious consideration concerning Personal Defense. Jeff Cooper wrote the book "Principles of Personal Defense", probably one of the top reads in the defensive handgun community. In this book, he has stated seven principles which should guide your mental conditioning as it relates to personal defense. The seven principles are as follows:

    1) Alertness (what's going on around you, Situational Awareness)

    2) Decisiveness (selecting a correct course of action and carrying it through without hesitation or deviation)

    3) Aggressiveness (an instantaneous and explosive response to the attack facing you)

    4) Speed (Do unto others as they would do unto you, but do it first)

    5) Coolness (remaining calm and controlled under pressure so your reaction is not an obstacle to efficiency)

    6) Ruthlessness (Stopping the attack at once, without hesitation, without consideration of your attacker)

    7) Surprise (perhaps striking the first blow, fighting back, doing the unexpected)

    Now, how would you prioritize the Seven Principles above, and EXPLAIN why you placed your first priority in that spot.

    I will answer first...My priorities are as follows:

    1. Decisiveness - I feel I must prepare for and be able to select a course of action when I feel I, my family, or perhaps someone else, is in potential or actual danger. I must determine what I will do, and act without hesitation, always ready to adjust if necessary to changing events.

    2. Alertness
    3 . Coolness
    4. Surprise
    5. Speed
    6. Aggressiveness
    7. Ruthlessness

    How say forum members????????
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Alertness--With a little intelligence I may not need the rest.
    Coolness--Dittos
    Surprise--If I need to go hot, he should be stunned
    speed--Dittos
    Decisive--Never back down, Semper Fi
    Aggressive--Dittos
    Ruthless--Double dittos

    Roughly 3-6 fall into about the same level for me. They could be in any order and I'd agree whole heartedly.
    "What does Marcellus Wallace LOOK like?"

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    All seven seem in right order to me.
    NOT LIVING IN FEAR, JUST READY!!!
    I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness,
    nor the arrow for its swiftness,
    nor the warrior for his glory.
    I love only that which they defend.
    -J.R.R. Tolkien

  4. #4
    Member Array DIXIETWISTER's Avatar
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    Yep sounds good but the most important principle of Personal Defense for me is HAVE A GUN..
    You may not like guns. You may choose not to own one. That is your right.
    You might not believe in God. That is your choice.
    However, if someone breaks into your home at 3AM the first two things you are going to do are:
    1) Call someone with a gun.
    2)Pray they get there in time." - A wise man

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIXIETWISTER View Post
    Yep sounds good but the most important principle of Personal Defense for me is HAVE A GUN..
    The question in the original post was assuming you have a gun. Especially since the seven principles were directed toward the "defensive handgun" community...

    I value your opinion DIXIETWISTER....care to prioritize and explain your number 1 ????
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

  6. #6
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    Alertness is followed by all the others...the order of which will depend upon your alertness training and preparedness...OMO
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    If you possess all seven of those tools it doesn't matter which order you deploy them in as much as being proficient at using them. I don't think Jeff Cooper meant them to follow any order, it's just a list of seven principals.

    IMO though, some of the principals are redundant. Numbers 4, 6, and 7 could be wrapped into one.
    For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I don't think they were ever meant to be ranked because they all make up one all encompassing Warrior mindset.

    Miss out on one of the principles or give less priority to one or more and you may lose your edge in a confrontation.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    #1 would be Alertness for me also. If I can see the potential for a bad situation coming at me than I have a much better chance of avoiding it altogether. I think the rest are in good order if you can't avoid it or are surprised by it.
    DEMOCRACY IS TWO WOLVES AND A LAMB VOTING ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH. LIBERTY IS A WELL ARMED LAMB CONtestING THE VOTE.

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Coolness I think is #1.

    If you see a problem coming and freak out, or open fire before the threat is imminent, you could easily end up dead or in jail for a long time.

    If you are cool but not alert, you may not see something coming but at least you will be able to deal with it in some way when it does occur. Anyhow, it is always possible for someone to get the drop on even the most alert person.

    Whatever the situation, being able to react calmly and rationally is critical to avoiding jail, your death, or death of innocents.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
    ---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by searcher 45 View Post
    All seven seem in right order to me.
    Ditto.

    I'd say that Cooper got the sequence right.

    The first principle, Alertness, might negate the need for the others, as it'll be the most important element to avoiding situations in the first place.

    If a situation does arise, then certainly Decisiveness ranks the most highly, in terms of dealing with a problem. The decision might be to ignore it, leave, blunt it verbally, or to engage in some manner. Before anything can happen in response to a situation, you've got to decide what to do.

    If engagement occurs, than the other elements certainly come into play. Aggressiveness can (might) negate the rest, at this point.

    If engagement is in process and mere aggressiveness hasn't resolved it, then you'd bloody well better decide to win ... via leveraging the rest of the traits. Else, you risk losing (which, in a deadly encounter, can mean exiting this world).

    Of vital importance is to realize that every situation will be different. Every situation will have a certain "flow" to it, and that will require one or more of these traits in order to effectively manage the situation.

    I'd say that Cooper got the sequence right.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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  12. #12
    Member Array billfromtx's Avatar
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    1. Alertness
    2. Decisiveness
    3. Aggressiveness
    4. Ruthlessness
    5. Coolness
    6. Speed
    7. Surprise
    USMC 1984-1992
    To err is human.
    To forgive is divine.
    Neither of which is Marine Corps policy.

    "It's all about shot placement."- David (Slayer of Goliath)

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I completely agree with the order as proposed by Cooper:

    1. Alertness
    2. Decisiveness
    3. Coolness
    4. Surprise
    5. Speed
    6. Aggressiveness
    7. Ruthlessness

    Last night on the show 'LOST' primary character Sayid faced just such a situation.
    In the process he adapted on the fly to that of his attackers (three men, two armed and he armed only with his brain) so as to overcome.

    "Sundown" Full Episode - Lost - ABC.com
    Note: Go to time frame 27:18m at the fifth block and watch through 31:17m.

    Yes LOST is a scripted TV show but still to my view this specific scene is an excellent depiction of Coopers seven principles as exact and in order of application.

    - Janq

    "Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it." - CCW9mm
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  14. #14
    Member Array Passin' Through's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Alertness is followed by all the others...the order of which will depend upon your alertness training and preparedness...OMO
    x 2
    I have carried a gun for 23 years and never had to pull or shoot but once but there have been many times I've seen situations where I either placed my hand on my weapon or maneuvered my position to do so.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array jeephipwr's Avatar
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    I agree with the order Mr. Cooper has published them in. While I also wish that I have a gun with me when I need one, that is not always possible or necessary. Even if you are unarmed, you can still use these principles to defend yourself. This forum has shown several vincidents where victims have lashed back without a gun and successfully won the engagement by these very principles.

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