Survival Trial

A large part of self-defense is simple surviving. Sure, you want to be able to overcome all situations, but walking away unharmed will do for most of us, which is why we spend so much time training and learning.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if we’re really up for the challenges that we could face in the real world, especially considering the direction the world seems to be heading right now. Could you really handle being stuck in the middle of the wilderness, fight off a robbery in progress or pull a friend to safety? If you want to find out, then you should check out Survival Trial.

Over the weekend, I was in New Mexico at the NRA Whittington Center to observe Survival Trial III: Winterborn. One of the more interesting events I’ve ever attended, Survival Trial is a 24-hour adventure race through the high desert and mountains around Raton that also implements mental, physical and shooting challenges for contestants, which is how they earn points. Since the challenges were spread across 130,000 acres, I was unable to view every one, but I saw enough to realize that Survival Trial is about testing all skills needed for survival, both urban and backcountry.

Using only a map and compass, contestants (two-person teams) had to traverse from challenge to challenge, determining the best route and dealing with the night and extreme cold of February. Each team had to carry a required amount of equipment, they could carry an additional that they wanted, which consisted of both survival and fighting gear.

The brainchild of Jon Weiler, CEO of Professional Marksmen Inc., Survival Trial is a learning experience wrapped in one very large test of skills. While most would think that Survival Trial is designed specifically for military operators, it was mostly civilians that made up the five brave teams that dared to face the mountains in winter. I personally would love to see if I have what it takes to be a survivor, but after a decade behind a desk, I’m not ready right now. We’ll see about next year.

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