“The people you inspire will go farther than the people you impress” – John Farnam
Over the past 30-days there have been a plethora of news stories regarding gun owners – well meaning, I’m sure – doing stupid things with firearms, as well as a large number of clean defensive uses of guns. Of course, all of it barely rates a mention by American media outlets, who, at this time, are obsessed with the destruction of the current president, and statutes that no one seemed to care about before the 2016 election. At least the Russian boogieman seems to have vaporized!
At any rate, we announce to all of our new students that the most important information they will learn in our class is how to live (in every sense of the word) with their guns – but, we emphasize that the day-to-day management of storage, handling, loading, unloading, chamber check, transport, and carry, will be the most useful takeaways. After all, serious gun carriers will handle their guns EVERY day, yet most will live long lives that won’t include a defensive shooting. Proper techniques, when performed the same way every time, will prevent their first accident from ever occurring – and proper technique is achieved through proper training!
“Training” is a subjective word, and an oft-debated subject. There are those who suggest no one should own a gun without it, some going as far as demanding laws mandating it be enacted. And there are those, such as myself, who understand the importance of training and advocate for responsible gun owners seek it out, but also respect and support the right (as clearly stated in Article II of the Bill of Rights) to exists without infringement.
I think training is important – So much so, I became a trainer! But, I also understand that one of the worst kept secrets in this business is that most people never attend a training class, never practice with their gun, and never have to use it for defense. And another open secret is that the majority of those who do successfully defend themselves, do so, and survive, in spite of their lack of training certificate from Fortress.
So, do we then conclude that training is unnecessary? Worthless? A waste of time?
In fact, most Americans who buy guns for defense are an accident waiting to happen. However, their lack of interest in their guns means all that non-handling/non-shooting is resulting in a form of de facto accident prevention.
Every time we handle a gun we increase our chances of having an accident, and most gun owners never handle their guns (thank Odin!) Then again, sometimes the kids in their care do: 4-Year Old Boy Shoots Self After Finding Babysitter’s Gun. And for those who carry, sometimes they leave their guns behind in bathrooms or hotel rooms, and sometimes Federal Agents discharge them in airports.
It’s the day-to-day life with guns habits that need to be ingrained and mastered, but too often the state mandated CCL classes, and the courses presented by those who appear to be worshiping at the alter of a god named “Tactical”, tend to gloss over it.
In today’s world, repetitious gun manipulation isn’t sexy – it doesn’t make for exciting Youtube videos. Classes emphasizing gun handling, lectures on use of force law, and drills on disengagement and deescalation are a hard sell. The industry promotes smash cut action, death metal soundtracks, and zombie everything – a world where all problems are shooting solutions and the round count is HIGH!
…but that’s not what the average CCL holder needs.
The average CCL holder needs to know how to handle, load and unload without creating additional holes to people or property. They need to be made aware of their muzzle in relation to their own extremities. They need help creating storage solutions, choosing proper holsters for their lifestyle, and how to use a public restroom while carrying a gun. They need to learn how to avoid fights, and how to deescalate at the lowest force level possible. They need to know the legal, spiritual, moral, and monetary realities of aligning their sights on another human being and pressing the trigger. They need personal council!
A job of the Instructor is to guide students to, and through, reality, not dazzle them with some “SEAL-Team-85-super-secret-Israeli-ninja-ancient-dragon-technique.” Learning to shoot accurately is a relatively easy skill to learn, it’s all the ancillary information that is missing from the lexicons of most gun owners – AND from the curriculum of too many Instructors.
From some of the videos I’ve seen as well as social media comments, I have to wonder if many Instructors understand they will be subpoenaed when their student is involved in a shooting. They will, under oath, have to explain and justify every drill they ran, every technique they taught, and every word they spoke in class – and their student’s freedom and wallet will be hanging in the balance.
Training is good – training with a good Instructor is better. So, yes, we suggest training, and we suggest due diligence and selectivity before you buy. But, in the meantime, a final word to the wise – whatever you do, don’t behave like this guy: Florida Man Pulls Gun To Try And Prove Point At Self Defense Class
“You want to challenge experts, because experts get a lot wrong. Doctors misdiagnose one time in five. In the U.S. and Canada, 50,000 people die every year who would not have had to.” – Noreena Hertz