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Some Musings Regarding Training

Good points brought up in this article. I will add my two-cents worth at the end:

Training comments from a retired USN Commander:

"After years of running emergency drills on US Naval vessels, I learned (mostly the hard way) a few vital Principles of Training.

In a real emergency, our students will invariably rise to the level of their training - not theirs, nor our, expectations! So, the more painful, relevant, hard, and emotional our training, the better we respond when bad things happen.

As an example, when fire breaks out inside a submerged submarine (something that happens a lot more often than is ever reported) visibility degrades to near-zero, usually in less than a minute. Yet, we routinely trained in bright light, and could not turn off the lights, due to the need to operate the reactor-plant safely.

One of my sharp, young sailors suggested stuffing the inside of our emergency air-breathing apparatus with black trash-can liners, in order to simulate low visibility, and bad air. We did it that way, and quickly, unhappily discovered that our previous training had been utterly inadequate. Our first drill, thus encumbered, was a fair imitation of a Three-Stooges movie!

I began to realize precisely what you emphasize in Classes: Good training is very scary, demanding, and makes you feel inadequate and stupid. When you finish and 'feel good about it,' you probably weren't pushing yourself hard enough. Learning takes place when you fail, not when you succeed!

Thus, any training worthy of the name is going to be both frustrating and 'dangerous,' no matter what safety procedures are in place. But, failing to train is even more dangerous, and the consequences ever appalling and irrevocable. Ask any commander who has lost a battle!

And, failing to train because those in charge are more worried about their next promotion than the lives of their crew-members is criminal!"

Naive "administrators" about whom we're talking fully expect a chocolate cake to emerge when they dump together vinegar and baking soda, and are astonished when it doesn't happen!


  1. It amazes me how so many people who have MAYBE taken some sort of firearms safety class or entry-level shooting class and truly believe they are prepared to defend themselves. They walk around with the newest “Model 674 Mega – Herfenderfer”, flash it around like a wad of $100 bills and think they are ready. WAKE UP! Just because you own a gun does not mean you can fight with it.

  1. I hear people say, “I can do ______.” When I ask them to show me (I’m from Missouri) they always have some excuse (too hot, too dry, too wet, too tired, blah, blah, blah). Remember Jeff Cooper’s exhortation about ‘skill on demand’ – “If a man pulled off something really difficult three or four times, I guess that will establish him, but he has to be able to bring this sort of thing off on demand. It is not something that he once did under observation.” Remember, it’s your LIFE and the LIVES of your family you are protecting.

  1. Under less than ideal conditions your ‘Plan A’ will fail. What’s your ‘Plan B’? Do you have a ‘Plan B’? Have you tested your Plan A under the worst possible conditions or under any conditions other than the range? No. Hmmm … remember what Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” The military also realizes the fallacy of having only one plan, “No plan survives first contact.”

  1. If you are truly training, you will make mistakes; you will fail. That’s OK. My friend John Farnam is fond of saying, “Try boldly and fail magnificently!” You will not learn when you do things correctly; you learn by making mistakes and then fixing them.

  1. Training is hard, uncomfortable and at times, dangerous. But, in order to succeed and fully develop your skills takes time, patience and a desire to become better. Think about what is at stake, your life and the lives of your family.

  1. Lastly … You cannot merely purchase a firearm, obtain a permit, shoot a couple of rounds down range and deem yourself prepared to defend yourself against a lethal assault. If you think you are you are delusional at best and dangerous at worst.

"We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears."

François de Larochefoucauld

"Superiority lies in he who is trained in the harshest school."



The Director's Desk

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