I was asked to speak to a group of realtors recently. The topic was firearm laws, safety, and training. There were about 35 in attendance, and I asked, “How many own a gun?” About half raised their hands. I then asked, “How many carry daily?” About half again. Then, “How many of you have had any training?” About ten hands stayed up. Finally, I asked, “How many had more than a 2-3 hour ‘safety’ class?” Only one hand stayed up. So, one person, who carries daily, had more than just a rudimentary training class. Scary. And, based on the questions subsequently asked, it was evident few, who said they carried, had ever researched, or received any training in firearms law. It never ceases to amaze me what people believe and, when informed, steadfastly stand by their often erroneous beliefs.
I have been training civilian self-defense for over 50 years and have been training law enforcement for over 40 years. What I have learned in that time is many do not want to put in the necessary work to become better. Like the great basketball coach Bobby Knight said, “Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.” Any success I have enjoyed as a competitor in the martial arts and in shooting is solely because I worked harder than the folks I beat. Period. I wasn’t a natural born athlete nor do I posses any special skills. I invested hours upon hours in the gym and on the range practicing and improving what I ‘sucked at’.
In all the time I have been teaching, I have also attended numerous instructor and instructor development courses. I recently successfully completed John Farnam’s DTI Advanced Defensive Handgun and DTI Instructor courses. John is a phenomenal teacher and I have been looking forward to both these classes for years. He also requires a 100% on his qualification courses of fire. Yep … 100% with no safety or procedural errors. I also completed Tom Givens Instructor Development course. Similar standards.
I found an article by author Tom McHale on Beretta’s Blog. He says:
“There are words and ideas that pass right through our brains like truthful reporting zips past the network news. In the shooting world, one of those words is “training.” Lots of respectable people talk about the importance of training. In response, we nod our heads and think “Yes! I need to get some professional training! I’ll get right on that!” But the moment passes, we go back to our daily life, and the next thing you know, we’re back to the normal routine - visiting the range once a month and perforating paper targets with great enthusiasm and vigor.”
He goes on and says,
“Once you've made the decision to carry a firearm for self-protection, nothing can improve your ability to protect yourself and your family like professional training. Not equipment. Not ammunition. Not lights and lasers. Not watching Steven Seagal movies. Nothing.”
I advise reading his article(1). He lists eight reasons why you need expert training:
1. You Need Professional Help!
2. Concealed carry classes… aren’t.
3. If it ain’t rainin’ you ain’t trainin’.
4. You too can learn how to create a triple malfunction.
5. Time is always an issue.
6. Cardboard doesn’t run very fast
7. Tight groups on the range don't mean jack, Jack.
8. You need the bejeepers scared out of you.
So, what’s the point here? Get some real training. Then, after the training, practice … a lot.
BE SAFE • BE EFFECTIVE • BE READY