Don’t get me wrong. Philosophically, I don’t disagree with the spirit of this at all.
The abilities to load, rack/cock/charge, point, and shoot a weapon do not comprise firearm competence.
Weapon competence means you must acquire your weapon, bring it to bear, then physically bring yourself into the fight and/or evade, make accurate hits while under great duress, recognize malfunctions, clear malfunctions, and reload. All in a manner that is sure, deliberate, and effective.
The increasing normalization of the keeping and carrying of personal weapons is a very good thing. The proliferation of training professionals and facilities for teaching the use of arms is, in general, a positive development. I’m in favor of these things. It can get kinda silly, but I’m encouraged by the fact that even some of the “operators” seem to recognize it…
If you’re interested in self-defense with a firearm, it definitely isn’t enough to just go out and buy a gun. A basic familiarization course won’t give you any level of justified confidence in your ability to defend yourself with the weapon. Sometimes you can do it yourself and sometimes you need professional help, but you should train. No argument there.
A couple of years ago, living out in the dirty boonies as I do and surrounded by unfriendly critters that don’t shoot back but do appear rather more commonly than looting hordes, I switched from a 1911 to a revolver. Five rounds in a .44 isn’t much ammo. I’d already been in situations where I needed more than that, which meant I needed to learn to use these damn things…
First time out of the pouch it became clear to me that “speed strip” is a bit of a misnomer. They need to be broken in, and they need practice. Had I waited until a high-pucker-factor situation to learn this, bad things could have happened. So yeah. Practice is good. Professional training is good.
You know there’s a “but” coming, right? It has arrived…
Can you name the tactical errors that old guy made? It’s not a short list. But he won.
Not only did he win, it wasn’t even close.
A fat man in his 70’s with a pocket pistol sent two younger, stronger aggressors stumbling over one another and filling their pants, though he clearly only barely knew what he was doing with a handgun. Why? How? According to this guy, the old man should have died on the spot.
He had aggressiveness and audacity, a willingness to attack, to bring the fight to the bad guys. They weren’t there to fight and die, they only wanted to fleece some helpless sheep. Suddenly they found themselves in a gunfight, and it freaked them right the hell out.
It’s all very well to be a trained operator, operating operationally in an operational area. Aggressive dominance of any potential battlespace. And all that shit. Sure. Whatever.
Get professional training. Then get more professional training. And do it again. Practice on your own. Every week. With each of your weapons.
If you’re not going to train with your guns, don’t buy guns for self defense.
When I was young and single I would have pumped my fist and yelled “Amen!” I did all that stuff. I got professional training, and then I got more professional training. I practiced several times weekly. I competed with battle rifle and handgun. It was easy then – I was young and strong and undistracted. It was what I did. It was pretty much all I did. If I do say so myself, I was pretty hot stuff for a while.
Then I got married. Got serious about a career. Got a kid, got a mortgage. Got a lot more things to spend money and time on than gear and travel and classes. Had I suggested I spend my vacation time and hundreds or thousands of dollars on a shooting class … well, I didn’t make any such suggestion, so I don’t know what would have happened.
Did I then become unworthy to carry a gun for self-defense? I certainly had more things to defend, at the same time that – conceded – my proficiency went right to hell.
If I were the proprietor of a training facility, self-interest would probably drive me to make suggestions like the above. And yet…
…and this implied – and often expressed – notion that if you ain’t a ‘trained operator’ you’re a sheep who’s better off putting up your hands and going off quietly does a terrible disservice to people who would otherwise achieve basic proficiency and just carry a frickin’ gun, but who won’t because they injest the lesson that if they’re not high-speed-low-drag they’re unworthy dangers to themselves and others.
I’d rather live in a world filled with half-trained or even untrained CCW carriers, if that’s the best we can do, than in a world of unarmed and helpless sheep. That’s all I’m saying.