In Fear For Your Life

One of the things that constantly amazes me is how examples of bad defensive gun use somehow get bronzed and polished into examples of excellence.  One of those is found here on Brietbart.  While I get the general idea that this is an example of someone standing up for themselves, the entire sequence demonstrates how completely stupid it is to have a firearm and not be willing or able to use it properly.

Several weeks ago I wrote here about I took a course from Central Alabama Firearms Training LLC (www.caftllc.com) and how it was a tremendous help to me.  I detected errors in my approach that could get me killed, and got some excellent coaching.  I took that training (even though I have my CCW and didn’t need it for that purpose) because I believe you need training every two years to stay on top of perishable skills.  I noted that because they use Go-Pro cameras, I incorporated them into my own training, and how that has helped me improve.

Watching the surveillance video from the beginning, it’s clear that the woman behind the register is in condition white.  Otherwise, when a shotgun-weilding robber entered the store she would have grabbed the gun, aimed and fired.  Instead she is calmly eating something and then HOLY SHIT HE HAS A SHOTGUN!

Okay, genius, maybe this is why you need to be in condition yellow at all times, particularly in a place that is like a robber-magnet.  Holding up a liquor store is, after all, nearly a cliche.  She quickly goes for her gun but then is stopped by the gun-toting, hoodie-wearing thug.  Let me also note that this is why its called “conceal and CARRY.”  If it isn’t on your person, you can’t get to it to use it!

Twice more she goes for it, twice more she backs off, and the ignorant thug manages not to find and take the pistols.  Let me say that again, he knows or suspects there are guns, and he doesn’t take them.  My bet: he has had lots of time in the hospital to regret this course of action, and as soon as he gets out of prison he is going to kill the next store owner he robs.

Yeah, it’s not until around the 40 second mark that both mom and daughter grab their weapons and do the first smart thing they’ll do today: they hide.  I am good with hiding.  I am good with not chasing the bad guy who has a scatter-gun.  That’s smart.  What is NOT smart is thinking that a gun has magical powers and will protect you.

But the certifiable genius who decided to rob the store comes back around the counter one last time and takes at least one round center mass, then she fires another couple with doubtful effect.  I am not sure what the round count is here, but I think by the time she finishes with Mr. Hoodie, her gun is empty.  File that under “thank God.”

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter criminals.  This would be the time to run like hell, not stay around and see if you can outgun a superior force of women who, despite being ineffective marksmen to this point, have at least managed to alter your anatomy and affect your physiology.

Let me editorialize for the benefit of smarter store-owners.  It is a full 1 minute 12 seconds before the genius daughter calls 911.  Survival would have dictated an earlier call.  One might even have considered  – I don’t know – a burglar alarm?

Now, back to the action.  After chasing the robber outside the cage, she gets shot at, and has to go back behind the cage.  Instead of just leaving, Mr. Hoodie pursues. And, at 1:22 in the video we see him take two more in the guts from the wheelgun Big Mama has.  But he isn’t done yet.  Shot, wounded, probably seriously pissed at this point, he decides to wrestle Big Mama for the gun.  If you’re counting rounds, like I was, Mama is either out or has 1 round left.  So he’s grappling for the empty gun!  Is this guy a Mensa candidate or what?

At this point the daughter enters the fray, seeing that Big Mama is perilously close to getting a .38 sandwich.  She manages to violate the third and fourth rule of gun safety.  After watching the kabuki dance between Mr. Hoodie and Big Mama, while her mother is directly behind the bad guy, she fires into his back.  The daughter is not exactly going to pass the Mensa entrance exam either!

Now seriously pissed, he wrestled the gun away from Big Mama and hears the Dead Man’s Click when he fires on an empty chamber at the daughter.  Then he manages to stumble around and nearly destroy the place as he recognizes, finally, that he is about to bleed out and die.  He left a nice blood trail and the cops found him fairly quickly it looks like, working on his Darwin Award application.

Okay, now, I have pointed out a number of screw ups here, but let’s look at the biggest mistake of all: not being willing to do what it takes to survive a gunfight.  My guess: neither mama nor daughter had firearms training, nor ever done any preparatory work to establish their will to win that kind of confrontation.  They trusted that a gun alone made them safe.  This is one point where I agree with the gunsense idiots. A gun does not make you safe.  Using a gun quickly and with deadly effect makes you safe. Simply put, in defensive firearms instruction, you learn to stop the threat.  If the bad guy falls and drops his weapon, fine.  But if he doesn’t, you keep shooting until he is not a threat any longer.  If someone is pursuing, armed or not, he isn’t after first aid, as this thug demonstrated.  Big Mama’s second mistake was letting him get his hands on the gun.  She should never have let him get that close.

Defensive shooting doesn’t mean you execute the attacker.  It means you have to stop him.  At 0:54 Big Mama should have kept shooting until the fight was out of him.  And if she chooses to pursue him, as she did, she needs to shoot to make sure he doesn’t have any more fight left in him.  At this point, with him having access to a shotgun, it’s “kill or be killed.”

In essence, this video demonstrates a situation peculiar to many women, and God bless them for it.  They do not want to be the instrument of someone’s death.  Certainly that’s not all women.  Women can be psychopaths too.  But criminals sense that peculiar female weakness and that is exactly why Mr. Hoodie pursued Big Mama here.  He knew she didn’t have the stomach to kill him, and he knew he had the stomach, and the will, to fight her for the gun and kill her.  But here’s the rub: the idiot couldn’t count.

If there is anything that absolutely must be drilled into women when teaching a firearms course it is that predators smell prey and thrive on displayed weakness.  They either cue on pheromones, or on facial expression, or on language, and they see someone who has a gun, not because she wants to defend her life, but because she wants to scare off someone.  And predators are risk takers.  They seize the moment.  They are unmerciful.  Once in possession of the gun, he would have killed her.  There is no question in my mind.

I have talked at length with my wife about what it takes to actually shoot a human being, about how huge that decision is, and how difficult it is to make, but how necessary it is to do it if the situation requires it.  Would I hesitate to pull the trigger if I confronted a man with a  shotgun?  Hell no.  But, yeah, I worry about my wife, God bless her.

GoPro: Shooters Friend

Okay, I admit it, I’m a geek.  I always have been, and I probably always will be.  They are likely to bury me with my Ipad (assuming the nursing home people do not take it away).

As I mentioned yesterday, I have started taking my GoPro to the range when I go.  I thought I might offer some advice for those of you who want to try this and have not done so yet.

First, choice of camera.  I had one of the original GoPros (GoPro 3) and I bought every single available attachment for it.  By the time I finished with it, I had more junk than I could carry.  There were problems with this original GoPro (pictured here)

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One problem was bulk.  It was giant and clunky and no matter where you put it, it got in the way.  And even though there were a dozen or so accessories for the damned thing, there was nothing that put it at eye level, or even close except for a device that was designed to strap it to a bike helmet.  Now, if you go to the range with a bike helmet on, they are liable to ask you to head back to Happy Acres and call the men in the white coats if you don’t leave quietly.  So the bike helmet thing was a non-starter.

There was a head mount. (pictured)

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Again, the problem here is that wearing this in public makes you look a little like the Borg from Star Trek.  Not my favorite look!

One potential solution was the chest strap.  The chest harness wrapped around your chest and held the camera out in front of your chest, and just like the other mounts, it was clunky and you couldn’t go to high compressed ready without bumping it.  Here it is mounted over a chair with the GoPro3 attached so you can see it.

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Not very practical.  So strike two.

Then, following a trip to Italy, my GoPro got lost, and my wife bought me a GoPro Session.  Unlike the others, this one had a built in battery you couldn’t change, and roughly the same length of running time.  More importantly, it was lightweight and much much smaller (pictured here)

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Along about the same time the ball cap mount came out.  (pictured here)

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It fits on the brim of your hat, only slightly above your eye level and it provides a good view of the action if you adjust it properly.  On its initial break in run at Disneyland, I must confess to having some great views of dark ceilings because I did not adjust it right.  And this is pretty dumb because with the GoPro app on your phone you can get a dynamic view of what your camera is seeing so that you know whether you are capturing your shooting or getting a really good view of the sky.  Once you have the camera adjusted, assuming you don’t mess with the hat, you should be set for video capture.

One really good thing, as I have already pointed out, is that a camera records everything you do right, and everything you do wrong.  Unlike setting up a video camera and walking away to do shooting, you simply tap the button on the top of the Session (the newest version is the Session 5) and start shooting.  You get the shooter’s view of the shooting (very much like the bodycam video you see every now and then).  In retrospective analysis it makes it much easier to see what you’re doing wrong and also what you do well.

I believe its important not to judge your shooting solely on the basis of targets with holes in them.  Anyone can punch holes in paper given enough time.  Being able to accurately see what you’re doing, how you’re holding the firearm, etc, is a huge advantage in trying to figure out why, for example, all of your bullets are grouped on one side of the target. (pictured here).

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So, that’s my take on GoPro as a shooter’s aid.  I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Range Day

I love range day.

I try to go during the week, because the range I use (East Alabama Gun Club) is full to overflowing on the weekends.  Of course, for entertainment sometimes I go watch the SASS and IDPA events when they have them, but most of the time, I go alone and I shoot alone.  I actually like it that way.

This time, I brought a Go-Pro Session camera with me mounted to my hat.  While I wish I had adjusted the camera a little better (I could have used my iphone to see what it was seeing, but that did not occur to me until I was viewing the footage later and cursing myself).  But I still got a little useful footage.

I don’t post this video to brag.  And some of you are going to look at it and go “MY GOD I HOPE NOT!”  This is because you never see yourself screwing up until afterwards, like when my wife came in as I was editing the footage and said “you know your two handed grip on the M&P really sucked!”  Yeah, thanks Dear, so helpful of you to point that out.

They say that it is important to adhere to fundamentals like grip, trigger press, and the like, and I try to implement those as faithfully as I can.  But I still screw up from time to time and don’t get a good grip on my pistol.

On this last range day I was shooting my Ruger GP-100 Match Champion .357 and I was shooting .357 Magnum rounds through it.  I figure, why have one if you’re only going to train with .38 special?  Just buy a .38.  So I actually had a pretty good day with the .357, even though it hurt my recently fractured and even more recently healed wrist.  Still, I got all the shots in the 10 ring, and I could that as a win.  Not that I carry that pistol.  It stays in the safe most of the time.  But I do keep it handy in the event of the Zombie Apocolypse.  I did all this shooting from between 7 and 10 yards.

I also shot my Glock 19, but I did not get any footage, mostly because I forgot the damned camera until I was finishing up with the M&P toward the end of the session.  That would actually have been good footage because they have steel targets and I hit every one of them with the Glock, but then again, that’s my usual carry gun.  So, the video is very selective and selectively edited to make me look less like a complete loon.   So, here’s the footage.  First the .357, because that was probably the best of the ones filmed

Now the shots at center of mass using the M&P.

Now, head shots using the M&P.

Again, none of this video is too pretty, but here is what it taught me.  A Go Pro should be a regular part of my shooting practice because it allows me to see my mistakes in real time if I use their app and view the footage from the phone.   As training aids go, it serves as a substitute for a coach, because I can assure you no one is going to be as hard on me as I will be.  I’m almost ashamed to post this video, but, if you don’t have integrity, what do you have.

CAFT Fundamentals of Concealed Carry Course

 

Rob Pincus is well known in the gun world.  You see his photograph in different magazines from the NRA to Guns & Ammo. Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 11.42.42 AM

He even appears in advertisements for products now and then.  He has created a Combat Focused Training course, and the Fundamentals of Concealed Carry was the first of his training courses that I have attended.  This review is specific to Central Alabama Firearms Training LLC (www.caftllc.com) and the one-day course it offers in Birmingham, Alabama. I have to tell you, this was a fabulous course.

In order to be certified as an instructor by Pincus you not only have to know how to shoot, and be able to teach it, you have to make it through the training which washes out a good half of the people who take it.  That David McCullough (the owner of CAFT) was able to pass and be certified tells you something very important about his qualifications:  he satisfied Rob Pincus.

Safety is Job One

Training that isn’t safe is not training that you take seriously.  I have walked out of training where people pointed loaded guns at other people.  I am never going to take a chance on someone making the kind of mistake that might cost me my life.  I am happy to say that safety was a big issue at CAFT.  It starts before you sign up.

You are encouraged to bring your defensive firearm and an outside the waistband holster.  I brought both IWB and OWB but wound up using my N82Tactical IWB because I could reholster easier with it than an OWB.  Also, I place a much higher value on being able to conceal my firearm than others I guess.  One of the things we were instructed not to bring was a shoulder holster.

If you are unfamiliar with firearms training, or having been on a firing line with other people, you don’t understand the common-sense safety built into this requirement.  If you, in your daily life, want to wear one, I am sure David would have no problem with you doing so.   But look at this image because you have to understand the inherent danger in a shoulder holster:shoulder holster sweep

Now note where the pistol is pointing when you wear a holster: directly at the person behind you.  In most cases, that means your instructors.  And as you draw, you sweep across anyone on the firing line to your left or right.  In this instance a negligent discharge would be potentially fatal.  So these were outlawed at the beginning.  A commitment to safety that is evident in preparation is noteworthy in my view.  I will discuss other safety-related issues as they arise in this review.

Another thing I liked about this training was that it assumed you had an understanding of the legal basis for self-defense, how the state law applied to you, and whether you needed legal advice.  As an attorney I am often amazed at the exceptionally bad advice given by instructors (like: “hang up on 911”).  None of that here.  You were encouraged to read for yourself and get legal advice.  This is excellent advice, not just because I am a lawyer, but also because it underscores that anyone can give you legal “instruction” but only a lawyer can tell you how the law applies to a given situation.  However, I would also be remiss if I did not mention that they offered sound and practical advice about how to deal with the police after such a self-defense shooting.  This was not legal advice, but practical advice.

Classroom

Mr. McCullough taught the didactic portion of the class by himself.  He used Powerpoint slides and a few videos to make points.  The instruction was in the same trailer used by the local SWAT team and had photos all over the place of police officers with guns.  You were reminded at every level that what you do when you carry a firearms involves the approbation of law enforcement, and is closely monitored by them.  CAFT provided snacks and coffee, and on the range provided bottled water.  Restroom facilities were available.

The class was designed for ten, but we had eleven people in our class.  Two of the attendees had taken the class before and were repeating it.  That to me was an expression of the value that they perceived from the class.  Inside a classroom a 1:11 ratio of instructor to student is not a problem.  On a live fire range, however, it has the potential to be a disaster.  So I was very relieved to see six additional instructors at the range and available for the live fire portion of the training.

Before I get to that, let me say that many of the topics covered in the classroom portion were similar to topics I have covered here.  The range at which most gunfights occur, the degree of hits, etc.  There was a discussion about choice of ammo.  There was a great deal of practical information.  But it all boiled down to preparing us for the range.  Not only was there additional safety information provided in class, we were not allowed to bring any ammunition into the classroom.

Range Time

When we went to the range, the safety briefing was first. They used electronic hearing protection so that we could hear the instructors easily.  They insisted on eye protection.  We could not even load magazines until we were on the range and even then we could not load our pistols until instructed.  The range safety briefing was a kinder and gentler version of the same briefing I had in Army boot camp.  It boiled down to the four rules of gun safety, and of course, emphasis on what I call the really big rule:  Keep Your Booger Hook off the Bang Button.

One of the many things the Army does right is instruction “by the numbers.”  This breaks down a complicated series of steps into movements you can perform following numbers.  That is what CAFT did with the draw stroke and with firing at the targets.  Breaking these down for each individual movement was very important because several of the attendees had never fired a gun before.  Instructors were patient, and offered excellent pointers.  More importantly, they were providing a means through which we could develop muscle memory.  The brain is structured in such a way that response time to any emergency can be improved through practice, training, and experience in advance. Such preparation involves converting complex cognitive operations (which take 8‐ 10 seconds) into simple cognitive operations (which take 1‐ 2 seconds).  This conversion of a series of complex operations (the draw stroke, high compressed ready, extend, touch, press, etc) into one simple operation overcomes the limitation on the brain’s storage capacity within working memory.  It provides the brain with a prewired solution to a problem.

One of the things that defensive firearms instructors often include is “checking your six” in a defensive shooting because the threat in front of you may not be the only one.  So we were asked to check our six every time.  It was integrated into muscle memory.  But checking your six is a useless act if you are not really looking!  So instructors behind us held up fingers and we had to tell them what they were holding up.  Pressure was ratcheted up with instructions to shoot numbers, multiple threats, and then numbers that added up to numbers.  Lots of us made errors, but those errors were always patiently corrected.

The instructor who worked with me demonstrated to me how important a good grip was by showing me the difference in my groupings when I had a good grip (1 to 2 inches) versus when I had a less-effective grip (all over the place).  We were encouraged not to look at our gun when reloading, to move between rounds of fire, and to move when reloading.  At nearly every step of the way, the pressure was increased, and as students we responded.  I learned more in one day than I did my entire time in the Army, and I qualified on every rifle and pistol available to issue in the Army.

The Simulation of Your Life

Yet, while I got a lot out of the range time, and learned a great deal, what I got the most out of was the Simunitions drill.  Simunitions are a kind of paintball round fired by a modified Glock 19.  As it so happens, my Everyday Carry is a Glock 19 (although I used a S&W M&P Model 2.0 for the class).  It fit my holster perfectly.  Each of us could only watch the scenarios after we had participated in our own.

When my time came I was placed in a Darth Vader type helmet, given the magic Glock, and sent for a walk.  I won’t describe the scenario because they may want to use it again, but suffice it to say that it started out as a “defense of others” scenario and quickly became a self-defense situation.  The speed with which the situation degenerated was amazing, and it produced the exact reaction it was supposed to produce.

What do we know about self-defense situations?  We know that we get an adrenaline dump, that we develop tunnel vision, and that our fine motor skills go quickly to hell, leaving us only with muscle memory and learned responses.  I knew this was a simulation.  I am in reasonably good shape.  Yet when I was attacked and I had to draw that weapon and fire, I found my heart rate had jumped from 60 to 130.  After the shooting they have you simulate a call to 911.  I had to take a breath every few words.  I was literally gasping for breath in spite of the fact that the only exercise I had was drawing and firing.  And at the moment that I fired I could not see anyone but my attacker.  I had tunnel vision.  Even though I knew this was a simulation, it was certainly the closest thing in the world to a real-world shooting incident.  This one exercise made the ridiculously small price of $150 very much worth it.  What I took away from that encounter was confidence.  I not only could engage in a self-defense shooting, I could prevail if I did.

Bottom Line:  Great Training

I have wracked my brain trying to think of something, anything I could say that was a significant omission from the course.  A review should be about both the good and the bad.  But here the only thing I can honestly say I would have liked to see that I didn’t see was training on pre-assault indicators.  In a 9 hour intensive action course, that’s a pretty minimal omission.

The instructors that worked with me were terrific.  They improved my shooting. I have the basis now to know what I need to add to the range bag to improve my personal training at the range.  And perhaps most importantly, I know that if I practice what I learned I will be a better defensive shooter.

There are lots of NRA courses that teach some basic skills.  Very few teach the kind of life-saving things that the Fundamentals of Concealed Carry Course teach.  For more information on this excellent program, go to their website.  It is worth your time to drive, fly, bike or walk to Birmingham for this training.  I know I am glad that I did.

I will update this review with photos shortly.

Updated 1-25-18 to correct spelling of Mr. McCullough’s name.

 

Why We Train

Survival Depends on Training

There are very few savants who come from the womb with knowledge of gun-fighting.  That’s not to say that there might not be a few, because I am sure that some people take naturally to guns without a great deal of training, and perhaps internalize all the bad moves seen in the movies and on television (like putting your finger inside the trigger guard when you are not actively getting ready to shoot).

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Nevertheless, for most of us, what we learn about guns and fighting with guns comes from one of two sources: our military or police training and what we get from knowledgeable (and sometimes unknowledgeable) friends.  Experts tell us that only a small percentage of what we learn in training is retained long term.  Some claim it is as little as 35% when lecture and reading are combined with Audiovisual and Demonstration.  I know from personal experience that I had to watch a YouTube video to remember how to clean my M-16 (now an AR-15) after lugging that damned thing all over Korea and cleaning it every other day.  Of course, that was 32 years ago.  Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 3.32.20 PM

This illustrates an important principle; we tend to forget that which we have learned and which we have not used and practiced.  This is because memory is very selective; we remember what we think we need, and may not remember what we actually see.  Perception and memory often result in a loss of almost 95% of the information obtained through training. It’s called the Forgetting Curve.  That’s why training needs to happen on a regular basis.

Finding this difficult to believe?  Well, watch this training video and see how you do.  Unless you truly are a savant, you were left feeling more than a little silly at the end of that video.  The fact is that training, like freshly caught fish, must be used quickly.  It must be reinforced through practice.  It must become a part of your habits and daily life.  In terms of carrying a weapon concealed, training is the difference between shooting someone and getting shot, cut, stabbed or worse.  How many times have you heard someone say “I got a gun to keep me safe!”  And how many times did the person take it to a range and learn how to use it properly?  My guess is the smaller number is the last one.

Here’s a news flash: Guns do not make you safe, but training makes you safer.

The Illusion of Safety

There is a wonderful parable from the Destroyer series of books written by Sapir and Murphy.  Yes, they are terrible pulp fiction, but buried in many of them are little treasures of wisdom.  In one book the support character, Chuin, tells the story of the King who learned that a rival king had paid an assassin to kill him.  He had his minister hire the person who could make him safe, a consultant so to speak.  The consultant’s first observation was that the walls were easily scaled.  So the King increased the height of his walls, asked the consultant if this made him safe, and the consultant said “no, people could just dig under.”  So he lined the inside of the castle walls with heavy rocks and asked if this made him safe.  Again the consultant answered in the negative.  He doubled the guards. “How do you know one of them is not your assassin,” the consultant asked. Frustrated, the King asked “is there no way to make me safe?”

The consultant said “if you want to be safe, come with me into the woods at the north of the castle and dismiss your guards.  You and I must be alone.”  The King dismissed his guards and followed the consultant into the woods.  The consultant handed the King a shovel and asked him to dig a hole.

“I am a King,” the man said.  “I do not dig holes; I command other people to dig holes.”

“This is what you must do if you want to be safe,” the consultant said.

Thinking that this would somehow make him invincible, the King reluctantly dug a nice six foot hole.  “Am I safe now,” he asked.

“Your majesty, you are in the safest place you will ever be, you are totally safe.”

“I am?”

“Yes,” said the consultant, drawing a sheathed knife, “you’re in your grave.”

The story had an unhappy end for the King, but the consultant got paid by two kings to kill one.

And, no, the moral of the story is not that you should never hire a consultant from more than 25 miles away from home, the moral is, as Chuin tells us later “no greater enemy exists than your own illusion of safety.”

Let me repeat Chuin’s wonderful statement:  No greater enemy exists than your own illusion of safety.

Why?

Because life can go from happy to chaos in a matter of moments.  One minute you can be escorting your bride down the street, and the next moment you could be confronted with a lunatic with a baseball bat and an unchecked sexual urge.  When you are wondering about, blithely ignoring the cues all around you (no people on the street, quiet when there should be noise, or noise when there should be quiet, etc.) your illusion of safety can get you killed.

Having gone to an indoor range and pulled the trigger on your firearm a couple of dozen times does not prepare you for this moment.  Can you draw before that man with the baseball bat can get to you?  Can you shoot him and stop the threat when your hands are shaking like an electrician on a live wire?  If he gets to you before you can get your gun into operation, will he take it away and use it on you?  If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then you need training.

I Already Had Training….

“Wait a minute,” you say.  “I had to take training to get my license!”

Sure you did.  That training made sure you didn’t shoot your toes or someone else’s ass off because you didn’t know which end of the firearm went “bang.”  It acquainted you with the law as it existed at that moment.  It gave you a nice little piece of paper that satisfied the statute, but it likely did nothing whatsoever for your safety.

Why?

  • Because it didn’t teach you how to draw from concealment.
  • It didn’t teach you situational awareness.
  • It didn’t teach you how to look for pre-assault indicators.
  • It didn’t teach you that a knife 21 feet away from a holstered firearm is more deadly than the holstered firearm.
  • It didn’t give you any realistic expectation of where your encounter with deadly force might occur.
  • It didn’t prepare you for the emotional costs of taking a human life.
  • And it didn’t prepare you for the aftermath.  And there will be aftermath.  You will need a clear head.

None of us would put a hammer in our pants and call ourselves a carpenter unless we knew how to be a carpenter.  A hammer doesn’t make you one.  Picking up two wires and splicing them doesn’t make you a lineman either.  Like anything else, what makes you what you wish to be is education, experience, practice and eventually, skill.

There is an aphorism that says wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.  In other words, knowing things doesn’t make you wise, knowing the right things and applying them properly makes you wise.  A different way to think about experience is that experience provides you with the way to make enough mistakes to become wise.

But in terms of gun handling and preparing to defend yourself, “experience” is often binary.  In other words, you only gain experience if you survive.  Depending on experience to carry the day when you practice without a goal in mind is counting on surviving before you have even prepared to survive.

Do You Want to Live?

Have I made the case for taking training beyond the basic training  you got when you got your carry permit?  I believe I have.  In my next blog post I will share with you some of my observations of a recent training experience.  But before I got there, I wanted you to have some time to think about why training is so necessary.

So I leave you with this video.  In it you have a deputy sheriff.  He was well-trained.  He had protective equipment on.  He had practiced with his firearm.  He was likely a good shot.  Listen to his voice as the situation goes from bad to worse.  Watch as he hesitates.  And then listen to his screams as he is shot nine times, even though he managed to wound the suspect once. From the video you can tell he failed to learn the most important lesson of his training: you have to do what it takes to survive.