Training is the process of “growth” – learning a new skill set, working with that skill set, honing it, refining it, integrating it – making that skill set your own.
It’s an on-going, life long process. Skills left unused erode rapidly. For a skill set that is needed for a short time this presents little concern. However, for a skill set you expect to use over a life time, it is an entirely different matter. The skills required for personal defense using a handgun, shotgun or rifle take effort and dedication to learn and simply REQUIRE a lifetime of dedicated practice. Of course an individual doesn’t need to accept this and can simply visit the range a couple times a year. Yet the purpose of a carry permit, the purpose for the additional 20 oz. or so that ride at your 4 o’clock, is to defend yourself, your family or your friends from an existential threat. Failure is death. Let me say that one more time . . . . . Failure is death. So let me ask a rather smallish question that carries large implications . . .
Are you being honest with yourself??
I know, I know . . . . who the hell am I to “call you out”?? Honestly, no one. I could give a crap what kind of stories you tell at the bar or beauty shop (is that too sexist??? J ) to impress your friends or other gunnies. I simply don’t care. What I do care about is the o’dark-thirty threat that comes through your door, your window or greets you at your car as your come off shift and their intention is to end you. That is what I care about – period! And, to insure that you are as fully prepared to meet such a threat as is possible – you need to train as if your life depends on it . . . . because it does. So, let’s do a little honesty check. I don’t want to know your answers – I simply want you to be honest with yourself – the only person in this little dialogue that really matters.
1: Is your weapon on your person (or within an arm’s reach) as you read this? If not, why not??? Listen to your excuses – too bulky, too heavy, I’m safe in my home, I forgot. Just a reminder – death comes for us all – don’t position yourself to deliver yourself to evil without a fight. WEAR YOUR DAMN GUN!!!
2: Been to the range today? This week? This month? This year? If you never work with your weapon in the calm of a weapons range, how the hell are you going to do it with death beating on your door?? GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO TO THE RANGE. Even if that means you build an airsoft range in your home. Trigger time is trigger time – your body WILL NOT NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE when a fight finds you.
3: Clean your weapon lately? Since your last range visit? Since the summer? This year?? “But, but, but . . . everyone says this model doesn’t need a lot of cleaning.” Bullshit!!!! It’s not about brushing off the GSR and lubing it up (though I have a 1911 that will damn sure hang me out to dry if I don’t lube it every 500 rounds), it’s about getting to know your weapon, making sure there is no on-going damage, gaining the comfort that if need be – you could field strip it, fix it – and get back in the fight come hell or high water. CLEAN YOUR DAMN WEAPON!
4: How’d you do on your last range trip? “Man, did I nail it – great set of targets, most in the black – even at 50ft!! It was awesome!!!” What the hell does “awesome” mean?? Again, I don’t care how your range trip went, not my business really. But, it you’re not being honest with yourself, if you are lying to yourself – you have a problem. Be specific. For example, my last range trip I went through 80 rounds with the Ruger 22/45 and had a Combat Effective Hit Rate of 74/80. I went through 100 rounds with my G17 with a hit rate of 88/100. My range goal – shooting “at speed” - is 80%. I can quantify my results. Actually, I’ve grown fond photo-documenting my targets between sessions – it makes it hard to lie to myself. TELL THE FRICKING TRUTH TO YOURSELF – PEOPLE ARE DEPENDING ON YOU. Document your session – type of weapon, number of rounds, distance, type of engagement (from low-ready, from holster draw, from concealment . . . .), photograph your targets, videotape your training – be serious – failure in the real world is death, period.
5: How many rounds downrange this year?? “Man, thousands and thousands!!” Really?? If so, congrats – it take a lot of hours on the range to send a thousand rounds downrange. If I’m really flowing I can do 100+ in an hour. Add documentation, cut that by 25%. Again – not calling you out, but be honest with yourself. Good range time, with a good training plan and solid documentation is a guarantee of progress. Putting holes through paper? Not so much . . . .
6: Take any classes this year?? “Nah, range time a couple of times a year is all I need to keep up-to-speed.” Again I call BULLSHIT!!! Training classes, with multiple instructors, is a great way to accelerate learning this skill set we call “personal defense”. Find at least a course a year and take it. Yes, I know they can be expensive. Yes, I know there will be shooters there that will make you look pathetic (hell, I know a 14 year old kid that makes me look pathetic on steel). I know you know everything there is to know on the topic . . . . yet this is a skill set you are betting your life, your family’s lives and your friend’s lives on. Really . . . . . you know everything?????
Tonight, as you get ready for bed, I want you to have a bit of a conversation with yourself in front of the bathroom mirror. Are your doing 100% to learn this personal defense skill set? Are you spending the range time, weapons time to become proficient with your weapon of choice? DO YOU CARRY EVERY PLACE THAT YOU ARE ALLOWED BY LAW TO CARRY??
You know the answers to these questions . . . and more. Starting tomorrow . . . .
Be honest with yourself . . . . lives depend on it.