Monday, January 30, 2017

Training – It’s not about the gun . . . or the permit

Talisman      an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
                     something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

These requests weren’t new, I’ve heard them before.  In fact, there were two separate and different requests this past week.

The first came from a woman.  She and 9 of her co-workers were interested in a “carry class”.  Honestly, here in Iowa that means a lot of different things.  State law requires that the coursework be taught by a certified NRA instructor, LEO instructor or an instructor from a national organization involved in gun rights and teaching safe gun handling.  There is no requirement for face to face training or for actual range work.

As a result, there is a broad range of instructors and types of coursework available.  Honestly, most folks tend to go to the least expensive.  For this woman, we’ll see.  For what she is asking, I teach the Foundations of Defensive Pistol course from NAPSI.  It takes about 9 hours and 200 rounds of live fire.  It’s not a “quickie”. 

In under all of that though, a lot of folks who, frankly, choose the “quickie” classes view their “non-professional permit to carry a concealed weapon” as a talisman of some sort that has some type of magic power to protect them.  I have countless friends that have gone through everything from “quickie” to multiple day defensive firearms coursework that carry . . . only their permit.  No gun.  Just the permit.  I suppose they could paper-cut a threat until they surrendered . . . but I wouldn’t want to bet my life on that particular approach.

My advice is simple . . . if you get a permit, carry . . . every day . . . everywhere it is legal to do so.  Pretty tough to tell an attacker – “excuse me – stay right there – I’m gonna run home and get my gun – be right back!”

The next talisman to come into play . . . THE GUN!!!  “Yep, I went out and bought a gun!”  It’s said with a relief that they are finally ready to handle “things” . . . whatever things there are that might threaten their life.  This is usually followed by how they are keeping it safely locked up with the ammunition locked and stored elsewhere.  The mere purchase and possession of the firearm is a strong enough talisman to ward off all evildoers.  Perhaps even worse if the husband or father who buys his wife or daughter a handgun to protect herself . . . cause . . . GUN!!! 

There is no magic in the handgun.  It takes real effort and time and on-going work go gain and maintain a level of proficiency that can be used to defend your life and the lives of your family.  REAL WORK.  I’ve given this pitch many times . . . buy 1,000 rounds in January, expend 100 rounds every month.  You’ll miss a couple months . . . and this will go a long way towards you keeping a viable level of proficiency with your defensive firearm.

And, before even purchasing a defensive handgun – take training that is focused on defensive shooting.  Target shooting, while truly fun, will do little to help you in a life-threatening situation.

The last talisman is “training”.  No magic occurs during the coursework you take.  In fact, “training” doesn’t even occur during coursework.  If you are going down the defensive shooting path, the training should introduce you to a solid set of foundational information and principals along with a solid set of shooting drills you can take away with you.  Your actual training occurs when you take this information and drills and practice them while expending those 1,000 rounds you bought in January.

Taking a lot of words to say that carry permits and guns are NOT TALISMANS.  They will not ward off evil.  They may allow you to SURVIVE evil if, and only if, you put in the work.

I haven’t finished a post with this lately, let’s pull it off the shelf again . . .



Do the work . . .


  1. A comment from a Facebook friend . . .

    Earl Cadle - Agree 100%. I see the same thing. The attitude is, "The course must be inexpensive." I can understand that, everybody wants the most for their money. They don't want to pay a lot and get a little. I'm with that. I'd like a Ferrari at Ford prices too. The second point in the equation is, "The course must not exceed the minimum hours." The "student" needs to get to a social appointment: church social, youth sports practice, meeting with a club, etc. This causes me a problem. I paid for a course that is mandated to obtain something. I want the maximum amount from the course, but am requiring that be delivered in a minimum amount of time. That is like requesting life saving surgery in 2 minutes or less. Yes, I know; "I don't have time!" I have been driving since I was sixteen. I didn't get driver's ed in school. I was taught by a relative and practiced with numerous relatives. I later took, on my own time and at my won expense 3 driver's education courses that were graduated in degree of difficulty. I have been shooting since age 3 and my initial education was by a relative. I took courses and competed later to gain knowledge. I still seek out that knowledge. Whether going to the range or the store, I see getting behind the wheel as another practice session. At the range, I see another practice session. There is always something new, always something to relearn, always something improve. The people that want the least expensive and shortest course possible are the ones that are going to have and be problems on the range, on the road and in life. I can do nothing about them except try to get them to get the education.

  2. You are absolutely right. And training IS work. But one needs to do it. Not shooting for a month will seriously degrade your skill set.