The Real and Imaginary Dangers of Firearms Training

by Rob Morse

The most dangerous thing about guns is….

... I could accidently wound my pride.
... I need a new gun before I can take a class.
... I could make a mistake in a self-defense class.
... I might look clumsy or unsafe, and leave my ego bleeding on the classroom floor.

These excuses feel familiar to me. Most gun owners have never taken a concealed carry course. If we did get our permit, then most of us stopped there. We haven’t been to the range or taken a class in years. We like to shoot, but our fear of embarrassment keeps us from taking the next step.

Our fear also leaves our family at risk. When we step back and look at it, we would rather fail on the street in a self-defense encounter than submit to correction in a firearms class. Our fear of embarrassment in a firearms class is unfounded. That is the good news.

The person who puts his ego on the line is the shooter, not the firearms instructor. Every instructor I’ve ever met would much rather have willing students in his class, than have a person who is afraid to make mistakes and accept correction. The classroom is the perfect place to find out what you know and what you don’t. Discover what works and what needs improvement.

It isn’t the instructor who will judge us or criticize our character. We are afraid of falling short of our own unrealistic expectations. How can we gather our courage enough to learn something about firearms safety and self-defense?

As a statement of fact, very few of us are as good as we imagine. On average, we’re average. I speak from personal experience and have the competition scores to prove just how average I am!  The solution is simple.

Back up and take a basic course where you feel comfortable.

I need practice and refresher courses from time to time. I have NEVER taken a class I didn’t enjoy. I don’t know anyone who has, and that covers some extremes. I’ve been hot and cold and wet, but I left with a smile every time. I came away tired but smarter.

Maybe I convinced you, but not your friend. Your friend says, “I already know how to shoot.”

Then show us.  Go take a class and be willing to learn.

  • Do you safely load, unload, and handle your firearm with confidence?
  • Do you hit stationary targets at intermediate distances?
  • Do you shoot on the move?
  • Do you get a perfect grip on your firearm every time?
  • Do you consistently present your firearm while wearing a concealment garment?
  • Do you remember the legal use of lethal force?

 

Take that first step. Ask the gun owners in your area where to train, because the course that fits an experienced gun owner in Hawaii won’t work for a beginner in Maine.

Believe me, there is so much to learn. I guarantee that you will learn something new. Even if you are in a basic class that you took years ago, you will remember things you’ve forgotten. You will also demonstrate what you know when you are out on the shooting range. Now you know what you know.

As a bonus, you will also discover what to learn next after you take your class. It is simply one small step at a time.

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.