I have been giving a lot of thought to training and CCW lately to organize my thoughts and philosophy in a manner that is easy to communicate. The reason for this is to give a more streamlined answer or advice to people who are just starting out, or are trying to reach a level of proficiency that is at the least, good enough to get hits on target fast enough and accurate enough to ( hopefully) do them some good.
During the last few months of taking a look at how I do things and how I share those thoughts and methods, I started to really pay attention to what the people local to me ask me and to really see what the common questions are. There are some reoccurring themes that pop up over and over again.
One of the big things that always pops up can be summed up as support equipment. Anyone who reads this blog knows we love good gear as much as the next guy but, we try to be clear about breaking the “gear fetish” to use Rob Pincus’ coined term for it. A lot of people tend to want to focus way too much on what to use. I am constantly shown cheap gimmicks and asked what I think about them. Its usually some idiotic holster that is worse then useless in that it would fail when you need it, or your gun would fall out of your pants and go skidding across the floor when standing in line to buy milk. Typically is the “ballistic nylon” or one of the gun clips that are supposed to let you not have to even wear a holster. I find that the people who always want to hear me give a thumbs up to these types of garbage, do not want to spend any amount of money on a holster. They got a gun, and some one told them they need a holster or they would not even be looking at the cheapies if they thought they could get away with it. Nine times out of ten, these people have no real intention of carrying their gun anyway. Sure, they may start out telling themselves they will. But since they lack the mindset or personal responsibility, or they fall into the sheep mentality of “nothing like that will ever happen around here”, they inevitably leave the gun at home. Oh they are proud to tell their buddies they have a CCW permit, and they might stick a knife in the back pocket, but they are more likely to place more importance on their sunglasses then a way to defend themselves. Of course the rare occasion they do carry, it is with a utter failure of a holster, no reloads at all and no training or effort put into it.
The other thing I notice is procrastination. Once I explain, everyone who reads this will know some one who does it, or may realize I have stepped on a toe or two. What I am talking about, are the guys who are always saying, they need to practice. “I need to shoot more”. “I need to train some, I just am not good enough”. And on and on. These people know they need to train, and they realize it is their own fault. But, they always put it off. The strange thing is that they do not put it off in the way you think. They always just need to figure out what the right good quality holster is, or they need a belt for it, or they have to figure out what light they want.
Usually it goes along the lines of ..”I need to start shooting my new pistol, I have not shot enough. I need to get off my ass and get me a good holster, I f I had a decent holster to work with, I would be able to have constructive practice” “I am wasting time if I don’t get the right stuff and get serious” . “Now. hmm.. should I get s kydex or leather, or do I get a kydex that will let me keep a light on my gun, or should I get it made to hold my gun without a light”. “Once I get that figured out and find one I like, I can finally get down to serious practice. I just haven’t yet because of that.”
They fixate on all the stuff that does not matter. And they put off doing what they know they should be doing. I have not been able to decide if this is on purpose, or they are just that indecisive. There is so much training you can be doing with gun, ammo and your mags not using a holster. Its better to be doing something, then waiting for just the right..whatever. No one gets better from NOT doing anything. The root of this, is what Howard , describes as the “perfect answer” problem. So many in our community want the easy answer. They want to know what the best gun/bullet/holster/lighttakeyourpick. is. A nice clean answer like what is 2+2? Oh, its 4. Cut and dry. And of course, a majority want that answer to involve something cheap. If you do not give them that black adn white answer, they just walk off and continue asking people they think know something until they get an answer they like or goes along with the opinion they already had in their own mind. Its a lot like the guys who found out the gun they bought is not highly regarded,so they go to the internet and search and argue until they find one other person who claims the crap gun is indeed the best thing ever! So, that is proof enough for them.
People will do a lot of crazy mental gymnastics to justify not training and this is the other common theme. I was one a large gun forum a year or so ago and the ever popular discussion of what guns everyone used for their personal protection. One worthy proclaimed in a scholarly tone how everyone is fantasizing about the possibility of ever possibly needing a handgun outside their home. He was sure that when ( not if ) he needed to defend himself, it would be with his shotgun. Here is the paraphrases version of what he said would happen and how well he had it solved.
According to this guy, a criminal would break into his house, and since he sleep on the second floor with his wife and dog, he would wake up when the intruder was in the house. Then, he would get his wife up and have her lock the bedroom door while he pushed the bed against the door, then he would grab his shotgun and he and her would hide behind a dresser for cover and call 911. The dog would slow the attacker down long enough for him and his wife to get into position. They bad guy would then shoot through the door and he would return fire with his shotgun using buck and slugs. He made sure that the ammo would go through the door, thats why he bought it. After killing bad guy, he and his wife would leave out the window and wait for the cops to come.
The amazing thing about this entire absurd story, was that he was absolutely 100 percent sure this was EXACLTY the way it would happen! He knew it for a certainty and when many other poster tried to point out the many flaws in his plan or ask him what would he do if the home invasion happened in a way he did not expect, he flat out stated that it would happen this way and his response would be exactly like that. He could not even conceive of being mugged on his way to the Waffle house or clubbed over the back of the head at the ATM or a crack head trying to hold him and the wife up with a knife, far away from his dog and shotgun. This has stuck in my mind because of the morons absolute religious like faith and his defense of his choices, in the way that he knew these things happened.
I told that long story because a disturbing amount of people have a similar hero phantasy like it. And when they do train, they train in some idiotic way that only supports that. The guys who take the criminally retarded zombie fad too serious come to mind.
Those same guys often will talk about not needing a light on their defense rifle or pistol or a flash light. Or how they do not need a sling or holster . A lot of the guys who are in love with the full power rifle often make the comment about how they will just lay prone and use their iron sighted M14 to pick off the bad guys at 500 yards before they can get close”, so they do not need to train for short range shots. I often wondered just what situation would end up with them in a clear field, with a M14 and being able to have a clear shot on the bad guys like it was a KD range at Perry. Everyone knows a gun fight has never happened to anyone when they least expected it or were the least prepared.
We are under a constant marketing blitz trying to get us to buy the next product that will save our lives and make shooting easier. Everyone loves gear and there is nothing wrong with it, but you got to make sure you have your priorities straight. With scarce and expensive ammo and time, we need to make sure we practice and train with realistic goals and train for things that are the types of scenarios that are more likely then a zombie or North korean invasion, or even a home invader to your bedroom fortress. Good gear is great to have, and as you become a better shooter, it can make things smoother or more efficient, but you do not need it for realistic training, Sure, if you are a Green Beret or a SWAT team cop, by all means , train for situations you may face at work, but if you are not, work on whats likely to happen, and don’t keep putting if off for every reason you can think up. You might not have another day to train. And they day might have made a difference. If that happens, you will have the rest of your life to regret it. the bright side being, you won’t have to beat your self up for long.