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Defensive Firearms Training is Imperative

Training and developing defensive skills, physically, mentally and technically are skills you must keep sharp. If you are not training at all or you are not trying to challenge yourself, you will start to lose your edge. You will also not be prepared for a critical incident. I recently heard a well known instructor state, “If you own more than five firearms and you have not taken a serious personal defense training course, you are not serious about personal defense. You are Just a firearm enthusiast”.

There is a segment of people out there, who think because they have taken a state concealed carry course, they are good to go. This is far from the truth and in most cases very dangerous thinking. State curriculum for carry classes and concealed carry permits do not even meet basic defensive skill requirements. They fall extremely short of actually giving you any important defensive skills. In most cases they give you no defensive skills, other than the ability to have a firearm with you.

Training with Glock 17
Training with Glock 17

Once you have made the decision to carry a firearm for personal defense, you are taking on a mountain of personal responsibility. Becoming proficient in manipulating, drawing, firing and assessing a defensive high stress incident is a lifelong commitment to constantly learn and refine your skill set. Mental preparation is just as important as the physical preparation.

I was recently in a firearm class where I was challenged mentally and physically on a level I had not experienced for a long time. I was able to sharpen my skills and I am that much better than I was yesterday. In fact, after watching several videos of myself in the class, I could see I had a significant delay from the threat presenting itself to my actual reaction. You can only get faster at your reaction to stimulus by reacting to stimulus. Also, there is no substitute for live fire training. Ammo down range is what is going to sharpen your skills.

As a responsible citizen who carries a firearm, you are wide open to criminal prosecution and civil liability. For example: (1) Hit an innocent person because your accuracy is lacking. (2) Use deadly force when the force was not justified because you did not mentally prepare. (3) Failed to get in the fight, because you were not proficient at the draw and the bad guy killed you. (4) Failed to respond because you froze and did not study the physiological and psychological effects you may encounter in a deadly force encounter. These are only a few examples but you get my point.

It is important to remember, when carrying a personal defense/concealed carry firearm to train with it and the appropriate support gear you carry. You might be the best shot with your 22lr rifle, or other precision rifle, on a bipod with scope, but this will not translate at all to your defensive handgun. The ability to shoot tight groups at 50 and 100 yards with your rifle has no bearing on drawing your personal defense handgun in a critical incident. Training to draw your concealed carry firearm, from your carry holster, in the manner you conceal carry, is key.

Draw from Conceal Carry
Draw from Conceal Carry

Conclusion:

You must take continual training seriously and always strive to learn more and challenge yourself to improve. Anyone who tells you they have a carry permit, so they don’t need any more training, is someone who is defiantly ill prepared for a defensive encounter. I have been through more training and firearm schools then I can count. There is one thing I have learned over the years, firearms training and personal defense is a highly fluid and constantly evolving field. You must constantly train, evolve and educate yourself in the personal defense field. If you do not, your just dead weight with a firearm on your hip, helping no one.

Duncan.

Distractions, Traps and Training Deadends ( Editorial Rambling)

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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.

 

 

 

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More problems with poor quality AR15s at the range.

Working at a range, I see all sorts of firearms fail.  Bad ammunition and no maintenance are often the cause, but sometimes it comes from the firearm being poor quality.

In the case of one Bushmaster, it work well for years, but finally one day the corners the company cut caught up to it and the gas key worked it way loose.  That caused the gun to become a single shot.

Bushmaster Loose Gas Key.

 

A woman who owned a Olympic 9mm carbine found that the mag block had shifted and it would no longer accept a mag, also the castle nut on the stock was loose and the collapseable stock starting to unscrew.  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that mess of a rifle.

Home built hobby guns often have similar issues.  One rifle that I was asked to help the owner with surprised me when I found there was no firing pin in it.

Other times, the issues are caused by junk ammo.  For example this doublefeed & failure to extract:

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Note that there is a round in the chamber, an empty shell, and another round attempting to feed.  The owner of this rifle bought some ammo from a random gun show vendor.  This  ammo was inconsistent length, one of the round had a split neck, and some of them would not even chamber.  Bad ammo results in bad performance.

 

Home Defense Firearms, Gear, Planning and Tactics Articles

Over the next few weeks I will be focusing on home defense firearms, support gear and tactics to safely move through your home during a critical incident. I will cover topics on rifle vs. shotgun vs. handgun for home defense, what support gear you should have, i.e. lights, optics, safes, ammunition, family planning and tactical navigation through your home. In these articles I will address considerations of the type of home you live in and whether you have children or other family members in the home.

Clearing Hallway with Glock 17
Clearing Hallway with Glock 17

If this topic interests you and you have questions you would like addressed about these topics, Email me at Duncan@looserounds.com. I will try to answer your questions throughout various articles on home defense. As these articles are completed I will link them bellow so they are easy to find here.

Selecting a Home Defense Firearm

Duncan