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.
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.
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.