We’ve all seen it thousands of times on TV and in the Movies. The hero stands tall directly in front of the villain, feet glued to the deck. He waits until the bad guy draws his gun and then makes an incredibly fast one-handed presentation from the holster and hits his antagonist square in the chest while the bad guy misses wildly.
Sadly, the real world just doesn’t work that way. But the dramas we watch have trained our brains to believe that it does. Psychologists call it mirror neuron learning, but this fancy term simply means that our brains program themselves to imitate behavior they’ve observed whether it’s real or a drama designed to look good on camera. Under stress we do what we’ve seen and sometimes pay dearly for it, because real life is a lot more complicated than any drama.
Training is about unlearning and relearning, since no one comes to class with a blank slate. This goes for anything in life. We all knew the basics of driving a car before we ever got behind the wheel, but how many of us could have successfully negotiated a busy Interstate without first being trained by an experienced driver? It’s no different with firearms, so people who buy a gun for self-protection need to learn the “rules of the road”, rather than rely on what you saw an entertainer do or mimic how you played when you were a child.
Training has many facets. It can help you learn to recognize and avoid dangerous situations, provide you with the fundamentals of gun safety, and teach you the manual of arms for your particular firearm(s), It will also teach you to shoot quickly and accurately, show you how to operate defensively by using movement and cover and, if your trainer is a law enforcement officer or attorney, inform you of the legal dos and don’ts of going armed in public. Training should not be a one-time event. It’s a process of continual learning in which a person takes a course, practices what has been learned and then seeks further training to add new skills to those that have been mastered.
Most states require a basic course in firearms safety in order to apply for a concealed carry license or permit (CCW), and that’s a good place to begin. A CCW course includes a thorough presentation on gun safety, the essential elements of marksmanship, and a certain amount of live fire. This basic course provides a good foundation, but it’s not designed to build defensive skills. Learning to master the skills needed to build true defensive competence requires additional instruction.
Choosing additional training involves more than just picking up a gun magazine and going to one of the schools mentioned in its pages or asking a fellow shooter which schools are best. It’s a very personal matter of determining what skills you need to develop and then choosing the venue that offers them. For example, if you’re going to carry on the street, you’ll want a course that offers instruction that helps you select the right clothes and holsters for concealed carry, teaches you how to present your gun from concealment, helps you understand how to use cover and movement and advances your shooting skills beyond the introduction that you received in your CCW course. It’s not the number of rounds that are fired over two or three days that matters. It’s the skills that you’ll learn that’s important. Learn the skills well and you can shoot as much as you want practicing them at a later time on your home range.
Choosing a training academy is also about the quality of the instructors, not about how much the training costs or how far you have to travel to study under this or that well-known trainer. There’s plenty of quality instruction available from NRA-certified instructors in every state. Many of these individuals have extensive military or contractor experience. They’ve been in the thick of it enough to know what works and what doesn’t. They also know how to operate under some fairly strict rules of engagement. So just because their experience is military, don’t assume that they don’t know anything about self-defense during peace time.
Finally, there’s the issue of money. Going to a fully-qualified local trainer is often a lot cheaper and the quality of training you’ll receive is just as high as you’ll receive elsewhere. Exhaust the local possibilities first before you seek training at a distant academy, and even then make sure that the training you’ll be getting at the remote location is something that you need which is not available closer to home. Remember, you’ll need to save some money for practicing what you’ve learned, and practice ammo isn’t cheap anymore.
We train because we want to have the skills to survive a critical incident, and we want to be able to do this in as safe a manner as possible within the confines of the law. So if you carry on the street or simply keep a gun for defense at home, you should not only practice shooting on a regular basis, but you should also take advantage of training opportunities to learn new skills that improve your abilities to defend yourself and those you love. And that’s why we train.
To find out what kind of training we offer at Big 3 East and the dates available please view our training schedule on B3E.org.