Communicate. Move. Shoot. That’s the message [literally] behind Clint Smith’s YouTube video below. It sure beats the A.D.R.E. acronym mooted by the NRA’s forthcoming Carry Guard classes. And really, what else do you need to know?

Have a gun, make sure you can access it quickly and efficiently, point it at the bad guy, pull the trigger until the threat stops and don’t talk to the police without a lawyer present (except to communicate information about the perp or perps should they escape).

We here at TTAG talk a lot about guns, gun gear, tactics and such. It’s fun and interesting (I hope). But we never forget that the basics are the basics. What gun you carry and the caliber it holds and what gear you use are relatively unimportant compared to the list above.

If there’s one thing you should obsess about it’s training. Provided the training is high quality, the more training you take, the more you practice, the better. Even with a 1911.

John Boch wrote an excellent piece on the subject: Guns for Beginners: How to Find Quality Self-Defense Firearm Training. And I can’t recommend force-on-force training often enough — although God knows I try.

Along those lines, we’re thinking about running a F-O-F two-day course here in Austin. What would you like it to cover?

If you’re in the Austin area and available for a sim experiment — we’re testing the “concealed carriers confuse cops” argument — please send an email to thetruthaboutguns@gmail.com with your deets with SIM in the subject bar. Thanks!

17 Responses to Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Guns for Beginners

  1. Hmmm…Interesting adaptation to the “Shoot, move, communicate” we used in the Army. I suppose his order is more appropriate for not getting sued or ending up in jail…

  2. I don’t think the two messages are mutually exclusive. As you used to be wont to say, the only gunfight you can win is the one you dont get into. And I think thats a message that just doesnt get enough attention. I get it, it’s the obvious point, and it’s not as sexy as running drills, but it should still be still be the lens thru which every encounter is viewed. And it should still be a big focus on training, because walking away or de-escalation is not always easy. Kudos on the NRA for emphasizing that.

    Mr. Smith’s advice is spot on. Hopefully, you’ve prepared enough to win a fight; and if you have, you will. But first things first, dont get into a gunfight. By any means neccesary.

  3. What Mr. Smith isn’t telling you is that to shoot, move, and communicate, all safely and at the same time under stress is so difficult that exceptional athletes spend their entire lives attempting to master it, and few do.

  4. I’ll let you high speed, low drag operators shoot, move and communicate all your money to any trainers that you choose.

    Meanwhile, while you guys were jerking each other off, some old lady with a prehistoric revolver and zero training just pumped two rounds into a home invader’s chest.

    Hey, I have a great idea. Maybe you should ask her to train you!

    • Did you have a “hope and change” bumper sticker on your car? Probably not. Because you’re smart, and only an idiot would think that hope is good strategy.
      One old woman with zero training got lucky with a real dumb criminal. How many didn’t? If zero training is needed, why do cops have a 10% to 15% hit rate?

  5. Really, I’m all for training, but seriously, this has moved beyond excessive and right in into absurd. I’m as far from FUDD as it gets, but Ralph and many others are right, this emphasis on training has become so excessive that it begins to mock itself. Sure, suggesting training is always a safe thing to do, but at some point it begins to suggest that without a massive investment of time and money one is simply wasteing ones time carrying a gun, or worse, fooling oneself.
    All the disclaimers about how having a gun is the important thing, but…..and then it’s right back to how you should really invest a month or more of most people’s monthly take home for training, apparently from a cross section of trainers in various disciplines….

    Seriously, are we talking about training for personal defense here or training up to take on ISIS? How is it that the people I teach manage to hit torso targets from 7 yards virtually everytime from the first shot they have ever fired? Do I only encounter naturals or very lucky people, or is this easier than is being suggested lately? Training is great, it’s awesome and so much fun, but it’s also an expensive luxury, and I do mean luxury, in that while it’s nice to have, it’s also unnecessary.

    I don’t mean to rant, but could we establish a quota on the number of calls to training per day or something?

  6. I also think training is important. But, I think that once you have attained the ability to safely manipulate a firearm that it is not a necessity.

    The bottom line is that shooting is just like any other sport. If you want to get better you have to practice. That practice has to be planned and structured to attain your goals. After each session you have to evaluate yourself and decide what you need to focus on going forward.

    Personally I shot a fair amount when I was a kid, but never had any formal training. I got a Ruger Mk II when I turned 16 and I shot it as often as I could. Later when I turned 21 I bought a Colt Commander and a Dillon Square Deal ‘B’ to feed it. When I was in college I was lucky that there was a nearby club that had an indoor range. I often shot twice a week and eventually learned how to shoot a 1911.

    A few years later when I went to a police academy I really didn’t learn much about shooting, I was just practicing what I had already learned on my own.

    It wasn’t until I started shooting IDPA matches that I really started to expand my skills. There are almost no public ranges where you can draw from a holster, shoot and move. The police academy focused on passing the state qualification and was really pretty basic.

    So, I think the most important thing is making the commitment to spend time practicing basic skills. You also have to honestly evaluate your weaknesses and figure out how to correct them by either more practice or changing your technique.

    I would love to go to Thunder Ranch, but don’t have the time. Going to the range once or twice a week (if I’m lucky) and watching Clint’s videos will have to do for now.

  7. I was an 11b for six years and have been PD the past six, firearms instructor the last two. I think for the average concealed carrier once you have the basic fundamentals of marksmanship down taking maybe one course on drawing and firing quickly and accurately should be enough to get you through most situations you will encounter. The average concealed carrier isn’t responding to domestic disturbances or getting into gunfights in the korengal valley. Extensive training is a plus, but I don’t think it’s a must.

    That being said, any friends or my wife’s friends husbands that want to be taught some things , I oblige them for free. I love instructing, and if I can help some folks prepare for the worst, so be it.

    • “maybe one course on drawing and firing quickly and accurately should be enough to get you through most situations you will encounter. ”
      Ding ding ding, ring a bell, that’s it. The call for training isn’t full on kill house team training. If you want to do that, cool. I still sometimes do. But really, I have no need for it, it’s just a still set I’d like to maintain, and I really don’t have a good reason to do so anymore other than the personal challenge.
      That “get your gun out and shoot accurately” covers the vast, vast, VAST majority of both law enforcement and non-law enforcement civilians. After that, it’s just your own personal “range” time, and most of that should be draw and dry fire.

  8. I’m with Ralp et al, there seems to be too much emphasis on this tactical low-drag operator style training. If you want to do that, fine! But the danger of this situation is twofold:-

    1- The gun grabbers will say ‘look, even the gun community is saying that days/weeks of highly expensive operator training is necessary’. Their argument will be to mandate this training, thereby prohibiting the average Joe from carrying.

    2- You spend thousands going to ‘tacti-skool’, you purchase high end AR’s, operator clothing, body armor and spend countless hours perusing tactical/military style websites. You get involved in a DGU, a zealous prosecutor with political ambitions makes an example out of you by portraying you as a Rambo wannabe.

    Anyway, as I said, if you want to do that style of training, fine, we live in a free (ish) country and services spring up to fulfill a demand. To me, sensible training would be some sort of use of force training involving some legal type advice, as well as testimony from those who have actually experienced a DGU and have gone through the aftermath,

    My 02c worth!!

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