Question of the Day: Is Some Gun Training Better Than None?

In terms of firearms training, I disagree with the central thesis mooted by JY and his martial arts BFF. As long as the little training is the right training, why not? (A point the martial arts guy eventually makes.) I work with newbies on a regular basis. I am always aware of their limitations: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial. The fact that further defensive gun training is not in the cards for nine out of ten of the people with whom I work is a prime consideration. For most noobs . . .

I emphasize three things: gun safety, presentation (bringing the gun to bear as quickly and safely as possible) and movement (getting off the X). Should they get additional instruction, such as cover vs. concealment,changing mags and force-on-force training? Absolutely. Are my three training points enough? Who knows? But they’re a lot better than nothing.

Am I wrong?



  1. avatar Roymond says:

    The whole system of martial arts affirms that some training is better than none — otherwise there would be just two belts: white, and black.

    Though they’re right as far as bad training.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      IINM, in traditional aikido, there ARE only two belts, white and black… But I do believe that a little good training is better than no training–and better than a lot of bad training, come to think of it.

  2. avatar Noishkel says:

    Yeah I can’t at all see how having no trainer is better than having some. Yeah, sure he’s not wrong about his lines about bad trainer. But that’s the actually core of the issue. ALWAYS make sure that any advice you get is solid. Be it an intro course or a full scale long term training course. Making the claim that you should be trained unless you take the full course just doesn’t work. Not everyone is going to have the time or money to take a full course. Hell maybe they can’t take the full course for whatever reason.

    Case in point: I’ve got some neurological impairment due to an illness. So trying to run something like a 3 gun or tactical shooting course is going to be an issue. That doesn’t mean I don’t go put rounds down range every so often. Should the fact that I can’t take the most high end top flight gun course keep me from taking the less strenuous course? I don’t personally think so. As long as the training is good quality.

    1. I agree, the more training you get the more you can weed out the bad information.

  3. avatar paulWTAMU says:

    Some training is better than no training IF the training is decent
    Lots of bad training is probably worse than no training.
    Some good training is better than a lot of bad training or no training.
    I mean, the chi guy probablY “practiced” for ages and he still sucked.

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      What you’re really arguing is the quality of the training, not the quantity.

      Good training is better than bad training. And no training is also better than bad training.

      But good/bad training does not directly correlate to more/less training.

      A good range officer can provide perfectly sufficient training in a 5-10 minute introductory session at the range, even if that primer doesn’t make the new shooter an operationally operating operator.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    One my pet peeves is the idea that taking one training course no matter how intensive makes you trained. Like a new car, the skills you learned at your training session begin to depreciate as soon as you drive away. Training is a continuous function and it has to be periodically refreshed or you revert to an untrained state.

    1. avatar Mack Bolan says:

      Semantics, but actually a training course does make you trained. Training is the theory. Practice is the application.

      To your point, its practice that make you proficient. Without practice that training is about as good as a bucket with a hole in it.

      1. avatar Chuck says:

        Speaking as someone who has been on both sides of the training process, you are 100% correct. Any acquired skill that isn’t reinforced through application will rapidly decay. Only after many hours of application does the skill become second nature and even then a long absence of application of any given skill will cause what you once took as a naturally ingrained response to deteriorate. However, old skills are easier to reacquire with practice if you still have the physical capacity to perform the task at hand.
        If you actually were an “operator” in your younger life don’t expect to be as competent as you once were. You may need to use your brain rather than expecting your reflexes to function as they once did. After a military career that left me with numerous physical maladies from a lot of injuries I realize that at my age there are limitations to my ability to accomplish what used to be second nature.
        You can practice what your body will allow and you can use your mind to play out scenarios in your mind and plan your response. If you can’t get to the range or afford the expense of a long range session you can still train with airguns. Both air pistols and air rifles can be safely used indoors for practice for both accuracy and for employing the tactics to clear a house or a given room. I would recommend using them unloaded for clearing practice. But practice you must if you want to retain new skills or maintain old ones.

  5. avatar J. Zoss says:

    This is a bit silly. When people say “some training” they are implying good training. I have never heard anyone honestly claim that some bad training is better than no training. Also his “permit instructor” example was a poor choice. Such a person giving you bad advice/instruction does not equate to training of any kind. Perhaps properly defining what training actually is and having more focus on examples they feel are bad would have been a better use of time.

  6. avatar J. Tiesto says:

    Funny you mention getting off the X. That’s something Yeager has a bit of trouble with

  7. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Is a little training better than no training? YES! Absolutely, as long as the training is decent quality stuff, and not from a perpetually drunk bro-in-law that asks you to hold his beer while he demonstrates his quick draw. That is NOT training! At best, that is merely entertainment and at worst, it’s dangerous. And if a person can not tell the difference, then maybe they shouldn’t be owning firearms.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Fact: if you can point your finger at someone and make a “come here” motion with your finger, you can employ a handgun effectively to defend yourself in about 95% (or more) of self-defense situations. It isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t require extensive training.

    Sure, if you want to take on multiple attackers at 10 feet and beyond, more training is necessary to be effective. Otherwise, basic safe handling skills are all that is necessary to responsibly and effectively use a handgun to defend yourself from an attacker that is within 6 feet … which covers virtually all attacks.

    1. avatar David says:

      According to Yeager’s own words most of what he teaches is only directed at those 1 in 30 occasions where merely presenting a firearm does not end the situation. For all of the other 29 out of 30 very little training is necessary. If you can present a firearm (actually have one on you) from a holster you are already more lethal than most people.

  9. avatar defensor fortismo says:

    “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
    Theodore Roosevelt

    1. avatar gloomhound says:


  10. avatar Notalima says:

    If I have a choice of “knows nothing about FA handling” and “won’t shoot people by accident”, I’ll take the latter.

  11. avatar Rog Uinta says:

    Who is this joker wearing a Remington shirt and why on earth should I watch his video?

    1. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      Why that’s James “I’m gonna start killing people” Yeager, who, for some yet to be determined reason, is considered to be some sort of a gun training expert. I’m not sure why people watch his videos or take his classes. Maybe it’s because they want the thrill of shooting at a photographer? Just spit-balling here.

    2. avatar mike oregon says:

      He must be awesome, he’s got his own YouTube channel.
      Also a cult like following.

  12. avatar JasonM says:

    That guy seems to follow the cable news mindset that making idiotic, unfounded claims is okay as long as you yell them loudly.

    As a counterpoint: I could give a newbie an hour of firearms training and one of those man-marker AR-15s, and pit him against both of those guys, with their years of martial arts training at 50m. Guess who’d win.

    The reason firearms took over on the battlefield, and helped the common man stand up against the nobility is that with minimal training, someone can become quite lethal.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Interesting point. By way of historical illustration, an army of Japanese peasant levies volley-firing arquebuses was able to decisively defeat an army of trained-from-childhood samurai and archers.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        Similar things happened in Europe.

        Being an effective combatant before firearms required vast resources to afford a horse, swords, armor, etc. and years of training to learn how to use them properly. A few mounted, armored knights could end a revolt of peasants with pitchforks pretty easily.
        The longbow helped, which is probably why English peasants had their rights recognized before the rest of Europe. But even that required a great deal of training, both in terms of skill acquisition and physical ability.
        With the arquebus, a peasant could learn in an afternoon how to be as lethal as any knight, if not more so.

        I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the concept of divine right of absolute rulership started to decline, while the idea of individual rights began to ascend so closely behind the introduction of firearms.

        Our ancestors were securing their liberty with firearms long before Lexington and Concord.

  13. avatar Shire-man says:

    Depends on the individual. If you’re one of those people who reads a book on a given subject and thinks he’s an expert then some training will just turn you into an asshole who’s wrong all the time.
    If you read a book on a given subject and understand that there are infinite more books to read before you can even begin to consider yourself an expert then sure some training is better than none.

  14. avatar Mark N. says:

    I got all of my “training” from the internet. True. Training is the communication of information from one person to another, everything else is coaching and practice. There is a tremendous amount of information of the net, from videos to articles, covering all of the fundamentals of grip, sight picture, trigger press, cleaning, and you name it, produced by experts such as Pincus, Williams, and Miculek. I have not the time, the money or the physical stamina for any of these weekend courses, none of which are taught within a hundred miles of my house. But I can hit what I am aiming at, and that will have to do.

  15. avatar Steve says:

    Practice doesn’t make prefect

    Perfect practice makes perfect. What’s the other acronym ? The 5 Ps

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      As my high school band director instilled in us: practice makes permanent.

  16. avatar Warren says:

    I think an underlying issue is the possibility that a student who seeks out training takes only a minimum of training, and in his mind, considers himself done. That, to me, is as bad or worse than erroneous or no training. It creates an individual who is overconfident in his skills because he took a crash course and considered it good enough. He won’t improve by seeking out more or advanced training because as far as he’s concerned, he already knows everything he needs to. Folks like that scare me.

  17. avatar gloomhound says:

    Ask yourself: How do these two gentleman make their living? Once you answer that question you have the answer to the question, “Is Some Gun Training Better Than None?”

  18. avatar Jim Rice says:

    “Some ‘good’ training is better than none”. That is well stated. However, the title alone does not imply good or bad training just quantity. “Some” is better than “none” begs the question, “Is some, ‘any’ training better than none?” Maybe. Maybe not. Here is my point. After taking a CC class by a very good instructor and then reading Grossman’s, “On Killing,” I grew concerned that one training day could be worse than no training and no gun. Guns are dangerous. That is their purposet. One day of training could actually do someone a disservice in leading them to think that they could actually do something in the event of a problem arising where they would actually decide to use a gun in a defensive situation. This is a serious conundrum for anyone considering concealed carry and home defense.

  19. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I was a CH-47 mechanic and crew chief in the army. We trained with our weapons every month but only shot for qualification once a year. From what I have read police also qualify only once a year or even less if there is no money for ammunition.

    According to the FBI criminals have more gun fighting experience than most police. Five or six gun fights compared to zero for most police. A small amount of good regular training is what we as the good guys can aford both time wise and dollar wise.

    1. avatar Gatha58 says:

      I would hazard to guess that the experience that most gang members get in their gun fights is of very low quality. Though the incentives to shoot rather than get shot are likely pretty high. Guessing that if a gang member does not die in the first few gun fights they either got very lucky or the guys they were fighting were worse shots than they are. Probably both sides are pretty bad shots in most cases. High on swagger and low on skills. I doubt that being in many gang gun fights qualifies as any kind of real training.

  20. avatar Gatha58 says:

    A minimum amount of training should be required for anyone that carries a gun, concealed or otherwise, in public. And, of course, even if someone keeps a gun at home training is always a good idea. You can get training on the internet and I don’t really see that time and/or money are valid excuses. If you are going to be a responsible gun owner and also protect yourself and your assets you need to be informed and trained to some extent. Safety is the first step and the most logical first priority. Next is probably legal implications of self defense. Third would probably be the logistics of self defense using a firearm, or anything else for that matter. And last would be practice. The practice part is probably the most fun for most of us. That is, time on the range, usually. But, without the rest that time on the range could be dangerous to the gun owner and others that are there to hone their skills. Have I missed anything or put anything in the wrong order?

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      A minimum amount of training should be required for anyone that carries a gun, concealed or otherwise, in public.

      How does such a requirement square with shall not be infringed?

      What if voters were “required” to be trained before voting? What if religious adherents were “required” to be trained before exercising their religion? What if public speakers were “required” to be trained before speaking in public, or broadcasting?

      And who would define the “minimum” standards? Who would provide the training? Who would verify it?

      There is simply no evidence that carry without “required” training poses any risk whatsoever. Several states have either permit-less carry, or issue carry permits with no training requirements. There is no correlation between such states and an increase in firearms-related accidental death or injury.

  21. “As long as the little training is the right training” correct. The key word here is RIGHT. Bad trainers can do someone wrong.

  22. avatar Ben says:

    I didn’t watch the video (haven’t had time at work yet), but usually Yeager makes really good points. Keep in mind he is a trainer and he is essentially selling his training on his YouTube channel. Of course he’s going to suggest more training, specifically more training by himself and his company.

  23. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    People defend their life with NO training. They were willing to shoot some bastard. But of course some training is better than NONE . Not a fan of the yeager though. I’d love to see this lunatic in a real fight…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      “Wars are won in the will.”

  24. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    The trainer is wearing a Remington T-shirt? Riiiiiiiight!
    Training can be good, but people can be rather deadly with little formal training.
    I have had no formal training.
    I did have a lot of informal training by hunters and ex-military veteran combat personnel; also known as grand parents and parents.

  25. avatar foo dog says:

    Sorry, I can’t help thinking of that line, probably said here…”whatever you do, don’t go full yeager”…

  26. avatar Aviationandrew says:

    Any kind of training in anything is better than none.

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