Let me begin by first apologizing to firearm instructors who are of good repute and understand the realities of civilian concealed carry. As you’ve probably determined by that disclaimer, we’re tackling a thorny subject in this short treatise. As a new shooter myself, once I got into guns I realized quickly that a firearm is only as good as its user. To quote the late Jeff Cooper, owning a gun doesn’t make you a gunfighter any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician. Thus motivated, I researched options for training and discovered that most trainers, sadly, have jumped the shark . . .
It seems that the social norm in the gun community is that a CCW permit holder is unprepared unless they’re carrying a polymer frame pistol with a large magazine, spare mag, flashlight, weapon mounted light, Kydex holster accommodating said weapon mounted light, tactical stippling, and some kind of advanced training in ninja-type shooting.
And all of that might be right, if the record bore out that such skills are needed for basic survival. Yet for most of us reading this, the instrument of our demise will be a lifetime of eating cheeseburgers or a bad crash driving the car in our own driveways. It is a select few citizens who will ever have to draw at all. And even a desperate thug knows it’s stupid to rob an armed person, given the multitude of ‘condition white’ alternatives. I’ve seen this in person when I had to reach for my gun and the bad guy stood down once he knew I was armed.
Let us go further – even if the bad guy starts shooting, the fight is not a drawn out affair. The FBI pegs the average shootout in under five minutes in duration, and if The Armed Citizen column is any indication, elderly people armed with “obsolete” 1911s and pocket .380s with zero time at Tactical Response seem to manage just fine against the criminals of America. I’ve yet to read an article on how an elderly man smoked three gangbangers with his 33 round mag by getting off the “X”.
So, we have a training community which says a prudent CCW holder shouldn’t walk out the door with less than 31 rounds of ammo and two pounds of spare equipment, in a country where the empirical evidence says we may not even need to fire a shot.
Why the gap? Being a veteran myself, I chalk it up to a difference of mission. An ex special operations trainer is doubtlessly hyper-competent about their skillset and firearms selection, because the free world literally might be at stake when those Tier 1 folks cleared holster. Those folks carry the guns and gear they do because when they’d be sent on a mission, it wasn’t to deliver a Hallmark Card. Their gear had to work and they had to be prepared for whatever life may throw at them to accomplish their mission. And on said mission, if they had to clear holster, it wasn’t to encourage the bad guy to surrender.
That mindset can lead to problems in civilian life where the likelihood of clearing holster is low and the core objective is to stop the assault, not to specifically terminate the life of the attacker. All bravado aside, as a CCW permit holder I’d submit that AVOIDANCE of a dead body is a goal to strive for. Especially considering our left-leaning media, the resulting legal problems and the certain loss of your firearm to police custody and whatever associated gun permits you hold. Plus the minority-centric special interest groups who despise self defense and want to make an example of you and your family. That doesn’t mean we should aim for the leg or some similar ridiculousness. It does, however, mean that we should emphasize avoiding having to shoot someone to start with, instead of packing a handgun to repel an L shaped ambush via dynamic tactical maneuvering.
Taking training for pure fun is hardly objectionable, but let’s not kid ourselves in suggesting advanced ninja skillsets are a basic requirement for carry. It does a disservice to the new gun owner and it’s a slap in the face of law abiding men and women who don’t have the money, time or ability to spend $2000 for a pilgrimage to a training class.
My closest friend just got married and is trying to raise his young family in this uncertain economic environment. He doesn’t have a spare $100 left at the end of the month, but he does have a newborn and a wife to protect.We should not collectively suggest to people in that place in life that gun training take precedence over their other responsibilities.
There’s nothing wrong with carrying whatever you like – that’s your right as an American and as a human being. But don’t think that having two spare mags for your tactical plastic wundergun makes you more prepared for realistic threats than the little old grandma with a .380 Walther .