Keeping it Real: When Concealed Carry Training Jumps the Shark

Walther PK380 training

JWT for TTAG

Reader ST writes . . .

Let me begin by apologizing to all the firearm instructors out there who are of good repute and understand the realities of civilian concealed carry. As you’ve probably determined by that disclaimer, we’ll be tackling a thorny subject here in this short treatise.

When I first got into guns I quickly realized that a firearm is only as good as its user. To paraphrase 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 proverbial shark.

It seems that the social norm — at least in my experience — in the gun community is that a CCW permit holder is unprepared unless they’re carrying a polymer frame pistol with a weapon-mounted light in a Kydex holster with a large magazine, a spare mag, a flashlight, tactical stippling, and some kind of advanced training in ninja-type shooting.

All of that might be right, if the record bore out that such skills are needed for basic survival. Yet for most of us, the instrument of our demise is far more likely to be a lifetime of eating cheeseburgers or a crash driving the car in our own driveways.

It’s a select few citizens who will ever have to draw their personal defense weapon at all. And even a desperate thug knows it’s stupid to rob an armed person, given the multitude of “condition white” alternatives out there.

I’ve actually seen this myself when I had to reach for my gun and the bad guy in question stood down once he realized that I was armed.

Let’s go further – even if the bad guy starts shooting, the fight is almost never a drawn-out affair. The FBI pegs the average shootout in under five seconds in duration. And judging by the accounts of most defensive gun uses I read, 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 who broke into his home with using a 33-round mag by getting off the “X”.

So, we have many members of the training community who say a prudent CCW holder shouldn’t walk out the door with less than 31 rounds of ammo and two pounds of spare gear, in a country where the empirical evidence says we’ll probably never even need to fire a shot.

Why this gap between philosophy and reality?

Being a veteran myself, I chalk it up to a difference of mission. An ex-special operations trainer is doubtlessly hyper-competent about their skill set and firearms selection, because the free world literally might be at stake when those Tier 1 folks cleared their holsters.

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.

But that mindset can lead to problems in civilian life where the likelihood of drawing your handgun is low and the core objective is to stop the threat, 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 anti-gun media, the resulting legal problems, the certain loss of your firearm and whatever associated gun permits you hold.

Then there are the anti-gun special interest groups who despise armed self-defense and would love to make an example of you and your family in the right circumstances.

That doesn’t mean that 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 purely for fun is hardly objectionable. And improving your skills is always useful. But let’s not kid ourselves in suggesting advanced ninja tactics are a basic requirement for everyday 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 an operator-level training class.

My closest friend just got married and is trying to raise his young family. 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 position in life that gun training take precedence over their other responsibilities.

There’s nothing wrong with carrying whatever gun 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 lady down the street with a .380 Walther .

comments

  1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Good job slaying that strawman! Also Jeff Cooper was paraphrasing others going back at least as far as the Italian/British smallsword master Domenico Angelo (1717-1802) and almost certain much much further back than that.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Even the “four rules” were said by others before Cooper. One thing you can give to him alone though, is the nice, sing-song quality his particular wording gives Number 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. It’s almost poetry.
      They’re in a particular order too, and for a reason…. that has been lost on almost all today because the order is often twisted all around, “tweeked” until the meaning is lost(just like most other meaningless human rituals), and sometimes they just throw out all the rules but one. And then blames the rules, instead of their own failure to follow, or even learn, them.

  2. avatar John Gnauck says:

    I just read an article by Lee Williams about the 148 hour course for Florida teachers.

    The content appears to be about 50% (if not more) unnecessary.

    148 Hours?

    1. avatar tinhats says:

      148 hours sounds incredibly long – maybe even wrong. But as a teacher (and former USAF pilot) I would gladly undergo that training if it permitted me to be prepared to defend my classroom and my students should that rare event – a school shooting – happen in my district.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        actually, it sounds expensive…so,…who pays?

        1. avatar Karl says:

          Us. Its not their money…

    2. avatar TommyJay says:

      When this issue came up several months ago, I that some eastern state highway patrol firearms requirements were 40 hours initial, with 10 hours per years follow up.

    3. avatar Ark says:

      148 hour “training” requirement is what happens when you let ignorant, scared people write laws.

      148 hours of what? Doesn’t matter, it’s long and expensive and will keep people from wanting to do it.

      1. avatar Mack The Knife says:

        Your last sentence beginning with “and” is the sole purpose of the course. The Sheriffs don’t want this because it effects their manpower and budget. School resource officers will be cut. In my county, the school board is using the state funds and asked for a tax increase to build its own school police force. Yes, school police force. The Sheriff is besides himself. Next year they’ll be voting to redirect the funding due to a lack of participation. Half or more of teachers in northeast and the northwest Florida are participants of the Troops to Teachers program and the majority of them are twice as qualified as the Deputy Barney Fife types we see around. CLAY (!!!!) County.
        So you see the politics that are now being played out in Florida and in the end as politics go, it will more than likely turn out as a lose lose for the kids.

    4. avatar Grumpy says:

      It seems to me that there’s nothing wrong with training or being over prepared, but having personally spent a fair amount of time around criminals (c/o), I would say it’s far more important to work on reaction time, drawing and shooting accurately as fast as possible. Criminals in the US typically don’t engage in drawn out firefights, they typically try to jump/mug/attack someone up close and personal. Whatever you carry, I think it’s more important to be able to draw and fire quickly rather then be loaded out for a firefight.

      1. avatar TomC says:

        As a retired trainer and training developer, I will absolutely say that YES THERE CAN BE something “wrong with training or being over prepared,” — when that “training” is poorly matched to the tasks to be performed and/or the purpose of a training drill is misunderstood by either the student or the instructor.

        There are many really well qualified instructors available – but there are also an even larger number of highly skilled shooters claiming to be instructors who know nothing about training and who often do more harm than good.

        I take issue with any “basic” level course for non-military/non-LEO shooters that fails to properly address self-defense law in the training and in the design of drills used. “Intermediate” level courses can be even more problematic when built around scenarios copied from IPSC stages where the student is trained to advance rather than retreat.

        Even good drills, properly designed by qualified instructors for valid purposes, can become Negative Training when copied and improperly applied or simply improperly explained.

      2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        “more important to be able to draw and fire quickly”
        I would imagine this is the reason that all the stats show the odds are in favor of one needing only <3 shots in <3 seconds. Crims are usually greatly concerned with speed and reducing the amount of time they stand around robbing someone. Because the longer a robbery(or any other illegal activity) takes, the greater the odds of being caught, and maybe even punished, although legal punishment is more for the victims of crimes now, and the criminal knows that if caught, he'll just spend a few days in the gray bar hotel, and then head back out through the revolving door on probation, parole, work release, wear a bracelet, etc.
        But even though criminals no longer fear punishment, since the injustice system prefers to punish the victims instead of the perpetrators, being arrested and booked, I'm sure, is still a big pain in their ass, even if they have no job to lose or money to take. It's still better for them if they can avoid getting caught in the first place. Thus their need for speed while committing their crimes. Thus we armed civilians have very little need for packing around a lot of combat gear that wewon't have the time to make use of anyway.
        But hey, carry 12 pistols, 24 reloads, and a flash bang if that's what floats one's boat. Its no skin off my nose what someone else lugs around. It just won't be me. I prefer to stay light and mobile instead.

    5. avatar Cartman says:

      148 hours is “only” 18 and a half days. I’m sure teachers will gladly give up that kind of time a d money. Not hardly! So the taxpayers will go on the hook for it. Good idea, but too much expense.

  3. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

    “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 lady down the street with a .380 Walther .”

    LOL having a modern pistol with extra mags is the definition of being “more prepared” than a small capacity pocket pistol with zero reloads. This writer is clearly a biased fud.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Yeah, because that .380 from an old pistol will just bounce off.

      1. avatar Neil says:

        So sayith ArchDuke Ferdinand, Dutchess Sophia, and Ghandi.

        First rule of gunfight, have a gun
        Two times CCW saved my bacon:
        #1 attitude (thug went for easier prey, don’t worry, cops informed).
        #2 Thug heard gun unholstered an RAN!

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          The Archduke was a reckless idiot, and would have been killed by bombs or one of the other six assassins that day, regardless. And Ghandi was all shriveled up from fasting, so he doesn’t count when measuring the 380’s ineffectiveness against corn-fed ‘Murican men 😉

      2. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

        Reading comprehension must not be your strong area. Where did I say a .380 won’t kill someone?

        A large capacity handgun with multiple reloads can handle A LOT more threats than a 5 or 6 shot pocket pistol with zero reloads. The person with the ability to handle more problems means they are more prepared than the person with the ability to handle less problems.

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Unless the stats show that in a civilian involved shooting, you will only need <3 rounds in <3 seconds, as they do. Then your 'estimates' about what constitutes; "a LOT" just become a sad play for attention.
          So, prove me wrong. Post something with numbers and links to show that you really think that a plastic fantastic is SUCH a "LOT" of advantage over an older firearm(and to be even more obvious, let's make it a .38 snub.), and aren't just being Plato's fool, who doesn't talk because he has something to say, but only because he wants to say…. something. And any old words will do.

        2. avatar Edward Rogers says:

          Obviously, you’re not above belittling someone else to make yourself feel superior. Sad.

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          I can see subtlety is not your strong point. The little old lady with the old .380 isn’t going to be facing a cartel hit team — and neither are you.

        4. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

          Ok “Knute”. A pistol that holds 15rds with two reloads is 45 rounds. A pocket pistol holds about 5 or 6 rounds. Having 45 chances to stop the threat/s is being “a lot” (lol!) more prepared than having only 6.

          It’s funny how you can’t understand that having more ammo = being more prepared.

        5. avatar tdiinva says:

          Prepared for a cartel hit team maybe. Are you involved in the drug trade?

        6. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Ok, ‘maybe’ buff leroy:
          First off, what I asked for was “reasons” why you think that, not just saying the same thing over and over.
          But let’s carefully examine your position, which I will simply sum up as “more is better”. So does that mean you think that 45 rounds is 9 times better than 5? I doubt that, because if you try that road, my next question is: “Is 90 then twice as good as 45”? And is 9000 a hundred times better than 90? Even the retarded know better than that, and I think you do too.
          But, since you refuse to provide any reasons or citations other than “more is better”, that leads me to the question; “how much better”? Well, basic logic tells me that if those 45 rounds all got fired, THEN they could, just possibly, have been of some use. Although I would say that if one cannot manage to connect in the first 40, then next five aren’t likely to be any better.
          But that same basic logic also tells me that if only 4 rounds got fired, then the rest absolutely DON’T, and cannot, mean anything, whether you were carrying 41 more, or 41,000 more.
          The basic fallacy in your thinking here is that more is always better, simply because you can always say that; “if you run short, the next round could have been the one that ended the fight and saved you”.
          The problem with that it is is circular logic. Its not real, only a fantasy fear that sometimes fools the fearful. While (somewhat) true, the point is just as valid, no matter how large the number. That argument is the exact same one, logically, as saying that 100,000 rounds is too little because the 100,001 might be THE one that ends the fight. What makes it circular logic is that it has no end. No matter the number, one could always have one more, and that one MIGHT (just possibly, but we all know if one cannot hit in a thousand tries, the one thousand and first won’t be any better.) just might, be THE one.
          But we all know better than to carry a 1000 rounds. So some choose 45, and some choose 5. And maybe some will choose 7. So what? Different strokes for different folks. Understand? Not all people share the same experiences and biases.
          And that is the crux of why your oversimplified point; “more is always better”, just isn’t so.
          Once something is over, it doesn’t matter what “might have been”, because it wasn’t. And if three shots solved the problem, then 3 more, or 3000 more, wouldn’t have made any difference.

        7. avatar Joel says:

          I love reading the comments around here! It’s my favorite part of the day. Typically looks like this….

          Emotional unsubstantiated opinion…
          Educated and logical rebuttal….
          More opinion…
          More logic…
          Stronger defensive emotion…
          Another logical rebuttal…
          Etc..
          Etc…
          Etc….

          Love it.

        8. avatar porky says:

          Smaller pistols take longer to draw, take longer to get on target, are harder to shoot accurately, recoil more, and have less ammunition capacity than a compact or full-size.

        9. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          Does anyone in this thread ever watch/read “the defensive gun use of the day”? Many of them show MANY rounds used/necessary to deal with multiple threats, particularly the home invasions. Going by the statistics oft quoted here regarding how few rounds and how small a caliber and how tiny a gun are necessary to deal with the tiny cowards who typically faint at the sight of what may be a gun in one’s pocket, why not take it a step further? As the fudd author notes, it’d be rarer than a lightning strike to ever have to use your weapon anyway – so why bother carrying one at all? I mean, as long as statistics rule the day, rather than actual reality.
          Regarding caliber/capacity, if less is so much more, think about how much more MORE would be.
          My advice? Pick the biggest caliber gun with the most capacity you feel comfortable with, and then step up a notch from there you pussy and get used to it – carry it ALL the time (that way it will never feel heavy) and practice with it, both your aim and your draw. The only thing worse than getting into a gunfight is getting killed or seeing harm come to those you love – be prepared to protect them and yourself. Victims don’t do anybody any good (except democrat politicians). Train for fun if you want to, but practice for real.
          If it’s true that any gun is better than no gun, and some guns are better than others, then who wouldn’t rather carry something better than the gun that’s only better than no gun at all? Srsly, wtf.

        10. avatar barnbwt says:

          How long does it take you to shoot your three 15 round mags, including reloads, under ideal range conditions? How long does it take you to draw? How long does it take the bad guy(s) to draw and shoot their magazines? What are the odds of a hit by either side?

          Every time I’ve done the math, by the time you get to ‘volley’ number 4 from either side, the odds of the fight continuing starts getting silly (ie the odds of the defender or attacker being hit multiple times becomes exponential, especially if you assume that being hit reduces your chances of making a followup shot). For multiple attackers with guns it’s basically impossible to prevail if the attackers are anywhere close to ready to fight, Tom Cruise and that one idiot jewelry store owner, notwithstanding.

          The only time you see round counts even above the dozens is pretty much when both sides are firing mostly-blindly from behind cover, when someone empties an entire mag in panic, or when the fire fight is from an unusually great distance. Fire discipline would seem to be more effective and advantageous than capacity in all three of those cases.

        11. avatar Big Bill says:

          IMO, Knute is right.
          However, being “more prepared” doesn’t make you more effective against a given threat, if that threat is usually handled with 3 rounds or less. In such a case (and the large majority are such cases), having 17+ rounds is merely more weight to carry.
          Of course, if you happen to be that one in many tens of millions who are caught up in a threat where 3 rounds won’t carry the day, congratulations! Your preparedness might carry the day.
          Being over prepared isn’t bad.
          Paranoid, maybe, but not bad.

        12. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Knute(Ken)

          “Unless the stats show that in a civilian involved shooting, you will only need <3 rounds in <3 seconds, as they do"

          This statistic is a pervasive myth. Although there are some instructors that track their student's individual experiences, there is no large scale or national data that supports it.

        13. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          JWTAYLOR:
          “This statistic is a pervasive myth. Although there are some instructors that track their student’s individual experiences, there is no large scale or national data that supports it.”
          What you just said is that large scale, national studies are the only data that count, and that all small studies are just “pervasive myths”.
          You know better than that…… think before you write.
          And, attempting to follow my own advice here, I wrote that wrong. I was trying to say “3 or less” using the less than arrows as a shortcut, and instead ended up saying; “less than 3”.
          So I meant to say <4 rounds, and that's the way I will say it in future, or just write it all out, and quit trying to use 'shortcuts' that end up taking longer. But, in my own defense, I'm not a professional writer. This is just a comment in a chat room. I should rightly get more leeway than a professional writer.
          I might also add that there are so many types of self defense scenarios(each one is unique, really. So the number of potential categories apx. equals the number of events) that we will NEVER have the large scale, national stats that you are seeking. But even so, we CAN safely assume, simply from the very large number of cases that never have the need to reload, that the need is uncommon, at the least, and perhaps even very rare.
          Either way, it isn't a myth. Unless you are using the loose definition of that word that simply means; "a story". But by that definition, EVERYTHING written is a myth, even everything in the Library of Congress. Everything written is a story of some kind.

        14. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Knute(Ken)
          I certainly thought both before I wrote, as I wrote, and afterward.
          You stated, or at least seamed to state, that “stats” show less there is an amount of time and a round count used in civilian defensive gun uses.
          That is incorrect. That such stats exist is an oft cited myth. You have promulgated that myth, and seem to be doubling down on it.

        15. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Joel:
          So which is it that you like better? Reading the logical points, or listening to the overly emotional hiss and sputter? I’m betting it’s the latter. I get a kick out of the emotional, self-castrated soy boy hand wringing myself. BUT…but… what if what if what if what if what if what if?
          What if a ten ton banana fell on me? Well, I guess I’d be crushed… except that that’s ridiculous and stupid, because there is no such thing. IF the cat had wings, he might indeed be a canary, but since cats DON’T have wings, the whole point is idiotic and moot. But it’s still fun to watch them carry on with whatever phantom they happen to fear the most today…
          🙂

        16. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          JWT:
          I clearly stated that even if no such stat exists, nor even can possibly exist(not doubling down, but halving… or less.) Can you really read a doubling down in there somewhere? Where is it? Where did I attempt to say those were stats when I admitted they probably ARE NOT?
          So how can you possibly get so 180 degrees off course, and as a professional writer no less, who we have the right to assume knows what most words mean, since words are their livelihood? Is there some secret course you all took that now the word “freedom” means slavery, and the word “war” means peace? Because it sure seems to me that you write everything backwards, and only when one looks at it in a mirror does any of it make any sense. That way, when you turn it around, half looks a lot like double. Just backwards.

        17. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          JWT: one final effort to see if you are still able to reason. You must know that even if we don’t have the exact stats, presented in exactly the way you might like, from sources you deem credible enough, still there exists data that we can use to attempt to answer this question:
          http://www.pointshooting.com/1asop9.htm
          Yes, all still LEOs, yes, civilian encounters are extremely different, yes, its only those killed not counting wounded, etc. But it IS still data isn’t it? Or does nothing ever count until you pronounce it to be so?
          “SHOOTING DISTANCES From Sept 1854 to Dec 1979, 254 Officers died from wounds received in an armed encounter. The shooting distance in 90% of those cases was less than 15 feet.”
          “RAPID RELOADING The average number of shots fired by individual Officers in an armed confrontation was between two and three rounds. The two to three rounds per incident remained constant over the years covered by the report. It also substantiates an earlier study by the L.A.P.D. (1967) which found that 2.6 rounds per encounter were discharged.”
          Now, does any of that say; “data” and/or “statistics” to you, or do you just proclaim them all to also be some meaning or another of “myth”, which you continue to refuse to define? If all you mean is some kind of a story, then fine, they are all myths by that definition. But then, by that definition so is everything ever written. Everything on the internet, and everything in every library on the planet.
          Can you see how important definitions are to communication? If you refuse to say just what you mean by “myth”, then it just so happens it can mean anything at all, or NOTHING at all. And if words mean nothing, how is communication ever even going to be possible?
          Geez, I can’t believe I have to have this 100 class level discussion on the different meanings of words with a professional journalist! Let’s attempt this:
          https://www.dictionary.com/browse/myth
          Here is a list of five possible meanings for the word “myth”. All you need to do is tell me which one you are using. You don’t even need to write it out. Just a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 will be sufficient. At least that way I will be able to know which way you’re using the word, at least for this one thread. Surely a ‘professional’ writer can figure out how to do this simple, 3rd grade task.

        18. avatar Donttreadonme says:

          Exactly!

      3. avatar 1878 Drover says:

        Well tough guy, have you been shot by a .380, not all perps are crazed and unfeeling. Most run or just hit the deck. Correctly placed a .22 can do the job. Want to be prepared, fine, to each his own. Without criticism please.

        1. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

          You need to learn how to read, tough guy. I never mentioned caliber in any part of the discussion, Only capacity.

        2. avatar Donttreadonme says:

          Let’s see how well your shot placement is with that 22 when under stress. Because if your shot placement isn’t perfect with something like a 22 caliber, then it’s not going to do you much good.

      4. avatar porky says:

        Except that as Lucky Gunner’s testing has shown, time and time again repeatedly, that pocket guns are much harder to shoot accurately, slower to get on target, and for all that you’re delivering less energy per round capable of incapacitating someone for more recoil

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          There are compact and full sized single stacks, you know like various forms of the 1911.

        2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          But you left out what you GET in return! Lighter weight, easier to carry, more concealable, which means more likely to have it when you need it, less likely to have it seen and stolen, etc. etc. Everything in the firearms world is a trade off. You always have to give up something to get something else.
          Desire higher ballistic performance? Give up some portability and one can have whatever level of performance one desires. All the up to a Barrett Light 50 and beyond. But that .50 BMG performance comes at a hefty price. It weighs 50 pounds.
          Want higher velocity? Give up projectile weight. Lighter bullets travel faster. Don’t like that one? OK, give up portability and quick handling in favor of a longer barrel. Longer barrels increase velocity w/o reducing bullet weight. But they do decrease portability.
          And on and on this road goes…. forever. It never ends. The list of stuff you can get is endless, but you needs must give up something else to get it. That is why there are so many options. Because everybody is a little less(or more) willing to give up some amount of “X” to get just a little more “Y”. The shades of gray are endless, but everybody likes a little different shade of gray than the next guy.
          Choices. Choices are a good thing, so long as one doesn’t get so bewildered by a large number of them that one gets paralyzed into inaction, or bogged down in endless arguments over whether(for example) the 9mm’s higher velocity is more “important” than the .45 ACP’s projectile weight advantage. NOTHING is ever “better” than anything else! Only better… for a specific purpose…. in a certain person’s opinion.

    2. avatar George Washington says:

      I agree…. With both points of view…
      I think you’ve missed his point in this article…
      It’s only a REALITY CHECK….
      Not EVERYONE needs or wants tons of training…
      I have no formal training but I still carry a full size USP with an extra mag… And I’m prepared to fend off any attacker or protect someone else’s life if the need arises…
      I think the author was only pointing out a fact, not being biased one way or another…. Or at least that’s how I read the article…

  4. avatar Porkrind says:

    Anyone else pick up on how he suggests that instructors like James Yeager tell you to look for a fight when in fact that is completely the opposite? One commentor before me pointed out that this article is one big strawman argument, and he’s absolutely right. Listen, I live in a town with no stoplights. Driving home I see more cows than I see people during my workday. Do I believe that a KGB hit squad is my most likely threat? Not at all, but MY experience as a veteran has told me I’d rather have too much than not enough. In short, you might not need to go through a three day combat exercise, but it sure as hell will not hurt you if you ever have to put those skills to work.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Porkrind,

      Your comment appears to be the first comment that hints at the heart of the matter: your environment and the threat profiles for which you want to be prepared. There is thus a prudent training and firearm continuum that spans from minimal to extreme.

      If you live in a “safe” rural environment and you are only worried about a wayward youth who thought it might be fun to try a strong-arm robbery at the general store, then any handgun caliber/capacity — and basically no training at all — is fantastic.

      If you live in a suburban environment where you are only worried about rare car-jackings, sexual assaults, and muggers, 8 hours of training and any handgun caliber/capacity is fine.

      If you are often in an ugly urban environment where multiple attackers frequently attack and kill victims, then 8 hours of “basic” training, 8 hours of “advanced” training, and a semi-auto handgun with a 15+ round magazine chambered in 9mm Luger or larger would probably be prudent.

      The point is that preparedness is a continuum, ranging from minimal to extreme. The more risk that someone expects to encounter or wants to be able to handle, the more he/she should be prepared. And that translates to more training as well as larger handgun platforms with greater capacities.

  5. avatar Greg says:

    If you have to reload as a CCW. You didn’t do your job properly.
    I only carry a spare mag in case of a malfunction. I recommend the book Pistolcraft by Reid Henrichs.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      Each to his own. If you don’t want to carry a spare mag, then by all means don;t bother. For me that extra little piece of metal and plastic with another load for my EDC is reassuring for the very small effort of carrying it.

    2. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Agreed! Reid’s book is worthwhile: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794172459/

      I do disagree with the statement about “you only need so many rounds to do the job properly.” Just because the average gunfight has a low round count doesn’t mean that your worst day in your life will include an average gunfight. Nobody ever said “why the hell did I bring all this ammo” after defending thier life.

  6. avatar jwm says:

    Safe gun handling practices are essential. I handle my pistol every day. I do not shoot, rappel, breach doors or any of that other tactifool stuff every day.

    For the citizen gunnie safety practices should be number 1. All else is secondary.

    And I’ve said it before. I don’t care how operational your instructor was. If he’s running a weekend training class for civilians he has lawyers, insurers and regulators standing on his nuts and not allowing him to unleash the uncle sugar level of training.

    There’s only one way to become a tier one operator. And that is too rich for most folks blood.

  7. avatar Kevin says:

    This is a classic application of the Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule.

    I can be prepared for the vast majority (80%) of defensive situations with a basically any gun and a relatively small amount of training (20%). If I want to prepare for the remaining 20% of situations, I have to invest significant time, money, and work.

    For me, it comes down to (i) playing the odds and (ii) how many resources I want to invest in self defense.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      Well put.

    2. avatar Anner says:

      Related: Risk Management. Identify potential risks, sum their ill effect and likelihood, and address them in order of those combined priorities. Seatbelts, healthy eating/exercise, fire extinguishers, a life jacket, a flashlight, a decent first aid kit, basic emergency medical training, and—yes—any decently reliable firearm will keep you out of the clutches of most of the risks that you can mitigate. Good genetics helps, but it is what it is.

      The author’s argument uses a strong dose of logical fallacy, but the intent is clear and correct in most American citizens’ daily lives.

    3. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      That works in almost any situation under the sun. And for obvious reasons too. The reason that 80% will do little or nothing, and the heavy lifting gets done by the 20%, is simply that 80% of the people are lazy and ignorant, and so this 80% never gets much done. Except for creating SNAFUS, TARFUs, and FUBARs. This 80% excel at these things(fucking up).
      That leaves the 20%, WITH the functioning brains to get things done. Naturally they do a lot more. Because they don’t have to redo everything… over and over and over and over….
      lots of addressing of this issue here:

    4. avatar billrla says:

      Kevin: This is exactly why I only go out 80% of the time. The rest of the time, I just stay home.

  8. avatar billy2legs says:

    cool story bro’ – don’t quit your day job
    if your day job involves writing… .get your resume in order

    1. avatar Terry says:

      100% agree – no content besides some rants about not liking what others consider “prepared”.

      Any person carrying a firearm, no matter if it comes with 19 round magazines or is a single shot, is better prepared than the poor people trying to talk their way out of a robbery.

      An yes, I am an instructor.

  9. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I have been scoffed at more times than I care to count for EDCing a P238. Much of it on the internet, which can be immediately discounted, but some has been in person to my face. In one case it was from the friend of RF’s who occasionally used to write here, who claimed to EDC not less than three guns simultaneously at any given time, because that’s what it took for him to feel prepared. As I don’t live for the approval of others, this scorn hasn’t mattered much more than the keyboard commandos’ version. Still, it remains somewhat surprising to me how many people fail to grasp the reality of the situation, which is that the likelihood of being forced to use the gun I carry every day is vanishingly small. Further, in that event, the likelihood that I will then be in a position to regret that I don’t have “more gun” is an even smaller subset yet. With that in mind, along with the necessity of concealing under a tucked-in polo 60-ish hours a week, I chose the P238.

    I carry my P238 every single day, barring legally prohibited areas (which I don’t visit very often, and I ignore the shit out of the rules at the post office), to work, to the store, and everywhere in between. I practice with my carry weapon regularly, not because I’m tacticool, but because it’s fun. And I don’t change guns to suit the weather, or my mood, or the color of my shoes. In my opinion, that actually makes me better prepared than the guy scorning me, who rotates between three different guns in at least two different calibers, with three different holsters, and at least two different manual of arms to deploy them.

    1. avatar Napresto says:

      The P238 is a great gun. Have thought of getting one myself, and I would absolutely EDC it, especially if ultra-concealment was top priority (a lot of the time for me).

    2. avatar WhiteDevil says:

      Are you talking about Rabbi?

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Are you talking about Rabbi?

        I am. He basically called me unprepared on one occasion for only carrying one gun. I questioned his paranoia (given that he also espoused the “don’t go to stupid places…” ideal) for carrying three.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      Matt. There’s a mindset that seems to be prevalent amongst guys. And it’s not limited to guns or self defense. The ones who don’t think they can be any good at anything until they splurge on the latest and greatest gear. Without the newest and hi techest toys they’ll be unable to perform. And they look down their noses at anybody that hasn’t bought into the mindset as deeply as they have.

      The training mantra follows the same line. ‘I’m no good until I put 20% of my disposable income and all my disposable time into training.’

      And these guys are right. They will fail. Because they’ve forgotten the one real truth.

      It ain’t the arrow. Its the Indian. Mindset is number 1. We’ve seen time after time right here on ttag the over 70 crowd, many who have never fired a shot, prevail against their attackers.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        Exactly so. And it is that part of such fools that I just cannot wrap my head around. The part where it is NOT enough for THEM to believe in their grand poobah (whoever he might be), but they have to make ME BELIEVE IN IT ALSO.
        This is why I call such ones religious fundamentalists. Because it doesn’t matter whether their unshakable belief is in a cult leader, a priest, or an instructor. The fact that they don’t have REASONS for said belief(and deep down I think most of them know they are being had. They just don’t care so long as the class or whatever makes them ‘feel good’), is part and parcel of why they always feel the need to ‘convert’ everybody around who will listen to their yammering. The dogma takes precedence over reality, because they have a desperate need to convince themselves…. by convincing ME.
        And many hate me for this(even here), since I don’t convince easily just because someone says some words over and over. I’ll always listen to logic and reasons, but the fundamentalists never have any, other than; “because this book I like says…” blah blah blah, whatever the flavor is that week. Those aren’t even arguments, let alone a debate. They’re mostly just children(no matter what chronological age they might be) screaming out what they want, over and over again.
        I love a debate, but fundamentalists, protecting the dogma like they are Horatio at the gate(but without the bridge or any other troops to bring the bridge down) are just too similar to dealing with a spoiled 3 year old. If I want to go down that rabbit hole I have two psychotic ex-wives that would be happy to berate me for as long as I would care to listen.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I think most of it is driven by male ego.

        2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          I would agree, with the caveat that the female ego is also really ignorant, fragile, and illogical. Just in different ways than the male ego is.
          Ego, period, in my view, is a thing best left behind by those who desire a higher level of consciousness. But leaving one’s ego behind is a rather difficult task. I try, and fail, all the time. But just because I’m unable to accomplish the task at this point in time, doesn’t mean the effort was wasted.

    4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “I have been scoffed at more times than I care to count for EDCing a P238.”

      Matt, I have EDC’d, over the years, 9mm, .357, and .380 when I had that little AMT .380.

      Never once have I felt under-gunned when carrying the tiny AMT. I knew I would get some *nasty* slide-bite from it, but I wouldn’t care if it truly was for defensive use.

      That Sig P238 is a sweet little gun. If I ever get another .380 down the road, it would be high on the list…

  10. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Bwaaahaaahaaaa. It never ends.

    There will be no peace until someone trained by ( insert name here) takes out an entire terror cell using 743 rounds he happened to have in a Maxedition backpack…….using his pocket folding AR in 6.5 Creedmore.

    Of course, he will have attempted to talk them down using his 267 hour seminar on de-escalation before unlimbering his rifle…pistol..and shotgun. Great thing he shoots 3 gun six time a week.

    Know gun safety and have a gun. Training is good….not a god.

  11. avatar Paul says:

    Very well said … a great article. I would add 1) get a good gun, not just the cheapest new gun you can afford. I would rather search the local gun shops, pawn shops and gun shows for a lightly used gun of higher quality. Trust me they’re out there. 2) Get a gun you “will” carry … a big gun with 20 rounds may be great in the hand and on the range, but odds are you will leave it at home or in the car during shorts and tee shirt days. There are lots of light weight .380, 9mm and .38 carry guns that you will take with you every day, every where. Keeping in mind that small guns can harder to learn to shoot well and control. But I’d rather have a small gun in my pocket than a big blaster at home in the drawer.

    Find that gun you can shoot and will carry … then practice, practice, practice. Join a club, get some carry/safety training not necessarily “combat” training. Oh…and practice.

    1. avatar Shepdog6 says:

      Regarding quality firearms…there are always used PD guns available somewhere if one looks hard enough. I recently got a SW 4006TSW and 4013TSW for $350 each from AIM Surplus. The highest of quality guns for less than Canik money.

  12. avatar Bob says:

    Dan Z, if you look at it from the perspective of your article, then many people would not bother to carry. the idea is not to let the pendulum swing wildly from side to side ( “You need three hand guns, 10 mags, 2 knives, body armour and $10K worth of training before you go out the door every morning!! / “Statistics say you’ll never even need a gun, so why bother??), but to consider every possibility and its chances, and arm and act accordingly.

    1. avatar Hush says:

      One size does not fit all, butt there are a few things that all should consider relative to their EDC gun. Such as: Pick a gun and caliber that you like. Practice with that choice as often as possible on the range and at home dry firing. Know that gun like you once knew an old girlfriend. Choose associated gear with care and once you are comfortable with your choices keep on practicing as often as possible. Then only use that one gun as your EDC piece, gun not sweet potato pie. Even though the chances of having to deploy your choice it seems, to me, that it is better to carry a chosen gun that you know well and are comfortable using. This way you avoid any surprises by perhaps not remembering which piece you have and how to use it effectively. No person knows how they will respond in a bad situation and it makes good sense to carry a gun you know and have hours of training with so that you can think about things other than which gun am I carrying today. When seconds count there is no time to waste on anything. Of course if you are going some place where you think you need a gun, then don’t go there. Still the best fight is the one you avoid.

      1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

        Who are you Hush? This imo is some of the most sound advice for this subject yet.

  13. avatar Ddub says:

    Those instructors are selling a product, buy it, or don’t. You’ll likely not find a person who has invested hours of personal time and loads of personal treasure into training courses who will agree with you, they’re already too invested.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      This is the best advice on instructors that I have ever heard. Remember that all instructors have a vested interest and are attempting to sell you a product. Their product is themselves, and their (supposed) “knowledge”. Thus they have a monetary motive to pad up their resumes (sometimes with outright lies), and attempt to make their potential customer “just trust”… in THEM!
      So just treat all potential class instructors as a used car salesman. Believe nothing of what they say(you aren’t in their class yet. Just evaluating the teacher), and work the conversation around to something that you do know about, and try to catch him/her in a lie. And its usually not hard. Good instructors are few and far between, although note: They definitely do exist! So its just a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff (there’s lots more chaff in a wheat field than kernels, by a long ways).
      I have a little trick(now called; life hacks) for that also. When one has a knowledge base to draw upon, it much easier to steer the potential instructor into a place you know about, so you can then catch him lying to you for money, and so know he is the chaff. But a rank beginner might well have no idea what any of this means. Right over the head, since there is no knowledge base to steer the guy towards.
      And this hypothetical customer might really NEED this class, just to be legal to carry. Its won’t be so easy for him to just walk away, because good or bad, this instructor can still sign a piece of paper that allows one to exercise their ‘right’ to do something WITHOUT permission.
      But lets stay on this subject and not get sidetracked off into political insanity. I have noticed over the years a single trait that all decent instructors have, and that the bad ones lack. So just look for this one trait(or its absence) and one can quickly and easily separate the wheat from the chaff.
      Its this: certainty. The chaff instructors will always cultivate an air of “they are always right”, every time, no exceptions. Only the dangerously ignorant are so cocksure that they think they know everything. The more an instructor will admit that lots of things he will teach are just his opinions, he might be wrong about a certain thing, he teaches “X” because he learned it from so and so and he thinks it works because… “Y”, etc.
      IOWs, the more he is willing to give reasons for what he does, the better he is. Even if one doesn’t have the knowledge base to question his reasoning, the pure fact that he HAS done some(reasoning), puts him world’s ahead of the arrogant stutters who will only say some variety of; “because I say so, that’s why”.
      THOSE are the chaff! Avoid if possible, and if one simply must have THAT class, for whatever reason, then pay the chaff his blood money to sign the stupid piece of paper, nod your head and do whatever the fool says, learn nothing, get your permit, and then try to find a decent instructor later. One who knows that he doesn’t know everything in the damn world.

    2. avatar Michael in AK says:

      Amen! I have been to a number of classes both by private instructors and LE. I will pick on Clint Smith for a second (been to Thunder ranch twice). I use a timer (which he says is unnecessary) so that I can check my progress. Doesn’t mean I am ignoring the other things he teaches, I have learned that most of us need some type of measurements so that we can see if we are improving (speed is NOT the only criteria, accuracy is critical).

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        He could be correct about the timer not being absolutely necessary, but it’s sure one of the greatest teaching aids one can buy! The mere fact that a timer is going adds a lot of stress to the situation, which is what all the PT and math problems are attempting(poorly, IMO) to add to the two- and three- gun stages. We know that gunfights are high stress situations, so they try to simulate that by adding calisthenics, math problems, or some other artificial stress that, IMO, fails miserably.
        The misunderstanding is it really isn’t the stress of the fight that needs simulating, its the fear. The timer and the other competitors will add all the stress that most can handle, and even that is too much for many. It’s the element of fear for one’s life that’s missing and needs simulating. But that’s not possible, so they just choose to have you do a bunch of pushups or run an obstacle course and then shoot for score.
        Lacking some way to simulate the fear of not surviving, they’re a lot better off going back to just normal shooting stages and forget about the doing of math problems to figure out which targets are shoot/no shoot and etc. I just don’t see any possible life situation that would require me to do math(and math and physics were my best subjects. So math problems give me an advantage, but I still think it’s dumb) in order to figure out what not to shoot at. I think it’s unrealistic, and I’m glad I’m long retired from that scene.
        But, for those who enjoy that, have at it. Just don’t expect me to show up. I might come to watch though. I enjoy watching a 250 pounder try to climb a tower and wedge his bulk through a little window in order to get a target to shoot at. Yeah, no advantage for a 98 pound stringbean there, is there?

  14. avatar The Pontificator says:

    Instructor Earl:

    “CLOSE THE GAP!”

    “GET BACK!”

    “ATTACK!”

  15. avatar Mikial says:

    The author’s rant makes a couple of decent points about the amount of ‘training’ and EDC ‘stuff’ the internet “gun gurus” tell you you need. I really think there are a lot of people making a lot of money off people who are afraid they will never be prepared enough unless they spend a fortune on training and gear.

    Fair enough.

    But the guy misses the entire point of why people carry . . . it’s to survive an armed encounter with a criminal or terrorist. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. And there are numerous accounts of legal carriers being killed while trying to defend themselves because they either didn’t know how to react in a life or death situation or they didn’t have the mindset necessary not to hesitate when hesitation would get them killed. And while I know full well that the average person can’t afford the time and expense of taking a course at Gunsite Academy or Front Site or any of dozens of other training venues, there’s nothing wrong with understanding the basics of how to react when threatened by an armed assailant, no matter what they are armed with.

    So if Dan wants to make fun of getting some training he’s welcome to do so, but I for one recommend at least knowing how to shoot while heading for the nearest cover and how to reload under pressure.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      “there are a lot of people making a lot of money off people who are afraid they will never be prepared enough unless they spend a fortune on training and gear.”
      And how big a leap from there is it to get to… perhaps these people making lots of money off of selling “tacticool” gear to people who don’t need it, and probably would be better off without it if they just knew, how big a jump can it be to think that some of these CREATE the fear that benefits them in the first place?
      That perhaps this is the subset of ‘instructors’ that this entire article refers to as “having jumped the shark”? IOWs, engaged in really risky behaviors to increase their profits, and now they are starting to see the backlash, but after having created so much fear, it doesn’t just go away now, even if said ‘instructor’ announces that now a 5 shot .38 snub is a sufficient firearm. The ones jumping the shark won’t say that, because they know the furious backlash will likely involve class action lawsuits, bankruptcy, and perhaps even tar and feathers if the rubes they bilked get mad enough.
      One thing the shark jumpers must always be aware of, is that this shark, even though he never had the chance to bite you before, will take you into pieces quickly if they ever figure out how badly they are being used by the fear mongers. They must always remember that these crowds, after one whips them up into a fear fever to sell them crap, are fully capable of turning on you in an instant, if they ever get wind of the skeletons in their closets.
      Yes, I do know the technique, and no, I do NOT use it. I judge the risk(the crowd finds out) to be far in excess of the gain(a little currency, which I know to be distinct from “money”, and of little value, at least to me). But I know I’m the odd man out here, as most will sell anything, including their mothers, for enough currency. Other than eating and buying gas, I see little use for currency except to convert it into money.

  16. avatar Biatec says:

    You know when they say, “a shootout only lasts this long” or “how often do bad guys carry 33 round magazines” It’s the same type of arguments for not being allowed to own a gun. “Being robbed is so rare you don’t need a gun.” “Don’t you think you are paranoid” It’s pretty much the same argument as “You won’t need extra mags because if you know what you are doing it won’t matter” Just endless nonsense like that. Glock 19 extra mags and you are good to go. I don’t have a problem with people who use revolvers but it’s a disadvantage.

    Like because the odds are lower that you will need the extra rounds or ability to reload quickly that means you shouldn’t encourage people to use a modern gun. If you shoot revolvers and don’t train you are going to fumble your speed loaders.

    I am not saying you need mandatory training or anything like that. It’s a good thing though to train and it’s better when people don’t push new shooters to old fashioned technology like revolvers.

    I repeat I do not have an issue with people who trained their entire life on revolvers. I’m not saying it makes sense to switch over. Someone new to guns though needs to learn a modern gun even if they don’t carry extra mags they have more ammo. Saying it’s too complicated is like paying someone to mow your lawn because you can’t learn how to use a mower it’s a tool. I think I will get a lot of hate for this one.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      I don’t see you getting any hate at all, but I do have a question. You said: QUOTE; “it’s better when people don’t push new shooters to old fashioned technology like revolvers.”
      Would you care to elaborate on WHY you think that newbies shouldn’t be guided towards revolvers? They seem, to me, to be ideally suited for the beginner. I can elaborate at great length if you wish to do so. But first, it is much more appropriate for you to have reasons backing up your opinions, before saddling you with mine.

  17. avatar Imayeti says:

    To get realistic training I’ve begged for treadmills at the range so I can practice shooting over my shoulder while running away…………make that escaping.

  18. avatar Tom RKBA says:

    “a CCW permit holder is unprepared unless they’re carrying a polymer frame pistol with a weapon-mounted light in a Kydex holster with a large magazine, a spare mag, a flashlight, tactical stippling, and some kind of advanced training in ninja-type shooting.”

    I never heard anything like this from any of the many instructors I have trained with.

  19. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    The author ‘ST’ is spot on IMO and I’ve posted the same thing on this site before.

    “…..The FBI pegs the average shootout in under five seconds in duration. And judging by the accounts of most defensive gun uses I read, 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….”

    That is not to say all training is bad or should not be considered but some of the courses and instructors I’ve read about or seen are a bit over the top.

    just sayin…

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “…..The FBI pegs the average shootout in under five seconds in duration.”

      Unfortunately, it does not. Many people have dramatically misquoted and misinterpreted that data for decades now. The FBI’s finding was that most members of law enforcement that were killed with a firearm were shot with 3 or fewer bullets and from less than 3 feet away. The data does not track total time of altercation. If we think about it, how could they, when this data was derived from an era before body cams and most dash cams. Also note, it refers only to law enforcement, and it only tracks data from deaths, as well as only the shots that killed the officer. TTAG has run a full article on this a couple of times now.
      There is no national data that supports the fabled “rule of 3s.”

  20. avatar MMurcek says:

    Credential grantors and credential holders will tell you the credential is more important than the result. In that 5 second gunfight window alluded to I doubt the bad guy is thinking “That guy looks like he trains 10 hours a week! I give up!!”

  21. avatar GS650G says:

    Most bad guy encounters end with the sight of a gun on them. It doesn’t need to be shootout.

    Apparently…..

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      It was for me. Both times. The second one was a near thing though. The perp kept coming, even after seeing the gun, and he did not let up until he was going to plant his left foot in the spot that I was calling the “red zone”.
      That is, when he planted that foot, I judged that he was to be allowed no closer, and he would get three in CM. It was only a High Standard .22RF, so I was onto triple tap. Had to save some though, because the other mag was still under the seat of the car, and there was a second perp present, but doing nothing other than encouraging the mouthy one into still coming after me. I judged three in CM to be a good start on the mouthy one, followed by three more doubles if needed.
      Yes, the ten round mag only had nine in it.
      Anyway, the instant before he put that foot down on the fire button, he froze with that left foot in the air. He looked at me, I looked at him, and neither of us said a word until he turned to his partner and said; “let’s go”. And that was the end of that.
      I am forced to the assumption that something he saw, or sensed, meant that he knew(somehow) that he was a fraction of a second away from three extra holes in his anatomy, assuming I connected with all three. Nothing else changed, except his mind. No one present said anything at that point, not even his cheerleader.

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        Your mope had an epiphany most likely due to your determination, good work. Stay safe.

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          I sure wish I knew more about this time dilation, because it’s only happened to me that once. The first one was just a half hearted mugging by some kid. I showed him the gun and he discovered urgent business elsewhere.
          But since the second instance, I’ve had an intense interest in time stopping under stress. Almost everything I’ve read, of which there is precious little, refers to it as a slowdown, but that is not at all my experience. When it started, I was frozen in place like a statue, and so was all else. While I was making all my elaborate plans, I wanted desperately to look over at the perps cheerleader, who was over by my nephew, who house this all occurred at.
          I wanted to know the distance between those two, and myself, so I could factor that in. But it was a no go. Without time, I couldn’t move a finger, or even my eyeballs. Not even a flick. I could see them over there, but only through peripheral vision, which wasn’t clear enough to judge range, or even who they were, if I had not already known. It sure was a strange experience, and I no longer doubt anyone who claim to have had it happen to them. But it sure turned out to be a blessing. It likely saved me that day, because I think he must have somehow known that I had already made up my mind as to the exact moment that he was going to get perforated, and he stopped just short of that line. About a millisecond short.
          I was already adding pressure to the trigger as his left foot came up, and I just knew it was a done deal, because he was still coming. But I never got those last few ounces on the trigger.
          Didn’t get the adrenaline shakes afterwards either. Not that time, although I did the first time, and a few other times of danger besides. But not that time. The time dilation was really comforting, somehow. Just having the time to think and plan seemed to help a lot.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          IMHO, what happened is that a predator suddenly realized he was facing a predator. He was looking for prey. It’s happened to me a couple of times. They suddenly realize that they will have to risk death or serious injury or they must move on to easier game.

          I believe those of us that are not herbivores give off signs, maybe we don’t even know them at a conscious level, that are loud and clear to the rest of the animal kingdom.

        3. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          I believe that as well, but this was a timing thing. He somehow knew, through my face, or ESP, or whatever, the exact line that he would get holed for going over. And he stopped dead, and I mean dead, right on that line.
          Just a co-incidence? Well, maybe, but to the millisecond is an awfully big co-incidence.
          The first incidence, the kid looking for a quick score, I totally believe in the predator thing. It didn’t take him any more than a second or two to discover that urgent business far away, the instant he saw that I was armed. That’s a pretty clear statement that this one isn’t prey, and he sure seemed to figure it out soon enough.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      The moment the predator realizes there is no appeal, parole, second chance, technicality or lawyer to get them off the hook the predator modifies behavior.

      Nothing short of a hole at the end of a pipe will do that.

  22. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Agree w/the author. I carry because it is my right, not from fright. I have carried for over 40 years w/o having to pull my gun. Before that I was military.
    I once carried the tacticool load out, but as I advanced in age I have pared it back to a gun and a knife. I have stuff in the truck, flashlight, first aid etc.
    The only change is going to the big city, which I do about 2 or 3 times a year. Then I go with a larger gun and a spare mag. Still no flashlight ’cause I don’t go to dark places.
    The only hard and fast rule for every day life is; CARRY.

  23. avatar JD says:

    YAAAAWWWWWWNN…. yup, still lots of morons out here, including the author of this ridiculous slathering of words he calls an article.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      YAAAWWWWNNNNN. Still lots of fools around too I see.
      “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” -Plato
      Just FYI, in this context saying nothing means; “to add nothing substantiative to a discussion.”
      Like just saying “I dislike this”, or “this is stupid”. That adds nothing. Now IF you had reasons…. that might be something. But you didn’t give any, which, since I don’t know you personally, means that I have to assume you don’t have any.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I see you’re out of juvie and back at your mom’s

  24. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Carry a decent caliber and some spare ammo, everybody needs some spare ammo, and study Jeff Cooper’s Color codes. And locate an NRA instructor.

  25. avatar George Washington says:

    I’m confused about the comments here… When did the author “make fun” of wannabe “operators”?
    You people must have the IQ of a fuckin sea urchin…
    I have NO TRAINING, and I DON’T NEED “training” by someone who probably would shit their panties in a real firefight… Lol

  26. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

    So, someone who hasn’t taken a single training class complains about training classes. Did I sum this up correctly? This article was clearly sourced from YouTube knowledge and Internet forums. If the author would have attended a class, he would actually know that most of his complaints are complete garbage, or, shall I say, Stupid Internet Gun Stuff. LOL

    Since the author mentions Tactical Response, James Yeager’s wife carries a S&W Shield 9. So, no high-capacity handgun with a mounted light. In fact, the S&W Shield 9 is next to the Glock 43 the most popular single stack in those classes. James Yeager also says stippling is for stupid people who can’t shoot. It looks like the author simply did not know any of this.

    An L-shaped ambush is not taught in any of these classes. The legal aspects of self defense as well as emergency trauma care are, however. Conflict avoidance is taught as well. Again, it looks like the author simply did not know any of this.

    1911s do show up as these classes, so do a few .380s sometimes. Full-size 1911s do pretty well, while compact 1911s in .45 ACP regularly crap out. Those pocket 380s typically become painful to shoot for the person who brought it. Again, it looks like the author simply did not know any of this.

    Maybe the author is just afraid to find out that all of his imagined self defense concepts are wrong. Those classes exist to learn. It is up to you to figure out if it is worthwhile. At least, don’t write a troll article that just proves your lack of knowledge.

  27. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Just my personal philosophy, but civilian gunfights very rarely go beyond 5 or 6 rounds so I figure you should prioritize those over the subsequent 30 or 40. i.e., carry a revolver.

  28. avatar Shooter54 says:

    Your points are well taken, but as someone who has put hundreds of new shooters through CCW classes, 95% of them don’t have the knowledge, skills or attitude to carry a gun, much less use a gun defensively. CCW classes only make ’em legal. Training builds skills and confidence. Nothing builds more confidence to safely carry than coming off a 1, 2 or more days live-fire class. You’re correct, don’t waste money on 5.11 cargos, Salomon boots, a Tacti-World ball cap and Molon Labe T-shirt. But if you’re gonna carry, carry confidently. Spend some money. Budget for at least one annual training event. Put a little money aside each month to pay for it. Applauding yourself for carefully punching hand-sized groups in paper at the indoor range does not qualify, nor build confidence.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Incorrect. Naturally printing good groups on a square range builds confidence. That’s just about the only thing it does build. You said as much yourself without even realizing that you did so.
      “Training builds skills and confidence.” Remember saying that now? And shooting at anything on any range IS training.
      “Nothing builds more confidence to safely carry than coming off a 1, 2 or more days live-fire class.” Are you meaning that literally? As in “NOTHING”, meaning NO THING at all! NOTHING? Not even surviving multiple live fire missions builds confidence more? You know lots better than that.
      This is just marketing B.S. that you’ve packaged and practiced so many times you have the script memorized. All meaning has been lost, so you fall right into such silly statement as “Nothing will do more”, when you know full well that LOTS of things can do more. It’s just that THOSE things won’t fill your wallet like scared sheeple will.
      I’m guessing by now you realize how throughly trapped you are, and in your own words to boot, which just adds icing to the cake.
      So, is it really so tough to just say: “I run a concealed class and it is not possible for me to put 30 years of practice into this classes’ heads overnight. I can help you to learn, but YOU must do the learning for yourself. Pay attention and do some practice on your own, and you will be way better off than some mall ninja with the gear but lacking any knowledge of how to use it.”
      Isn’t that just as good of a sales pitch, but now true instead of all false?

    2. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

      “Applauding yourself for carefully punching hand-sized groups in paper at the indoor range does not qualify, nor build confidence.”

      More often than not, similar statements are made by people who are unable to punch said hand-sized groups in paper. Or, are unable to even hit the paper.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        I would agree(most of the time) but in this case the schpeel is just too well polished and too finely honed for me to think of it as an accident. I think spec38 is a real ‘instructor”, in some class somewhere, and the kind of ‘instructor’ that needs to be avoided at all costs. As well as the kind that need the single quotes denoting the error within.
        Simply because he desires nothing but access to your wallet, and will do almost anything(or maybe even…anything. Minus the almost) to get it. Certainly he has no qualms about passing off lies so well polished that he almost believes in them himself, as truth. The shit he just got caught red handed doing.

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          CORRECTION: Sorry, shooter54, not spec38. I think that’s a whole other guy on here. I have this thing about names, they’re hard for me to remember.

  29. avatar former water walker says:

    Geez what a bunch of gobbledygook…you do you. I’ve been surrounded by a crowd of young black ruffians in the Southside of Chicago(selling insurance). At dusk. I gunned my engine and fully intended to run all of them down. The sea parted…this was circa 1992 and I was unarmed but fearless. F##k the FBI…NOW at 65 I’d want a freakin’ 33round mag and a spare AR15. The fight is what it is…ever hear of “wilding” attacks in Chicago?!?

  30. avatar Grumpster says:

    Good article. Not all of us, maybe even most of us, simply don’t have access to ranges where we can work on advanced skills even if we wanted too. None of the ranges around here allow drawing from holster and there are only about a dozen ranges in the metro area with a population of almost 10 million people. Yet there are dry fire practices that can be done at home include drawing from holster under concealment that are a lot better than nothing. I use a laser training cartridge to get better feedback and make it more fun.

    I also use situational awareness and avoidance to try and minimize any chance that an armed encounter might happen. If one looks at many of the online videos of actual armed encounters it is not difficult to see what to avoid with liquor stores and convenience stores at the stop of the list especially after dark. Showing a sense of being aware of what is going around one, rather that having face glued to cell phone and wearing earbuds, can also greatly reduce chances of an encounter and should be a mindset even when one is not allowed to carry a weapon.

    Nothing wrong with one getting all the training one desires to but those that insist that advanced training is a almost a must are going a bit overboard IMO and could be playing into the hands of politicians that would love to mandate such before one could even possess a firearm.

  31. avatar John in Ohio says:

    “It’s a select few citizens who will ever have to draw their personal defense weapon at all. And even a desperate thug knows it’s stupid to rob an armed person, given the multitude of “condition white” alternatives out there.

    I’ve actually seen this myself when I had to reach for my gun and the bad guy in question stood down once he realized that I was armed.”

    I agree and open carry has done that job for me many times. There’s nothing wrong with concealed carry and I do that sometimes (often I also have at least a BUG). However, OC has a real deterrent value that I’ve experienced time and time again. It’s my opinion that a healthy mixture of concealed and open carry in an area helps deter crime. The OCers remind criminals, including government and leftists, that the people are armed. CCers keep them guessing about who and how many. It’s a complimentary arrangement.

  32. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    TTAG is publishing articles which would be true if the author hadn’t taken the idea too far, and that makes the famous TTAG comment section act like a TTAG comment section.

    Never saw that coming. =D

  33. avatar Hannibal says:

    I endorse this article in response mostly to commenters here. I think the issue falls in the question of degrees. Most people will never need to use a gun in defense at all; yet most people here consider it a necessary item. Given that self-selected subset, it’s easy to convince them to go a bit further. If most people won’t need a gun and you carry one, why not carry 2? Sure, the amount of civilian carriers saved or doomed by having an extra firearm is within a rounding error of 0% but you want to be prepared, right? Better carry that tac light even though it’s sunny and you’re golfing. And three magazines because what if you get two malfunctions and are fighting ninjas? But never a helmet because even though you’re more likely to get hurt from a fall off that golf cart (google it) than beset by violent random attack, helmets aren’t tacticool enough.

    So some folks carry like they’re going into combat as they waddle on to the mall and some others laugh at them. Oh well. As long as I can keep doing the latter I’m happy if people want to do the former.

  34. avatar Ralph says:

    The bottom line for most “trainers:”

    If you don’t know the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, you ain’t sh!t.

  35. avatar strych9 says:

    This article is a perfect example of why I’ve said for a while that we need a compiled list of reviewed training.

    Training varies enormously in price, type, quality etc and therefore varies greatly value to the individual. Having a cross-referenced list of who/what type/where/how much etc. would go really really far in 1) helping people find a course that’s right for them (should they choose to undergo training) and 2) weed out the overpriced/useless classes.

    I was going to start doing this last year but then my whole life got put on hold for quite some time. I’d still suggest it and I’d suggest that it be done in a certain way.

    To wit: There are a number of training groups I’ve looked at that give a discount/group rate. That means a group of different people from various backgrounds, with various degrees of training/skill/desire and even different genders could all take the class for pretty cheap and compile a review based on how they all saw the course. That way a wide variety of people could get an idea of if that course is something they’d find useful.

    We could even see if we could round up the money for it/defray the costs to each person via Patreon or something.

    It’s also something we’d have to be careful about since if the owners/trainers knew it was a group doing a review for this website there’s a high probability that they’d “step up their game” to get the best review possible and that’s not real useful.

    Of course that would require that a bunch of people get off their ass/the internet and actually go do it and then try to put together a decent multi-view report on what happened. And… that would take actual work which is why I don’t even know why I bother mentioning it.

    So, without getting my hopes too high and while re-purposing an email from the past, let’s see if anyone’s interested in actually doing something like that: [email protected]

    1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

      Your something else I must say. It’s HARD doing stuff, give em a brake man.

  36. avatar OldProf49 says:

    Many years ago I read a magazine article written by a member of a young, progressive couple who were spending a year doing some sort of charity work in a third world country. Both had no familiarity with firearms. While there, they endured at least one night of rioting and mob violence including the attendant rape, pillage, murder, etc. The author was clear about his/her aversion to firearms, but admitted that, while hiding in Their rented house with the lights off, he finally understood what he’d heard said: In modern, civilized society, you almost never need a gun. But if and when you do, you really NEED A GUN! Nothing else will do. In his situation, he wished for a (tactical?) shotgun. (And, yes, his scenario ended favorably). Whether it’s a derringer or a GLOCK, when you NEED a gun, you really need it. In that moment, if no tactical operator is available, I’ll bet on grandma with an old .380 and the will to use it. Other appropriate cliches might be, “It’s the gunner, not the gun”, or, “first rule of a gunfight….”

  37. avatar Aleric says:

    The comments are what you see whenever you go to a gun show, the same self righteous assholes who think that unless you spend thousands of dollars on training and equipment you cant defend yourself effectively. Its bullshit and they know it.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Actually, the self righteous assholes at gun shows talk about how great they are in firearms handling and self defense. They typically have never taken a single training class in their life and obtained their knowledge from other people that have never taken a single training class in their life.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        There are self righteous assholes that hold either position.

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          I have really bad news. There are self righteous, self centered assholes everywhere in life. Hell I trip over six of them just on the way to the grocery store! They are the one ‘resource’ that this planet seems to have an unlimited number of.
          I know, they’ll all be dead someday. BUT, they’ll each father a dozen homeless children just like them before they do, so… unlimited. Like in the beginning of “Idiocracy”. While the few left with a (semi)functional brain worship technology and die jerking off to artificially inseminate their wives, Cleatis and Bubba(or maybe Abdul and Muhammad) have a dozen or more kids each.

  38. avatar NM says:

    Love the way so many miss the real point.

    Sure, you may never need your gun. Sure you may only need to draw it. Sure you may only need to fire < 3 rounds within 3 seconds at less than 3 feet.

    May. But… maybe not.

    Tactical training doesn't prepare you for real life scenarios you may face unless you train for the real life scenarios you would likely encounter instead of generic combat/competitive stages. Carrying a bunch of gear in and of itself doesn't prepare you to use that gear effectively unless you practice with it regularly.

    That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with training or carrying the gear though. It just means it isn't enough on its own. You must practice and you must apply some critical thought to what you practice and how and what you carry.

    Let's not be silly and use this as justification for being under prepared, ok?

    The odds may be that you can get by most or even all of your life unprepared or under prepared but it isn't about the odds, is it? It is the stakes that matter.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      Another one who complains about “tactical” training, yet has never been to one of those classes. LOL. What do you actually imagine is being taught in a “tactical” training class?

      Those guys that show up in combat loadout at a pistol class are typically laughed at. The motto of “tactical” training classes is train as you fight! That means you show up with what you carry every day.

  39. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Training helps. To get into it it’s more then the gunm. It’s building muscles, reflexes, and peripheral acuteness, blah blah blahh, now I’m a gunmfighter.. However the wonder of the gunm is most times a possum doesn’t need that, that’s the equalizer part of the gunm.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      148 hrs?…that’s about 100 too many…sounds like a scam and a moneymaker for someone…..

  40. avatar Sprocket says:

    Funny thing; the author is veteran. Last I checked, you don’t show up at the recruiter and get handed an M4 and a plane ticket to durkadurkastan. This means he got training. People have realized, since the species was throwing rocks at each other, that training and practice make you more successful.

    Feel free to suck, no one’s going to force you to not suck. In this arena, there are no negative repercussions for anyone other than yourself.

  41. avatar merlin says:

    Buff cousin Elroy says:
    May 19, 2019 at 18:54
    ok “buff cousin elroy”.
    everybody know that having a pistol that holds 15rds with three reloads is 60 rounds.
    and it is plain to see that having 60 rounds is better than 45.

    but then everyone knows having another mag totaling 75 rounds is even better …

    but then another mag totaling 90 is even better …

    but, wait … having … ad nauseum.

    It’s funny how you can’t understand that having more ammo = being more prepared.

    or … perhaps you could just practice being more situationally aware to avoid situations where you are going to battle a hoard, and/or practice hitting the target ?

    because real world stats indicate not needing tons of ammo if actually hitting your target.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      You are creating a false choice! One can be trained in situational awareness, trained in conflict avoidance, trained in marksmanship and still carry a backup magazine, or two. Ironically, that’s what “tactical” classes teach.

      1. avatar Don from CT says:

        But the reality is that 99% of people who carry don’t carry a spare mag.

        So the reality is that people should train based on that. This is one of the reasons, absurd as it sounds, that I prefer the old non-drop free mags in a Glock. I am left handed and if I bump something the mag release can be depressed.

        With a drop free mag, it ejects. Hopefully not on the floor. With a non drop free mag, it doesn’t move.

        If I did carry a spare, the drop free might be preferable. But I’m fine with having to pull the mag out to clear a stoppage since my real world experience has shown me that the gun is far more likely to malfunction because the mag has become unseated than any other reason.

        I ran this particular Glock through a 2 day course at the Sig Sauer Academy, shooting 1200 rounds in the process and did not have a single malfunction of any kind.

        1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

          Again, it’s a false choice! What if the primary magazine malfunctions on the first round? Now, the guy who carries two is down to only one. The guy who carries one is down to none, by the way. I have never heard an instructor say that it is OK to neglect situational awareness, conflict avoidance or marksmanship, because you carry a backup magazine. Sig Sauer Academy does not teach that and you know it! That is simply a made up argument that doesn’t match with reality.

          Some people file down the magazine release button to avoid what you describe. Remember that the non-drop free Glock magazine is a bug, not a feature. It is not guaranteed that they won’t drop.

        2. avatar Don from CT says:

          I never said it was a choice. False or real. I said that the reality is that most don’t carry one. So practice based on that. Practice clearing drills with magazine retention.

          Test your gun with your carry ammo so that you KNOW it works reliably.

          None of this is an either or. But what it is about is putting appropriate emphasis on the things that are most likely to keep you safe.

          Is it fun to practice clearing a gun with one hand?? Sure. Learning new stuff is always fun. But the likelihood of it ever being necessary if you have done a good job testing your gun with your carry ammo is miniscule.

          We all have finite resources when it comes to time and money. My point is that you should put your effort and money where it works the most for you.

          1) make sure your system of gun, mag, and ammo works flawlessly.
          2) make sure the software between your ears is up to the task.
          3) buy a gun that you will actually carry. Because that G19 MOS with the Trijicon RMR in your drawer won’t help you as much as that G42 in your pocket will.

  42. avatar Don from CT says:

    My current pet peeve of ridiculousness is the need for steel standup sights so that you can rack your gun one handed after your strong hand has been injured and your gun has just jammed while shooting with your weak hand.

    I had a student recently spend $120 to replace the night sights that came with his new carry gun (I hate the term CCW, but that’s another story) so that he could get some tall sights so he could rack it on his belt.

    That $120 would have been much better spent on practice ammo, or a .22 conversion kit for his carry gun to allow practice for pennies on the dollar. Oh yeah. Lets talk about the rail mounted light/laser that he has also purchased. Its $300+ cost would have paid for the conversion kit itself and left enough left over for a brick of minimags.

    We see the truth time and again. The outcome of a defensive gun use rarely is dependent on the hardware. Its primarily the person’s natural and trained response and luck.

    That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to make our own luck by choosing reliable carry arms and train to proficiency. But when the SHTF, you never know.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      I feel the need to insert my favorite quote from Dick Marchenko here:
      “I could’ve cared less if my men pulled the trigger with their cocks. Just so they shot a lot!”
      Practice makes perfect. Instructors, teachers, trainers, they can all HELP, but YOU have to be the one to do it, or you won’t ever learn. Period. Full stop.
      If no “qualified instructor” is available, one can still train and one can still learn. It might be slower and harder, but one school of thought says that whatever one works out for themselves, even t was more effort, usually turns out to be more valuable in the long run, than things one was just told and happened to remember.
      So go the range and pull that trigger with your dick! (Just don’t let people see you do it…)
      🙂
      Oh, I forgot to mention, I can’t do it because trigger guards are all too small.

  43. avatar Darkman says:

    All I see here is. For the last 14 hours and 19 minutes. A bunch of Hens have been having a pissing match about something that matters NOT at the end of the day. In that Time did even ONE of YOU take the time to contact your Senator or Congressman(state of federal) to voice your support for 2A Rights. Condemn Red Flag Laws and the attack on the Firearms Industry. So much wasted Time and Energy. When there is some much crucial work to be done to Preserve the very Rights needed to afford you the tools to argue about. Instead of arguing about points that will never be totally agreed upon. Time and resources could be better utilized in Protecting what Truly Matters. 2A Rights.

  44. avatar Donttreadonme says:

    I wouldn’t say training has “jumped the shark”, and I largely disagree with this article, but I somewhat agree with the sentiment of it.

    Fact is, the better trained you are and the better equipment you have, the more prepared you’ll be in the unlikely event you’re ever a faced with an armed attacker or attackers. Keep in mind, the average home invasion is comprised of three or more attackers so you’re 38 Special 6 shot revolver won’t treat you nearly as well as your semi-automatic handgun of choice, with spare mags at the ready.

    Now that certainly doesn’t mean that if a six-shooter is all you have that you don’t give it your best, and that you might not be successful, but if you can afford it, why would you settle for being less prepared? That’s just foolish.

    Some people would prefer to live life without thinking that violence could arrive at their doorstep, others like living life being prepared and knowing that they’re ready to protect themselves and their family. As far as I’m concerned, to each his own.

    I don’t pass judgment on people that choose not to be as prepared as possible, and I certainly wouldn’t knock anyone that loves getting as much training as possible and lives a prepared lifestyle (myself included).

  45. avatar James W Crawford says:

    I just reread DUTY by Bob Greene, a biography about General Paul Tibbets II. The man who had no regrets about tens of thousands of people at Hiroshima kept a 12 gauge shotgun to defend his home.

  46. avatar raptor jesus says:

    This is America. I do what I want.

    That said, no lights, knives, multi-tools, or any of that other bullshit. That’s high-drag/low speed operating.

    My cell case is also my wallet. My phone has a flashlight. Toss in my keys and my gun. That’s it.

  47. avatar SoCalJack says:

    My CCW training class let me use a FBI simulator, shoot don’t shoot. It was an eye opening experience. I am no operator or sheepdog, just a regular dude that trains and practices just enough while keeping things in perspective.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Did you get the huge takeaway that comes from doing shoot/no shoot scenes? The one that points up why rule three is SO very important? Why one MUST learn to keep that finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target, and I don’t mean so you don’t shoot your own foot off with a glock?

  48. avatar Hugh Glass says:

    Agree 100% with the sentiment of this article. If people want to play weekend Rambo and roll around on the ground and shoot through windows and around doors, who am I to judge them on how the blow I mean spend their money? For me, just be situationally aware, shoot whenever I can, practice when I can from different positions and mostly very close up (where any SD experience would most likely occur) and pay attention. These old grandmas you’re always seeing on here or guys in the hood who perforate home invasion people are most likely not trained at all and do just fine. Some of these folks must live in a war zone, they act like they’re going to get ambushed every time the leave their house and probably would piss their pants if something ever did go down. But go ahead and grow your beard long, get that molon labe tattoo, punisher decal, and pay close attention to Everyday Carry in case you missed something!

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      I would recommend doing a lot of that shooting at the longer ranges rather than up close. Shooting at <3 yards really tends to make one go too fast. One thinks; "how can I miss that huge target that's just barely out of arm's reach? If you spend more time at the longer ranges( even though long shots admittedly aren't likely to happen) it forces one to slow down and really know where that bullet is going. That's why we practice first with no stress, even though we know stress will be a large part of this…. but later.
      Then, when one transitions to bad breath range, one can easily speed up just enough to keep the shots on target, having already built that habit of knowing where each bullet is going rather than just spraying and praying, which a whole lot of people really believe in. Even though it doesn't work.
      This is the reason behind so many instructors saying; "beginners should spend most of their time at the longer ranges". Many say that without even knowing why, just repeating what they heard, but there is a reason. Long range pistol shooting is difficult, but it will build the skill of knowing exactly where those projectiles are going. Close range point shooting, while really fun, encourages the exact opposite. It breeds sloppiness.
      But it's much easier to learn precision, and then abandon it when the situation calls for speed over precision, than to learn to be sloppy and then try to learn precision later on the fly. Once sloppy marksmanship gets ingrained, its hell to get rid of.
      It's a bad habit, so its much better to not let sloppy become a habit that will just need fixing later. Thus, precision first, and sloppy comes later, once one knows just how much speed they can turn on and still keep that bullet within certain limits. Once having learned the habit of being precise, one can always abandon it later whenever the situation calls for it. But the reverse is not true. Sloppy can be a subset of precise, but precise is NOT a subset of sloppy. Like all chairs are furniture, but all furniture is not a chair.

      1. avatar Hugh Glass says:

        Sound advice. “Close” distance is relative, I’m talking 20 yards, sometimes 30 yards, then 10 yards and in. I have a Glockzilla 10mm with a Leupold Delta Point on it that I hope to deer hunt with when I’m good enough with it, and I consider it to be a bow range weapon in my woods.

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Yeah, I was thinking of the standard range definitions of “close” as being 5 yards(or perhaps 7) or less, and “longer” as being whatever that particular range has available above that. I don’t see much need to shoot a pistol at 50+ yards, but yet I do it a lot. I like the challenge of hitting at 100+ with a pistol. And I also like shooting lots of target at 3-5 yards. Enough to need a reload. Or, sometimes just a few targets and then start with only a few rounds in the pistol.
          Come to think of it >25 and <7 are about the only ranges I shoot at anymore. Either bad breath distance, or else things are mostly just a shape. At the range I mean. In the real world I have to shoot at whatever the situation calls for. That could be anything from putting down an animal at muzzle contact range, to a shot at a running coyote at 50+ yards with a .38 snub.

  49. avatar Robman says:

    My two cents:

    Overall, I also agree with the sentiments of this article. He’s not “attacking a straw man”; he’s saying something that needs to be said.

    Too often, on Internet forums like these, I hear people go on about how you practically need to be an ex Navy SEAL or Army Ranger in order to have any hope of defending yourself; without intensive training and massive amounts of firepower, you might as well not bother carrying at all, so these self appointed experts so often seem to be saying.

    Some reassurance to the non operators out there:

    First, I have recently read that according to FBI statistics, 94% of defensive gun use incidents are successful from the defender’s point if view. Now, “success” could well mean that in many of these cases, the bad guy ran away without a shot being fired, but no matter. I’ll be happy if, in the unlikely but possible event that I have to draw my weapon, I don’t have to shoot and the bad guy flees. I somehow don’t believe 94% of lawful gun owners who have actually had to defend themselves are former operators.

    What about the 6% where the bad guy wins? I have also recently read that the top four reasons a defensive gun use fails are these:

    1. Defender did not present in time. [Practice drawing your weapon!]

    2. Defender did not disengage a safety. [KNOW your weapon. Practice regularly enough that bringing it into readiness is a matter of reflexive muscle memory. If you doubt your own ability to do this with a particular firearm, get a simpler weapon.]

    3. Defender fired, but did not hit a vital area or missed completely. [Practice enough that you can confidently and quickly hit a human sized target at realistic engagement range. A quarter sized silhouette at ten yards should give you plenty of requisite proficiency for the overwhelming majority is likely contingencies. This does not require champion marksmanship skills, but it doesn’t just “happen”, either. I recommend a trip to the range at least every other month, minimum.]

    4. Defender’s weapon jammed and they couldn’t clear it in time. [Too obvious for elaborating on.]

    Nowhere in these top four reasons of failure are, “defender carried a ‘mouse gun’ or “defender didn’t have a reload available”. Which is not to say if it makes you happy to carry a portable cannon and/or a bazillion rounds, you shouldn’t, but don’t annoy the rest of us with trying to dictate that we all should, either.

    ‘Nuff said.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Agreed. And after all my rants about carrying a 5 shot “J” frame and not needing multiple magazines…. I always carry extra ammo. For whatever gun happens to be around. In the case of the snubbie, it’s only six loose rounds, but I have a reload available should I need it. Plus one round. My pouches hold six, so why not? I don’t carry speedloaders, those live on my competition leather. Too bulky for EDC.
      I don’t feel the need for much more than that on a daily basis, but in Montana we often get shots of opportunity on… whatever. Skunks, coons, rabbits, coyotes, a cow, horse, or dog that needs putting down, whatever is around that might need shooting. And after shooting whatever it is, I don’t want to have to go get more ammo, and I sure don’t want to carry a half empty gun! So extra ammo is a must. Not entire boxes, though. At least not without a special reason. Although I almost always have full boxes available in whichever vehicle I happen to be in.

      1. avatar OldProf49 says:

        Regardless of gun, caliber, action type, size, etc., I always carry at least one reload. When carrying a 38 snub, I often carry two speed strips or one strip and one compact speed loader. When I carry a semiauto, I have at least one spare magazine. Sometimes it’s the same as what’s in the gun; sometimes it’s a larger version (think G26 vs. G19). On the very few occasions I’ve carried a NAA mini 22 magnum, it’s not the caliber that bothers me,; it’s the lack of a reload (Yes, I could carry 5 loose rounds and have when hiking. But, a speed reload…. really…?)

        1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Agreed. IF I was in a situation where I thought I wasn’t ever going to have to shoot something other than a human attacker, then maybe I might leave off the spare rounds, but something tells me that if I judged two legged predators to be my main threat, I’d probably want more ammo, and not less.
          For me, in my situation, the reload is a convenience item. It means that after my shooting is over, I’ll be able to top the gun back up without fuss or trouble or extra trips somewhere, so it will be ready for the next time I need it.
          I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t CARRY guns, I LIVE with guns. I have all my life. They’re just a handy tool, but one that I use often enough to make sure I always have one around. I do the same with pliers, cresent wrenches, knives, and screwdrivers. Handy tools to have. Make sure to keep some around.
          I grew up in the saddle with a Ruger Bearcat in a Hunter holster on my hip. I was all of 12 years old. Had to buy my own ammo too, but that was a good thing because it taught me to be precise in shooting, because as a kid even .22RF was expensive for me. There were obviously no lawns to mow or lemonade to sell, 35 miles from the nearest town.
          But my Dad paid me a bounty for gopher, skunk, or raccoon tails, and that kept me in ammo. And once in a while I’d take a coyote or a fox, and they were worth big money back then. A coyote pelt in good shape would fetch a $100 or so back in the 1970s. That’s like 500-1000 in today’s devalued currency. I remember paying 89 cents for a box of 50 .22 shorts, so a good coyote was a whole case(not a brick of 500, 10 bricks, 5000 rounds to a case) of ammo for me. Although if I was flush, like just sold a pelt, I’d buy Long Rifles instead.
          I guess one could say I was a professional shooter at age 12, but I never looked at it that way. It was just mad money. As a kid, I didn’t need to make a living, but it was sure more valuable lessons for my life than an allowance would have been. Pelts bought my first guns, my first reloading setup, even my first car. No, my first car( I was about 8) was the ranch learner, a 59 chevy with a straight six and a three on the tree, but that was the ranch’s car, not really mine. The first car that I actually bought myself was from pelt hunting though. A 1972 AMC Javelin SST with a 401 and a 727 trans. Geez, that car would move… but only when it wanted to. When I could get it started, though, it ran like a raped ape. 12.8 standing quarter mile. I wish I had that car back now. I wish I had my pair of Colt Pythons back too. A 6″ nickeled and a 4″ blued. Both gorgeous to look at, but I decided I liked the way S&Ws shot a little better, so off they went.
          Oh, well. It’s only stuff.

  50. avatar Will Drider says:

    I agree with the Auther 100%. There’s also secondary fallout from the “must gunfighter train everyone” position. Gun-grabbers and 2A deniers are mandating ever increasing training mandates for CCW and basic firearms ownership.

    Now I prefer every good guy/gal put each round where it needs to be but we know thats not the case with the Mil nor LE in the normal rank and file.

    Need basic firearms training, get it. Want advanced levels, go for it. Just know that its all perishable skills that can degrade or disappear. All courses teach skills that you incorporate AND are suppose to practice, and overtime “improve upon”. If you don’t have access to a range that will let you practice the sets/drills/courses from advance classes: those skills will degrade.

    Is that fullsize handgun you used for the advanced operator course your daily carry?

  51. avatar conrad says:

    Avoidance of incidents can be exhilarating, from spotting the likelihood of trouble and maneuvering out of the way to altering a man’s plans face to face. I had the chance to do that a number of years ago after a truck load of dudes let their pit bull loose in a public park. It proceeded immediately to my Rottweiler who was recovering from surgery and started in on him. I got hold of my female’s collar (who I had just imported from Germany) and told them in no uncertain terms to get control of their dog. Two of them came to face me while one of them reached into his jacket cross draw and said stfu or I’ll kill you. I replied fy, your hand won’t clear it before she tears you apart. We stood there for several long seconds while they looked at that beautiful girl and – poof – the cloud departed and they turned back to their vehicle.
    That was one nice bitch though. She bit like a snake, but before she did her eyes would turn from brown to black… lol, but I didn’t know that yet, I had just taken possession of her and hadn’t tested her bitework. I had to play my card, and it saved us from a different outcome.

  52. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    So I read this article as basically claiming that ANY training which doesn’t emphasize the legal consequences of drawing your firearm or which covers anything more than how to draw and fire and handle a firearm safely is a waste of time and money for most people.

    Uhm, no. That’s just stupid in my opinion.

    The fact that ninety-nine percent (or some other large percentage north of ninety) of concealed carriers will never even draw their firearm in anger, let alone kill someone, doesn’t obviate the need to be as prepared as can be reasonably expected given one’s budget and time constraints.

    There is also nothing wrong with trainers who want their students to be as prepared as possible, even for outlier events like multiple assailants – which does happen both in home invasions and on the street – or other relatively unusual events. How much time one spends training for such outliers as opposed to the basics of being able to draw and fire in a reasonable time may be debated. But there is nothing wrong with offering such training if someone wants to take it. And of course, such trainers use that to differentiate themselves from basic “square range” training for purposes of selling their services – and there is nothing wrong with that, either. That’s business in every field.

    Common sense says that if you’re paranoid enough to be carrying a firearm in the first place, you need to be sufficiently further paranoid to deal with the situations that might occur which can be reasonably predicted to be possible and to require more than the basic “carry a gun”. When your life is on the line, you need to be able to handle yourself as capably as possible without trying to be Batman (who, you will recall, doesn’t even carry a gun – just a few million dollars worth of custom technology.)

    This means you expect a magazine malfunction or the possibility of running out of ammo, so you carry a spare magazine. You expect a firearm malfunction, so you carry a second firearm (if you can afford that option.) You expect to be shot at, so you train to try to avoid being stationary and an easy target. You train to hit what you’re aiming at at least as often as cops do (which is somewhere around 25 percent of the time, according to a NYPD study – criminals hit what they’re aiming at only 11 percent of the time.)

    And you don’t rely on FBI statistics as to how long a gunfight will last or how many rounds will be fired. Statistics are what happens *most* of the time – not *all* of the time. You don’t want to be in an outlier event without the ability to handle it.

    You also don’t rely on the fact that various people will under-powered caliber or badly maintained ancient firearms happened to be successful in defending themselves in situations you may or may not face yourself.

    This article appears to be have been written to offer cover for those people who are too lazy to get adequate training or perhaps to denigrate certain trainers the author doesn’t like without having the balls to specify who he is talking about. Perhaps that is not the case, but it certainly sounds like it.

    1. avatar Brian G. Lowery says:

      I think there is a happy middle ground to be had here. I agree with the author in that most people probably will not need S.W.A.T. style room clearing techniques to be adequately prepared to protect themselves from a mugging or home invasion. However there are some specialized training courses such as those similar to air marshals that I think would benefit all concealed carriers that teach when to engage and how to do so in close quarters with innocent bystanders all around that you do not want to catch a bullet. With that said the plain old 3 shots in 3 seconds from 3 yards drill is a darn good place to start.

  53. avatar Keep on a Glockin' me baby says:

    No reloads? Wuh? When I shoot through my windows during rolling road rage incidents, I always need moar rounds.

  54. avatar Brewski says:

    There is more to being an armed citizen than defending yourself in your home.

    More skills are needed for your safety, the safety of others, and for legal repercussions if you ever come to the aid of someone else or find yourself in a defense or offensive situation that is not in familiar territory.

  55. avatar Brian G. Lowery says:

    Interesting to me everyone so eager to attack someone for stating their opinion. To each his own. If you carry a 5-shot .38 because “odds” or “stats” show that’s all you’ll need and you feel comfortable with that then by all means do so. If I want to carry a semi-auto wonder nine that holds 15 that’s my choice and what’s it to you. As I’ve said before 1) If you’re just going to play the odds, the odds are you’ll never need the gun so why bother carrying it at all. 2) If I was psychic enough to know I was going to be attacked and how many attackers there would be I’d just avoid being at that place at that time. 3) Live and let live as defense minded legal gun owners we’re all supposed to be on the same side don’t you have anything better to do than get in an online pissing match you can’t win with people you share a common bond with?

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