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 .