Kristen M shooting (courtesy
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In the video below, Thunder Ranch’s gravel-voiced gun guru Clint Smith [not shown above] addresses the top five reasons people don’t train with their firearms. I don’t have the time or money. The weather sucks. My gun is too nice to shoot. I already know how to shoot. What’s your excuse?

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  1. I do train. A lot.

    I am former IIB I have the luxury of being a Police Firearms Instructor so I teach and shoot and get to do tactical training very frequently. If I were on my own to pay for everything I couldn’t afford to train nearly as much as I do. Like not even close.

    My advice for those on a budget? Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire. And if you know someone with a lot of training, like former or current military, see if they’ll teach you some basic tactical stuff. Most would be happy to.

  2. Because the vast majority of successful defensive gun uses are made by those with little or no training.
    Training is recommended if you have the opportunity.

    • Diminishing returns. The more you train and the more intense your training is, the less likely you are to need that level of training.

    • Would you please share the data to substantiate that statement. If that is a true statement, i have a lot of customers that could use a confidence boost.

      • I love it when people insist on seeing data when a bit of common sense is all you need. The vast majority of gu n owners have little or no training, therefore, either the vast majority of defensive g un uses are by people with little or no training – OR – training correlates with higher risk of needing to defend yourself with a g un. Perhaps people who get training are more likely to be stealing from a Mexican drug cartel or something, but I’m guessing the former is the correct assumption. If you found data that contradicted that it would throw just about everything we think we know about POTG on it’s ear.

        • False Assertion, passing off opinion as fact, and over simplification. Something the left media does all the time. I would expect more from a regular on TTAG.

        • Horsesh!t. Simply do a Google search of “Grandmother shoots burglar.” Behold the returns. Take a look at the reams of information where untrained or minimally trained civilians successfully defend themselves.

          Training is great, and I certainly recommend it. With that said, the old lady with a .357 and the will to use it remains a poor choice of homes to break in to.

        • What part of my ‘opinion’ do you dispute? Do you believe that most gu n owners have extensive training? If so, please cite your data. Do you believe that most defensive gu n uses involve people who have extensive training? Please cite your data. What do you specifically doubt, pertaining to my opinions? Please cite your data. Otherwise, your opinions are worth even less than my opinions, because at least my opinions are based on things that most of us accept as, more or less, fact. If you have data to the contrary, please share…

        • Come on, Falcon. Use your head for something besides a display stand for a Braves cap. There is a worldview that demands you believe the evidence you see with your eyes. It’s called Thomism, and it’s the philosophy that most closely resembles reality. You’ve probably never heard of it because it is so common.

        • It’s that kind of thinking that gave us global warming. Should I also accept that as Fact?

          Also, I’ve personally experienced false accusations in court based on opinion. My accusers lost. Your damn right I need evidence.

          Moving on now….
          There are bigger issues to be dealt with.

      • In America, the burden of proof is up to the accuser, not the accused. If you have proof of the opposite, it’s up to you to show your work.

  3. “I don’t have enough time” isn’t an excuse, it’s the truth (about guns).

    Clint acts like people saying they don’t have the time are also glad they don’t have to take time to train. I would love to hit the range every day on my way home from work, but that’s not my life.

    Hell, while we’re at it, I’d also love to live in the sticks and be able to use my 40 acres (not the mule) as “my range”. But that’s not my life either, and until someone is willing to pay me what I make now to live in the boonies and shoot stuff all day, it’s not going to be my life for a good long while.

    So I do what I can, when I can.

    • Same and actually kinda bitter about it.

      Closest place is 30 minutes away and all have very strict rules and/or expensive.

      I live in the city and the best, closest, and most lenient place costs 40 bucks a trip. Its funny because it’s also the only place run by the police department.

      It’s legitimately a pain in the neck and cost prohibitive to go out more than 2 or 3 times a month on a modest wage.

    • Agree. The world does not revolve around Clint and training. It revolves around your individual reality. The reality is people like myself want to train regular but life gets in the way. I try to go to the range once a week. But life is a 24/7 reality. Clint’s world is a fantasy.

    • Right. This douche canoe, who gets paid to shoot, wants to cry about all the people that actually work for a living not having enough time to go hang out with him. Maybe he should make friends with other people who don’t have real jobs while the rest of us keep this country running.

  4. I’d ask what is meant by “train”?

    Does this refer to going out and shooting in various positions/circumstances or does it refer only to “taking a class”?

    I’ll go out and shoot various positions/circumstances on a semi-regular basis. I won’t pay $2000 for some tactical class because 1) over priced and 2) generally those classes teach “skills” that aren’t necessary.

  5. My military training was exclusively on the M-16… once every 3 years.

    I’m still not as good as I’d like with pistols but may probably do O.K.

    I DO dry fire fairly often.

    I will likely have to wait until next spring, to do the shoot and scoot training I really need. Not as good as force on force but much better than nothing.

  6. I’m a graduate student living in the middle of a major city. I don’t have the time or the money to hit the range routinely, and even if I did, it’s an indoor range where all I can do is slow fire squared to the target in a bay. I have to rely on sporadic practice the few times I year I get home and hit an (open, outdoor) range with my friends to keep me from getting too rusty. I want to pick up IDPA, but the nearest contests are more than an hour away. And on top of all that, I can’t (because of stupid laws) carry my gun on campus anyway, which is where I am most of the day. How’s that for excuses?

  7. I had a total shoulder replacement on my strong arm. I still go to the range at least twice a month and shoot weak side unsupported. Three more months till I’m back to normal. :o)

  8. The chances of any of us not in military/LEO getting killed or injured in an auto accident is much much higher than being involved in a SD shooting.

    I wonder how much money and time these trainers are spending on the track learning advanced driving skills to prepare them better for real life road hazards?

    Myself I am pretty sick of hearing that one must train, train, train almost every spare moment and spend our work vacation time and money at a training camp. If one wants to do that for fun or whatever that is cool but IMO the other 99.9 percent of us simply don’t need it. Where I live and spend 99 percent of my time, I have a better chance of being hit by lightning than being involved in a SD shooting.

    I go to the indoor range about once a month and I do that primarily because I really like shooting firearms and have so for decades. I have been shooting at local range for several years before CCW was even allowed in my state. I was HUGELY disappointed when the only nearby outdoor range shut down because yuppies moved into the area and then complained about the noise and bullets whizzing by their children when out in the back yard. Oh sure. I rarely get to shoot my rifles any more.

  9. I don’t have any “excuses” as to why I do not train more often, but I do have plenty of “valid reasons”. I won’t go into the fairly extensive list of those reasons and bore the heck out of the readers here, but everyone has different lives and different challenges that could or would keep you from training on a very regular basis. Just one (which I myself have) is lack of close and readily available ranges (especially for rifle practice), or pistol ranges that only allow you to basically point downrange while standing stationary and put holes in paper. I do try to accomplish dry fire training at home as often as I can to make up for lack of live fire training. I’ve been handling and shooting firearms for over half a century, over twenty of that in the military, so I’m quite comfortable in my abilities regardless of how often I train.

  10. Because I’m broke.
    Not rich enough to own a big property.
    Don’t live close enough to the little public land available in Texas.
    And neither bullets nor gun ranges are free.
    So dry fire practice in my home is what fill the gap in my training.
    In the same boat as me? Go buy some snap caps and blast at yourself in a full-length mirror. Maybe get an airsoft gun similar to your EDC and pop targets set around the house… just do what you can. 🤠

  11. I train as much as I can, and not as much as I want to. Its irrelevant what others think I should do.

  12. Sadly all of my guns were lost when the boat washed away in the flood. I was loading them up to get out,ran back in the house to get my Hilloraly Swimsuit Edition calander, came back and the boat was hell bent in high water down the river

    • Sad, sad story. But was it necessary to plant the dreadfull image in my mind? Bleach, I need brain bleach!

  13. Mostly about money but I’m buying the wife her own gun so she needs to practice. Honestly I find shooting paper boring after I’ve reached a certain level of skill. I don’t hunt,compete or play security guard. My guns are tools for self-defense…

  14. “Because I’m already better than you Clint, I need to give you a chance to catch up.”

    May or may not be true, it doesn’t matter and I don’t care one way or another, but that’ll rile him up.

    “Because there’s only 52 weekends in a year…”

    or how about this answer: “Because there aren’t more than 24 hours in a day.”

    “Because reasons.”

    “Because life.”

    In all reality I shoot/train as much as I can, but when you work a regular job for a living and have a wife, kids, dog/cat, mortgage (which in Latin means “death pledge”), etc. you cannot spend every waking hour training. I usually get 2-3 range sessions in a month, most lasting 2-4 hours each. Probably another 10-15 hours a month dry training. That’s the best balancing act I can do with the life I have.

    If that’s not good enough for Clint Smith, then that’s too fucking bad. I don’t live my life based on the approval of others (spare for maybe my wife–in certain criteria).

  15. Not all of us have unlimited money or time. Sure I’d love to shoot 10,000 rounds of 5.56 a week and have to rebarrel it every other month. I’d love to be able to shoot another 50,000 rounds out of my handguns every month and not have to work a full time job to pay for other things like food and electricity and my mortgage.

    Sometimes I wonder how much those people make a year because I sure as hell cant afford spending $60,000 a year on ammo.

  16. I’m confident in my abilities with pistol, rifle and shotgun, having been through a couple thousand hours of training already.
    I take about on class a year now. This year was a precision rifle course down near Austin, TX. Had a great time and re-learned a lot I had forgotten, and learned a lot I didn’t know.
    Next year J.J. Racaza is coming to my local club for a two day course. Looking forward to that.

    Mostly, the training I get now is by teaching. It’s surprising how much one can learn by teaching others.
    And I wholeheartedly agree with others above. Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire!

  17. It’s called ‘opportunity cost’. Clint would know that if he didn’t have so many excuses for not studying economics as much as he should.

  18. Because of ammo and money constraints. Also, family wouldn’t appreciate me going pow pow pow in the back yard every weekend. I’m unemployed as well.

    When I get employed in the Security industry, I’ll train again.

  19. I have been a gun owner/shooter for over 50 years & I feel like I’ve pretty well figured out how they work. I can hit what I am aiming at within an inch or 4, depending upon the distance & can (and sometimes do) do it in my sleep. I’m not knocking training but I feel like I don’t need much more than occasionally hitting the range for FUN.
    I also shoot up some LaserLyte plinking cans & targets set up around the house which helps with home defense practice at actual defense distances. When Mrs. Case joins me, this is even more fun than going to the range & I don’t have to clean my guns afterward.

  20. If you count range time as training, I am good. I like to shoot and do so every week. Mixing 22 in with center file keeps the price reasonable and the availability of ranges in TX is pretty good.

    Punching paper has its limits. IDPA has some value for me but like many I suspect, I am not hard core. Much of the training I see available is either geared towards younger, fit, experienced shooters who or basic gun safety. Find mid level options where you can refine the basics is hard.

  21. There are worthwhile sacrifices, balances between extremes, certain minimums that should be met (and I won’t pretend to have met all of them), but the more time, effort, and money I spend on protecting my life, the less I can spend on the people and things that make my life enjoyable, and thus worth protecting.

    So add to all the other good “excuses” on this board: I’d rather be doing something else.

  22. Money. I live in the middle of no where, so any decent train opportunities mean I would have to spam up some substantial travel expenses in addition to the cost of the training itself. I would rather just spend that money on additional ammo, or a new gun.

  23. I hate indoor ranges. To me they are like shooting in a closet. Too many rules.
    No outdoor pistol ranges in Palm Beach County.
    Money has been set aside, ground broken yet no County range. When it will open nobody knows.

  24. My wife is 100% disabled and essentially wheel chair bound. She can do little for herself that involves movement. That leaves me responsible for everything around the house, cooking, cleaning, laundry, the dogs, shopping, and running her to her various doctor appointments, plus trying to work as much as I can from the house to pay the bills. There is no money in the budget for “formal training,”and no opportunity to just leave her at home for a long weekend to fend for herself. I love to go shooting, but that will either be at an indoor range or out on the BLM land shooting paper. It will have to do.

  25. I don’t go to most training courses or schools, because, aside from gun handling and target practice, most self-defense training is unrealistic.

    Too many training schools today are overrun with instructors who are trading on their operationally operating operator experience from Uncle Sugar. In their past engagements on the battlefield, those skills were necessary and useful. In the civilian world… they’re not as useful and in some cases, their recommendations can land you in court.

    The first skill a self-defense school should teach is how to spot trouble – troublesome people, troubling situations, terrain that invites trouble, etc. They don’t teach this. I know of no school that takes people out into an American city and says “OK, spot the people you need to worry about,” or “Let’s go into a store/church/school/bank/etc and view the place with an eye towards maneuvering out of trouble, and fighting your way out as a second option.” No guns are necessary for most of this instruction – what is needed is a change in mindset, a change in how a person evaluates their surroundings.

    Gen. Mattis is quoted as saying “Be professional, be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet. Another Mattis quote: “Be the hunter, not the hunted.” Gen. Mattis should be teaching a self-defense school – because that’s the attitude and mindset that spots trouble (and is ready for it) before trouble comes to trouble you.

  26. Not all training is at the range or with a firearm. You can train at home without shooting. One of the most important parts of training requires no firearm at all. Mental training. Running different scenarios through your mind to get a mental picture of your draw,aim and shot. Also the hardest part needs no firearm. Making peace with yourself before you have to pull the trigger. Saying you can and will pull the trigger when the time comes and doing it can be a huge leap. Not everyone is wired to take a real life. It’s easy to kill paper or metal plates. Preparing yourself mentally to take that shot is as important as the shot itself.

    • The best and most truthful answer of all. Imagine how many trips to the range you could afford if Uncle Sam wasn’t always digging through you pockets.

  27. “Question of the Day: Why Don’t YOU Train More Often?”

    Define “train”, if shooting is the goal, I shoot every day or almost every day, if “drilling” is the goal, I drill once in a while, perhaps not as often as I should, but I have to muscle memory to do so…to me, it’s probably a combination, but I put the emphasis on shooting, because that is a perishable skill…

  28. I guess most would say it’s a lack of “live” targets, it seems people aren’t as enthusiastic as they once were. (sarc)

    I guarantee many will say it’s the cost associated with and time needed (mileage/other responsibilities) to visit the range plus they are disappearing in some areas. With many living in urban/suburban locales which typically have ordinances against discharging firearms on your own property people just don’t have the opportunities to practice as much as they once had that is unless you own some acreage or reside in a rural area.

  29. I shoot once per month either at a range or in the woods. I don’t shoot with very careful or slow aim, as that doesn’t do me much good in a defensive situation. I’ve never done any force-on-force training, but would like to someday. That said, I would like to shoot 2-3 times per month, the reasons I don’t are:

    I have three kids 6 and under – makes it hard to find the time on weekends
    I work full time during the week.
    I have other hobbies I have to balance my tiny bit of free time with (lifting weights and guitar).

    I usually end up sacrificing one workout a month to go shooting instead.

  30. These assholes are always so preachy. I don’t see them offering to pay range fees (usually the biggest expense), ammo fees, travel costs, and so on…

    Not everyone lives in a place where they can just go outside and pop off some rounds.

  31. So many reasons: Far too many of the guys conducting training are obnoxious and authoritarian. Training is expensive and I’d rather spend money elsewhere. I’ve got a wife and three kids and a job. Currently my Non-Hogkins Lymphoma and chemo precludes taking a lot of training classes. I don’t need to be a navy seal, just like 99.9% of everyone else in this country, including police and SWAT. No training will realistically let you know if you’d actually pull the trigger on another human being in a given situation. I do my best to prepare mentally and be observant to my surroundings. I can shoot straight. If people want to train constantly on their own time and dime more power to them. I think I just get tired of the arrogant attitude of most training pushers. This is based off of the working assumption that these guys mean training as in serious tactical training and classes(which in my experience is all that they mean because it means $$$)

  32. Similar reasons to the above.

    I’m currently a full-time college student working on getting an Army commission. Most of my “formal” firearms training consists of shooting an M16 at pop-up targets at 50-300 meters from the kneeling and prone position. Informal shooting involves either an indoor range where what I can do is severely restricted to an area directly in front of me, and outdoor shooting which is limited by weather conditions, time, and trying to squeeze in training and practice with my CCW pistol when other’s are shooting for recreation.

    Best I’ve been able to do for cheap, realistic training is using a gas blowback airsoft pistol to shoot at cardboard targets in my house. drawing and shooting on the move, managing reloads on the move, and using a light with my pistol while moving.

    Is it formal training? No, but when a class with the nearest shooting academy’s close to a grand, and that doesn’t include bringing your own ammo, gear, and possibly a backup gun if the primary one chokes, then that’s what I’m gonna work with when it would take me months to come up with that kind of money to set aside, and months more to find a set of class dates that doesn’t cut into school or work.

    Besides, I would also agree with other posters and say I preferred spending time learning to use pepper spray, a folding knife, and light for defensive use since they are far more likely to actually be used. And being mentally prepared and aware of your surroundings is frankly the most used skill I’ve learned that has come in handy in my relatively short lifespan. Now if I could find some hand to hand combat courses that don’t treat it like a hobby nor tries to be elitist about what they teach, then I’d consider myself golden at this point in life, and be willing to wait until after I have a diploma and commission to put more money into formal firearms training.

  33. I get out as much as money will allow (and a physical disability). I take my grandson any time he wants to go and will as long as he wants to and I’m able to take him.

  34. Some us work for a living unlike you worthless welfare queens. When you work 40+ hours a week it gives you 16 hours or less of real time off. Thats not a lot of time. Period.

  35. I train once a month for $75 with one outfit, the two instructors keep it intresting. Range in Vegas is $75 a year. Oh and ammo. I’m retired so have time. Shooting redundance helps mus. mem. Plus its my one thing I like doing. All things we do cost period.

  36. My excuse is kids. Only get to shoot couple of times a year in the last few years. Still hold my own though.
    I would like to shoot every week. Would love to live with a super model, but I don’t.

  37. I used to shoot 3+ times a week and twice on Sundays if there was an IDPA match. Now I’m happy with 3 times a month. It was cake when I had no responsibilities other than work and providing for my own humble needs. A wife, 3 kids, mortgage, fulltime career, and school make a difference. Would like to get it to once a week someday though.

  38. It was once recommended to me to not read the comment section of any publication. This was a journey into why. Wow it even made me think of what could be good about censorship. 🙂

  39. Because ammo is expensive and in my state (Kalifornia), I now have to pay an extra fee and wait two weeks to get my goddamned ammo!!
    LOL JK!!
    The drive to Nevada is lovely until the snow starts, so, stock up now!

  40. Ego, the Dunning-Kruger effect, and “rugged individualism” inherent in pretty much all male gun owners are, aside from money and time, the top 3 reasons why they do not seek formal training.

    I have no doubt most here can and would perform well in a “garden variety” DGU. However, one thing most here probably don’t realize is that the things you learn in a formal training class can be admissible as discovery evidence in a trial. The “jury of your peers” will be all things accept: gun owners, crime victims, NRA members, TTAG readers, Deathwish or Dirty Harry fans etc. etc. Your formal training can be used to educate the jury. Your attorney could even subpoena your instructor to testify as an expert witness, in addition to the training you’ve received, and jury’s love to hear from “experts”.

  41. Because my home isn’t a gun range, and the .308 ammo tree has yet to bear fruit, so….I have to buy or roll my ammo, that takes time.

    That .308 ammo tree is pissing me off, I’ve tried eggshells, myracle-grow, worm dirt….everything!!!

  42. Let me chime in on Clint Smith’s second reason people don’t train…money. Because they just spend $5000 at your place getting yelled at by you..or you destroying their property because you don’t like it. Find a smaller training range for basic pistol…most cost around $500 for two days. Get the basic, work from their. They do alot of dry firing…believe it helps a great deal. You don’t need police, military, or Tier 1 level training…just the basics. How to load, unload, and remove malfunctions. I will also say, take a bit of that $5000 you did not spend at Gun Site, Thunder Ranch or Sig School…and use to talk to a lawyer about what to do before, during and after a self defense incident.

  43. Clint’s use of insults and hyperbole made him unpersuasive. His tiresome swearing made this painful.

    I second a lot of what was said above:

    – Clint calls them “excuses” while reasonable people call them “valid reasons”
    – Shooting .20 to .30 cents per round is breaktakingly expensive…is like watching the dollars add up at the gas pump.
    – Ranges restrict draws, movement, use of walls, rapid fire; can’t practice in the darkness, etc.

    As for me, I put a laser on an airsoft pistol and aim at small targets in the largest room of the house (sans pellets) to work on trigger squeeze-errors. Some air soft guns have difficult triggers, so it’s a challenging exercise.

  44. Why don’t train enough?
    6 year old male Golden Retriever had to have cataract surgery in both eyes. Operation successful. Paid cash.

    Now have opportunity to buy a acreage with river access that backs up to rural 5 acres we already own. Paying by cashier check. Yes, using real estate attorney.

    And already shoot better than a lot of LEOs
    Have paid off ranch land to practice on, only cost is ammunition.

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