Huh? Perplexed by the instruction in this video, I asked David Kenik to give it the once-over. “One has 30% of the question right and the other has 20% of the answer right, and the answer doesn’t match the question.” That’s about how I saw it too. But I have just enough knowledge about armed self-defense to know I can be completely wrong about any of its precepts. Which is why I check my advice with various gun gurus before I go to print (or whatever they call this newfangled blogging thing). Afterwards, I depend on TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia to set me straight when I screw the ballistic pooch. But I don’t take anything I hear at face value. And that’s the way the best teachers want it . . .
“I can only tell you what I think and why I think it,” my go-to instructors say. “You’ve got to make up your own mind what’s best for you.” To that end, a good firearms teacher welcomes questions; the answers help “sell” their instruction to their students. Challenging questions also provide good instructors with a valuable reality check; they can make sure they’re not full of shit.
In that sense, it helps to think of armed self-defense training as an intellectual journey. You learn new methods, think them through, practice them, think them through again and then decide whether or not you should incorporate the instructor’s recommendations into your self-defense strategy. Another instructor? Go for it! Wash, rinse, repeat. Yes but—how do you know if you’re getting good training?
First, as stated, a good firearms trainer is open to any and all questions about the reasoning behind their instruction. They make time for it. Second, the training works for you. It makes sense and you can actually do it. Third, you should check one instructor’s advise with another. Why not? And fourth, watch them do it. Like a sailboat or an airplane, if the technique looks right, it probably is.
But whatever you do don’t get lost in a teacher’s cult-like following or credential-land. There are plenty of champion shooters who teach some f’ed up stuff (I believe that’s the technical name for it). There are hundreds of combat vets who prepare you for war, not self-defense. And so on. Like ballistic propellant, training is best measured in grains. The first with powder, the second with salt.