Almost everyday, I talk to people about getting the proper Gun Training. Probably nine out of ten people give me the same answer, “Oh, I know how to shoot a gun.” I usually then ask, “But, have you ever had any professional training?” Then the typical answer is, “Oh, my grandfather started taking me hunting when I was ten years old.”
Sorry folks, that doesn’t count as proper gun and self defense training. Just because you know how to point the gun and pull the trigger, does NOT mean you know how to safely and properly use a gun to defend yourself and your loved ones. In my research for Legally Concealed articles, I have found dozens of articles about gun owners who made deadly mistakes due to poor or no training. These mistakes involved gun safety and some involved violations of the law.
During my years in Law Enforcement, we were required to attend mandatory training twice a year. Those classes varied from hand to hand self defense to culture and diversity. This was in addition to the mandatory firearms qualification twice a year. This was back in the dark ages of training. I believe there is better training on websites such as this one, Legally Concealed, than we ever had in the Sheriff’s Office. I can say this is true, because I was an F.T.O. (Field Training Officer). When the recruits finished the Police Academy, they were then required to ride with an F.T.O. for fourteen weeks before being turned loose to go out and save the world. If you consider almost any profession, doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers, you name it, they all take periodic training on a regular basis. These professionals take those training classes to keep up to date with the latest developments in their chosen professions. Why shouldn’t we, who believe in the 2nd Amendment and practice Concealed carry, do the same?
About two years ago, I attended the NRA training in Nashville to become a Certified Firearms Instructor. I had not attended any formal Gun Training Classes since retiring from the Lee County Florida, Sheriff’s Office in 1999. When I was a Deputy Sheriff in Florida, I never had any trouble qualifying on the pistol range. At the various distances, from three yards out to twenty five yards, my scores were always in the nineties. This, of course, meant that 90% of my hits were inside the B-27 silhouette, seven ring, which was ten inches across. None of the department’s range officers, offered to coach me so I could shoot smaller groups. They had too many deputies needing help, because they could not meet the minimum qualifications. When I went to the NRA School, we were taught coaching techniques, as well as shooting on the range, where I was still getting all my hits within the ten inch wide score area. The instructor came over to me and advised me to change my grip slightly and to change with where I was placing my trigger finger on the trigger.
Wow! That change really made a huge difference! After making the recommended adjustments to my grip and trigger finger, I reduced the size of my groups down to five inches! Now actually, looking back thirty years or so, I knew better, but I had gotten into a few bad habits due to no regular coaching by a qualified instructor. A good Firearms Instructor should also be a good coach. He or she, should be standing right at your shoulder to spot problems with such things as grip, sight picture, trigger pull and of course safety violations. For those of you who are taking Online Gun Training, that is good, but not good enough. As Concealed Carry citizens, we have taken on a huge responsibility. Staying up to date by taking Gun Training Classes and Concealed Carry Training is more important than ever in today’s high crime environment.
There are very important things that each and every gun owner must know about using a gun in a self defense situation. Laws vary from state to state and heaven forbid, you are ever confronted by evil, you must know your state’s self defense laws. Knowing when to shoot and just as important, when not to shoot, can either save your life, or save you from a jail sentence. It is important to know and be aware of the laws in your state. You need to “rehearse” in your mind the laws and various self defense situations, BEFORE you find yourself in a life threatening situation. You need to plan out dozens of scenarios that could happen, and how you would react in those situations. When an evil person is attacking you, or kidnaping one of your children, is not the time to try and figure out what to do.
I have heard a certain old myth repeated many, many times, “If you shoot a burglar inside your home and he runs outside and dies, drag him back inside before you call the cops.” If you believe that one, I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you. Go ahead and send me the check now, before you appear in court. Believe me when I say, “Do NOT ever alter the scene of a justified homicide, or you will more than likely make it look like you are trying to hide something, which will make you look very guilty. The same goes for the old myth, “If you shoot the bad guy as he is running away from your home, drag him back inside.” Believing these old myths could land you in a world of trouble. Seek out and find qualified Concealed Carry classes in your area. Do a web search, and when you find a good instructor, ask for references from former students. Even experienced shooters should take a Basic Pistol Training class every so often. You might be surprised by the bad habits which you have developed, or find out you have forgotten way to much. Being a responsible gun owner, should involve online training, but more importantly retraining in Gun Safety and practice involving shooting drills will give you the confidence you need. If you have not attended a Gun Training Class in more than a few years, you may find it well worth your time to take a class as soon as possible.
For my students and other experienced shooters, I teach classes in “Advanced Self Defense Shooting.” For the advanced class, we use “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” targets. The students must decide very quickly which target is the deadly threat. Some of these targets show a bad guy holding a hostage. Can you shoot and hit a bad guy who is inches away from your son or daughter? What shooting tactics would you use when the bad guy is pointing a gun at you, BUT, there is innocent bystanders in the background? For the “Advanced Class,” we also do “dry fire,” shooting from inside your car, so as to teach defensive tactics to use in a carjacking situation.
Paul Foreman is a retired Deputy Sheriff from Lee County Florida. As a Deputy Sheriff, he served as a Field Training Officer in the Patrol Division. Later, before retiring, Paul was assigned to the Juvenile Division, where he worked as a Truant Officer. Paul has authored a novel, “Blood Stains in Paradise, available on Kindle.” Now living in northern Alabama, with his wife, JoAnn, Paul teaches firearms self-defense classes. Paul is an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, AHA Certified Instructor in First Aid, CPR & AED. As well as writing for Legally Concealed, Paul also writes Firearms articles for a local bi-weekly paper, “Athens Now.” For firearms training, Paul can be reached through E-Mail at [email protected] or his web site, www.PaulForeman.com