Lemme see…

How many people I can piss off with this post…

TL;DR Grumpy old fudd doesn’t like what is going on with gun training.

Yes, I’m old. Yes, I like blued and wood revolvers. I’m not an expert, don’t play one on TV. At best, I’m an average pistol shooter, I suck with a shotgun, but I’m pretty fair with a rifle.

Having said that, I’m certified to teach NRA Basic Pistol, Self-Protection in the Home, and a certified RSO. Over the years I’ve competed in bullseye, IDPA, Action Pistol, Three Gun, and High power rifle matches. Never won, seldom placed higher than mid-pack. So that is ‘my’ qualification (or lack of) for what I’m about to say.

People are on edge, especially with what is going on with the riots, lack of ammo, lack of gun availability, etc. Civility seems to be going out the window.

I’m worried about the division I’m seeing becoming more and more prevalent in the gun world, where you are judged by who you’ve trained with, what latest plastic fantastic or custom gun you’re carrying in the latest holster, while firing the latest and greatest super ammo, while being able to in W seconds fire X rounds into Y square inches at Z yards. Or how to shoot your AR out of your car, etc.

That’s great if you’re an operator, operating operationally, or SWAT, or some other high speed low drag whatever.

I don’t know too many people that carry a loaded AR or shotgun in their car/truck unless they are LEOs. I’ve also heard instructors say NRA training will get you killed on the street.

Um, NRA training is designed to be BASIC training, not get you your CCW or anything else due to the differences state to state… And a basic course is what everybody is now requiring that people have to take just about any course.

BUT, what are being left behind are John/Jane Q Public that carry a pistol for self defense or want pistol courses that help them to get better. Rangemasters, Mas Ayoob, and a few others offer basic courses that stress BASIC skill sets, of grip, draw, presentation and sight picture, and mindset. But they aren’t cheap.

The other ‘mantra’ that seems to be getting louder (again) is that if your gun doesn’t have a caliber that starts with a 4, you should shut up and go home, you can’t be effective. I’ve seen people basically get laughed at in various forums for carrying .380s or .32 or .38 pistols, or ‘really stupid’ to carry .22 or .22 magnum pistols.

Ammo is another issue. I saw a thread where someone was asking about using wadcutters for self-defense and stated in his question that he couldn’t GET hollow points. Only a few people actually said wadcutters would work, most pointed him and expensive and unavailable or hideously expensive if available hollow point ammo. Wadcutters work! See articles, HERE and a discussion of hollow point ammo HERE. Jim Cirillo used them while in the NYPD, as indicated in this article, HERE. The men that taught me how to shoot in the early 60s, many of whom were law enforcement, had NO problems carrying wadcutters in their backup guns and 3-4″ pistols. They pretty much shoot point of aim/point of impact. I have wadcutters for my snubbie in .38, and I will carry them because they work!

Have instructors become so wrapped around the ‘tacticool’ agenda that they are leaving most shooters with no good training if you’re not an LEO or operator? I’m beginning to think so. A quick check of available courses ranged from $300 and up, with most seeming to be in the $450 range, usually 2 days, and required 500 or more rounds. Plus travel, hotel, food, now you’re talking real money.

Most CCW folks don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on gun after gun, course after course, and don’t shoot a thousand rounds a month, or five hundred… I’d say the average CCW person is probably down around 100-200 rounds a month maybe less, especially now with the dearth of ammunition. And they’re shooting it with what they have… and can afford or actually operate. Some people (especially females, elderly or disabled) can’t rack a slide on a 9mm, much less a .40 or a .45, much less control a pistol in that caliber to get more than one or maybe two rounds on target without issues. But they can shoot/control .22s or .380s. Or that old .32 or .38 revolver that may not have all the bluing, but it still works well.

Another thing I’m hearing is instructors ‘belittling’ students that don’t perform up to ‘standard’ (whatever that may be), in front of others on the line, rather than doing so in private. Safety is one thing, but to belittle somebody that is trying and not succeeding is…just wrong. The last basic class I did, I got a call from a lady over 2 hours away wanting to know if she could drive over and take the course, because her LTC instructor had made her so scared of shooting that her husband wanted her to take another basic course (Sadly, I didn’t have room for her, but promised if I did another one, she would get a slot). I talked to the husband and he was not happy, to put it mildly. And yes, he’d complained about the instructor.

Probably the best course I’ve taken in the last five years was with Dr. William Aprill, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Not a round was fired, but it was an excellent course on getting into the mindset of the criminal and how to not be a victim.

Maybe it’s time to look closer to home, to those local instructors that teach part time for not much money, because they want to share knowledge, and are willing to work with students on a case by case basis. They may not have one or more pages of ‘qualifications’ but they teach because they believe in what they are doing, and by and large are pretty cotton picking good too!

/rant off…



Lemme see… — 64 Comments

  1. No hate from here. Good old fashioned horse sense stated there. Having ANY gun close by when trouble begins is way ahead of unarmed and hoping Bad Guy’s aim is bad. Good Guy’s chances go way up if they are familiar with their gun and they have a steady hold. The guy who saved lives in that interior church chapel shooting in Texas with a handgun proved that.

    Magic Boolitz are nice, but not necessary if it passes through vitals, letting in the air and letting out the blood.

  2. Well, thank you sir. I am not at all ticked off. You have hit the nail on the head so far as I am concerned. Which is why I don’t, yet, have my CCW, and while I look at some of the courses and think “that sounds like it would be very good” I haven’t signed up due to costs.

    And, yes, my biggest issue is racking the slide, as well as not being able to find out where I can find some exercises to help strengthen my hands. Too many years driving all day have taken their toll.

    Everywhere I read is gobsmacked about how many folks are buying guns, and are first time owners. Everyone says “go get trained”, which is a concept I totally support. But it would be great if the training didn’t cost as much or more as what I paid for the new gun!

    As for being tacticool–I am an over 60 gramma–there is no possibility I will ever cool, never mind tactical.

    • > not being able to find out where I can find some exercises to help strengthen my hands.

      That’s easy enough… that’s what search engines are for.

      > “go get trained”

      The big deal there is, “trained for what?” For safe and responsible concealed carry, you need basic gun handling and marksmanship, some tactics, tips on concealment, and *local* law. Yet the big sells are for police or paramilitary training, where people operate in an *entirely* different milieu. Or it’s specialized training for competition shooting with little real-world application. If you’re buying “training”, make sure you’re getting training that you can use.

      > rack the slide

      You’re far from alone. But not all autoloaders work quite the same, and recoil springing varies a lot. If you can manage to find a way to carry a full-size pistol, they’re often sprung much less stiffly than the minis, and you have more slide to grab onto.

      Don’t write off a revolver. They’re often easier to conceal than an automatic, unlikely as it sounds. And if five, six, or seven shots isn’t enough, you can carry and practice with speed loaders or “speed strips.” It might not be the kind of gun you *want*, but the First Rule is, “Bring a gun.” *Any* gun when you need it is better than the one you didn’t buy or left at home.

      • I prefer a revolver because I don’t like automatics/sliders. I have the strength to operate one but like how the action slides across my hand. To me it’s an accident waiting to happen. Kind of like my brother doesn’t like a pump shotgun because the shell ejects across his face, as he is left-handed. He uses a single shot or a double barrel. Go with what is comfortable for you and to hell with what is trendy or fashionable.

        • Sheesh – insert ‘do not’ between but and like. Proof read, Jude before you hit the post button.

    • Suz, the easiest way to strengthen your hands is to start small, but train multiple times every day. For most classic vintage ladies, the best start is with grip putty, reasonably priced on Amazon. Start light, squeeze with your whole hand for a few repetitions, then work on your trigger squeeze by gripping with everything BUT your trigger finger and practice a slow, steady trigger squeeze. Finish your training by gently extending your fingers backwards (use your other hand to help) as many repetitions back as you squeezed inward. Do this a couple of times a day. Perhaps leave it on your coffee table and train whenever you sit down. Train up to harder and harder putty until you can use the classic coil grip trainer.

      As for racking the slide – assuming you’re on the range (and right handed) – keeping the muzzle downrange, turn your whole body to the right 90 degrees. Hold your pistol in front of you, centered on your body, and turned over on its right side. Keep your left arm away from the muzzle. Look down and locate the slide lock and place your right thumbnail underneath it. Don’t push up yet. Locate the notch the slide lock has to slip into – it’s just a couple of inches. Grip the backstrap with your right fingers (thumb still gently under the slide lock) and grip the slide firmly with your left hand. Use your whole hand, pressing the slide into the pad of your thumb with your fingertips. Watching the slide, lock your wrists and push your elbows together. When the slide lock reaches the notch, flip the slide lock up. It’s not hard. You can do it.

    • @Suz Find or buy a racquetball (small blue ball about 3/4 the size of a tennis ball, Walmart usually carries them in the sporting goods section where tennis balls are stocked).

      Every day, squeeze the racquetball with your fingers (no thumb action). Squeeze the ball like you’re squeezing the grip of your handgun. Start out with 25 or 30 squeezes or whatever you’re comfortable with. After you’ve done both hands(fingers), use your thumb only to squeeze the ball. Use the same squeeze count that you used for fingers.

      Work your way up to 50 squeezes, or more if you can, of each hand, both fingers and thumb. I’m currently doing 75 squeezes trying to get to 100 (I’ve been at this off and on for about a decade). I am a small person and have small hands. I’m also older than you are by at least a decade. I started this exercise because I was shooting center fire hand guns and having grip issues due to age and strength.

      You can also practice racking the slide on your hand gun to gain some strength for that function. Make sure that you’re using practice ammo (Snapcaps) if the mag is in the gun and lower the hammer safely after each rack to get the full resistance of racking the slide on an empty chamber. You could probably also use exercise bands to gain some strength by using the bands to mimic racking a slide. One final tip that works for me in slide racking exercises is to grip the handgun with the grip parallel to the floor, i.e. on its side. This uses different muscles than racking the slide with the gun held vertically and allows a push with the grip hand along with a pull of the slide hand. So to complete the slide racking exercise, after the slide is racked and in battery bring the gun up to firing position with a proper grip and get a sight picture. After a while and once you’re comfortable with racking the slide, practice all of the motions and include drawing from a holster. So, draw, rack, sight picture. This develops muscle memory, so that if you’re ever in the situation where you need to defend yourself, don’t think, RELY ON YOUR TRAINING.

      There are all kinds of utube vids that teach hand gun drills using NO LIVE AMMO that will build your skills as an adjunct to live fire training and formal training with a live instructor.

  3. Buffalo Bore 38 Special +P soft cast LSWCHP-gas check in a GP100, 4 inch barrel……jes saying. Heavier clothing now that Winter Is Coming.

    • Alternatively Buffalo Bore hardcast 150-gr wadcutters, standard-velocity low-flash for snubbies. I call it the “flying cookie-cutter” and carry it specifically for winter use where hollow points are likely to be clogged with clothing.
      Model 64 Smith 2″ round butt crossdraw under a vest

  4. We’ve seen this before: “I’m of Apollos, I’m of Paul.” We are all family.

  5. I totally concur on your rant. I did armed physical security and armed Master at Arms while in the Navy. And while on the physical security team, I was the best/highest scoring shooter out of the 50 other people on the team which got me the job of training the other people and running the range. Letting the Senior Chief in charge see that I could shoot is like letting the Division Chief know you can type. I just got volunteered for a job.

    Several years ago, I was watching a video that espoused a shooting course that was heavy in hands on training and firing. Over the course of a week, the students would shoot in excess of a 1000 rounds. 1911A1’s and clones were highly discouraged because in the instructor’s experience they just wouldn’t survive the week without breaking. 9mm high capacity wonderguns were preferred. That, to me, was the first indicator that the training was bovine excrement. Any firearm is better than no firearm. As long as you can operate and carry it safely. Most of the so called “experts” are overqualified and they are training people unrealistically.

    • Somewhere the “1000 rounds, don’t bring a 1911” people lost why the student would be shooting so much.

      It’s not a gun test, it’s to cement the skills they’re trying to teach. Repetition and practice.

      They’re teachers who cannot relate that reason to a prospective customer. If they can’t be clear in their ad copy, they probably won’t be clear later on either.

      Belittling a student means they’re a bad teacher. Belittle me as a paying customer and I walk. I might only have a tiny little blog, but I will damn sure make it known why I walked.

      I am also not paying for a drill instructor. I’ve put my Army days behind me and I don’t like bullies.

    • I didn’t have trouble with a 1911A1 years ago (Rodney King was in the news) at Gunsite. The standard course was Mon AM through Sat Noon, and beyond a magazine that found a rock in an outdoor session, no problems. I had a backup, and my handloads were mild. I don’t recall how many rounds I shot, but I didn’t need my backup 1911A1.

      Learned a lot, still had to work to stop anticipating the recoil. Shot low a lot. Eventually fixed it, but I’m adequate, not great.

      OTOH, the pistol had been the backup carry piece I got from a gunsmith/dealer friend, and it saw a fair amount of TLC before I bought it. If people had trouble with their pistols, I didn’t hear any bitching about it. FWIW, .40s and 10mms weren’t at that session, and a couple-three people brought 9s.

    • She could get an M&P EZ in either .380 or 9 mm for a first gun. Work on hand strength at the same time. You can get gun specific hand strengtheners from Grip master as well, including one with a laser for practicing trigger squeeze.

  6. Another RSO here. I see no fault in your rant. I’m seeing a lot of newbies at the range these days, and since I usually work the 100yard line, those are bringing out their new rifles mostly ARs. Many don’t have any idea how to run them so I wind up being an instructor. I really don’t mind this if it doesn’t interfere with my primary duties. Still, you should at least know how to lock back the bolt before you take it out the first time.

  7. Whenever I teach an NRA Basic class in anything – pistol, rifle or (rarely, it seems) shotgun, I begin with: “The purpose of this class is to make you a SAFE and COMPETENT Gun Operator, NOT a shooter. Becoming a shooter requires time, additional instruction, practicing what you learned with the instruction, establishing goals, thinking about what’s involved in reaching them and working to achieve them. All that can be accomplished, lots of people have done it, and this basic class is where it all starts by producing SAFE and COMPETENT Gun Operators. Pay attention, stay focused and ask about what’s not clear or that you don’t understand.”

    RE: wadcutters for defense. They absolutely work and work well. Unfortunately, most commercial wadcutter ammunition is “target loads” and loaded too soft, and most wadcutter projectiles for reloading are swaged rather than hard cast. In the absence of good, modern, high quality and proven hollow points of proper design, a hard cast wadcutter about 5-10% heavier than their usual weight and driven at hollow-point velocities will perform just as well, in revolvers. For semi-autos, feed problems with wadcutters will require Keith-style semi-wadcutters, preferably with a large meplat. This, unfortunately, is largely custom mould and cast-your-own territory. I have some Lyman #2 wadcutters in .429″ that weigh 275 grains, and at 1200 FPS deer and hogs go down like they’re hit with a Kenworth. If I could just get them to reliably feed through the Marlin….

    • I have mostly been practicing with 180 gr hard cast over 13.5gr 296 and 158gr JFP over 16gr 296 with absolutely no feeding problems in the marlin 1894. However I gave up on trying to work up small game loads in .38 special cases because of frequent jams!

  8. Long ago, back in the days of gun magazines, I started filtering gun writer’s comments based on their noted tendency to spout the newest and coolest and what the latest hot instructor was pushing.
    You still see this kind of, not sneering exactly, but condescension on the part of far too many otherwise pleasant and sensible writers (cough, Tam Keel, cough). “Oh, you shouldn’t use those Black Talons anymore. They have 1.47% less penetration than this new thing that costs 50% more.” Just let the mental filter ignore that part, if the writer is otherwise valuable.
    You know who doesn’t come off that way … Paul Harrell on YouTube. He has, shall we say, an interesting affect, but it’s the furthest thing from tacticool you could find.

  9. Spot on “rant” – which is in reality just solid opinion. And great comments as well.
    You mentioned Rangemaster, and Tom Givens does a very good job of putting training in the context of citizen self defense, emphasizing those skills necessary for solving those sorts of problem. He uses a data driven approach to help determine what those skills should be, and they do NOT include breaching doors, rappelling out of helicopters, assaulting a ship, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that sort of thing, but it’s more “edutrainment” (in Tom’s words) than training for a citizen’s self defense needs. Most training from reputable organizations make similar distinctions, but you need to make sure if you are going to invest your time and money, the training proposed is going to be relevant to your needs and not those of some “Tier 1 SWAT Delta Ranger Super Ninja assassin”. On a recent road trip, I was listening to a podcast with Ken Campbell, CEO of Gunsite, and he said that while they hire a lot of military and law enforcement for their instructor cadre, they have to spend a fair bit of time re-educating them to have a citizens’ mindset and on how to conduct themselves around and talk with ‘regular people’. Glad to see they’ve recognized that.
    As to the never-ending Caliber Wars, next time someone says x is better than y or that you should use z since it will get you killed on the streets, just ask them if they’d be willing to walk downrange and get shot by the caliber they are denigrating. That said, there is plenty of data these day on both standardized testing and real world results that reasonable conclusions can be made about any round’s effectiveness. But even the most argumentative sod in these discussions will likely understand that you have to hit your target, and a hit with a .22 or .32 will be better than a miss with a .454 or .460. Hence the need for practice.
    Too many people think just having a gun is enough, that it will ward off evil just by being in your pocket or purse or, god forbid, your glove compartment.
    We (my instructor colleagues and I) have been doing a TON of basic training for new shooters the last six months, and as Alfred said so well, its goal is to make them safe and competent on a basic level, and to make it as enjoyable as possible so they’ll come back and become even more competent. Yelling at them or trying to get them to do things that are beyond their level of skill is just wrong at the beginner level. Pushing shooters out of their comfort zone is good but not appropriate for a beginner. Oh yeah, just because you can shoot well doesn’t mean you can teach!
    We also try in our entry level defensive classes to make them understand that mindset is as important – belay that, more important – than skill at arms. If you have the right mindset, you’ll likely avoid 99.5% of the problems you’d need a gun to solve.
    So there’s my rant in response to your rant 🙂

  10. Full agreement with the non-rant. The first and last question are, “Can the person use the weapon to accomplish their intended mission(s)?” It’s about the human behind the trigger, and what they can do or handle safely for themselves and for non-targets in the area. The shoulder may not take repeated .40 or .45 shock, but 9mm or .38 can be a lot easier.

    • 9mm NATO and USGI .45 hardball have the same muzzle energy, 355 ft-lb, and the same recoil impulse.

      Many people *perceive* a difference in recoil, but that’s largely due to differences in grip shape and barrel-to-grip height. That perception is important, but it’s not something that can be predicted ahead of time.

  11. I *know* I *need* get a lot better with being safe ‘automatically’ (range time WITH someone who can help). I know the basic rules, it’s living them automatically that I *know* needs work. And for that, a .22 would do. As would a .25 or .32 (Yes, I do know aside from .22 plinking, those are generally unloved calibers).

    But as told to me, “What you have right then will always be better than what you don’t have.” This person started carrying a .380. Prefers .40, but.. the .380 was smaller, easier to carry/conceal and the quote applied.

    Now, while a .44, say, is fun to shoot, it’s not cheap to feed. That .22 seems reasonable. And even if some would say it’s “training wheels”… I still don’t care to be downrange of one!

    • The FBI keeps statistics of shooting deaths by caliber. It’s in their annual reports at fbi.gov. The .22LR is not a joke.

      Heck, all it took as a .22 Short for Robert F. Kennedy, and a .380 ACP for Archduke Ferdinand. President Garfield got shot with a rightous .442 Webley, but would likely have recovered if not for medical malpractice.

  12. I agree with you. Due to age and infirmity I am not the ninja super-duper tacticool operator that I never was. I grew up around guns, in high school, and college, I chased the local jack rabbits with both .22 rifles and pistols. Hint, trying to hit a running jack at 25 to 50 yds with a .22 handgun is really great training. Now that I’m old and (kinda) decrepit, I’m not going to be able to “run and gun” and do all special forces moves to satisfy some of the better known training schools expect. I’m still looking for a trainer who understands that people in wheel chairs, and with arthritis in their hands, are worthy of training to keep them alive in today’s world. Fortunately I live in a constitutional carry state, so I don’t have to jump through hoops to carry concealed. Also, I can switch between my 38 special snubby or my 9 mm as my mood dictates.

  13. A well written column. The one course I have never seen offered is training on shoot/no shoot, display/no display, and escalation of force from a civilian legal/practical POV. When I ask I get told “that will be covered in your *** course.” except that they never do. I understand that such a course would need to be tailored for each state and maybe for a specific city (NYC, Chicago come to mind) but I would like to get some training that involved something more than “you can if you feel threatened.” I understand that probably nothing will keep me out of court but I would like to avoid making a prosecution a slam-dunk.
    I enjoy your writing, keep up the good work.
    PS. I thought it was ‘voluntold’.

    • Carlton – there are a couple of good places you can get training on the legal issues you described. For in person training, Massad Ayoob has what he now calls MAG-20, used to be called Judicious Use of Deadly Force. It’s an excellent course offered around the country. His MAG-40 course couples the classroom with some defensive pistol training. http://www.massadayoobgroup.com. You can find videos on line of him teaching much of the course back a few years, and he has made appearances on many podcasts. He also has a book called “Deadly Force …” that is very good.

      Andrew Branca at http://www.lawofselfdefense.com also teaches on-line courses that are often tailored to a particular state’s legal requirements. He also has a book that provides a good general framework for understanding self defense law.

      Finally, the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network is run by Marty Hayes in Seattle, a former cop and an attorney who also owns the Firearms Academy of Seattle. New members get a stack of dvd’s that cover many of the topics relevant to self defense including the shoot/don’t shoot decision process. A one year membership which includes the dvd’s is about $135 and is well worth it.

      As far as the expense of training, etc. goes, I’d rather spend the money up front and have a better understanding of the legal processes and have a better chance of making an accurate shot under stress than having to pay big legal bills from an unjustifiable use of deadly force. Granted, I may still end up in legal jeopardy, but I think the training gives me better odds.

      Full disclosure – I’ve taken classes from all the above folks and am a member of the ACLDN.

    • John Murphy of FPF does all phases of ” engagements” in his training with a LOT of emphasis on shoot/no shoot ( or spray/ no spray).
      I highly recommend his courses. John has trained with Givens, Ayoob et al and has brought the best from them.

  14. Let me start by saying I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of me. I will listen to people I respect and think hard about what they say. I am down to one handgun,a Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog I’ve owned since the early 1990’s.I have one carry holster. Why one? Because it works. My carry loads are Glasser safety rounds. My range trips are made with cowboy action ammo. My standard of performance, if you can call it that, is putting 5 rounds into the kill zone at a distance across a 7-11 parking lot. I’ve no illusions about being combat ready and have no desire to be so. In other words, I’m strictly a defensive shooter and that is my mindset.

    As to other shooters, my only desire is they can handle a firearm safely. Everything else? Happy trails.

    • > a Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog

      A worthy instrument well-suited to concealed carry, in a proven-effective, though currently-unpopular, caliber. I liked mine a lot, and wouldn’t mind having another. Alas, for all the net.expert hate, the Charter fans keep the prices up…

      > In other words, I’m strictly a defensive shooter and that is my mindset.

      I’d call it a “focused shooter.” The narrower your field of operation, the more you can focus on what you need to do.

  15. To further expound on what Uncle Kenny said, there are far too many gun-writers (TK being one of them) who look down their noses at us poor schlubs who have no money to jaunt off to BFE and take a weekend $10k class on the latest gun handling techniques.

    And I really get pissed when said gun writers (TK being one of them) drop scorn and hatred when some poor schlub defends himself or herself and isn’t holding the gun correctly, calls the parts by the wrong name, and overall gets sneered at by the gunteratsi as ‘gun LARPers’ or other bad names.

    As to basic training, in one medieval fighting group I used to hang with, the ‘authorization’ process for being allowed to fight was basically to prove that you weren’t a direct threat to yourself and to others by doing things in an unsafe way (yes, you CAN handle any weapon in an unsafe way, trust me, even a mace or a dagger or a spear or a sword, or even your helmet (seen one pissed off person toss his helmet into an occupied tent, with several getting hit by said helmet.))

    And the caliber wars? There’s a lot of dead people out there done in by the .25ACP out of a Lorcin POS. It’s what it is. Yes, larger caliber is better, so is wunderbullets and super-powerful loads, given a fit, strong shooter with no other issues. But FMJ has killed and wounded a lot of people, so have just plain lead bullets, or even self-modified ball ammo.

    I would love it if the local city had a municipal gun range.

    I would love it if the local community college had a gun-class like they have stained-glass or canoeing.

    I would love it if the local government would supplement people on the lower spectrum of income in gun-classes and ammo and such like they do with electricity and water and food and stuff.

    But any of those things aren’t happening. So people on the lower side of monetary worth are going to buy a gun, some ammo, and do what training they can, in hopes that they can save their family or themselves in a bad situation.

    So I am fully against any stupid ‘gun-training’ tax for CCW, or for ownership, as that ‘fee’ or ‘tax’ or ‘hidden cost’ is a huge infringement of the whole ‘shall not be infringed’ statement of the 2nd Amendment.

    Do I think people should be trained? Yes. But this is where I go off the rails. I think the local government should be sponsoring gun training. Like to the extent that they pay for basic training and range time. It’d be better spent than gun-buyback programs or renaming roads after St. Skittles…

  16. Pingback: Old NFO on firearm instructors

  17. Hey Old NFO;

    Excellent Rant;

    I will mention my qualifications, I am NRA certified Rifle, Shotgun and Pistol, I teach people how to shoot, but my specialty is teaching boy scouts how to shoot, I run what I call “fun ranges”, I stress safety to the nth degree but we do have fun, I don’t do Drill instructor, that crap scares the kids and intimidates any adults and shuts down any attempts at LEARNING, it is counter productive. I teach them basic skills. I stress that, basic skills on how to handle a firearm SAFELY. I am no super operator, hell I am too old to that ninja crap anyway, but I am good at the fundamentals though ;). Seriously I have seen people berate others at the range and that infuriates me, expecially newbie shooters, nothing like turning off somebody to a sport and turning them into a hater, this is our chance to win someone over sideand someone has to be a douchecanoe. Sorry for the rant.

  18. To jump in again … Tom in NC mentions Ayoob in a positive way and that brings up one of the big issues we are looking at just now. Of course I mean the increasing divide between the oh-so-careful Ayoobs, who are super concerned with the legalities of self defense versus the folks who are increasingly saying that if you are too careful, Antifa will shoot you in the back of your head while you contemplate your duty to retreat.
    To me that is a much more difficult problem to think through than whether your caliber has a 4 or not. The spectrum of opinion is also much wider. Those of us who fear that “guns free” may soon be the de-facto rules of engagement on the other side are beginning to have less patience with the Ayoobs in the commentariat. I don’t have an answer, but that is the carry problem that is on my mind.

  19. Teaching someone to safely handle a firearm does not take a SEAL/Ranger/Scout Sniper/Delta/Special Forces.
    In fact the ROE for military, LEO and CCW holders are all very different.
    Being a good firearms instructor has to do with being able to teach as much as being able to shoot. It also better include avoidance and de-escalation.
    Gear needs to work. It does not need to be trendy.
    Having a standard to meet is worthy, but it should be reachable for the level of instruction. I had one instructor who shot his own qualifier, but did not let us see his target. In fact we did not get to see our own qualifying target after we shot for record.

    I think your spot on on your rant.

  20. All- Thanks for the comments! I didn’t expect this many OR this many agreeing with me. Mas Ayoob and Andrew Branca do teach good basic courses on law/CCW carry.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  21. God help us.

    You say you have no ammo?

    Blame yourself and piss-poor planning.

    You say want to win the game, in the Walmart parking lot?

    Spend as much time dry-firing as you do whining to an Internet audience. The price is the same and no ammo needed.

    And, to save you the trouble of asking, “Yes, I dry-fire regularly – – from atop a mountain of ammunition (good planning).

  22. I’m an old timer who had basic gun safety in Boy Scout camp in the early sixties. Since ma dad was dead set against hunting I was married before I owned my first firearm. I’m self taught and surely can’t afford a tactical class. My “range” is the local gravel pit and I try to shoot a couple times a month. My EDC is a .357mag and my wife has a 38 special. I do have a .44 mag (no I didn’t file the front sight off!) that I carry hunting here in Alaska. I have marlin 1894s in both calibers plus several rifles in appropriate calibers for moose etc. Just saying I agree with your non rant. By the way the long time world record for an interior grizzly was credited to a native lady in northern Canada who used a .22 long!

  23. Michael- FYI, I DO have plenty of ammo in multiple calibers. And I do use a SIRT pistol and laser insert to practice dry fire. I wasn’t talking about what ‘I’ do.

    Howard- I remember the lady with the .22. She did what she had to, with what she had. 🙂

  24. My take – I do for me and mine. I carry a 9mm and I train as I know I should. I don’t give a flying flip what people post on fora about what I should do. I pay attention to the people who train people.

    • Bore – are you sure – that person might be an operationally operating operator after all…….:-)

      Lots of good points made in the ‘rant’ and in the comments. Bottom line that unless you are one of the tactical guys – LE or military – your ‘rules’ – and duties/legal responsibilities as a defensive shooter are way different than theirs are.

  25. You’re not wrong.

    Joe Blow that took your NRA basic class to qual for his state CCW requirements MIGHT shoot a few boxes annually. Is it bad practice and a poor planning in general? absolutely. But THAT guy is representative of the majority of gun owners. Most are not the enthusiasts of the hobby we are.

    As to the tactical training cult? It’s sexy, and sexy sells.

  26. This is a great post, where to begin? I got my “training” through trial and error with airguns:) in the UK through trial and error. Then, later, with .303 #4s and the L1A1 (SLR). Here in Texas for the last decade, I’ve found the important thing is to simply get out and shoot and have fun, safely.

    For me, that’s most of the deal, but of course I’m not LE or any kind of operator. That’s a different thing, as you say, as is perhaps shooting competition for money.

    That in mind, it was really pleasant to shoot with a couple of guys yesterday — competition level shooters but not proud, helpful and teaching. And none of this tacticool larping, which may be fun for a larf but’s incredibly stupid.

    Anyway, just you, the guns, and the clean air of the country. I love that.

    PS. Gun queens are as annoying as any other kind of variant… so.

  27. +1
    Remember that hit man in NYC (It was either the CBS or NBC parking lot) who killed like a dozen people with a 22 pistol? Witnesses kept showing up and he kept killing ’em.

    Quite a body count for a small pistol that isn’t supposed to be deadly.

    But it is true that too many people think that a more expensive gun will make you a better shooter. And too many people have watched too many rambo movies.

  28. Lots of good stuff above, I have been a trained NRA Range Safety Officer for a while just to help with our local Steel Challenge matches. As far as I am concerned safety is the only nonnegotiable part of shooting guns. People can buy what they want, shot as much or as little and good luck to them if they get in a real kill the bad guy situation. I have a friend who had to do that a little over a year ago here in Texas and he did not talk to his lawyer before he talked to the cops and it took him about six months and good lawyer to get a no-bill from a grand jury.

    I have been shooting now for over 65 years with four years in the Army in the 1960’s so I know how guns work. I shoot low level competition Steel Challenge and usually do some other pistol, rifle or shotgun shooting several time each month and I would do most anything to avoid getting into a situation where I had to shoot a person in self defense, especially if it were a fast draw thing or run and gun, that ain’t gonna happen. So my take on the whole thing is as long as folks understand basic gun safety and they don’t shot me I don’t care what they carry, how much skill they have and hope things work out for them if they ever have to shoot bad people.

  29. One comment on the above posts that refer to the fact that many people are killed with a .22 . I think I read somewhere that more people are killed with .22 LR’s than any other cartridge, but not sure when that ‘fact’ was dated or where it came from. They are deadly, but often the people shot with .22’s often live for quite some time before their injuries take their toll. Obviously, head shots from a few feet away act a bit more quickly. The same applies to other smaller calibers.

    If I’m shooting someone in self defense, I want them to stop doing what they are doing that made me want to shoot them, right now! Larger calibers tend to have that effect more often than smaller calibers. But if all someone can shoot well is a .22 or a .25, then I’m all for someone using those. But they should probably make sure they are good with shooting multiple shots to stop the threat.

    Nice post, OldNFO – and great comments from experienced shooters who are regular readers. I didn’t see too many people pissed off – hope you are not disappointed! 🙂

  30. You need someone completely ignorant to make entirely stupid comments, so I’ll chime in.

    Making your own anti-personal shaped charges is the minimum required for reliable self defense.

    Silenced revolvers are a serious problem that law enforcement needs us to prohibit.

    Hong Kong action films with the bags are a good guide to best practice for gun handling.

    Judge Dredd, Sledge Hammer, and Kerberos Panzer Cop are useful ways to teach proportionate force.

    You don’t want to use full metal jacket, don’t you watch anime, any telekinetic can just stop them like that.

    Basic requirements for a self defense round are blessed silver and high explosive, and you need something that can fire a lot of them fast; there are these chips out there that turn people into vampires.

    Home made rail guns, coil guns, etc. are a cheap and practical alternative for everyone, and what is more, do not count as a deadly weapon under the law, and are not controlled by firearms statute.

    If you can’t get enough silver, copper and gold works fine on werewolves, but for financial transactions trust only sovereign silver.

    Gasoline has ten times the energy density of gun powder, so you can make your own powder by cutting gasoline with flour or sawdust.

    Guns are only for special people, and you cannot safely and cheaply learn to use one.

  31. In 40+ years of shooting, I’ve yet to meet anyone prepared to demonstrate that ‘x’ caliber is not effective by volunteering to be shot by one. Strange, that.

  32. A lot of people would do better spending time acquiring situational awareness than buying another fancy gun.

    One thing that has drifted away in the rush for more rounds and bigger bangs is ergonomics- the weapon should fit the hand, the controls be reachable, the sights should line up for them with no conscious alteration of grip.

    I have mixed feeling about a CCW permit. I have one. It was insurance in the past. In the future all it may do is put one on a target list.

    • Target lists will vary a lot depending on where you live. In Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) in the ’90s, maybe 200 people had CCW permits, and the newspaper was determined to dox every one. I left before that was resolved.

      In the rural Oregon county where I now live, the sheriff’s office said they would not willingly divulge the list. I gather that about 30% of the people in our county have CCWs, so any list would have limited utility to the thugs. The only time the BLM people showed up in town (in June), the high number of people carrying AR15s on Main Street discouraged any would-be rioters…

  33. I’m very late to the party and now all the good stuff has been said.

    Very thoughtful post and great comments.

    I will add that money well spent is to buy a blue plastic training pistol that “shoots” a laser beam.
    I bought a Laserlyte brand pistol and it has served well for introducing new shooters to guns. (I have no stock in the company)

  34. All- Thanks for the insightful comments. I do appreciate it! And yes, safety is always goal #1!

    Posted from my iPhone.

  35. I agree completely! More people are choosing to arm themselves now and they’re not who you’d expect. I’m also an NRA instructor and have been teaching way more seniors than ever before. I’m a female instructor so I’ve always had about 50% women. My slogan is actually “Practical Training for a Safer Life” so I joke about being Practical not Tactical. I do see a lot of students who had a bad experience in a group class where they learned in a classroom and then were handed a 9mm Glock and told to shoot it. That’s not fun for most people as a first time experience.

    I start everyone on a .22 semi-auto to learn basics and then we graduate to a 9MM or .380 or a .38 (my carry gun is also a .357 snubby 🙂 love that gun!)

    And I always tell my students that the best gun is one that they’ll actually shoot and be comfortable with. I steer most away from .22 as a carry gun, but had a couple who were both 85 years old last week and that’s literally all they can handle so that was my recommendation for them.

    Tactical is a great place for people who already have some experience, but it’s hard for first timers. Start with practical and graduate if you want to.

  36. I think the “no one wants to be shot with the caliber they call ineffective” argument is disingenuous. Everyone knows that Yugos aren’t good cars, but no one will volunteer to get run over by one, since getting run over (like getting shot) is a high-risk endeavor. I do think that any gun is better than no gun, but a .36-and-up caliber is definitely better than a .22. Having said that, if you can’t handle anything more powerful than a .22, then carry a .22, and practice with it.

  37. Good rant and informative comments.
    Would like to see more classes in my neck of the woods, that are geared to shooting what you personally can safely handle, and situational awareness. Not interested in being tacticool. I’ve had all kinds of instructors, so far the best for me have covered the important stuff, and lacked the macho tacticool vibe.

    • Jim- I’m 4 hours south of Whidbey, so that’s not a go for me. Thank you for the thought though.

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