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!