Chris Baker over at the Lucky Gunner Lounge posted an interesting piece recently on “Five Reasons Firearms Training Fails.”
1. Time and Cost
Both of these are relative, so that for some it is just a matter of priorities. For others, the costs of training can actually be prohibitive. The cost of ammo is a hidden cost that I often only think about when I am replenishing my supply. It would be great, as Baker notes, if there was some way to get individuals who want to learn how to use firearms but can’t afford it together with the many people who would willingly donate their time to that cause. Someone younger and more technically astute must be able to do this — for example the way that Operation Blazing Sword connected LGBTQ individuals to gun people after the Pulse Night Club shooting.
2. People Forget
As I constantly mention here, I took and passed with a pretty good score the Massad Ayoob Group MAG-40 class in 2011. In 2015 I attended the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo and shot — very badly — the Heizer Defense PKO Pocket 45. Last weekend I too an NRA Basic Pistol Course and needed help getting my finger on the trigger properly. Shooting is indeed a perishable skill.
3. Not Everyone Wants a New Hobby
This one resonated with me because one of my best friends teaches Balintawak Eskrima. He has encouraged me to get involved and generously offered to train me in this Filipino marital art. It is fun and definitely has some applicability to personal protection. But I don’t have the time or energy to devote to it. I don’t want (or need) a new hobby. I would, however, love to take a few classes in which the art is adapted to common self-defense situations I might really encounter on the streets. I am sure many people feel the same about getting guns for self-defense.
4. Unqualified Instructors
I only realized after the fact that Baker linked to my post about the private citizen gun training industry under this point.
Most of the issues I brought up in the above points are exacerbated by the fact that the firearms training industry has a huge problem with quality control. There is a large market for self-defense oriented gun training, though not as large as most people think. There is no widely-recognized sanctioning body for firearms instructors, so anyone who wants to call themselves an instructor may do so. So now we’ve got a market flooded with under-qualified “instructors” looking for an easy buck by offering to train the public in life-saving skills with deadly weapons. The money goes to those with the best marketing tactics.
Anyone interested can look at the landing page I created with all my posts about the gun training interesting.
5. Nothing but Shooting
I would not expect a one-day class to be a comprehensive survey of everything one needs to know in order to deal with violence, but a good introductory defensive shooting course goes beyond merely how to shoot. Among other things, it’s also when to shoot, when not to shoot, and how to safely handle and manage a deadly weapon in normal everyday life.
I have not taken a one-day defensive pistol course, but the longer courses I have taken and observed do what Baker suggests. I do believe that there could be a niche for a one-day, or even a half-day, defensive shooting course that covers both the necessary hardware and software sides of marksmanship, gunhandling, and mindset.
I will be looking forward to Baker’s follow-up. He concludes:
So I’ve got a project in the works that I hope will at least address one of the biggest needs out there: basic instruction on how to handle a firearm for absolute beginners.
Over the new few weeks, I’m rolling out a series of videos and articles that will be targeted directly at the complete shooting novice. The posts will cover the kind of thing that experienced shooters often forget that people even need to be told about.
As I learned in my NRA Basic Pistol course, I am not so expert (really, not at all expert) that I can’t benefit from a return to the basics: