I know the Shooter’s Log has many readers that carry. Perhaps it is because your state allows open or constitutional carry or maybe you have taken the time to enroll in a class, pass a test and then apply for a license. Others served in the military and received firearms training—perhaps combat experience. Then, of course, we have our law enforcement officers who have their training and life experiences due to their position.
Perhaps you have taken an NRA course or two. Did you go all out and sign up for a course at a dedicated training facility? All of these things are great. From a basic course to gain your concealed carry permit to the most advanced course, but then what? Is that enough? Do you need more training? The answer is, “It is never enough.” We constantly strive to better certain skills and maintain others. Those who care about the outcome of a violent encounter must invest as much time and resources in a continual cycle of training, practice, and learning.
Selecting a defensive handgun will be your first chore. Perhaps you will select more than one. Some people prefer a full-sized handgun in the winter when wearing heavier cover garments and then switch to a compact during warmer seasons. This may be a good strategy, but it also takes more practice.
After you have determined which handgun, you have to get the right holster as well. Will you choose a holster for inside the waistband or out? What about off-body carry? How well will you be able to access your firearm in a carjacking scenario? What if your strong hand is injured? Can you manipulate the safety, slide stop, or magazine release with your weak hand? How did you select your ammo? Did you do some research? Have you decided that it fires from your handgun reliably so it must be good enough? Did you consider scenarios such as pass through or the possibility of follow-up shots? Are you carrying too much gun based on ammo performance? What if a handgun is not the right tool for the job? How are you at close quarters hand-to-hand to defang an ornery drunk? Do you have any other tools such as pepper spray or a stun gun?
Beyond the time we spend on static targets and dry fire practice, we need a dose of reality. That means using your defensive firearm in a way that will mimic real life situation to the extent that is reasonable. That means training in such a way as to recognize when to deploy your firearm and when you run the risk of doing more good than harm.
Imagine you are on a school campus and there is a report of an active shooter. If you are not within eyesight, do you go “hunting?” Crossing the campus, with or without your defensive firearm employed could make you a target for the bad guy. It could also make you the focus of law enforcement, draining precious resources and allowing the bad guy more time to commit evil acts.
Physical and Mental
Those who have experienced combat know the intensity felt during a confrontation. Your heart beats, you become hyper focused, and the adrenaline flows. By instinct, you may clear your mind and focus only on the threat; you may freeze. There is never a guarantee. However, adding stress elements to your training should be an essential element.
After the Confrontation
Most of you have likely thought about everything mentioned up until this point. What are you going to do if you are injured, perhaps alone? What if one of your loved ones was injured? Are you prepared? Do you have a trauma kit and know how to use it? What about a throw kit—a small medical kit to toss to another person nearby to work on a second victim.
Will you rely on your cell phone to contact law enforcement or emergency services? Do you travel outside of normal cell coverage? What will you do in a mass casualty or natural disaster situation to get help when resources are stretched and the lines to 911 are jammed? What about when the police arrive? Let’s say you have secured the shooter and are the hero of the day. How will you identify yourself when the police are looking for one or more shooters? Perhaps you were the victim and forced to defend yourself. Will you talk to the police? How much should you say? You’ll need to answer all of these questions and plenty more. We have not even touched on any of the self-defense insurance policies to cover you legal costs after the fight.
Your training should be continual. How much is enough? Is your training realistic enough to handle a real-life situation? Only time will tell, but at least now you are thinking and going through a thorough self-evaluation. In the end, only you can answer these questions as they apply to you.
What other questions would you ask? What types of training have you attended? How do you make your training more realistic?
It is easy to carry a handgun and feel you are prepared, but what is the reality of that solution? Share your suggestions or experiences in the comment section.