Perspectives: Owning a firearm isn’t enough, get trained

Firearm training at Front Sight Nevada
Firearm training at Front Sight, Pahrump, Nevada, circa 2006 | Photo by Bryan Hyde, St. George News

OPINION – Political and economic uncertainty continue to spur a frenzy of firearms and ammunition buying throughout the U.S.

Gun owners looking to beef up their collections are making many of these purchases, but there are also a lot of people becoming firearms owners for the first time. Contrary to the histrionics of statists who believe that only the government can be trusted with arms, this is not an ominous development in and of itself.

It does, however, highlight what for many firearms owners is an important chance to consider the importance of becoming properly trained in the use of their weapons.

Too many gun owners are willing to plunk down upwards of $1,000 on a particular firearm and ammunition, but they’re unwilling to invest a dime in quality training in the use of their firearm. Quality training, in this sense, doesn’t mean a concealed weapons class or an NRA safety course, though these types of classes have their place.

I’m referring to the kind of defensive training that develops the basics of marksmanship, gun handling skills and, above all, the mindset necessary to prevail in a life-threatening encounter.

Most gun owners know they need training, but balk at the cost, the time commitment, or the prospect of their own poor performance on the training range. The cost for good training is considerable, but it must be viewed as a lifetime investment in critical skills, rather than simply as a shooting vacation.

Such training is only the beginning of true competence and requires a few minutes of dry practice—without ammo–each day, several times a week to perfect and then maintain one’s skill at arms. The ego and fear factor can only be addressed through recognizing that it is impossible to advance or improve until one is first willing to acknowledge where they are on the learning curve.

Firearm training at Front Sight
Firearm training at Front Sight, Windsor, Nevada, circa 2006 | Photo by Bryan Hyde, St. George News

It’s better to learn from one’s mistakes in a safe and structured training environment than in a setting where the personal and legal risk to self and others is much higher.

It helps to remember that everyone starts off inexperienced at first and there is no high road or shortcut to real proficiency with a firearm. Quality training will not only teach how to use a personal firearm correctly, but will also teach the shooter when the use of deadly force is appropriate. Properly trained people are far less likely to panic and make mistakes so there’s no such thing as too much training.

Good training courses will incorporate teaching the full legal, moral and ethical costs that follow even the most justifiable use of lethal force. Many courses also emphasize the color code of awareness that teaches the situational awareness required to recognize and avoid likely threats before they become your problem.

One key benefit that’s unique to this type of training is that students quickly discover that the most important weapon they’re learning to use is the one between their ears. They also come to realize that the firearms and gear they employ are merely tools.

Proper training is about developing the shooter and not just having the coolest guns, doodads or gadgets to look impressive. A common saying among firearms trainers states that a well-trained man with average gear will trump an average man with outstanding gear every time. This truth alone tends to separate the posers and Rambo wannabes from committed students who understand that the ownership and use of firearms for personal defense is serious business.

The greatest amount of ignorance regarding the role of firearms in our society almost always seems to emanate from those who have never had proper training in the defensive use of a firearm. In most cases these folks simply don’t know what they don’t know. They parrot what they’ve seen in movies or TV shows or they regurgitate sound bites from equally uninformed news commentators.

Once exposed to quality training, it’s amazing how their tune changes to one of neutrality, if not outright support of the right to keep and bear arms.

Those contemplating spending a bundle on firearms and ammo should consider factoring in training as an essential part of the equation. Shoot a weekend’s worth of ammo in training and it’s gone; but the training will stay with you for life.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

Firearm training at Front Sight, Windsor, Nevada
Firearm training at Front Sight, Pahrump, Nevada, circa 2006 | Photo by Bryan Hyde, St. George News

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8 Comments

  • Not a Dixie-ite December 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

    This guy was not only trained in firearms, but also an instructor. If you have anger issues or other instabilities, then you owning a firearm isn’t safe for those around you.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53778233-78/jorgensen-nelson-daughter-shooting.html.csp

    • william December 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

      No one saw that one coming. No one!!! So using your argument when the Drunk Driver cross the center line and takes out a Family of 5. We should not have vehicle to drive for if you like to have a beer now and then. Or has you put it “you owning a vehicle isn’t safe for those around you. “

      • Not a Dixie-ite December 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        Nobody saw that coming? And the victims at Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newport all did? Fact is with the Central murder/suicide, the guy had no criminal record, had military background, had legal guns, gun training (& instructor). But then, nobody saw the homicides downtown St George and the shooting at Harrisburg coming either.

      • not a dixie-ite December 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        I don’t think nobody saw that double murder in St George earlier this year coming either, nor that recent shooting in Leeds. Demanding more religion and guns is not the solution, either. The cause for these shootings rest elsewhere other than not enough guns or religion.

        • william December 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

          Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.
          You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in “gun-free zones” — even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater where James Holmes committed mass murder, and the Portland, Ore., mall where a nut starting gunning down shoppers a few weeks ago.
          Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they’re not stupid.
          Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.

  • Tyler December 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    This is becomming st.George gun time not a news web site.

  • zacii December 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Excellent piece, Bryan!

    I have attended professional training, too. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for those who own firearms.

    No one will question the necessity of lessons in many different areas of life, but when it comes to gun handling/owning, etc, there is much misinformation and superstition.

    When taking professional training, people must do their diligent homework also, as there are many posers in that field as well.

    Having attended Front Sight myself, it is a very good starting point for people who don’t know what they don’t know.

    Besides gun handling and safety, it’s amazing how much one can learn about themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly; their own thought processes.

    News articles like this are so worthwhile, because it diverts from the normal mush usually put out by the news, and offers a breath of fresh air.

    Thanks again

  • Concerned Parent December 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

    There are several issues that have created our current cultural situation (culture of violence, break-down of family, lack of personal responsibility, and yes, guns) and there will need to be several approaches to address them individually. It’s when both sides take up extreme positions and dig their heels in that we make no progress.

    I am a legal gun owner who submitted to background checks, completed the appropriate training, and take gun ownership seriously. As law-abiding citizens we are expected to navigate the labyrinth of conflicting state laws regarding firearms and we do successfully everyday. Although many of these laws are conflicting between neighboring states, we still respect them and abide by them everyday. Let’s make it easy for everyone (including David Gregory) and develop a basic framework across the United States.

    With 300 million firearms in private hands (one-third of them pistols), the overwhelming majority of gun owners ARE responsible, law-abiding citizens, which is why these horrific massacres are not commonplace, but rather horrific outliers that can never be legislated away (e.g. DC, Chicago, and “Gun Free Zones”). We need teach personal responsibility to our children, family, friends, neighbors and politicians and hold them accountable for their actions.

    For several examples for the recent use of firearms for defensive purposes not typically reported by the national media please visit: http://www.equalforce.net please forward this address to others to whom this information may be useful. @forceequalizer

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