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.
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.
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