Part 3 of 3: Common Mistakes You Can Avoid

I want to give Shannon Thrasher, The Tactical List Contributor credit for these ideas.  https://www.policeone.com/police-products/firearms/training/articles/7391346-10-common-mistakes-in-self-defense-firearms-training/

A gun owner can be ignorant, inexperienced, misguided, or naïve & still pass the requirements for a concealed carry license. Another scary thought. Mistakes & misunderstanding interfere with responsible carrying of guns.

The last thing we want is a bumbling gun owner in a deadly, public encounter.  Those who choose to carry a gun should avoid the most common training errors that professional instructors point out.

Not Pre-Qualifying Instructors

You do not want to master any bad habits, or make serious mistakes about firearms.  Find competent, knowledgeable instructors. Check instructor’s references. Talk with people who have taken the class you’re thinking of attending.  Training others is a separate, special skill beyond owning guns or being a police officer.

High Student-Teacher Ratio

Individual training & coaching is ideal but expensive. Taking group courses is the most cost effective path.  They can be valuable if there are enough assistants to provide a safe, effective learning environment. If there are 20 or 30 students in the class should have 5 or 6 assistant instructors or range safety officers present.

Wrong Training

Soldiers & police train for specific deadly environments. Being an armed citizen is different. Civilians need tactical training for the types of situations they might encounter in an otherwise safe, peaceful life; they need to know exactly what constitutes a threat that warrants lethal force, & how to responsibly employ that force when needed. This is not marksmanship training; it is situational combat training.

Wrong Gun or Caliber

Determining the right gun requires assessment of factors including body size, hand size, experience, & most importantly, your intentions.  Expert advisors will go through all the variables & arrive at a range of choices to try out before you choose.

Not “Dry-Firing”

Save money & learn safely, without the distraction of extremely loud noises & recoil you experience at the range.  “Dry-Firing,” uses dummy bullets with no potential harm to let you practice your techniques at home.  Live firing is aversive because of the unconscious anticipation of an explosion about to happen in your hand.  Strictly range shooting can cause you to develop flinches, jerks, & eye clinches that diminish accuracy. Dry-firing lets you learn how to hold & fire a gun correctly & smoothly without the trauma.  It also saves numerous outings that could cost $20 – 40 of ammunition plus range fees, each time.  Most expert instructors recommend 85% dry-fire & only 15% live fire.

Stuck with Narrow Training

One class with one instructor may leave you with just a few things to practice.  It is good to put those things in “muscle memory” with rigorous practice.  But what about the other things you do not know that you need to know to progress as a gun-carrying citizen?  Do not get stuck in the first grade.  Shop around for other qualified trainers who can teach you something new.

Target Shooting vs. Lethal Force Encounter

Shooting at stationary targets at the range cannot prepare you for adrenaline charged situations where the threat will be trying to hurt or kill you; you may never get the chance to learn & practice your response, if you’re not prepared beforehand. Continue learning & practice the skills you would need in the real world, like running away, moving laterally, taking cover, concealment, drawing fully clothed, multiple targets, reloading, tactical shooting, weak-hand shooting, & using life-like targets.

No Force-on-Force Training

You should never see anything in a gunfight you have never seen before.  “Force-on-force” training is kind of like paintball fighting, using non-lethal Airsoft guns & gear.  This way you can experience shooting at bad guys who shoot back.  Force-on-force training will teach you to move, take cover, deal with different distances; it will also show you how important it is to avoid being shot & what to do if you do get shot.

Carrying only a Gun & a Holster

Think for a minute what else you would need in a gunfight:

  • At least one spare magazine.
  • A cell phone to call the police & your lawyer.
  • At least one less lethal weapon such a knife, pepper spray, or a TASER. You probably would not use them in a life-threatening situation, but prosecutors might claim you needlessly shot the criminal who attacked you because you had no other options.
  • A good flashlight will help with positive target identification. Most shootings occur in low light.

Not Carrying Your Weapon as Much as Allowed

 Unless you are psychic, you cannot predict when you will face criminal violence.  Once you are properly trained, wearing your gun should be “normal.”  You chose to be armed for self-defense of yourself, your family, & anyone who is threatened with deadly injuries.  You do not want to find yourself in an “oops,” situation without your weapon.

Proper training & rigorous practice is a must for gun owners.

 

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Part 2 of 3: Become an Expert – Lives Are on the Line

I am a supporter of the rights of Americans to arm themselves.  I believe that the presence of legal guns will reduce violence & the effectiveness of illegal guns. Without professional training & practice, though, a person with a gun is like a baby with a hammer.

Owning a car does not make a person a good driver; neither does getting a driver’s license.  It takes training & years of regular practice to become a good, safe driver.  Otherwise, a car is a dangerous, deadly weapon. Gun ownership is similar.  I believe that no one should carry a gun until they are experts in avoiding violence & experts in using a gun when needed.

I wonder, how many well-meaning fathers give their daughters a deadly weapon & think they are protected from malicious perpetrators?  Such a gift, without extensive training, could do just the opposite.

One of the greatest common errors is believing you will be able to use a gun effectively, if the situation arises.  Not likely.  Life-threatening situations trigger the body’s fear responses, flooding your body with adrenaline.  Without training and practice, you will more than likely freeze. Your thinking ability & motor skills will go to zero.  Even if you get to the gun, if it is not loaded, you will not be able to load it; if it is loaded, you will probably fumble the gun; if you are able to fire it, you will miss.  The assailant could then grab the weapon and use it to attack you.  Scary, isn’t it.

The first question is why own a gun?  Hunting, marksmanship, collecting, & self-defense are all good reasons.  All require the same basic knowledge & practices.  Many critics of the National Rifle Association fail to note that safety & training are major elements of their purpose.  Below is an excerpt from their website on gun safety.

NRA Gun Safety Rules

The fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are:

  • ALWAYS keep the gun POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION.
    •  This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage.
    • The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times.
    • Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO SHOOT.
    • When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
  • ALWAYS keep the gun UNLOADED UNTIL READY TO USE.
    • Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device
    • If the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action
    • Look into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition.
    • If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone & get help from someone who does.

When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:

  • Store guns so they are NOT ACCESSIBLE TO UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS.
    • Many factors must be considered when deciding where & how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration.
    • Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available.
    • However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail & should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling & the observance of all gun safety rules.
  • Never use ALCOHOL OR OVER-THE-COUNTER, PRESCRIPTION OR OTHER DRUGS before or while shooting.
    • Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
  • Wear EYE & EAR PROTECTION as appropriate.
    • Guns are loud & the noise can cause hearing damage.
    • They can also emit debris & hot gas that could cause eye injury.
    • For these reasons, shooting glasses & hearing protectors should be worn by shooters & spectators.
  • Use only the CORRECT AMMUNITION FOR YOUR GUN.
    • Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun.
    • Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel.
    • Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box & sometimes stamped on the cartridge.
    • Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
  • Know your TARGET & WHAT IS BEYOND.
    •  Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt.
    • Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot.
    • Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap.
    • Think first. Shoot second.
  • Know HOW TO USE THE GUN SAFELY.
    • Before handling a gun, learn how it operates.
    • Know its basic parts, how to safely open & close the action & remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine.
    • Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof.
    • Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is SAFE TO OPERATE.
    • Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable.
    • Regular cleaning & proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep.
    • If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
  • Be aware that certain types of guns & many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.
  • Cleaning
    • Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly & safely.
    • Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value & extend its life.
    • Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used.
    • A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting.
    • Accumulated moisture & dirt, or solidified grease & oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.
    • Before cleaning your gun,make absolutely sure that it is unloaded.
    • The gun’s action should be open during the cleaning process.
    • Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.

The Federal Reserve Threatens to Impale the US Recovery – The World is Not Ready Yet

The Federal Reserve could raise interest rates, but what would it cost?  Would you believe that every quarter of a percent increase will increase our borrowing by $50 billion per year?  That’s right, because we operate at a deficit, any new interest on government debt goes straight to the bottom line of the national deficit.  And then it compounds, because we borrow the money to pay the interest on the $50 billion, etc. making compound interest our enemy.

Weak global economic growth, and a stronger US dollar are not prescriptions for stronger employment or stronger exports.  So why is the Federal Reserve hinting at a raise in rates?  Is it because that is what they are “supposed to do?”

I hope the Fed looks beyond our borders at the economies of the world and notes the trend toward decreasing rates due to recession or rumors of recession.  The US employment rate is deceptively low until you look at total wages paid to the 95% of Americans who have jobs now.  Underemployment after years of unemployment, and the elimination of health insurance as a benefit, are not signs of a return to prosperity.  The effective un(der) employment rate is more like 20% compared to pre-recession levels.  I believe that the rise of populism on both ends of the political spectrum (Trump and Sanders) is a telling indication of the pain and anger felt by all persuasions.  We need to listen to the truth: millions of citizens have not come close to getting better financially.

I say re-sheath that “sword of Damocles” until we are better healed from a decade of financial wounds.

 

Love Blinds Avid Fans of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s greatest supporters claim she is “the most qualified candidate for president since George Washington.”  I beg your pardon?

George Washington was chosen by acclamation; rightly so in that he led the colonies to victory over the greatest military force in the world. He was a highly principled man, who pandered to no one. He was a successful wealthy businessman.  He managed the most excruciating period in our early history.

The president who stands out in most American’s minds is Abraham Lincoln, a man with few credentials, who managed the most excruciating period in all of our nation’s history.

Franklin D. Roosevelt defied his social class to lead the nation through the worst combined experience in the last century.

How does she compare to true greatness?  I fail to see the scale on which Hillary Clinton comes anywhere near these giants of our nation.  Hillary Clinton’s glowing qualities must not be obvious to everyone in that Bernie Sanders has trounced her in primary after primary.  When I read among the accolades to Hillary Clinton, “eight years as First Lady,” I just have to wag my head.  What does being First Lady have to do with being President?  Am I missing something here?

I am also still searching for concrete evidence of her brilliant accomplishments during “four years as Secretary of State.” Various supporters and critics have recounted and slanted her role in strengthening our position in the world. How should we examine her specific impact on world events and relations in the middle of a global financial crisis?  How should we attribute Putin’s disregard of US power as he brashly grabbed strategic dominance of Ukraine?  How should we judge the Iran nuclear agreement that gives them only 8 more years to wait before they openly pursue their quest for “the bomb?”  No one has suggested that she was the best Secretary of State in our nation’s history.

Which other presidents rose from cabinet positions to president?  Eight; the most recent was Herbert Hoover who was Secretary of Commerce from 1921 to 1928.  James Buchanan was the last Secretary of State (1845 to 1849) to later become president.  Unfortunately, his presidency was a disaster, failing to avert the Civil War; he is ranked last (41 of 41) in leadership as president.

Avid, loyal, adoring fans of Hillary Clinton will never diminish their love for her. Proclamations by lovers seldom paint objective pictures of the beloved.

Use Your Mind First – Guns Are Last Resort

Estimates vary, but it would be fair to say that Americans own 300 million guns.  About 13 million citizens have licenses to carry a concealed firearm.  I believe Texas leads the nation in both.

In recent months, I have read about several instances involving licensed concealed carry gun owners; some good, some not.  The key element in each case was judgement. Poor judgement yielded poor, sometimes tragic results.  To me, a lack of training & practice was a big part of the things that went wrong.  Staying safe is everybody’s responsibility, armed or not.

Use Your Mind

The mind is the ideal concealed self-defense weapon.  All weapons, especially the mind, require knowledge, training, & a lot of practice to be safe & effective, & to function when your body is flooded with adrenaline.  In many cases, common sense precautions will reduce the chances that a criminal will choose you as a target.

Be aware that you are most vulnerable when you are in transit from one place to another.  You must be especially alert when driving, riding, walking, jogging, biking, etc.

Your cell phone can be your worst enemy or your best friend.  If you are absorbed in your cell phone, you are extremely vulnerable.  Criminals choose the least aware, most distracted people because it gives them the advantage of surprise.  If you remain alert & use the features of your cell phone, you can avoid being an easy target.  If you are armed, you can avoid situations that could require lethal force.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have 911 programmed on your cell phone.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Pay attention to people & vehicles you encounter.
  • Wait until you are safely at your destination to take or make phone calls.
  • Trust your instincts if a person or a group of people disturbs you.
  • Notice people’s appearance as if you were planning to describe them to the police.  If need be, record your descriptions on your cell phone.
  • Use your cell phone to take pictures of anyone or any vehicle that seems suspicious or out of place.
  • Distance is your friend, put as much space as possible between you & those that concern you.  Cross the street or just turn around & go another way.
  • Choose where you go & when you go there.  Some areas are safe in the daytime, & not safe after dark.
  • Invite a friend or partner to go with you.  Two or more people are less attractive to criminals.
  • Keep your valuables concealed.  Leave your cellphone in your pocket or purse until your reach your destination
  • If you think someone is following you, move quickly to any open store or restaurant or public building.
  • If you feel threatened, yell “fire, fire, look out!” instead of “help,” & run to safety.
  • Lock your car immediately when you get in it.
  • Take whatever time is needed to find a well-lighted place to park your car at night.  Use valet parking when available.
  • Do not talk to anyone you do not know in the parking lot, especially if they approach you for help.
  • If you are near your car, use the alarm button on your car key remote, or at least push the lock or unlock buttons several times to flash the lights & beep the horn.
  • Always lock your car, & keep your keys in your hand as you walk away from & return to your car.
  • If someone robs you, give up your property—don’t give up your life.
  • Carry a “throw away” wallet with a small amount of cash & old or expired credit cards.  If you have the opportunity, throw it behind the robber or drop it out of reach & escape.