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.
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.
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.