Being of a more conservative leaning person in many issues, I hear often of our constitutional right to bear arms and I whole heartedly agree.  If you feel compelled to own a gun and are legally eligible to possess one, you should be allowed to own one.

However, just because you own a hand gun and went to the range a few times and shot at the target doesn’t mean that if you had to pull the gun and fire it in a real confrontation you would be able to do so.  Ask any current or former law enforcement or military personnel that has had to draw their weapon in the line of duty and they’ll tell you that things are a lot different when the target is shooting back at you or trying to beat your head in.

Unfortunately, too many people are under this mistaken impression that by owning the gun and having fired it a few times that they now have some invisible force field around them that will protect them from evil doers.  Because they have a gun, they believe that they will be able to produce said firearm when needed and then fire the appropriate number of shots in order to subdue their attacker.  You just aren’t going to get that type of training going to the gun range because the standards enacted for safety are counter-intuitive to this sort of training.

For the same reasons most of the gun “schools” out there are focused on safety and mistake marksmanship (rather, front sight and rear sight alignment) for real life application.  The majority that focus on any type of hands on “running and gunning” training are mostly devoted toward law enforcement and military applications.  All of those are valuable training tactics, but their focus is on tactics relating to their specific needs and are not always applicable to what you need if you’re attacked in your home.  Again, concerned about safety, those programs don’t usually do live-fire exercises or instead utilize Airsoft or some other means to create the realism they’re looking for.

The training that is brought to the civilian world should teach people to do what they’re going to NEED to do in order to not only survive, but protect themselves and the ones they love should they need to.  As a gun owner, you need to seek out training in these areas:

Stress Inoculation: In the martial arts industry, we’ve become better accustomed about talking about the process that happens when adrenaline is dumped into your system.  Adrenal stress response training is important because when we’re under stress we always resort to the things that we know to our core.  In most cases, fine motor skills go out the door and gross motor skills take over.  I say most because I’m sure there’s somebody out there that the idea of someone trying to kill them doesn’t elicit an adrenaline dump, however, for us mortals this is essentially the process.  We can’t do the complicated stuff that we can do when we’re at rest or in a controlled environment without years of conditioning and even then you hear stories of martial arts black belts that get beat up.  Not because they can’t fight, but because they don’t know how to emotionally and mentally cope with the real thing.  They freeze up or forget how to fight.  If you own a gun you need to be able to function with it when the adrenaline starts pumping. You need to have gross motor skill strategies in place to be able to shoot with it and then practice them so that they become automatic.

Weapon/Concealment familiarization: If you’re in the tussle of a fight and you pull your weapon and get tangled up with your opponent, you need to be familiar with your gun and your chose methods of concealed carry.  You need to practice how you’re going to get your gun working again if it misfires or jams with some big twelve sandwich eating dude trying to cave your skull in or take your gun away from you.  What steps have to be taken in order for you to draw your weapon from the holster?  If you have level 2, 3, or 4 holsters this is important because those aren’t always easy things to do with all the buttons and levers and snaps that you have to deal with in those types of holsters.  You also have to take into account things like the clothing you’re wearing.  Many people think that the gun will miraculously appear in their hand when in reality, it will probably get tangled in your shirt or caught on your belt, or worst drop on the floor.  All of this while still having to fight the bad guy (or guys).

Secondary weapon utilization: When I went through my concealed carry class and this has been backed up by all of the experts I’ve interacted with since, is the consensus that you should have a secondary weapon in addition to your gun.  This could be another gun or possibly a knife, or maybe even an expandable baton.  However, being able to use that weapon to defend yourself while reloading, clearing a jam is a must.

Shoot/No-shoot decision making:  Not everyone that you pull a gun on has to be shot.  In an active shooter environment you still have to use common sense.  Learning strategies to identify bad guys and bystanders is important.  Both to avoid a legal situation and a tragic loss of life.  Just because you’re legally allowed to shoot someone doesn’t mean you have to or should.

Close Quarters Combatives:  Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean that’s the only weapon you need.  You may still need to fight with this person hand to hand until you can draw your weapon, point it at them, and shoot them.  Knowing good fighting skills that will stay with you when you are under stress is a must and then training in an environment that will allow you to experience as close to the real thing as you can get is even better.  Continuing the fight once you get tired and out of breath is a must or you could die and you should be ready for a knock down drag out.

These are just a few of the things that you should look for when taking your responsibility of gun ownership seriously.  Since Responsibility is the Powerful Word of the month at my martial arts school at Sidekicks AND we’re hosting Counter Assault Training Systems’ gunfighting seminar on October 9th, I thought this was timely.

If you’re interested in learning more about the gun fighting for self-defense seminar on Saturday October 9th from 9 AM to 4 PM, please visit:

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