How “Average” Is Average?
I was fortunate enough to go to Gunsite last year, a month or two before the world came crashing to a halt. My class was fairly large (about 20 people) and I had a blast. Everything we know about firearms training for the armed citizen started in Gunsite. We may have progressed in some ways since then, but you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.
I’m a decent pistol shot. I’m no Rob Leatham (who is, except TGO himself?), but I’m a solid C Class USPSA shooter that’s knocking on the door of B Class.
The thing is, though, in this class, at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, I was one of the top shots. This is not an isolated event, it happens quite frequently. However, by the standards of competitive shooting, I ‘m pretty average.
One of the pitfalls we fall into is comparing ourselves to our peers, and some of my peers are freakishly good pistol shots. Sub second draws from concealment, under two second Bill Drills, 5 Second FASTs, you name it, they can do it. Which is great, good for them. They worked hard to get that good, and deserve the accolades they receive.
The question then becomes, what about the rest of us? What does the average person need to know in order to defend their life from the threat of deadly force?
Let’s consider for a moment that each and every year, hundreds (if not thousands) of law enforcement officers successfully defend their lives with their sidearm. Most of them shoot just 25 rounds a month (if that) and don’t receive any training beyond what is needed to pass their “check the box” pistol qualification each year.
But those qualifications are rather easy. The Florida Law Enforcement test includes such daunting tasks as shooting two shots from the holster at a seven yard target in just FOUR (count ‘em!) FOUR seconds.
Yes, that was sarcasm.
Despite this, Florida cops win many, many more gunfights than they lose. Same thing happens in every state of union. However, by the standards set out by high level trainers, they have no right to win all those fights. Those cops aren’t carrying a Rowland Special AIWB! They don’t have a sub-one second draw! They’ve NEVER EVEN BEEN TO THE ROGERS SCHOOL!!!! HOW DARE THEY WIN GUNFIGHTS LIKE THAT??!!! DON’T THEY KNOW THEY CAN’T DO THAT WITH THEIR LEVEL OF TRAINING???
My friend Tamara Keel had a brilliant post a few years ago that was borne out of something that the equally brilliant Kathy Jackson said.
So, imagine this island. The dry land starts at the beach and gently slopes upward. The farther inland you go, the higher the ground gets, but the steeper the slope becomes. Most of it only requires a pair of shoes, but if you keep going inland and upward, the slopes get steeper and eventually you may need specialized gear and training. But the climbing is fun, and some people buy the shoes and ropes and pitons and make a hobby of it.
Just putting your shoes on and walking off the beach will probably save you from 90% of the tsunamis that are going to come along.
Putting on your shoes and walking off the beach” is carrying a gun…any gun…daily, getting at least a basic half-day class in when and how it may legally be used, and getting to the range with it at least twice a year to maintain some basic level of comfort with its use. If somebody does that, they are SO FAR ahead of the curve, statistically speaking. The majority of gun owners don’t have carry permits. The majority of the ones who do, don’t carry on anything like a regular basis.
If you get you permit, carry your gun, go to the range, keep your nose out of your phone and spend 4 hours a year in a training class, fantastic, you’re doing what you need to do in order to stay safe. If not, well, what’s holding you back? Time? I have two hour classes that focus on just one aspect of the concealed carry lifestyle. Money? They cost just three Jacksons. Ammo? They use fifty rounds or less. Laziness? Well, I can’t help you there.
Get training. Get off the beach.