Andy Stamford is on Lee Weems’ podcast this week, and just like so many other episodes of that podcast, it’s a fascinating look at the history of firearms training and practical shooting. Something Andy said, however, really resonated with me. Andy recently realized that a competitor at a match isn’t worried about the effects of any given shot. Rather, he or she is worried about the aggregate effect of all his/her shots on any given stage and the time it took to make those shots. A missed shot can be made up. A hit on a no-shoot is bad, but doesn’t have a dreadful impact on the life of the competitor. It’s all the shots on a stage and all the time it took to make them that determines your outcome, A miss or a hole in a no-shoot is bad, but it’s not the end of the world.
This, of course, is exactly the opposite of the real world, especially for the armed citizen. Cops (for the most part) have qualified immunity that gives them legal protection when innocent life is harmed in the course of a gun fight. This does not apply to the armed citizen, so get legal protection now, before you need it. I’m a member of the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network, but the USCCA, US Law Shield and CCW Safe are all good organizations as well. Join them, because losing a legal battle can be almost as life-altering as losing a gunfight.
Secondly, this once again shows how hunting plays into all of this. You’re not concerned about the 18 rounds you have to fire on Stage 3 of your local IDPA match. Instead, on a hunt, you are concerned about THE shot that you have to make RIGHT NOW. Miss, and you’ll miss your chance to take your quarry. Even worse, make a bad shot, and you’ve inflicted needless pain on one of God’s creatures. Jeff Cooper was adamant that hunting needed to be a part of the life of the well-rounded armed citizen, and he is 100% correct. It doesn’t need to be a multi-thousand dollar trip to Africa. Chances are, no matter where you live in the U.S., you can find a coyote hunt or a hog hunt near you that will give you this sort of experience, without laying out a lot of money. Knowing how you’ll perform in a life or death situation begins with developing your skills under the artificial stress of competition, but it doesn’t end there. Go out and participate in a hunt, and find out what happens when it all comes down to making one single shot.