Quote of the Day: Training Edition

SayUncle responds to a post by Caleb on training thusly:

It’s like there’s this weird dynamic on this training issue where on one side you have people who think all training sucks and as long as they have their lucky rabbit’s foot err gun in their pocket, they’re ten feet tall and bulletproof. And on the other, you have people who eat, sleep and poop training because they’re high-speed, low-drag mall ninja wanna be supper troopers who think everyone who doesn’t work out and train is one cell level above an amoeba in terms of functioning.

I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of people who successfully defend themselves don’t have much more than the basic training requirements for their state. I would never pooh-pooh training, and even though I think HTH training is a good idea, I can’t say that I’ve taken a course. For one, training is expensive, and for two, training takes time, and time and money have been in short supply for two years. Caleb notes:

The great majority of defensive gun uses don’t involve a shot being fired. Most of them are in the home, draws/reloads aren’t a factor, and you know what – the level of training of the good guy isusually not relevant. Those are all great justifications for not getting professional training, because after all you probably won’t need it. That’s the honest truth. But odds are you’re going to go your entire life and never need your gun. $400 for a magic talisman seems a little steep to me.

I think for the carrier, you have a duty to be competent. You should be able to perform all the motions necessary for self-defense with safety and reasonable competence. I don’t think that necessarily has to involve working your way through all the coursework at Gunsite or Insights, though if you decided to do that, it certainly isn’t a bad idea. But if you choose that route, you should choose it for you, not because you have any duty to. Once you talk about going to one of these schools for some of their basic courses, you’ll end up with more self-defense training than many police have, who are orders of magnitude more likely to need their gun than you are.

14 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Training Edition”

  1. How do you select good training? There are so many bullshido artists and mall ninjas out there setting up shop that you might end up with worthless training. The decent guys, like Todd Green over a pistol training, fill classes quickly and have a limited schedule. There are far too many magpul like classes full of tactical terms and top secret experience that make me laugh. Now the Sig Academy is no longer offering classes in Pa, it makes finding decent training tough.

    1. Great tag: “bullshido”. I will use that!!

      There are not that many “bullshido artists” out there. There are a few, but I have found that checking reputation is very important. I have gone to unknown trainers and have been pleasantly surprised.

      I think the key is to realize that trainers have different skill levels. It takes awhile for a person to develop enough skill to determine a trainer’s proficiency. It’s also important to determine a trainer’s focus. You don’t go to Rob Leatham for self-defense training; you go to him for competition advice and general shooting advice.

      One area that is very “dangerous”, especially in gun stores, is law. The topic is rife with errors and myths. Even former police officers are a problem. The best advice always comes from good attorneys in that state. They must be from the correct state due to variances in state law. If a trainer brings in a known attorney (such as Richard Gardiner from Virginia), then that trainer’s credibility goes up. If the trainer CITES such an attorney, then that tells me he has researched the law.

      Also consider that a reasonable starting point for new shooters are the NRA classes. They are safety classes and this is what new shooters need. Unfortunately, the NRA’s classes are quite poor once the shooter moves to the next level. I stopped teaching NRA classes because of it (and there are too many NRA trainers in my area).

    2. When my wife wanted some courses for herself, I looked to the state gun forum for advice and then also the police commission and who they certify and use. Found an outfit in VA not far from us and it went real well. Two-day class over a Mother’s Day weekend. The wife loved it and wants to go back someday. She even wants to do a “Girl’s Trip” there – the school has offices in a building with a spa right across the hall (range is 20 minutes away from their offices). She figures they could score the two-fer.

      I’d reach out to your state-oriented gun forums and find people like you who have done some classes. Take their advice.

  2. Most real-world training involves avoiding violent situations wherever possible. And none of that can be learned in a classroom.

    Those mall-ninja types can be spotted from a mile away, and seem to be looking for trouble with the ridiculously exaggerated “situational awareness” that oozes from their every pore.

  3. And for self-defense purposes, I think the best excercise is to practice drawing under duress, because you will most likely be within arm’s length of an attacker before they actually attack you.

  4. Meh… Most (real) HSLD training is about fundamentals and practicing those fundamentals exhaustively until they become second nature. While I’ve appreciated a great deal of training I’ve received on the civilian side, most of it is more correctly categorized as “awareness training” as the practice, practice, practice part is conspicuously missing and, even when present, is rarely repeated by the trainee on a regular enough basis afterward.

    asdf is, in my opinion, right though. The best training is the training that keeps your iron unemployed and promotes your sense of discretion.

    By the way, situational awareness is easily achieved. Situational understanding, on the other hand, is much more difficult to achieve.

    1. asdf’s comments are merely drive-by comments intended to incite. The comments presume quite a bit regarding the nature of folks who train. I see very few trained folks who act overtly silly as implied. There are always those who “over-embraces” the self-defense lifestyle. However, the vast majority of people I meet in classes are very level headed. They’re concerned about personal security and seek to improve all their skills.

      asdf’s comment also shows an extreme prejudice regarding the nature of training required. He or she attempts to predict future fights between people he or she does not know. The “zero to ten feet” zone is a very dangerous zone for anyone and is essential to know (attend SouthNarc’s ECQC course for details). However, it is not the panacea “asdf” wants you to believe it is. It is essential that shooters train across the sight continuum and beyond (some skill at 50 yards with a handgun may come in handy). See “The Sight Continuum” by 7677 (google it). It’s a pretty good summary.

      But, self-defense is more than shooting and drawing. As mentioned, awareness is essential. “Awareness” is talked about in general terms on gun boards. It really includes the ability to read body language and understand pre-fight indicators. A myriad of skills are important for the topic, including managing law enforcement, tactics, unarmed skills, law, movement, proning people out, moving through buildings, and so on. Focusing on one set of techniques is as silly as believing a handgun is a magic talisman that wards off trouble.

      1. I think you might be suffering from a little bit of selection bias. If you’re attending reputable training courses run by BTDT instructors you will run in to relatively few ass-clowns and Food Court 6 team members. If, on the other hand, you attended more of the Craigslist advertised courses run by spazzes wearing ATACS boonie caps and continuously referencing their time on the “Teams” (When, in reality, they were mechanics assigned to Group or were beta testers for the newest COD) you would probably have a vastly different experience. In addition, quiet professionals tend to value their training while avoiding ostentatious displays. Knuckledraggers, on the other hand, tend to brag about their exploits… even though those exploits were all on the range under the all important BIG BOY RULES!!!!

        He’s not wrong, you’re not right… you’ve just had different experiences.

  5. When I see this:

    “And on the other, you have people who eat, sleep and poop training because they’re high-speed, low-drag mall ninja wanna be supper troopers who think everyone who doesn’t work out and train is one cell level above an amoeba in terms of functioning.”

    I sit there and think (not of Caleb): the people who are making these comments are NOT thinking. They’re applying their own opinion to the situation.

    The reality is, as a shooter and tactician, I KNOW that I am better than 90% of the shooters out there. Confirming this is simple: I watch other shooters on the line! Frankly, they tend to fall into several groups, most of which are not proficient with their weapons. I can tell who takes things seriously or not. I can also determine where they are in their training based upon their actions and results. I have no problem with folks who treat shooting as a hobby or as a sport. I also have no problem with someone who fires 50 rounds a year and considers that their “training” for the year. But, don’t call me a “Mall Ninja” because I attended three tactical courses last year and can shoot three times as fast while maintaining accuracy.

    1. From the sounds of things, though, you also appreciate that it’s ok to fire 50 rounds a year and call that “training”, which is all the training that some people can get per year. (Although I would think that such people should be able to do such “training” at least four times a year–as a disclaimer, I have yet to take a training course, even though I really would like to.)

      Thus, you aren’t a “high-speed, low-drag mall ninja wanna be supper troopers who think everyone who doesn’t work out and train is one cell level above an amoeba in terms of functioning.”

  6. “$400 for a magic talisman seems a little steep to me.”

    I picked up a NIB P3AT for $180 from CDNN. $400 is pretty steep.

  7. I paid $400 for a class to learn from a guy who gave me a talisman. The talisman is the *thing* that showed me my *blank spaces* – those parts of “training” where I didn’t know something- didn’t know what to do. It’s a hard and special thing to recognize your own gaps and inadequacies because they’re blank spaces by definition. Practice just in-grains the pathways that you’re familiar with, but it’s the ones you’re not familiar with that you need to find.

    1. Recognizing, and correcting, weaknesses is important. I try to find those trainers that can do that, or offer something new to me.

      But, my actual “incidence” of meeting “Mall Ninjas” is very low. I think I have met two actual “Mall Ninjas” and barely managed to avoid strangling them.

  8. “Competence” is the most important part, and what it takes to become competent will vary from person to person. I don’t think things like requiring a person to complete x hours of training or be able to hit a 2″ target from 100 yards while standing on their head are relevant to competency, regardless of what a state law says in regards to carrying a firearm.

    A responsible person will understand the risks and seek the level and type of training they deem appropriate to counter them. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable carrying with just a basic pistol safety course that only meets the minimum requirements, but that’s just me. When my self, my family, and innocent bystanders are at stake, I’m going to be damned sure I know what I’m doing before my gun leaves the house.

    I won’t seek every possible avenue of training (traveling all over the country), nor will I be satisfied with the legal minimum. My personal, self-imposed training requirement is somewhere in the middle.

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