Recently I had a conversation with a fellow blogger, the subject of which was firearms. In our discussion, we talked about how much training she had and things of that sort. Eventually, she asked me for some advice on training, which I am only too happy to give. I am posting it to my blog in hopes that someone else will read it and find it useful.
First, I'd like to address the title of this post. I gave it the title "Training For Battle" because that is the essence of what we are talking about here, friends. Carrying a gun for protection means that you may need to use that weapon in a fight. A fight for your very life. There is no more serious contest that that. The prize for victory in a gunfight is to be able to continue to draw breath.
The loser gets to take a dirt-nap.
So... in light of the things that I mentioned above, let's talk about training. I suppose the first question that has to be answered is "what do I want to do with a gun?"
Remember, guns are tools. They are tools made for a specific purpose, and that purpose is to kill. If we are talking about handguns, I will amend that last statement to say that guns are made to kill people. If you are in that particular group of self-delusional people that sometimes say that guns are a deterrent, that guns are about protection, that guns are made to "stop threats", I will ask you to disabuse yourself of such self-indulgent nonsense.
My friends, using a gun is about killing. If you can't wrap your head around that, get rid of your guns, invest in a good alarm system, and buy a dog that barks. Seriously, if you don't think that you can kill. You ought not have a gun.
That said, we ought to be right up front about the nonsense that some people espouse about shooting to "wound or disable". I call it nonsense because that is what it is. Why? because bullets cause horrible wounds, thats why! You see, killing a person is more humane that wounding, or perhaps maiming them. Yeah, I know... it's a little ghoulish, but it's true.
So, once you have decided that owning a handgun might be something that you ought to do, and you have made your peace with potentially killing someone, lets look at the next question that you have to answer for yourself, to wit: "What kind of gun do I need/want?"
There are no small number of firearms manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere that will be happy to sell you the priciest gun around, and while some or most of those guns will be really nice... you probably don't need to spend a large sum of money to purchase a fighting pistol. While shopping, take the following things into account: "Do I plan to regularly carry this gun concealed?" If the answer to that question is "yes", then you need to consider size. Size also matters when you look down at your hands... if you have small hands, you'll need a smaller gun.
If you plan to carry concealed, you are going to have to think about the sort of clothes you wear.
Another consideration is bullet caliber. As Americans, we tend to believe that bigger is always better... well, as Sportin' Life said in Porgy & Bess, "It ain't necessarily so" Personally, I am a fan of big bullets. big bullets make big holes in people. They cause greater wound cavitation and they do a better job of destroying tissue and breaking bones. Having said that, you really don't need a .44 magnum do do enough damage to put down an assailant. The thing here is that, generally speaking, bigger bullets means more recoil. My advice in this arena is to try different guns in different calibers... see what works best for you
Moving on, we have to ask: "Do I have the self discipline to enter into a life of regular training and practice?"
You see, marksmanship is a perishable skill. If you don't practice, whatever skills you may have acquired will atrophy. So, you are going to need to get some high-quality training... and by high-quality, I don't mean some Nimrod who hangs around at your local range, who will tell all and sundry what he knows about pistol craft from his time as a Navy Seal/Ninja. There are lots of good trainers all over the country folks, so do your homework.
Once trained, you need to practice regularly. You need to practice shooting from the drivers seat of a car; while seated at a desk; while holding a child or a child's hand; while running; while ducking; while seeking cover; while flat on your belly; while flat on your back. You'll need to learn to shoot and move.... and so much more. You'll have to practice those skills once you have acquired them. Once you have practiced a particular skill to the point where it is ingrained, you STILL HAVE TO PRACTICE. Get used to it... this is your life now. It's sort of monastic isn't it? Well, there you go.
So, we are going to make intelligent choices about why/if we need a gun, we will make wise choices with regard to what type of gun/what caliber we are going to purchase. We are going to make good training decisions, and promise to devote ourselves to a life time of training & practice.
All set, right?
Not so much.
Guess what we forgot?
Hey kids... before you do any of the stuff I listed above, you need to go out and learn the laws concerning firearms and their use in your individual states, county, towns and cities. Even acting in your own self defense, you still need to know what the law says.
Lastly. Let's talk about safety. I don't know of any more tragic stories than those of people who have done stupid things with guns. So please, be mindful of a few basic things:
Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
Guns and alcohol don't mix. Ever.
Never point a gun at anything that you are not willing to kill or destroy.
Keep your finger off of the trigger until you have identified your target.
There are more safety rules, but these are a good start. Learn them. Know them. Live them
If you have any further questions, feel free to give me a buzz.
PS: If you were planning to ask me what the best gun manufacturer is, I will tell you that the best gun top buy is a very personal thing, as the gun must suit YOU, the shooter. Having said that, I will tell you that for my money, the best combat handguns, right oout of the box, are made by Glock.