A discussion came up on a Firearms Instructor group that decried the fact that many indoor ranges only allow NRA training https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ and don’t teach ‘Concealed Carry’ classes. Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.
More people don’t carry than do. According to John Lott, the current figure for those having some kind of weapons carry license is 18.66 million people. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3463357 The Gallup Poll indicates the 43% of US households have a gun. https://news.gallup.com/poll/264932/percentage-americans-own-guns.aspx That would be 51.4 million people, which is probably underreported as compared to licenses. My personal experience is that the demographic with the economic means to afford training is most likely to NOT have a carry license.
When we teach people, either formally or informally, we do ourselves and the gun owning public in general a disservice when we place so much emphasis on the techniques for carrying a gun. It’s unfortunate that the NRA’s philosophy of Personal Protection training is buried in the Instructor manual for the Personal Protection Outside The Home course.
A synopsis of the NRA concept as excerpted from that manual is as follows:
The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.
The first course in this series is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, which develops in your students the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.
The second course in this series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, (which builds on the skills already learned in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course). In this second course, participants learn to use a defensive or flash sight picture, …
The third course in the series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home (which builds on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course).
A very intelligent female friend explained to me her personal journey to carrying a gun. It involved five phases over the course of three years for her to consistently carry a gun and feel comfortable with it. That’s far more common than most people who teach, either as formal instructors or just friends giving guidance, seem to realize.
The NRA philosophy has a great deal of logic behind its structure. It pains me when our training community ignores it. We spend a fair amount of time talking about the ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ approach to training but what we actually teach is ‘Run and then Run some more,’ period. Maybe it would be a good idea if we tried to guide people through a process one step at a time instead of ‘feeding them with a firehose.’ There’s a reason I wrote Indoor Range Practice Sessions before I wrote Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
- Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
- Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
- Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
- Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
- Package deal of Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (20% off) https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html
(second in a series)
DALE CARNEGIE’S SECRETS OF SUCCESS (nee The Golden Book) is a valuable resource for improving our relationships with other members of the gun carrying community. The hard copy I have is six pages long. I’ve kept it on my desk for over 20 years since I went through Dale Carnegie training. The book is available online as a free download.
The first part of the book is a three page section called Principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People. It covers three topics.
- Become a Friendlier Person
- Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be A Leader
Each of the topics has a series of numbered bullet points that can guide our interactions with people. Here’s how we might apply those Principles in the situation of seeing someone whose way of carrying isn’t what we would ordinarily recommend.
Become a Friendlier Person
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
- You’re carrying a gun – Excellent!
- Your holster has a safety strap.
6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Introduce yourself
- Ask the other person’s first name if they don’t give it in return.
7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- What kind of gun is that? (Regardless if you know what it is.)
- How long have you been carrying?
- Have you done any training?
Questions are powerful, much more powerful than criticism, condemnation, or complaints. By starting a friendly interaction with a person and then asking kindly questions, we have the opportunity to be guides to people who are less knowledgeable than ourselves. It puts us in the position to Win Friends to our community and influence them to Success. Our people skills are the single most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
(First in a series)
There’s a picture of a woman carrying a pistol non-doctrinally (i.e., a lot of people are unhappy with the way she’s doing it) circulating on the Internet now. The pistol is in a holster attached to her yoga pants and despite being a small pistol, it’s pulling her pants down some on that side. I’m not going to post the picture because it’s unnecessary to my point. The picture has generated almost universal criticism, the following being typical.
The freedom to carry a gun is a great thing.
But you will never, EVER convince me that carrying a gun without training is smart decision. If you’re untrained[,] you do stupid things like this, which actually puts you and those around you in more danger than if you were unarmed.
Carry a gun. But don’t be an untrained fool about it.
My comment about the picture is:
At least she has a gun and her holster has a safety strap.
“Get some training” is a meme in the industry. Unfortunately, both the size and the availability of the training base are very small. This is true even if every NRA and State certified CCW instructor is included in the number. There’s also the issue in my mind of those who make statements like this but got their training from the government while in the pay of the government. That generates an ethical issue you can ponder some time.
Here’s an infographic about the availability of training to gunowners. The concept of ‘the training base’ is something that people who haven’t had to regularly conduct resource intensive training for a lot of people simply don’t understand. Once again, it’s the Tactical Professor with those pesky little numbery things again.
And my estimate of training facilities is based on those capable of supporting at least NRA Basic Pistol not any kind of ‘meaningful’ training for carrying a weapon. Basic Pistol or its equivalent is as far as most facilities are prepared to go, for various reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number where holster oriented training is allowed is less than 1,000. The good news is that the NRA Instructor base has grown to over 120,000 so we’re probably under 500 students per instructor now. Other good news is that the NRA Training Department has created a CCW course. However, that will take years to generate any significant number of CCW Certified Instructors.
Here’s my first question:
Did the person who took the picture approach the woman and offer to help her out with her knowledgebase, either personally or by referring her to someone who is a trainer?
As a community, we need to do a better job of the way we interact with beginners and novices instead of just being socially maladroit jackwagons and calling them fools.
More in the next installment.
BTW, my Concealed Carry Skills and Drills eBook would have been a nice reference to point her to or maybe even buy for her if the observer actually really cared about her welfare. Or was finger pointing, ego stroking, and shaming the real object of the exercise?
Tactical Professor books (all downloadable PDF files)
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
Someone contacted me on my Tactical Professor Facebook page regarding selection criteria for a snub revolver. It was a good discussion and well worth reproducing. For clarity, my answers and comments are in italics.
Where can I find info on 22 mag (probably the Hornady round) in comparison to 38 special (target wadcutters) out of a sub-2 inch barrel revolver?
In terms of what criteria? Penetration, recoil, terminal effectiveness?
I guess the concern would be for ballistic performance. The 22 mag has the higher capacity.
Ballistic performance has a lot of variables. I’m not trying to be pedantic but in the gun community we frequently don’t do a good job of defining our goals.
In general, both of the rounds will achieve the desired penetration. The .22 Magnum will have much more concussion than the .38. The .38 will have more recoil. Our human performance factors are a much more important consideration than ballistic performance of any handgun. Given the opportunity, the best move would be to shoot 5^5 with both and see which one you can shoot it better with. That drill, as originally developed by Gila Hayes and extended by me, was designed as the entry level criterion for choosing a handgun.
Start Shooting Better Episode 2: 5×5 Drill – Lucky Gunner Lounge https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/start-shooting-better-5×5-drill/
Although it carries two more rounds [in a Smith & Wesson], you should assume the .22 Magnum will be much more difficult to reload than the .38. There will also likely be issues with ignition reliability of the .22. You should assume that you will never be able to achieve a trigger pull on a .22 Magnum that you can with a .38, precisely because of ignition issues.
I agree with that. I’m looking to pick up a Ruger LCR has a back up gun. It’ll spend almost the entire life in an ankle glove or in a pocket.
The 22 mag has 3 more rounds in it but they are smaller rounds and rimfire.
I believe there is one thing incorrect in your assumptions. The LCR in .22 Magnum holds 6 rounds. The .22 LR holds 8.
I’ve read several write ups that the 38 out of those smaller barrels tends to fall short in terms of penetration.
Does the 22 mag follow that trend as well or is it worse? I may be gaining extra rounds but if the 22 mag performs less than the 38 in general then I’m not much better off than with 5 38 wad cutters.
The reliability issues you pointed out makes a lot of sense. That might be the answer I needed.
What you read is untrue. My colleague Chuck Haggard has done more ballistic gel testing for snubs than most people in the industry. His results were that .38 wadcutters penetrate more than adequately.
So you’re only gaining one round. Before I would go that route, I would personally go with a .327 Federal and load it with .32 H&R Magnum.
Ruger® LCR® * Double-Action Revolver Models
Big difference. I wouldn’t go that route for just one extra round. This was the conversation I needed. Again, thank you very much Claude for helping a dude out.
Summary of the discussion
After certain minimum criteria are met, caliber discussion is a relatively low level priority. Massad Ayoob’s Priorities of Survival; Mental Preparation, Tactics, Skill, and finally Equipment, are a good example of this hierarchy. Priorities of Survival is the critical tool used for this week’s Patreon Incident Analysis.
Patreon topics update
- H&K VP9SK evaluation
- Shooting test protocol for carry guns
- Store robbery with hostage taking – an in-depth analysis of the incident
- Situation – convenience store robbery. One of the employees was taken hostage immediately. Eventually, a satisfactory resolution was achieved when the cashier shot the robber. The shooting was a downrange incident, i.e., the shot had to be taken with a friendly/non-threat downrange of the shooter and in proximity to the shootee.
- Cast of character development along with 28 point play by play incident timeline.
- 17 different Personal Protection tasks identified in the incident.
- Discussion about possible improvements of the actions immediately after the shooting but before the POlice arrive.
I’m able to cover topics more in depth on my Patreon account than I can in my blog. If you’re interested, you can subscribe for $5 a month here. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor
FTC Notice: I have no relationship with Ruger nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning their product. The LCR was specifically asked about so I responded.
No, we don’t.
A rare editorial commentary.
In the wake of the recent ‘mass shootings,’ an amazing amount of rhetoric has arisen on both sides of the political spectrum and from the Venn diagram of those who bridge the continuum. Both sides are wrong. I’ll probably annoy some people with this commentary and lose some subscribers but so be it.
On one side, commonly referred to as the Left, we hear renewed call for various forms of gun control, ranging from Universal Background Checks to outright banning of ‘assault weapons.’ These calls are the continued extension of a propaganda campaign that would have made Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proud. In numerical terms, the probability of being involved in a ‘mass shooting’ is so small a possibility that it’s not even worth considering in our daily lives much less for making public policy. There were more one-on-one homicide victims last year than in all the so-called ‘mass shootings’ of the 20th and 21st Centuries combined. I feel sorry for the victims of active killers but no more so than for the Dekalb County murder victims who annually outnumber ‘active killer’ victims but who get about one minute of news coverage every few days.
The whole ‘mass shooting’ thing is an invention of the mass media elites to boost their ratings and push forward the topic of gun control. Anyone who thinks that media personalities making millions of dollars a year care one whit about the plight of the average person is seriously naïve. What they care about is their ratings and how much money and power they can accumulate.
The ebook about Advanced Skills and how to practice them is now available. Recognizing the value of dry practice, the download also includes two MP3 files to easily guide your dry practice sessions.
A commonly heard statement in the firearms training community is “There are no such things as ‘advanced’ tasks, only ‘fundamental’ tasks done at greater speed.” While this statement is true to an extent, there is a broader perspective to be considered.
There are three components of Advanced tasks, all of which have equal importance.
- Performance Measurement
The ability to perform a given task in the same way and achieve the same results each time is a characteristic of advanced shooters. We have all experienced that day when we were ‘on’ and could do everything well. The difference between those days and our worst days is the measure of our consistency and what we are able to produce ‘on demand.’
Measuring our performance regularly and recording our results is the only way to know whether we are being at least consistent and hopefully improving our skill level. Performance measurement has two components: accuracy and time. Our personal perceptions of how competent we are at any given time are often flawed. The target and the timer, not our perceptions, tell us the true story of our competency. The ‘observer effect’ of performance measurement can also change a fundamental task into an advanced task.
The element of ‘context’ is a key component of ‘advanced’ tasks. Any fundamental task has to be applied in a certain way to different situations. Analyzing situations provides us with the context for a task. Studying incidents in detail over time can give us a broader view of the tasks and circumstances involved in using firearms for personal protection. This book had the input of an in-depth analysis of a database of over 5,000 Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) by Armed Citizens. From that analysis, the tasks involved in DGU were broken out along with the context in which the tasks were applied to a situation. Due to significant differences in Mission and Circumstances (METT-TC for Army veterans) between Armed Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers, on-duty law enforcement incidents were not included in the analysis. A few well documented off-duty incidents that paralleled incidents involving Armed Citizens were included
Another aspect of Advanced Practice is that some very common tasks in personal protection either physically cannot be practiced at indoor ranges or outdoor gun clubs, either due to rules or feasibility. Practicing drawing from the holster is the most obvious, because this is prohibited at most indoor ranges.
A less obvious personal protection task is shooting with innocent people downrange or in the midst of innocent people. This situation occurs much more frequently in real life than most gunowners realize. Think of how many times gunowners speak of ‘protecting their family.’ This statement implies that the family may be present during a Defensive Gun Use. However, the family members are often in between the criminal and the gunowner.
While it’s currently fashionable to talk about keeping a gun on one’s person at home, this isn’t the reality for most people. Among those who have Licenses To Carry, actual on-body carry is still rare. More likely, the gun is kept in some (hopefully secure) place of storage, either at home or in a vehicle. At home, this reality creates two implied tasks for personal protection; 1) access the pistol from a place of storage and 2) move safely from place to place with a loaded firearm. Since many people are uncomfortable with having a round in the chamber of an autoloading pistol, yet another implied task is possibly, 3) chamber a round and render the pistol safe for movement.
Note that in this book, the term ‘personal protection’ is used in place of ‘self-defense.’ The reason for this term substitution is that the person being protected is often not ourselves but rather other innocent parties. As an example, Armed Citizens often refer to ‘protecting their families’. We can refer to this relationship as The Myth of the Lone Gunman, which easily distorts the apparent relevance of both tasks and standards. This fact introduces a higher level of complexity into both the psychology and the tactics of the encounter, even when the technical marksmanship problem is the same as in a self-defense (Lone Gunman) situation.
Every month, Tamara Keel pens a page called Good Guys Win https://www.swatmag.com/articles/more-articles/good-guys-win/ in SWAT magazine. It’s similar to The Armed Citizen from the NRA Official Journals in that the stories are based on real life incidents rather than ‘Ninjas Coming from the Ceiling’ fantasies. One of her stories this month came from this incident.
Police say one of the suspects was shot in the leg.
Whenever I see an incident in which the Good Guy shoots the Bad Guy in the leg, which happens on a regular basis, I wonder if it’s because GG got on the trigger too quickly. While ‘shoot him in the leg’ is a rather popular meme, I doubt it’s something that people do instinctively. We’ve got to practice getting the gun into the eye-target line before putting our finger into the trigger guard. Another possibility was some serious trigger jerking, which is why we need to learn to press the trigger smoothly, even when we’re stressed.
When planning any journey, knowing where you’re starting from is a necessity. For those new to Concealed Carry and for those who have been carrying for a while, having some kind of Standard to benchmark your ability against is the way to determine where you’re at, skills wise.
Marksmanship skill is not the be all and end all of the skills involved in Concealed Carry, as my Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes commentary shows. However, understanding where your capability fits in the big picture helps decision‑making more than is often realized. Some degree of skill helps a gunowner focus on the solution to the problem of a criminal encounter instead of focusing on possession of the gun as the solution.
It’s finally done. My new book about Skills and Drills for those who Concealed (or Open) Carry. The book is based on my analysis of over 5,000 incidents involving Armed Citizens who successfully defended themselves and their loved ones.
This book was designed to fill a need. For many gun owners, training is a resource intensive activity that they have difficulty affording in terms of time, money, distance, etc. Introductory Concealed Carry licensing classes generally focus mostly on legal aspects and non-shooting tasks such as situational de‑escalation. The only shooting task, if any, involved in a licensing course will usually be a ‘qualification’ or evaluation of the shooter’s ability to perform to an established standard. In most cases, that standard is quite low but it is still intimidating to many.
The gunowner is thereby placed in an unenviable situation. First, having to learn to shoot prior to attending a licensing course. Even with some instruction, which will often be informal by a friend or relative, this can be a difficult task. Second, assuming the person passes the licensing ‘qualification,’ they often ask the question “What do I do next?” The standard response is “Get more training.” Since spending a day or a weekend at a remote location ‘getting more training’ doesn’t fit into most people’s resource constraints, they simply choose not to unless it’s required at license renewal time.
Gun ranges are not ideal learning environments. Trying to get even informal instruction from someone else when people are shooting on either side of you is rarely productive. The question of what are appropriate tasks to learn and how do we practice them comes next. How do we make the best use of our limited resources at the range is another question. The horrible visualization on TV and in movies of what shooting looks like is non-helpful at best and destructive of proper conceptualization and skill development at worst.
Self-Study is an activity most of us are used to. It is how we often learn to drive a car and perform many other physical and athletic tasks. Not many people who play sports have ever been to a sports training camp. They just go out and practice the activity, play the game, figure out their weaknesses, and then practice some more.
The difficulty of Self-Study with firearms is the question of how to do it safely and properly. Guns are esoteric tools that are not intuitive to use. We have no instincts that prepare us for having explosions repeatedly go off two feet in front of our faces. Few other tools we use have the capability to cause instant death during a moment of ignorance or carelessness.
What this book provides is a guide through the process of improving your shooting skills on your own in the context of Personal Protection. Guided training with a competent instructor is still the best way to improve your skills and will yield the best results. However, an intelligent person who can follow directions can still learn a great deal on his or her own, given a suitable program.
This book is not a guide to becoming a Champion shooter or being able to shoot like a member of an elite military unit. What it can do is help you to become a safer, more competent shooter who can focus your cognitive abilities on the situation, instead of the gun, during a criminal encounter. It is also an excellent reference for more experienced shooters providing informal training to new shooters.
There are 30 different drills in the eBook. They focus on building Concealed Carry skills from the ground up and then refining them. The drills are structured in a stair step approach starting at a level that a new shooter can achieve and then work to a greater degree of difficulty and achievement. Different types of drills are coordinated to build a variety of skills at the same time.
The vast majority of Personal Protection incidents are simple, if rather frightening, events, and are quickly solved by untrained inexperienced persons. The issue is that if an incident goes wrong, it tends to go horribly wrong, a NEGATIVE OUTCOME. The odds are low but the stakes are very high. Helping the Armed Private Citizen stack the deck in their favor is the object of this book.