Testing is for testing

Just returned from the local indoor gun range. The range was busy as they were doing the shooting qualification portion of the CHL test. From what I could see, most people shot well enough to pass. People do need to ignore the X-ring. Many would do well to obtain further instruction.

But what really hit me?

Hearing the range officer running the test providing remedial fundamental gun handling instructions to one of the test takers.

Folks, if you’re going for your CHL you need to already know how to handle a gun. Taking the test should not include you getting instruction on how to operate the slide on your gun.

*sigh*

6 thoughts on “Testing is for testing

  1. You know, I’ve begun to notice something odd lately in what is nominally called “the gun culture”. I see lots of people emphasizing various kinds of firearms training in a way that just didn’t happen as recently as 10 years ago. With the rise of CHL/shall-issue popularity so too has the number of training facilities/schools that offer various flavors of firearms instruction. I too have had a good amount of training at KR Training and have nothing but high praise for those guys and I think its a really good idea that people get training on proper firearms handling. That being said, the now ever constant mantra of people in “the gun culture” that you “must/should/ought to/really need” training once you have a firearm has become quite noticeable and slightly disconcerting to me. An increasing number of people are also recommending competition shooting as a form of maintenance training as well that will apparently teach you to react more consistently to potential threats (additionally, I’m not so sure I see the value of this new emphasis on high-speed-low-drag run-and-gun CQB-urban-warfighter-EXTREME high-tech-gear-centric style of firearms self-defense that seems to be all the rage in the last decade or so, but thats another rant altogether).

    I wonder how much of this constant emphasis on training consistent methods for firearm handling is an actual *necessity* and how much is “this is how I did it, you should do it this way too” or even a subtle form of marketing to keep the students and their money flowing into the training schools. I wonder if there might be a potential slippery slope here where such a mentality might result in a *requirement* for training in order to exercise one’s RKBA. Any sort of competency/proficiency requirement for exercising my Second Amendment rights, no matter how practical and prudent, is as I see it an INFRINGEMENT and therefore repugnant to the Constitution.

    If you ask me, licensure of any kind such as a CHL to carry a weapon on ones person is also an infringement, but since the Texas constitution has an explicit clause in its RKBA about regulation of wearing firearms, its up to the SCOTUS to determine whether that is an Equal Protection issue… something tells me that they aren’t going to be testing that anytime soon.

    Once again, I *recommend* that everyone who owns a firearm get some sort of training on its safe and proper use, but I’m very wary of emphasizing that too much since I do not want to be put in a situation where I might be FORCED to pay for training or show competence in order to exercise a natural right guaranteed by the Constitution. I could be overreacting a bit, but for some reason a always feel a bit of a twinge when I hear that “you need to/ought to/should go get some training” mantra I have begun to hear so often from my peers and those in the industry. I hope I am just overeating, for everyone’s sake.

    • I wrestle with this myself. On the one hand I believe education is always going to take you further in life, but on the other I find a problem with mandating it. If you want to go through life being stupid, I see no reason to deny you that as Darwin will probably take care of you. Do what you want so long as it doesn’t infringe upon me. But that’s where the trouble starts… all it takes is one schmuck being stupid at the gun range for someone to wind up dead. Granted education cannot prevent it, but it sure can improve the odds. But going so far as to mandate education seems well… scary. But we do that already in our society. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to be anywhere but “in school” during the weekdays; if your child isn’t being properly schooled, they can be taken from you. It’s something I wrestle with.

      But perhaps another reason for the growth of the mantra is precisely because more people are obtaining formal firearms training. Certainly the operation of a gun is a simple thing: simple point and click interface. It doesn’t take much to be able to shoot a gun. But to be able to shoot a gun well? That’s another matter. Perhaps more and more people have sought out training and when they came out on the other side realized how little they actually knew prior to the class. Now that they’re smarter from the adventure, they can see the value and suggest training to others because of that.

      • I didn’t even catch that… brain just processed it correctly.

        But when you take it literally it does bring a whole different spin to what you’re saying.

  2. Hsoi,

    How much of it should be a focus on “learning” versus “training”?

    I’ll use myself as an example. I haven’t been to any formal training despite having my CHL since Oct 2008. Does that mean I haven’t been learning? Not a chance.

    I’ve read, I’ve studied, I’m researched things and then put them into practice. The results show in the improvement in my groupings.

    Would it be faster if I received training from a professional? Probably — but so far that hasn’t been practical. While the cost of some training is reasonable, sometimes it just isn’t in the budget.

    And on the subject of the X-ring? First a person has to be able to reliably hit what they are aiming at.

    I’m not disagreeing with you that the sniper’s triangle is a ‘better’ target but I think it is a refined target. I would rather be sure of hitting center of mass 100% of the time then hitting the triangle 75%. I think teaching first to go for the center of mass provides a better starting point for new shooters.

    • I would say either way is education, so long as the source for the information is a good source. That said, I do believe you can learn faster and better from a teacher. I’m a self-taught computer programmer, but I can look back and see how a formal education in computer science would have better benefitted me. Now 15+ years as a professional and 30-some years programming overall well… it doesn’t really matter any more. But looking back at the start, yeah a teacher would have been better (but such is how a hobby turned into a career). That said tho, often once one has the full foundation, sometimes it’s easier to pick things up from a book, or at least it’s possible. For instance, in my empty-hand martial arts study, you really can’t learn martial arts from a book. However, I at the stage I’m at I can pick up a book and understand and learn from it because I’ve got the background to know what’s going on and not necessarily miss the subtle things that a book may not be able to convey but a face-to-face teacher could.

      So in the end, it’s more “education” that matters. And then, I’d say it’s based upon your learning style too.

      As for the X-ring…. well, would you argue the same if the X-ring was moved up 3-5″ (or whatever distance it is) on the target? You can pick the 8 or the 9 printed above the X on the target and still have a good spot to look at to hit.

      But you raise a good point about new shooters. For them they have enough going on, so if they just focus on the X, that’s fine. Later they can move along. Thing is, this is the CHL test… it shouldn’t be new shooters. Still, I fault this more with the CHL test itself, using the B-27 targets instead of more anatomically accurate ones like the old TXPT target.

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