Perceptions of people who carry guns

Ask your average person on the street about the ability of people to carry a gun.

Generally speaking, they will believe that a person whose job it is to carry a gun, like a police officer, will be highly proficient with their gun. They will generally believe that a private citizen will be of lesser skill or has no business carrying a gun because they’ll only be a danger to themselves and others.

The reality? One’s profession or lack thereof has no bearing on one’s ability or fitness to carry and/or utilize a gun.

Police departments require their officers to qualify with their guns. How often? Depends on the department. Some may only require them to qualify once a year. That qualification test will consist of 50 rounds. While yes there are some officers that will train to a higher level, a lot of those officers will never shoot beyond their required qualification: thus, 50 rounds per year, visiting the range once.

Think about that.

Could Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France by pedaling around his neighborhood block once a year?

Could Michael Phelps win 16 Olympic medals by just dangling his feet in the kiddie pool on a single hot summer day?

So what makes you think someone who begrudgingly visits the gun range once a year, shoots 50 rounds in a required course of fire, then never touches their gun again will be able to perform under pressure when YOUR life is on the line (let alone their own life)?

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say all cops are inept at gun handling, but the public shouldn’t be under the blind illusion that just because they’re a cop that they’re some sort of super badass.

On the other hand, just because someone doesn’t wear a badge doesn’t mean they have no ability with a gun. Look at the number of competition pistol shooters out there. Most of them are just private citizens and are extremely skilled. In the past Combative Pistol 2 weekend, there were 9 students in the class. I don’t know the full skinny on the scores, but at one point Tom Givens remarked how the class average on one of the qualification courses was 99%. That’s 9 very proficient shooters… from computer engineers to veterinarians. We don’t wear a badge, but it doesn’t mean we’re inept with guns.

Skill is not bestowed by your profession. It comes from your desire to learn, your desire to improve, your desire to excel.

One thought on “Perceptions of people who carry guns

  1. I’ve posted this before and hope you don’t mind me cluttering up your comments; but here is the proficiency requirements for basic law enforcement officers in Texas

    The minimum standards for the annual firearms proficiency course of fire shall be:
    (1) handguns – a minimum of 50 rounds, including at least five rounds of duty ammunition, fired at ranges from point-blank to at least 15 yards with at least 20 rounds at or beyond seven yards, including at least one timed reload;
    (2) shotguns – a minimum of five rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 15 yards;
    (3) precision rifles – a minimum of 20 rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 100 yards; however, an agency may, in its discretion, allow a range of less than 100 yards but not less than 50 yards if the minimum passing percentage is raised to 90;
    (4) patrol rifles – a minimum of 30 rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 50 yards, including at least one timed reload; however, an agency may, in its discretion, allow a range of less than 50 yards but not less than 10 yards if the minimum passing percentage is raised to 90;
    (5) fully automatic weapons – a minimum of 30 rounds of duty ammunition fired at ranges from seven to at least 10 yards, including at least one timed reload, with at least 25 rounds fired in full automatic (short bursts of two or three rounds), and at least five rounds fired semi-automatic, if possible with the weapon.
    (d) The minimum passing percentage shall be 70 for each firearm.
    http://www.tcleose.state.tx.us/publications/publications_gen/rules_handbook.pdf

    I qualified higher than 70 on my CHL, believe it was 97.
    I shoot at least 6 times a year, at least 50 rounds of what I carry — often closer to 300 rounds or more in various calibers for handguns.

    I haven’t shot rifle or shotgun much but I know I’ve shot the qualification this year for shot gun.

    And I’m an occasional shooter compared to many at our club. There are folks (men and women) shooting every weekend or more.

    I think that was one of the major positive notes about the “Top Shot” show on the History Channel. They showed the non-LEOs shot as well or better than the LEOs.

    To take another analogy, I ask about restaurants.

    Do you think your kitchen is cleaner than the average restaurant? Our places aren’t inspected, licensed, more people eat at home than in restaurants but there is by percentage less food poisoning at home than in restaurants.

    Great post and important message

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