So then, what is minimum competency? The Texas Legislature and Department of Public Safety think the TX CHL Shooting Test is minimum. Karl Rehn formulated the “3 Seconds or Less Drill” that’s based around the typical gunfight, and this test gets used in the various Defensive Pistol Level 1,2,3 classes at KR Training. I could be remembering this wrong, but I swore one of Tom Givens’ students only took Rangemaster’s Level 1 class and was able to successfully defend themselves. Claude Werner seems to come up with different statistical analyses of gunfight realities, and one could argue it’s mostly (only?) important to have a gun and draw it.
Defining “minimum competency for defensive pistol” is hard.
However, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should avoid doing it.
I think before we can answer the question, it’s important to define and frame the problem. If we’re going to define minimum competency for a self-defense situation, then we need to first know what is a self-defense situation. We’re not hunting. We’re military nor police (tho it’s possible there’s some overlap). We’re talking about private citizens going about their daily lives, but having to deal with robbery, assault, burglary, rape, etc. and refusing to be a victim of such crimes.
Tom Givens has examined incidents of FBI and DEA agents, along with the 60+ student incidents he’s had. What are the common threads?
- Distance between victim and assailant? up to about a car length. But exceptions can occur (e.g. out to 25 yards)
- You’re in plain clothes, gun is concealed, you need fast access.
- Occur in public areas such as parking lots, shopping malls. Home is rare.
- Shots fired? 3-5, on average
- Multiple assailants are not uncommon
What Tom’s data concludes is that a typical private citizen “incident” is:
- armed robbery in some form
- 1-2 assailants highly likely
- 3-7 yards
- limited response time
- “3 shots, 3 steps/yards, 3 seconds”
I know I lean on Givens’ teaching and data a good deal, but Tom’s a top-notch researcher. Certainly to an extent he’s biased, but what Tom is biased towards isn’t necessarily “pro gun, rah rah rah”. Rather he has a bias towards helping people stay alive in the face of a violent world (like Memphis, TN), and to do so you better have a solid, methodical approach towards finding the Truth and what really works; anything else will get people killed. So I consider Tom’s research serious and genuine. Besides, you don’t have to take his word for it: the data is out there, so you can see for yourself.
Another way to look at it? It’s the ability to get:
- multiple hits
- in a small area
- from “close” range
Unfortunately, if you just say that, everyone’s going to define it their own way. So we need to have clear definitions and create standards based upon the clear definition.
Next, we’ll start to formulate a definition. In doing so, we’ll come to see how the acceptable minimum is higher than you think.