The importance of training, because everything isn’t a nail

I respond with “THERE IS A GUY IN MY CAR AND I’M ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM!”.   The thought….. if this guy is conscious that may provoke response.  I’ve had experience rousting drunks and bums in a former life, and sometimes it takes a real push to get a reaction. They will often play dead just to be left alone

No response from Mr. Dark Lump Dude… except some twitching.

I shut the door, backed up to the porch, and engaged my light while keeping a hand close to my weapon.  A few moments looking, and it’s pretty clear what I am facing. A scruffy guy who was stumbling down the road, and took shelter in the car to sleep off whatever he’s on.  My guess, only slightly educated, would be heroin, alcohol, and weed.

Breath, and back down from Defcon 1 to Defcon 2.

Carteach0 shares with us a recent situation he was involved in. You will want to click through and read the whole thing.

Earlier this month, a friend of mine was in a similar situation. Friend was drifting off to sleep but then heard someone breaking into his truck. Gun was drawn, some yelling, dude took off. No shooting.

Both of these people are well-trained.

And it’s all their training that kept them from shooting. Or rather, that they understood there’s a time to shoot, and that time hadn’t come.

See, a lot of people think that just because people have guns that they will solve all of their problems by shooting. There’s some truth to that, because often when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For sure I see lots of people who only understand things like “shooting”, and consider that the solution. Just read comment threads online and you’ll see this “solution” offered up quite often.

Shooting is certainly an answer, but it’s a very specific answer to a very specific problem.

This is where training comes in, and why training is so important.

Certainly, it’s important to have training in how to shoot. When the flag flies, there will be a lot happening in a little bit of time, and you must make decisive actions quickly. These decisions have massive gravity, and will likely affect the rest of your life and perhaps the lives of others. Thus, you need your brain free to work through those problems, so mechanical matters like “how to shoot (well)” should be something that you can “just do”. That takes training, that takes practice, that takes some level of dedication and discipline to acquire that ability.

Perhaps more importantly, you need to have training in how NOT to shoot. You need to understand how scenarios play out. You have to know the law. You should be aware of human psychology. Concepts like “verbal judo” and “managing unknown contacts” should be tools in your toolbox. You need to have more tools in your toolbox, so when a problem needs solving you don’t just start hammering nails.

What Carteach0 and my friend did, they were able to engage their brains. They disengaged “monkey brain” – “Ooo! Danger! Bash with rock!” – and worked to solve the problem. They were able to think, to consider, to assess the situation as it unfolded and took the best course of action that lead to the best possible outcome.

Without a doubt, this can be attributed to training.

So where can you get such training?

When it comes to legal, people like Massad Ayoob and Andrew Branca have classes and books on the matter.

Classes/material from William Aprill provides great insight into criminal mindset.

Craig “SouthNarc” Douglas is one of the best when it comes to skills like “managing unknown contacts”.

Scenario training (also known as “force-on-force” training) is invaluable at helping you see that everything isn’t a nail, you don’t always solve problems with a hammer, and giving you better insight into how things actually happen. You’ve probably heard how visualization is a powerful learning technique? Scenario training is visualization without the fantasy. There are many out there that provide this sort of training, and my boss-man, Karl Rehn, is one of the pioneers and best at this type of training.

The bottom line?

It’s not enough to purchase a piece of hardware.

It’s not enough to just go to the range or the back pasture and plink a few rounds now and again. Just because you can “drill the bullseye” out in the comfort of a causal range session doesn’t mean you can perform under pressure.

When the flag flies, you don’t rise up, you descend. Thus you need to ensure that even in this descent, you’re still at a high enough level to perform. The two situations above demonstrate that we do descend, but with enough training one can still keep their head above water.

So look at yourself right now and honestly assess yourself: are you at that (higher) level? Have you ever shot a higher-level skills course under time pressures (e.g. the “3M Test“, “3 Seconds or Less“, “Rangemaster Level 5“, FBI Qualification) and been able to pass it cold, on-demand, consistently? Have you found yourself in potentially bad situations during daily life and been at a loss as for how to solve the problem?  It’s not a time for ego or delusion folks – your life depends on honest answers. And if you’re not, start making your plans now to improve.

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