What is more important? Your ego or your life?
I’ve been giving the Sig Sauer P365 a trial. You can read and see about my exploration on my Instagram feed. There’s my first thought, my first live fire session, second live fire session (including a little fun). But what was more telling? I opted to shoot it exclusively during the 2019 Rangemaster Instructor Reunion and Conference. That’s no small potatoes. You know you’re going to be shooting tough courses. You know you’ll be shooting and the eyes of a few dozen top instructors will be watching you (because you will shoot The Casino Drill solo in front of everyone). And there’s Tom Givens – a man who commands the highest respect, and you don’t want to let him down. There’s a lot of pressure to perform well – so is it really the right place to shoot a small gun? an untested gun?
I can’t think of a better place!
I am considering this gun for personal protection. I am wanting to bet my life on it. If it – and I with it – cannot perform in high pressure situations on demand? Then it’s no good.
Here’s the thing.
I have been shooting that P365 exclusively for a good while. I have been doing daily dry fire, and then a few live-fire sessions. I had about 800 rounds through the gun before the Reunion, and total around 1200 after. Frankly, that’s more rounds than many people shoot in a year, and some guns/people see in a lifetime. That weekend I shot with a lot of people of high skill, and you can see how I performed – and with the P365.
What I found interesting was when on Sunday morning everyone switched to their small gun, I saw that I continued to shoot about the same but I watched many around me degrade in their shooting skill. The take-away?
Shooting with small guns is hard.
Even for highly-skilled people, it’s harder to shoot a small gun than a big gun. (this is not new news: see the article Karl Rehn wrote back in 2012 on this very topic)
I see it time and time again. People come to class with a big gun and a fancy rig to carry it in. I ask them if that’s what they normally carry and the answer is no, they carry a tiny gun in a pocket holster. The follow-up question is why they aren’t shooting the class with the gun they carry. And there’s lots of reasons, some I might accept and most I won’t. Whatever the specific reason is, if you peel back the layers it often comes down to a simple thing:
- they know their small gun is hard to shoot
- they don’t want to look stupid or incompetent in class struggling to shoot the small, difficult gun
I get it. My ego wasn’t happy with how the Reunion weekend went. I felt a little ego-bruised because there were a number of people I respect seeing me shoot for the first time… and this was to be their impression of me and my skills. And here I am, shooting at my home range, as the Senior Assistant Instructor of KR Training, just published the “Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training” book, all this ego investment.
So trust me – I get it.
And when the weekend and gun and my shooting didn’t go as great as my ego wanted it to? Oh yeah, I felt it.
I get it. I really do.
But here’s the thing.
What I got out of the weekend (in terms of the gun and my shooting it) was PRECISELY what I wanted to get out of the endeavor. I wanted to see if it would perform, and how I would perform with it. And I got that.
- I feel the gun needs a little more time before I can feel the hardware is as flawless as a human-created machine can get; and that I can trust it
- I learned I have to put in a LOT of dedicated time with it (more than I anticipated), and that I cannot (yet) shoot it to the same level as my full-size gun.
But I also got that when I put in the time, the payoff is good.
Frankly, all of the time and investment I made in shooting the P365, including shooting it during the Reunion, gave me more knowledge, more skill, more ability, and more confidence in not just the hardware, but me. I cannot stress the importance of knowing your equipment – and knowing yourself, not just your capabilities but your limits too. If an instructor is going to embarrass you, belittle you, or laugh at you because you can’t shoot – they’re not an instructor, they’re a jerk. The fact you are coming to class is acknowledgement you don’t know and you wish to learn, that you admit your shortcomings and want to improve. If anyone’s going to make you feel bad about that, they can fuck right off.
This is a clue for you folks that carry a small gun but rarely practice with it. Or that come to class with a bigger gun to “game” the class.
To what are you entrusting your life?
Is your ego more important to preserve than your life?
Set your ego aside. If you’re going to entrust your life to something, make sure you are skilled and confident in that something.