Here’s something you don’t often hear a firearm instructor saying: Owning A Gun Doesn’t Make You Safer!
Here’s another statement firearm instructors don’t usually say: Learning how to safely handle and shoot a gun doesn’t diminish the likelihood of your being attacked!
Wait—I’ve bought a gun, taken training how to properly use it, and go to the range to practice. You’re saying that won’t keep me safe?
There’s a fairly well known proposition among those that study violence, drawing on a drawn gun is almost always a losing proposition. Put another way, if someone is holding a gun on you and you attempt to pull your gun, you’re probably going to get shot. The key to safety is avoidance of the situation, if at all possible, in the first place.
You Win Every Gunfight You Avoid!
Firearm instructors tend to concentrate on firearm skills. That’s not entirely a unexpected or bad thing, as an instructor should stick to the knowledge, skills, and abilities that they actually possess. The problem comes in failure to see the bigger picture—if the only tool you possess is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
If you have to deploy a firearm in self defense, you’re experiencing the worst day in your life. Win, lose, or draw, it is likely to be a life altering experience as well.
I bought a gun, took a 3 hour concealed carry class where we fired a low powered bullet into a bucket of sand, got my concealed carry permit, and sometimes even carry my gun, oh and I took it to a range once—I’m ready for a criminal attack!
Does that sound as misguided reading it as it did when I wrote it? Sadly, that describes the vast majority of American concealed carriers.
The first thing missing from that statement is any training concerning avoiding the criminal in the first place. The NRA’s Personal Protection Outside The Home class (PPOTH) has good avoidance information in it and also teaches drawing and firing from a concealed holster or a purse. Unfortunately it’s a two day class and requires that you have already taken the Personal Protection In The Home (PPITH). The NRA also has a Defensive Pistol class that uses the same student book as PPOTH. We teach it as a full day class that is a condensed version of PPOTH, spending about 70% of the class in the classroom learning about criminals, how they think, how they select their victims, and how to minimize your chances of being a victim. https://dpistol.eventbrite.com
Here are some of the major points:
- Pay attention to what is going on around you. Get your face out of the cell phone!
This is something that you don’t need to go to a class to learn how to do and significantly reduces your appeal to a criminal predator.
- Avoid going places where crime is common. This includes avoiding “good” places at bad times.
- Don’t look like a victim (meek, afraid, unaware, etc.).
- Learn to spot the criminals before they spot you so you can avoid them.
- Have a plan in case things do go bad.
Your gun and the skills you develop and maintain through regular training are what you are left with when every avoidance tactic has failed. A gun is not a magic amulet that ensures your surviving unscathed; it provides you with a final tool to use towards winning the encounter.