Train to win.

In Florida there is a prerequisite for obtaining the Concealed Weapons License. It consists of a course, “any firearms training or safety course or class”,  taught by a certified instructor from one of a few major training organizations, or a State of Florida “K” Firearms Instructor licensee. It requires that the instructor observe and certify that the applicant can “safely handle and discharge the firearm in his or her physical presence and that the discharge of the firearm included live fire using a firearm and ammunition.” A few, most notably military veterans, can waive the class.

Vague. I don’t know the intentions of the legislators, but at the extreme we have “quickie” classes where the student watches a short video on safety and shoots a small caliber gun into a barrel bullet trap. Certainly very little actual training.

Some states, like Georgia, have no training requirement of any kind. The permit is simply a tax on your 2nd Amendment rights.

True “Constitutional Carry” states (21 at last count) have no requirement for even a permit (details can vary by state).

I’m not here to argue whether or not permits are an infringement on the 2nd Amendment. I am here to implore everyone, regardless of experience level, to train more. How much more? More than you do now. As much as you can afford.

I think I’ve seen it all. I see people carrying guns they do not know how to function. Some cannot due to limited physical strength either pull the trigger or rack a slide. Some cannot load a magazine. I’ve seen loaded guns come into the classroom with the student not knowing it, or in other cases, not knowing how to unload it, or claiming it was already cleared. I’ve heard people with inane attitudes about self-defense which are sure to land them in prison if the occasion arises.

Training is not the same as practice. Training is learning new skills, concepts, attitudes, strategies and the like, under the guidance of someone more skilled than you (not necessarily the friend who has “shot his whole life”). Practice is where you put the time in at home and at the range making them a permanent part of your behavior.

So, that having been said, why do most people get a gun and/or a carry permit? The obcvious — to save their lives and the lives of their families, if that gravest of circumstances presents itself.

Back a long time ago I was a rookie cop and as I got to know the ropes, I soon found out that most cops do not really care about shooting or their shooting skills. Many will do the minimum range work and can get away with once a year qualification, and at a minimum score.

This fact mystified me (and still does). After all, today may be the day you are required to save your life with your firearms skills. Why wouldn’t you want to be as good as possible?

I qualify every year for Florida’s Statewide Firearms License, the armed security “G” license. I always shoot for the 100%, and come very close. I shoot the NRA and USCCA Instructor qualifications and shoot for 100%, and come very close. I cannot imagine shooting for the minmum of 70 or 80%, depending on the qualification being shot. I train to win.

Oftentimes, you find out you are in a gunfight when you get shot, or at least shot at. If you had to shoot 5 rounds, which one would you want to miss? Of course, none, but you’re quite likely to miss the first moreso than the others, and you allow the attacker to get another shot off. Could well be lights out for you. Did you train to win?

I do a lot of CWL courses and they all include 50 rds individual live range training. I offer a special rate for students who want to do private training thereafter. Most do not. I do not do privates for those who have not taken my CWL class, as they are almost always deficient in proper safety concepts and the handling of their guns.

I give a free 50 rds individual training with a gun purchase so the buyer (mostly my students) can learn the proper use of THEIR gun. I want them to train to win.

I’ve seen people with $1000 guns who won’t spend $100 on training. You would be much better off with a $500 gun and $500 worth of training.

So why do we train to win? After all, it is quite unlikely that we will ever be in a gunfight. Well, I have several fire extinguishers but it is very unlikely that my house will catch fire. And I carry insurance as a back-up.

I have several guns, though it is quite unlikely that the one in my hand at the time will fail.

I have expensive hurricane shutters but it is very unlikely that I will ever be hit by a hurricane.

You can think of your own examples. The bottom line is this: we do not have these because of the low probability of a bad event — we have these because the consequences of a bad event, such as losing a gunfight, are so immensely unacceptable that we simply are not willing to accept them.

So, create a budget if you have to for buying ammo and to join a range and pay range fees. Get the proper gear. Get some professional training. Train to win.