Before taking a defensive handgun training course recently, I posted on Facebook that we were taking our trailer to to an RV Park for the weekend. My wife would be with the kids and grandkids during the daytime while I attended an NRA Intermediate Training course. That all worked out great!
“Gun Fighting” Training; No One Wants To Be In a Gun Fight
For me, it was three days of focused “gun fighting” training. Don’t take that wrong. No one at that class, including the instructors and me for sure, ever want to be involved in a gun fight.
Thoughts When I Carry
I always carry several thoughts with me when I carry:
- There is an attorney’s name attached to every bullet that comes out the end of my barrel,
- I’d better be ready to be bankrupted and spend the rest of my life in prison for what I do, and
- I may have to live with a killing the rest of my life. But it if comes to me and can’t be avoided, I need to be prepared, prepared to either die or live, in some cases. When a gun is needed, nothing else will do.
An Excellent Course, You Can’t Get Self Teaching
I’ll start by saying I’ve never participated in a training course at this level. It was an excellent course. Their instructors were super good. We received lots of legal and safety training, and each of us put t least 1000 rounds on targets in a variety of timed skill drills. This kind of training, you simply can’t get by self teaching at most gun ranges, where you can’t draw from the holster, shoot, and move, et cetera. Nor can you get it with most classroom training. Safety and proficient shooting in real life situations were at the forefront of our objectives.
Simulated Situational Drills
The simulated situational drills were so realistic. You had to react, then talk about what you did, why you did it, et cetera. Not every simulation required that a student engage with a gun. In several situations, avoidance and/or deescalation were possible, and the students took those routes.
My simulation had a moment where I could have possibly retreated, maybe. But I believed that at least one other person was certainly going to die and I could be next. I reacted and eliminated the threat.
Thought About It
I’ve actually thought about it since, because I know I’d be living with a killing in my head for the rest of my life. However, if I didn’t act and could have, I’d be living with that for the rest of my life as well, assuming I didn’t die. Now, that I could not abide. As to my course of action during the simulation, one of my instructors said something like “former Marine, right?” That summed it up pretty well, I think. It has to do with my mindset.
I Passed Course; Not Everyone Did
I passed the course with a decent score. Not everyone did pass the course. There were no participation awards, other than a t-shirt.
Angry At Myself, Humiliated
Personally, I left angry at myself. I supposed it was more a feeling of being humiliated, actually. It felt like I was an embarrassment to myself. I am not nearly as good a shooter as I thought I was going into the training. I was terrible, actually. I….will….rectify…..that!!!! Can’t tell you how pi***ed I am at myself right now. I know that in a real life situation, with my skill level where it is, I’d have to be at a seriously close distance to be sure of a favorable outcome. Okay, if my grand kids or family were at risk, there’s no question that I would do that. I’d get to a close distance. It’s a big deal. If there were anyone else, I wouldn’t. No, there is just too much risk to others and myself.
I want to thank Mike Hughes and Britt Lentz from Next Level Training for encouraging me to do this and also for supporting and coaching me as the weekend went on. These young guys are both highly skilled, experienced shooters, but more than that, they are two of the best humans I know. I have tons of respect for both of them. Their patience was, well, I’m just thankful.
Reactions Were Stunning
I’ll mention that the instructors put both of them in a very tricky situation together where their young children were at risk. They were confronted at very close range with guns pointed at their faces and had to wait and hope for an opportunity to react. While the opportunity was built into the scenario, it only lasted a split second. Their reactions were stunning– fast and accurate. It was simply amazing to all of us that they pulled if off. Kudos to them both.
Will Take Course Again; Will Crush It!
So, if this course comes back to our area next year, I will take it again, and I will be ready. I will crush that course. I repeat, I will crush that course!
Well, my final thoughts are that the NRA takes a bad rap. The NRA teaches safety first, legal ramifications, and proficiency. They priority with avoidance first, deescalate second, and then engage if you must. Not one NRA member has been involved in a mass shooting, but more than one NRA member has stopped a mass shooting. The media would have you believe something far different than that. No person or organization is perfect, but on balance, they have my strong support.
Take Intermediate NRA Course or Advanced Training
If you carry, take this intermediate NRA course or other advanced training from reputable trainers. You won’t regret it.