The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 10, 2013, 12:21 AM   #1
seeker_two
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 31, 2002
Location: Deep in the Heart of the Lone Star State (TX)
Posts: 1,698
Training to own a firearm?

I've noticed several threads lately where many posters (including many professional trainers....coincidence?) have remarked that, if a person is not getting training, they should not own a firearm. RKBA arguements aside, I want to know.....what is the minimum amount of training that you recommend in order to be competent enough to own a firearm? And, how do you recommend someone get that training?......

....from friends/relatives who shoot?....

.....from reading books on shooting & SD?....

....from taking courses from professional instructors?....

I'm curious to know.....
__________________
Proud member of Gun Culture 2.0......
seeker_two is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 12:42 AM   #2
Cruisin67
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 22, 2013
Posts: 5
Training to own a firearm?

Ideally, one should seek training from a professional. Personally, it has always been an ambition of mine to attend Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. Outside of that, a local certified instructor is the next best option,

Books should be supplemental to any practical training received. The more information you can absorb, the better...as long as it is reliable information from a reputable source.

Instruction from very well meaning friends and/of relatives is often times filled with opinion and preferences of the acquaintance. When it comes to training with firearms for personal defense, opinions have no place. It is up to you, the trainee, to learn the facts, apply them to your needs and develop your own opinions.

Almost any reputable gun store should be able to refer you to a certified NRA instructor. That would be a good starting point.
Cruisin67 is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 12:45 AM   #3
BornToLooze
Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Posts: 80
I've always wanted to know what the purpose of getting training is. Is it just talking about different tactics to use or different drills or...???
BornToLooze is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:09 AM   #4
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
^When you are shooting, you are less prone to notice things about your stance, grip, flinches, less than ideal shooting habit.

From the perspective of someone that knows little to nothing about guns, someone needs to explain things to them.

Even if you shoot pretty good, there is always someone out there that can watch you shoot and tell you how you can do it better.

There is a lot to be said about learning to be as efficient as possible in drawing a gun and firing that gun in one smooth motion.

There are different types of training for different situations. There is a local company that will send a instructor/consultant to your home and provide instruction on clearing your home in the event of an intruder with your preferred home defense weapon. They also have a facility where they offer a variety of courses designed at everything from basic instruction to more advanced shooting techniques.
alex0535 is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:18 AM   #5
BornToLooze
Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Posts: 80
Ok, because at the range I go to they offer lessons for people that have never shot a gun before, but that's about all I've seen anywhere training wise.
BornToLooze is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:32 AM   #6
idek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2009
Posts: 597
I may have started one of those topics the OP is referring to. I was seeking advice on getting a single mother into the world of home defense, so I'm probably not the person to add much insight. But here are my thoughts anyway.

In the post I mentioned above, I stated that I could let my friend try out some of my guns and show her the basics of how they operate. But I have guns primarily for hunting and recreational shooting-not defense, and I'm not qualified to teach anything about tactics.

I have a couple of the Thunder Ranch videos, and I think there is definitely some value in them. They typically start by addressing situational awareness, weapon choice (to a small extent), preventing/avoiding conflicts, and addressing perspectives on things such as what a bad guy might do or how he might react to your actions. This information is good for anyone to hear, and I suspect this can be nearly as valuable in video form as it would be in person.

Where I think an in-person class would really help is teaching proper and efficient handling and operating a weapon in a life threatening situation, where it's hands-on and you can get immediate and individualized feedback. It is also a place to be corrected if one has misconceptions about any number of things. But I suspect that even experts and professionals have their own biases. Clint Smith, for example, is often quoted as saying something about how the purpose of a pistol is to get to the rifle or shotgun you should have had in the first place. Many others would strongly disagree with that statement. So I don't know that all professional instructors necessarily meet the individual needs of everyone.

I would think a little bit of everything might be the best route. Books and videos can help establish a proper mindset and prepare a person for hands on learning. Then in-class instruction (maybe from a couple different instructors?) can teach the physical aspects and correct errors in thinking and form. After that, practice with friends/relatives may help cement learned skills and keep them sharp.
idek is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:35 AM   #7
jimbob86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2007
Location: All the way to NEBRASKA
Posts: 6,757
Training is a good idea.

Making it a prerequisite to owning a gun is VERY. BAD. IDEA.

It puts qualifications on a right, making that right a priveledge.

No.
__________________
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."

http://nefirearm.com/
jimbob86 is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:52 AM   #8
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 2,986
3 Things

Training comes in three areas of focus.

Safety

How-to

Legal

Safety: You don't want to shoot yourself or anyone else or anything else that you don't intend to shoot. You also don't want to get your thumb caught in a spring-loaded slide, etc.

How-to: Maintenance of the gun. Cleaning, function checking, malfunction diagnosing, how to shoot, how to draw, how to carry how to store, good shooting technique, combat tactics, preparation (both physical and mental).

Legal: Where and when can one carry? What do do after a firearms-involved encounter (whether a shot was fired, gun displayed or just mentioned - I know someone who was arrested and tried criminally for simply, and I quote, "offering to shoot out a car window" and displaying (maybe) an air pistol). The after-shooting consequences. What to say to the police. What do do when the police arrive (you don't want to be shot by a first responder). Do you have liability/homeowner's insurance that will help with civil suits, should one occur?

A fourth item: Moral implications. Are you mentally prepared to use deadly force? How do you intend to deal with the post-incident (shots fired or not) stresses on your psyche and mental state (post-traumatic syndrome)?

On top of those considerations, it is a good idea to plan ahead how NOT to be forced to use a firearm. But this is a good idea to plan whether you carry a deadly (or less-than-lethal) weapon or no weapon at all. Avoidance, prevention, defusing of threatening confrontations is almost always a good idea.

There is a standing piece of advice about driving instruction (which can be overcome, but those who can overcome the difficulties are rare): Do not try to teach a spouse how to drive. There are too many interpersonal dynamics involved in emotional relationships that affect (and often interfere with) the student/teacher relationship. Learning from friends or people in the business of selling goods is iffy. Learning from experienced instructors is better. A teacher is master of two arts. That which is being taught and the art of teaching. If you want to learn well, don't short-change yourself. Get the best instruction you can.

How much training you take is up to you (some local and State laws may infringe on your autonomy in this decision, but you get the idea). (edit: with a nod to JimBob86, I am not recommending requiring any of these, but recognize that some jurisdictions already do.)

Learn Safety first. Most How-To courses will terminate your class if you are not safe, especially the ones teaching tactics.

Learn maintenance next. If you cannot take care of your gun(s) it(they) will not take care of you. A poorly maintained gun is likely to malfunction.

If you skip either of these, don't own a gun. Don't even pick one up, absent some overriding emergency.

Legal knowledge is HIGHLY recommended before carrying on a regular basis. You don't want to guess, "shoot, don't shoot" during a confrontation.

Tactical training is advisable if you want to give yourself the best chance of coming out of a confrontation (on the street, and later, in court) on top. Hitting a bystander during a good shoot is bad news.

Moral, psychological aftermath. If you are mentally prepared beforehand, you are better prepared for the inevitable aftermath. Ask any combat veteran how even the best preparation is never enough for the first time you kill or wound someone.

Medical (first-aid) training is a good idea, too. Once you have shot someone and ended the threat, you, as a human being, are generally encouraged to save the life of the whoever is injured, whether it is the bad guy or someone whose life you saved by shooting the bad guy.

Thanks for reading. Pardon my rambling.

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 02:04 AM   #9
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 2,986
My post #8 went on a bit long and recommended some pretty thorough training. Let me qualify it a bit.

Most experienced clerks in dedicated gun stores are able to show how to disassemble and reassemble their inventory for cleaning, and perhaps even some maintenance. You may not need a specialized class. Many guns are sold with adequate owner's manuals from which, with some work on your part, teach you how to maintain your gun(s).

The NRA has some excellent resources for studying up on safe gun handling. How well you incorporate those habits into your life is up to you.

There are some good books on shooting techniques all over. Also shooting tactics. Books like In Gravest Extreme, No Second Place Winner and the like. Also web sites like CorneredCat.com.

Learn all you can. And continue to learn.

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 02:31 AM   #10
idek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 20, 2009
Posts: 597
I agree with Jimbob's statement about saying people need a certain level of training to own a firearm.

I think the bottom line is: would a weapon in the house prevent more trouble than it causes?

I don't recall which staff member has "Mind set, skill set, tool set ...in that order" in his signature, but that makes sense to me.

If a person acts recklessly, then a gun is probably a bad idea. But if a person keeps and uses a gun safely; relies on preventative measures such as good door and window locks, alarms, motion lights, dogs, etc. before relying on a gun; and is aware of things such as safe shooting lanes to reduce/eliminate chances of harming innocent people, I don't think they should be discouraged from gun ownership just because they have not received in-depth training or fired thousands of practice rounds.

I recall a story from about a year ago of a young single mother in Oklahoma (I think) who lived in the boonies. Two men were breaking down her door with bad intentions. She called the police, but the door was going to give long before help arrived. A shot from a shotgun killed the first man through the doorway and the other fled. She hadn't received any special instruction or training. Who would say she shouldn't have had a gun in the house?


***my comments are made more with home defense in mind than carry weapons ...also it is only coincidence that this post came after Lost Sheep's. It's not meant as a retort in any way.

Last edited by idek; March 10, 2013 at 02:44 AM.
idek is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 07:42 AM   #11
ClydeFrog
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2010
Posts: 5,798
Training standards; common sense...

There are no real mandates or training standards to own or use a loaded firearm but common sense & good judgement go a long, long way.
Outside of a police/LE training class, a enlistment in the US armed forces or a hunter safety/new gun owner program, I'd suggest reading top firearm guides, watching DVDs/class videos from respected programs(instructors) or going to a good friend/family member that knows a lot about guns.
Hollywood movies & "unscripted" TV shows like Sons of Guns, Die Hard, Miami Vice, Top Shot etc are NOT skill training.
Many times, $ or budgets may be a issue. It is for me. Learn who the "players" or operators are in the shooting sports industry. They offer practical advice not just weekend Rambo mumbo-jumbo.
Top instructors include; Clint Smith, Massad Ayoob, Leroy Thompson, Duane Dieter, John Shaw(Mid South), John Farnam, Jeff Gonzales, Larry Vickers.

ClydeFrog
ClydeFrog is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 08:54 AM   #12
JimPage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2010
Location: Rome, NY
Posts: 632
Taining comes at many different levels for different purposes. I think the OP is referring to a novice who wants a gun, but who knows little about guns. The following is for that type of person.

The first thing to know is basic safety rules. Many assume safety is a simple task, but it really is a little more complicated than it appears. Without some sort of training to make one aware of the various safety factors, one most likely will not apply what most experienced and trained gun owners practice. I have seen people very knowledgeable about guns who were not aware some safety factors -- These people perform some the most obvious violations there are. For example, one extremely knowledgeable person in my gun club would invariably pick up a gun and put his finger on the trigger. He never left his finger off the trigger, almost always didn't clear the gun. And he had poor muzzle control. We finally got him straightened out so now he is safe. So you see some sort of safety training is necessary.

Part of that training will be detailed descriptions of various kinds of guns: revolvers, semi-automatics, single action, double action, mechanical safeties, rifles, shotguns; various ammuntion, how ammunition works, etc etc, etc.

If the interest is in handguns, the best beginning course is the NRA Basic Pistol Course, or Rifle Course, or Shotgun Course. Personal and Home Firearm Safety.

Once you have the basics, then and only then should you consider target shooting, hunting, self defense, etc.
__________________
Jim Page

Cogito, ergo armatum sum
JimPage is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 11:42 AM   #13
Koda94
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker_two
what is the minimum amount of training that you recommend in order to be competent enough to own a firearm? And, how do you recommend someone get that training?......

....from friends/relatives who shoot?....
Most likely a friend/relative who would want to take someone new shooting has some practical experience to help someone get proficient at handling a firearm accurately and safely.
But there is more to owning a firearms than the minimum training to operate one, there is the legal aspect of just simply owning one the responsibility to keep it secure. I have learned that you cant tell someone how to manage their personal property, but you can tell them the facts of the law.

At a bare minimum, I would start with showing them where to find their states statutes and laws governing the ownership, use and handling of firearms before any physical training begins.
__________________
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2
Koda94 is online now  
Old March 10, 2013, 12:19 PM   #14
Spats McGee
Staff
 
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 5,037
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker_two
. . . . RKBA arguements aside, I want to know.....what is the minimum amount of training that you recommend in order to be competent enough to own a firearm? . . .
Why on God's green earth would I set the RKBA arguments aside?!? That's a little like saying, "aside from avoiding germs, why should I wash my hands?"

How much training do I recommend? As much and as often as you can afford and fit into your schedule. How much do I recommend to be the standard to own a firearm? Zero.
__________________
A gunfight is not the time to learn new skills.

If you ever have a real need for more than a couple of magazines, your problem is not a shortage of magazines. It's a shortage of people on your side of the argument. -- Art Eatman

Last edited by Spats McGee; March 12, 2013 at 06:43 AM. Reason: grammar
Spats McGee is offline  
Old March 10, 2013, 01:14 PM   #15
raimius
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2008
Posts: 1,316
Legal standard: Zero


Prudent standard: depends on what you do with firearms.
If you only use them for target practice at staffed range, following Cooper's Four Rules, knowing how your gun operates, how to maintain it, basic marksmanship, and how to fix malfunctions will probably cover it. If you intend to use one for self-defense, now you should know some tactics, target discrimination, how to avoid shooting neighbors in the background, how the law applies in your area, a bit about mental preparation, the effects of the ammunition/firearm set-up you have, etc. If you plan to carry, you need to know even more about the legal aspects, and should train on more advanced tactics. If you carry professionally, the standards go even further.
Basically, I don't think the deer hunter needs to be taking tactical pistol courses to be safe, and I don't think a person planning to carry should top out at a hunter's safety course!

Edit: Also most training should be done AFTER getting the firearm. Knowing basics with any firearm is good, but the advanced stuff should be done with your gear, IMO. I'm decent with my 1911, but if you hand me your Sig 226, I won't know where my limits of speed/accuracy with it are.
raimius is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 02:57 PM   #16
bazookajeff89
Member
 
Join Date: January 14, 2013
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 47
Absolute minimum?

I would say that as long as you are capable of handling that firearm safely.....I.E. knowing how to clear it, how to operate it, and of course the basic gun safety rules. Just like my first car i had to read the owner's manual twice before i got to sit in it.

However, if someone does just know those basic things then they should immediately get more training....it's just the smart thing to do
bazookajeff89 is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 04:21 PM   #17
markj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2005
Location: Crescent Iowa
Posts: 2,967
Quote:
if a person is not getting training, they should not own a firearm.
Sounds like something our govt would say.

Learn the 4 rules and how to safely load and unload it, you are good to go.

Target practise is fun for awhile, then you will want something more, so you look at defensive stuff and the fun that has. After awhile you will want more and will move up to something else that attracts you. Go with it and enjoy yourself.

It is a life long event.
markj is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 05:40 PM   #18
JD0x0
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 30, 2013
Posts: 801
We need to define "training." training could mean how to properly load the gun and magazines, use the safety, sights, cleaning, and other basic firearm knowledge, to operate the gun safely and effectively.

In which case I believe that everyone should have "training"
JD0x0 is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 06:05 PM   #19
nate45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,746
We should all(us experienced shooters) recommend training and promote safe handling of firearms. All first time firearms owners would greatly benefit from it. Requiring it by law? No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
Training is a good idea.

Making it a prerequisite to owning a gun is VERY. BAD. IDEA.

It puts qualifications on a right, making that right a priveledge.

No.
__________________
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."- Thomas Jefferson
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
(>_<)
nate45 is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 10:06 PM   #20
kirbinster
Member
 
Join Date: March 10, 2013
Posts: 54
Training comes in many sizes and flavors. You can spend a lot of money on private lessons, or classes but I found another way. Before I even went to try a gun I spent about 20 hours watching Youtube videos. When I got to the range and rented a gun they required I go out with a range officer for a 15 minute intro. He was very impressed with everything I had learned. Let me fire one shot - which hit about a 1/2" from dead center and said I was good to go. I told him I should just quit while I was ahead as there was little room to improve - I was right. But I digress. I think you want to learn what you are doing with a device that can easily kill you or another before you start using it -- that is just common sense.
kirbinster is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 11:13 PM   #21
Quadpod88
Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2013
Posts: 93
It's pretty hard to reply to this thread without offending anyone. On one hand I want to say that gun safety and operation should be taught to every person, even as early as middle school. That way every man, woman, and child can have a certain respect for our deadly little beauties. Also, so that every person can operate their firearms safely, I've seen too many bad range days...so to speak. On the other hand, to say they have to have training just to own a firearm is beside me. I know a few shooters that are self taught and very much proficient in the operation and maintenance of their guns. Both sides clash(on a softer note I believe that's called clapping). I want everyone who owns a firearm to be trained, but i realize training comes in many forms. I myself do not have the level of training that alot of you are referring to, hell the army didn't teach me half those drills...
I had more, but I lost my train of thought. I apologize if I offended anyone, this is a subject that tears me down the middle, yet it's very close to the heart.
__________________
God made all men, but it was Sam Colt who made them equal.
Quadpod88 is offline  
Old March 12, 2013, 06:31 AM   #22
seeker_two
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 31, 2002
Location: Deep in the Heart of the Lone Star State (TX)
Posts: 1,698
Quote:
Why on God's green earth would I set the RKBA arguments aside?!? That's a little like saying, "aside from avoiding germs, why should I wash my hands?"
The reason I'm setting that aside is that I'm pretty sure that all here agree (myself included) that there should be no legal requirement for training in regard to RKBA....any more that one should have to pass high school grammar in order to have 1st Amendment rights. I'm looking for the preferred baseline of training that those here (including the professional trainers) consider as the minimum threshold for gun ownership. I also want to know if that training should come from only professional trainers in person or if other means of acquiring that knowledge are valid.

This is quite thought-provoking. Please continue....
__________________
Proud member of Gun Culture 2.0......
seeker_two is offline  
Old March 12, 2013, 06:43 AM   #23
xsquidgator
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2007
Posts: 116
Yet another way to consider the OP's question, which has already been well-discussed. This is just something I heard from a training video that I think makes sense here.

Addressing RKBA, not setting it aside, no training required. Government-required training to exercise a right is wrong for the same reason poll taxes and literacy tests were wrong.

Being a responsible gun owner however, you should at least get formal training, even if it's only a short 1/2 day class, in gun safety and the fundamentals of operating your firearm.

If you intend to rely on your firearm as a means of protection, then in addition to knowing gun safety and how to shoot, you need to know how to fight with a gun (or with the guns you'd use), and, when to fight (the legal stuff).

Armed citizens with little or no training are constantly saving themselves from attackers despite not having "enough" or even any training. (David Grossman in The Bulletproof Mind presentation- recommended). Your chances of prevailing though are much better if you've had at least some training. Your chances should be better yet if you've invested in more and higher-level training. There are no guarantees though. You could be trained to the highest level there is, and still be hurt by an attacker. But if you can do it, you owe it to yourself and to those who might rely on you for protection to get trained. That sounds sappy but it's true. Take it from Lt Col Grossman which is where I heard that particular truism.

So, if you can't afford any training, then you can't and you might be ok. I'd submit though that investing (paying for) at least some training ought to be in the budget though right behind a gun and ammo for it. I didn't always live this, I used to be one of those people who thought he knew what was going on and didn't need to "waste money" on training. Fortunately I wised up eventually and got on the path of training. (I'll be on it for the rest of my life) I don't take groceries off my family's table to pay for training, but I have taken luxuries out of the budget before to pay for it.

I'd argue a good minimum level of training for an armed citizen to be that corresponding to going through NRA Basic Pistol, (and maybe Shotgun and Rifle, too), NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home, and NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home. That's more training than the vast majority of gun owners will ever get. But, that amounts to the BASICS of what you should know. I teach all these NRA classes and think they're great, but, if you have the means, I'd say to go further yet and take the basics of shooting and personal protection from one or more high-level instructors, whoever they might be. I mean places like Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, Rangemaster, Massad Ayoob Group, and many others like that. (No disrespect intended to any establishments not on this partial list of examples).

Last edited by xsquidgator; March 12, 2013 at 06:54 AM.
xsquidgator is offline  
Old March 12, 2013, 07:07 AM   #24
Spats McGee
Staff
 
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 5,037
None. No more than I would require a driver's license to own a car.
__________________
A gunfight is not the time to learn new skills.

If you ever have a real need for more than a couple of magazines, your problem is not a shortage of magazines. It's a shortage of people on your side of the argument. -- Art Eatman
Spats McGee is offline  
Old March 12, 2013, 07:45 AM   #25
JimPage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2010
Location: Rome, NY
Posts: 632
The Gordian Knot of RKBA. I agree with everyone who has posted so far.
__________________
Jim Page

Cogito, ergo armatum sum
JimPage is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.16598 seconds with 7 queries