And what will you do if you are?

Warning: This article may make you and your friends feel guilty if you have not been practicing with your carry gun.  Feel free to share it and make others feel guilty as well. :)

Somewhere in the U.S., a concealed carry class graduated this weekend and a group of 10-50 students are now armed with the legal right and knowledge to apply for their permit, and then carry a gun. The problem is that those students often times walk out of that classroom or off the range (if a shooting test is required in their state), and step right on to a trap.

Another issue is that the state they live in has now labeled those individuals as “ready” (legal) to carry a firearm for self-defense purposes, without any more than about an hour on the range only requiring that they can load their gun and fire it. Even for the states that require a student to actually pass a skill test of some sort, the test is so incredibly simple it fails to test anything at all.    

That is the trap! Why? Because unfortunately, most students that graduate from a concealed carry courses don’t know what they don’t know.  These are GOOD HUMANS that want to be able to protect themselves, thinking that a carry class would prepare them with what they needed to know. After all, a drivers license test does right?

Wrong!! Imagine for a minute the level of skill the average seventeen year old has after getting their driving permit, would you trust them behind the wheel to drive your kids to school? I wouldn’t, at least not until they had several weeks or months of actual practice driving a car.

So how much practice shooting does the average concealed carrier do on a regular basis after getting the thumbs up from the state to apply or get their permit? In most cases, not much. You may be asking, why did they let them graduate from the class then? The answer is that most training institutions in many states do NOT control the Concealed Carry curriculum.

Most training instructors, and institutions know that the basic course is no where near the level of training a person needs to give them a good chance for success in a lethal encounter, unless that applicant has had previous training. Some states mandate that the instructor teach it (the curriculum) exactly as written.  Good instructors beg their graduates to do some follow on training.

Unfortunately, in a previous occupation where I ran a large range, we found that only 30% or so of our graduates returned for a follow on class in the first year. I hope that if you are reading this, you aren’t one who will never return for a follow on class, but if you are, I warn you: You chances of failure on the street are much higher if you do not get some additional training, and actually practice the skill you might have to use.

Are you prepared?  Answer these questions and test your own knowledge.  Simply answer yes or no to the following questions (for this particular scenario assume you have made the decision to use lethal force based on your particular state laws):

  1. Do you know how to select and utilize gear that will ensure your survival versus allow you to lose your gun during a dynamic situation? 
  2. When dealing with a potential threat more than three yards away can you access and draw your firearm efficiently and quickly (under 2 seconds), and do you practice those techniques weekly (at a minimum)?
  3. If you were forced to deal with that same threat and they were less than three yards away, do you know what to do in that close proximity?  
  4. What if that same threat was so close they could grab or punch you (less than a yard)?  Would you know how to handle that situation (could you protect yourself against the punch)?
  5. If you were seated in your vehicle, seat belted in, would you know how to handle that?
  6. If during your critical incident, you drew and shot the threatening person yet they failed to be effected, would you know how to handle that or what caused it?
  7. What if during your critical incident your were injured or had one of your hands occupied.  Could you still draw, reload, or clear malfunctions in your handgun with one hand only?
  8. What if you had something that provided cover, could you use that cover efficiently and still return fire?
  9. During your incident, you might experience some physiological and psychological effects that if misunderstood could easily rattle you.  Do you know what to expect?
  10. Lastly, have you ever exposed yourself to simulated stress that simulates the real fight, and if not, do you know what it will be like?  

Most tests are scored with a minimum passing score of XX right?  This test is not.  If you don’t get 100% (yes’s) on it, you might die.  The ten items listed are all critical items that might mean the difference between your success and survival or not.  

Take the time to find the answers to them before your critical incident.  Unfortunately, most people take the carrying of a firearm as a convenience that simply makes them feel safer, and fail to address the seriousness of actually carrying a firearm for self-defense.  The truth is, if you have made the decision to carry a gun for self-protection, you are a warrior.  Now you must begin to train and act like one.  Find the answers to the above questions.  In addition, here are some keys:

Responsibility – This is the key.  It goes beyond getting your conceal carry permit.  I have seen countless police officers and members of the military who accept and believe that the skill level they have when they leave the academy or boot camp is acceptable to save their lives. Just like the concealed carry graduate who thinks their certificate to carry will be all they will need when bad things happen. I say NO! The first thing I would challenge anyone who works in the fields of warriorship to do is take responsibility for their own survival.    

Give your time and yes, your money to train in your combative skill sets as much as you can.   I despise the attitude of “I don’t have time to train” or “my agency does not give me enough ammunition to practice with”.   If you are one of those that think that way, slap yourself silly. Please, I ask you; take responsibility for your own survival.    TRAIN LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

What’s your plan for an extremely close encounter? Do you have one?

Fighting Fitness – I spend a good deal of time around guys that are good with guns. One comment I hear often is “I don’t need to be in good enough shape to run, I’ll just shoot him!”  This answer may be in response to a question about how often the person spends time doing cardiovascular work (running is the most common) to enhance their ability to fight.  To those who say that their fitness level is something they aren’t concerned with, I doubt they have been in a real fight for their life.  Fitness is incredibly important in a fight, especially for those who work in close proximity to their opponents. A sniper may be able to stop the fight from a distance, but most other fights will eventually end up with some sort of close contact.    

Even if we don’t have to rely on our fitness level from a physical standpoint, I have never heard of a person in a gunfight with a normal heart rate. A high level of fitness will allow a warrior to be more effective with all of their weapon systems, because their heart rate will be lower and their body will be able to handle more stress.  Most gunfights are running fights, and a warrior must be very fit to survive these circumstances.  If you consider yourself to be a warrior, get yourself to the gym.  Spend time developing cardiovascular fitness as well as strength and flexibility.

Specialization– Don’t specialize!  When designing your training, make sure you schedule training sessions for each and all weapon systems you have in your arsenal.      Spend time training with all of your weapons to form a layered system that allows you to flow from one to the other without hesitation.  Know your rules of engagement and or policy’s/laws (in the conceal carry state you reside) that allow you to utilize your different weapon systems. Train yourself to flow from one tool to the next by engaging in reality-based scenarios, or at a minimum visualize proper response to different scenarios.  Spend a relatively equal amount of time training with all weapons. If you have weaknesses, take the time to fix them before they cost you your life.

Mindset – This is the key area to work on during your training.  Develop a “never quit” attitude. Don’t even think about allowing yourself to quit during a drill or repetition during a training session. Even if no one is looking, fight through the mistake. Visualize yourself in bad situations where you are at a disadvantage, and see yourself winning the fight, even if things are real bad. See yourself getting hit and fighting through the pain to deal death or damage to your attacker. Develop that “switch”, the one when flipped turns you into an unstoppable, thinking warrior intent on surviving by making sure your opponent does not.    Accept and embrace the violence you may have to bestow upon someone before the fight happens, so you are mentally ready when it does.

Thanks – I know some of you might have been challenged by this article. I am ok with that. I know that if you are reading this you are probably a current or former law enforcement officer, military member, or a law abiding citizen who takes responsibility for protecting yourself and others.  I would like to take the time to say thank you for your service, to those who are in or have been in the military or law enforcement.

To those concealed carry civilians, thank you for stepping up to the plate and preparing to protect the weak and innocent, God knows we need people like you all during these times.  There are two types of people out there: a. those who will actually stand up for what is right; and b. those who like to talk about doing the right thing and complain about how a police officer, military member, or citizen in a self defense situation acted too violently. Thanks for being one of those who stand up for what is right! Just make sure you are PREPARED.

In closing, if you are one who has fallen into that “trap” and has the newest gun, flashlight, and gear but has not spent the time or money on valuable training and preparation, please fix that now.  I hope to have motivated your versus offended you, but either way if I help prepare you by pushing you to find and gain life saving skills, then I have succeeded.  

Click here to try out the American Warrior Society FREE for 14-Days that covers vehicle tactics, weapons grappling, fitness training and lots more.

Until Then, Train Hard 

Mike S.

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