Have you ever wondered if you are up to the task if you ever have to use your weapon to defend yourself or those you care about?
I have and still do. I hope I never have to find out, but I hope I have trained enough to be ready when that time comes.
Before I mention the benefit of training regularly, I want to be clear when I say this… Citizens should NOT be required by the government to have training to participate in an inalienable right. If you must get permission, that is called a privilege, not a right.
With that said… Should we as individuals personally seek to improve our skills if we choose to carry? Absolutely!
I started off my journey to be better skilled at self-defense and shooting over a decade ago. When I started, I was like a lot of folks and thought, “I have grown up around guns, and I know how to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.” After many years and more money than I will admit to my wife, I have concluded that my personal need for training will never end.
While hog hunting, I kept running into the issue of only killing one or two hogs before they were gone into the brush. Many people know what I am talking about. I recognized I was not great at transitioning to other hogs during the chaos. It was at that point I decided to participate in competitive dynamic shooting to improve my skill set. I wanted to be the guy that could shoot several hogs before they got away and impress my friends in the process…and thus also be better at defending myself and my family should the need arise.
Over the last few years, I have been participating in shooting competitions, which has humbled me on how much training I still need. I started competing in local shooting events to get better.
At my first match, I had my butt handed to me. Out of roughly 40 shooters in my classification, I placed 37th. These were not the top national shooters. These were local guys there to improve their skills and have fun. I also learned shooting is not a skill set that comes naturally to me, and I have had to work hard to get to the skill level I have today. The biggest improvement I made through that process was to slow down and hit the target. Regardless of how fast I could move and shoot, my accuracy was suffering because of it. You cannot miss fast enough to win.
I eventually got to where I could occasionally place in the top 10 at these two-gun IDPA matches and started feeling confident about my skills. I also honed my long-range skills during this time. I decided to try another style of competition known as run and guns. They are typically 6 miles long, and we shoot out to 600 yards. The course designers like to make it as physically challenging as possible with steep hill climbs and uncomfortable shooting positions. We must carry our water, rifle, pistol, and ammo with us. Most guys carry around 20 to 25 pounds. I thought I would do well at my first run and gun match because of the gains I made with IDPA [International Defensive Pistol Association]. I got my butt kicked again and came in at the back of the pack. It was a reminder that I still needed improvement.
Since then, I have completed a few, and I am slowly moving up the ranks. I recently became friends with one of the fastest shooters/runners I have ever seen. It is a humbling experience to know how much I must improve even to get close to his ability. The professionals are on a completely different level in how good they are.
The lessons I have learned from competing are invaluable and a reminder that I need more training; even then, it may not be enough. If we aren’t prepared and trained, our odds of failure go up significantly. I have realized it is easy to shoot a deer at a few hundred yards with very little stress, but self-defense is extremely different from that, requiring several skill sets.
Keeping that in mind, shooting is a perishable skill. Once I attain the skills, I have to use them or lose them.
If you want to improve your skill sets, I highly encourage finding a good trainer in your area. It is a matter of life and death.
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