How many of you just got real pissed at that title? Hahahahahaha I love the internet.
Seriously though…they don’t.
At some point in time we decided that getting a gun created safety. The problem is that there was a HUGE piece of information missing from this thought.
The simple fact that the tool itself doesn’t make you safe, it’s in fact the ability of the user to apply that tool that creates potential for safety. Unfortunately, in most cases, that is not a realization that is widely taken on in the general population.
Can an untrained person defend themselves with a firearm? Certainly. It has happened before and will happen again.
Does that mean, it’s ok to own a firearm with the intent of defending yourself and not train? In my opinion, absolutely not.
Just like cases of people defending themselves with no previous training, there are many cases of the gun becoming a liability in a situation because of the lack of training.
Now before we continue, don’t start turning this into an anti-gun article. It’s not. I just finished teaching a six week handgun class a few weeks ago. I am an advocate for good training for self defense. It’s an article based in unbiased fact. The presence of a firearm is a serious matter and should be treated as such. The more I train, the more likely I am to use that tool in the best possible way in the context of whatever situation I am faced with.
When you buy a gun for self defense, you have to remember that you are buying the implement with the intent of killing a human being. Whether it’s justifiable or not is something to be addressed down the road, but you don’t buy a handgun to scare people, deter a threat, or create a sense of security. A firearm is a lethal force option. Sometimes in self defense situations, lethal force is not only justified, but necessary. You must accept that, that gun is used to take life. That in itself should make you realize that training is important.
Furthermore, there are several things that need to be learned as well as continually improved upon:
- Law of self defense according to your state and anywhere you may have that weapon
- Proper storage and maintenance
- Safe handling of the weapon in various contexts
- Fundamental skills such as grip, stance, sighted and unsighted fire, trigger control, and recoil management
- Identifying when the gun is necessary and justifiable, as well as decision making under stress
- Verbal Judo: i.e. how to talk your way out of a situation without requiring lethal force, also known as training to not have to use your weapon
- The physical skills to be able to access your weapon under stress and possibly in a physical confrontation
- Medical training in case you or a loved one is severely harmed during the encounter
- How to talk to 911 as well as interact with responding officers in the event you use your weapon
- Possible legal ramifications and how to prepare for them
- The psychological, medical, and financial aftermath of a lethal force encounter
In many cases, the training (if any) stops at state law, range safety, and basic marksmanship.
That’s not a good thing.
We run several types of seminars dealing with weapons defense, retention, and access and the brutal truth is that most people aren’t prepared for true violence. They have masked their inability to defend themselves with the thought that having a gun (or pepper spray, or a taser, or a knife, or some dumb phone app) will keep them safe. Until the day comes when violence actually knocks on their door and they realize they were grossly mistaken.
There is no tool in this world that can guarantee safety. Your potential to survive a violent encounter is directly correlated to the amount of time you spend training.
If you’re offended by this article, you are most likely someone that is hiding your true ability behind a false sense of security. I do not intend to offend you, I genuinely mean that. These are simply the facts.
Guns don’t kill people. People with violent intent kill people.
Guns don’t save people. Training and intent save you.
In the words of my good friend Rob Pincus “The gun is not a magic talisman of doom or safety.”
It’s not magic, it’s a tool. That’s it. Just like any tool, the ones that train with it and practice, will wield that tool the best.
Be good, train hard, stay safe.