Gun Tactical Training for Civilians

Your family isn’t going to be burgled by a piece of paper. And it’s true — crimes are not committed by paper targets, they are committed by people, people bent on depriving you of your property.

Those people are more than willing to harm you to get your property, and you have armed yourself against that eventuality. Ostensibly, you are preparing yourself for the day when some person tries to make you the victim of crime. So…are you ready?

Well, you have your gun…you took an NRA Basic Pistol course… and you go to the range every month to practice. You’re a pretty good shot, too. You hold up a stack of punched paper to prove it, and, according to the targets, you’re not bad. Even at fairly long range, you’re a crackerjack shot.

Let’s say you’ve got the process of standing at a wooden bench in your preferred shooting stance and slow-firing at a bullseye down PAT. Can you do the same thing from a concealed draw? One handed? OFF hand? Have you ever fired at a human-shaped target, or just at bullseyes? What if the target was moving?

What if the target were shooting back? What if it were only ten feet from you, approaching rapidly with a knife? What if the target were twice your size, charging at you with a baseball bat, screaming obscenities? What if you were sitting in your car and someone smashed your drivers’ side window to point a knife in your face, demanding money, your keys, for you to lie down and spread your legs? Are you ready? Has your training to date prepared you for these things?

If you are like the vast majority of gun owners, probably NOT.

While most gun owners do practice more than the average law enforcement officer, they do not yet tend to get the variety of tactical training they should get in order to be ready for the kind of situations they are likely to meet on the street with their weapons.

The reasons they don’t get this training are fairly simple.

The training isn’t held everywhere, it is pricey, and it requires a fair amount of dedication to endure. It isn’t
easy. To be honest, it is much easier to stand and shoot at bullseyes once a month, and a lot cheaper. But learning to respond to a criminal may save your life…and that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? What *is* your life worth?

The training isn’t held everywhere, but where it is held, it is usually damn good. Some training courses travel the country, at sponsoring ranges. Others have home ranges where you can take courses that comprise from a weekend’s study to a whole week of full-immersion effort.

The best courses will consist of two parts: a lecture portion and a range portion. The lecture will consist of information necessary to prepare you for the proper and legal use of lethal force. This is not a simple subject, as the laws change from state to state, and even from municipality to municipality.

There are common threads, and the instructors do their best to pull it all together into the “axioms” of applied lethal force. The concepts of strategy and tactics should also be a part of the classes that go longer than a weekend.

Range work will depend on the particular course you take, and the particular group you study with. The ones with fixed facilities have put a lot of money and time into assembling complex tactical positions to train you in multiple scenarios. More complex classes will also involve cars in gunplay. Expect to learn to respond to attack in any position, even lying on your back.

Most of the gun magazines have had, at one time or another, a review of classes at all of the major training institutes. They also have presences on the Web, and respond well to questions. You should shop around and find out which program is right for your needs.

Take into account that any training program will require travel, lodging, and incidentals. Any class with range work will require a given amount of ammunition that you will need to bring with you, as well as a minimum required equipment list.

You will need to check into the transportation of weapons and ammo to the class site ahead of time — don’t forget this! In these days of heightened air security, this could be a real show-stopper! You may wish to purchase your required ammo at your destination for this reason.

Keep an eye out for “specials” that local organizations or groups may be doing in cooperation with the various training institutes.

Sometimes, you may be able to find a local lecture or training session at a substantial savings being held by a local club. Any of these can be potentially useful, and don’t turn up your nose at lecture-only seminars. Knowing *when* to use your weapon is just as important as knowing *how* to use it, and you may get a heads-up to savings on other “hands-on” training sessions at the lecture you wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.

Who knows? You might even befriend a qualified tactical trainer at such an event, and end up with a lot of free training!

Here is a list of many of the best-known training institutes that can be found on the Web:

  1. — Gunsite Academy, Paulden, Arizona
  2. — Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. — Lethal Force Institute, Classes all over U.S.
  4. — Firearms Research & Instruction, Classes all over U.S.

This is not a complete list by any stretch of the imagination.

You can find many, many more by doing a simple websearch, by looking in your favorite gun magazine, or by asking at your local gun club or shooting range. Some ranges even have such training available. Ask! If they don’t have it available, chances are they know who does! The point is, you should do the research and find out who in your area has the training available and go get it as soon and as often as you can.

The more properly-trained and prepared persons we have out there, armed and ready to protect themselves, the easier it will be to convince the nay-sayers of the world that we know what we are doing. It is the ignorant and the inadequately trained that do the most damage, because it is they that the anti-gun people point to the most often. Don’t be one of them. Most often, the ones being pointed at are dead, injured, or the victims of tragedy. We don’t want you to be among them.

It *is* preventable.

Larry Pearson is an NRA certified pistol instructor and a member of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers, as well as a former police officer, former military firearms instructor and lifelong student of the martial arts. He also felt that he had something of value to share with the firearms community, and wondered which gunzines he should approach with the above essay. The problem was that he was dealing in ideas and concepts, and virtually all of the present gunzines only want articles about products and services so that their advertising department can sell space and everyone can make money. This is the American way. This is his first published work.

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