Saturday, February 21, 2015

Myth: You Must Be Highly Trained for Successful Handgun use

Gun people love training.  They revel in expertise.  They gush over the incredible feats that expert gun users, from Annie Oakley to Jerry Miculek, can accomplish.  Do not mistake me.  I approve of training.  Training is good.  I have trained a lot of hours... and days... and years... and decades.  I have trained military, police, and civilians.  But large numbers of people use handguns very successfully with little or no training.

A case in point occurred recently in Ohio.  From
“She was armed and apparently fired multiple shots at him,” said Sgt. Dave Sicilia.

The woman’s son says he bought the gun for her a week ago to keep her safe now that she is living alone, but he never thought she would actually have to use it.

Police believe the suspect also broke into neighboring homes.

Nearby residents heard the shot.

"I got up and looked into my kids’ room and made sure they were all right,” said one person.

The burglary suspect was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. He was pronounced dead shortly before 7:00 a.m.
While we cannot be sure that the armed homeowner had no training, the article does not mention any.  It is implied that the son never expected his mother to actually fire the firearm.   I have read numerous accounts of how people have not handled a gun for decades; then pick it up and use it effectively.   Guns are designed to be easily used and to point naturally at the target.

A large group of people who use guns effectively without training are criminals.  Most criminals are not allowed to legally handle guns, so using public ranges for training is difficult and dangerous for them.  Similarly, most criminals are inner city urban dwellers who do not have a back 40 or a hunting cabin in the mountains where they can practice all day and not be considered out of place.  They do not have an Uncle Sugar who provides ammunition for free.  Criminals mostly use guns for intimidation; it does not require training to be intimidating with a gun in your hand. 

The biggest reason that most people can use firearms effectively without training is simple.  In most defensive firearm uses, as in most criminal uses, the firearm is never fired.   I have seen estimates of guns used to stop crime and for self defense, without being fired, at ratios of 20 to 1 or more.  It is not an easy number to measure.

I recommend that people be trained, that they practice once a month, and that they take courses in self defense.  Once a basic level of firearms proficiency is met, from a purely practical standpoint, training time for self defense is better spent on situational awareness, avoidance techniques, and tactics.  

If you wish to reach a high level of shooting proficiency for hunting, self defense, competition, or war, then lots of time on the range will pay off.  However, most people who successfully defend themselves are not highly trained.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I agree with you view as a Texas CHL instructor for 10 yrs. I have student that the first time they have fire a handgun was during the course. I tell my class that most self defense is up close and 6 ft is a long distance for a robbery. I do encourage people to get training, but I try to get then to shoot for the fun of the sport. Any thing that get people to handle and shoot will help in time of need

Wireless.Phil said...

West Virginia with video.

Pharmacist shoots and kills masked armed robber from behind the counter with his conceal and carry permitted weapon during failed heist
Don Radcliff was working at Good Pharmacy in Pinch, West Virginia, on Wednesday when he shot Terry Gillenwater, 25, while eight other

Wireless.Phil said...

That is what always got me when someone in the news is found to have a lot of ammo for a good reason, they shot a criminal.

They always seem to question the same thing: "Why do they need that many bullets?"

aaronw said...

A restaurant supply store in Harlem had a robbery attempt some years back. When it became clear that the four thugs were about to start executing employees, the owner brought a long-hidden shotgun to bear, and killed or wounded them all.
He hadn't fired it in the decades he kept it tucked away.

Anonymous said...

Hand to hand, swords, knives, and archery require training and constant practice. Firearms need little training in comparison and give power to the relatively weak.