Fear, Familiarity & Fighting with a Firearm

The pandemic and protests of 2020 have caused citizens to rethink their safety and firesrms training classes around the country are filling up fast.  While some of these students are purchasing a firearm for the very first-time, others who already have some experience with firearms are finally making the decision to go ahead and get their carry permit.  Since March, the make-up of the class has been about the same. Half are first-time gun owners who are fearful of the gun, while the others usually have some familiarity with firearms (primarily long guns) from past military experience or from shooting or hunting with family members.  By the end of the day, everyone is basically on the same page. The new gun owners have usually overcome their fear of the firearm and the others have realized they may not have been as familiar with firearms as they thought!   Unfortunately, the majority of the students never go on to learn how to Fight with that Firearm!

Fighting with a Firearm

As with most Basic Concealed Carry Permit classes, the bulk of the day is focused on safety, shooting fundamentals, and the legal aspect of using a firearm for self-defense.  That leaves very little time, if any, to cover topics such as accelerated shooting, recoil mitigation, shooting on the move, using cover and concealment, engaging multiple threats and scenario-based training, all of which will be very important if you ever find yourself in a gun fight.  Those that fail to take their training to this level believe the gun to be a magical talisman that will ward off evil doers with a simple wave of the weapon.  While this may be true for the average unmotivated petty thief, it is not true for a hardened violent criminal.  A 2006 FBI study called “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers” revealed that the bad guy you face may have more training and experience than the law enforcement officers coming to save you!  Here are some staggering statistics from violent criminals that have been caught after a gun fight with police.

  • Nearly 40% had received FORMAL firearms training
  • More than 80% practiced about 23 times per year
  • More than 40% had at least one gunfight experience
  • 25% had been involved in more than 5 gunfights

The details on this study are highlighted in an episode of Into The Fray from The U.S. Concealed Carry Association and further detailed in an articled entitled Training vs. Experience from Greg Ellifritz with Active Response Training including one felon that had been shot in 10 different gun fights. While you may have overcome the fear of the gun and are satisfied with your shooting abilities after your one-day training class, don’t expect the criminal to be impressed.  The environment these criminals live in is rife with violence and they have guns pointed at them all the time.  They are not afraid of your gun, nor do they share the same values and morals you do.  When faced with a deadly threat, your life may depend on how quickly you are able to respond.  Tom Givens with Rangemaster has been teaching firearms classes for over 40 years and he has the most detailed statistics on civilian gun fights.  To date, he has had 67 former students in gun fights, 64 of his students prevailed because they had their gun on them, 3 did not.  Based on his statistics, Tom says your gunfight will likely be “3 yards, 3 shots, and 3 seconds!”  Your best chance to win the fight is to have the “automaticity” to draw the firearm from concealment and get it into the fight quickly.   The only way to accomplish this is with additional training and practice.

The 357 Drill

Here is a drill that I created for Tom Given’s Rangemaster Master Firearms Development Course in May of 2020. This Drill well help you determine what level of skill you are at. Please feel free to download it, share it with your friends and family and practice it!