Defensive Learning

Does your firearms training need to have experience under fire?

posted on April 22, 2023
Sheriff Jim Wilson

The first two tasks for the new defensive shooter are to learn to shoot accurately and quickly. The principles involved in accurately placing a bullet are the same, whether we are shooting a formal bullseye match, handgun hunting, plinking or fighting or our lives. Sight picture, trigger press and breath control are involved regardless of the reason for firing the shot.

The next challenge for the defensive shooter is to learn to deliver that accurate shot as quickly as possible. This involves the presentation of the pistol from the holster, the acquisition of the sights and a trigger press that doesn’t disturb that sight picture.

The principles involved in quick, accurate shooting can be learned through reading and practice. An even quicker way to learn these skills is by taking professional training such as the NRA Basic Pistol Class and others. A good instructor won’t let us get away with the natural tendency to ignore our mistakes and we can learn shortcuts to accomplish our goal.

The most difficult task for the new defensive shooter is to learn to fight, whether with a firearm, another defensive tool or the hands. Keep in mind that the average criminal has actual experience at fighting, while the armed citizen usually only has ideas about fighting. It’s an uneven match and when your life is at stake, learning to fight is not a good place for on-the-job training.

Learning to fight well enough to have a chance for saving your life requires professional training. Your best bet is to work with an instructor who has been there and done that. He can talk about the importance of little nuances such as watching their body language, watching their hands, and locating the closest cover because he has been there and knows the importance of this and many other skills.

Just about any shooting school can be an enjoyable experience and we most always learn something. But the defensive shooter should keep in mind what his goal is: Learning to survive a deadly encounter and select a school or instructor based upon that goal. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be sure you are signing up for a fighting school before plunking down your hard-earned money. 


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