Ok, so you purchased your gun. You took some training. You feel confident. Now what?

What will you do at 2am when the door gets kicked in? How will you respond in all of the confusion?

Will you remember where your gun is? Will you remember how to load it? Will you take the appropriate amount of time to recognize a threat versus a family member? Will you be able to clear a feed jam without freaking out? Can you do all of these things with a moment’s notice?

Firearm training is just like life… Just because you take a class or two does not mean you can perform in the heat of the moment.  As you go through life you learn new things you never knew before. After you learn those lessons you apply them to your life and the situations you find yourself in.

Firearm training needs to be approached in the same way. One of the ways I keep up to speed with my pistol skills is to compete against others. Some are much better than I am and some are just starting out. I personally like the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).  IDPA assumes that you are using a “stock handgun” and has people train in potential real life scenarios. Most matches are once a month. Matches typically involve about 80 – 100 rounds of ammunition and enable people from all walks of life to meet and learn from each other.

I attend the Bloomington IDPA matches. We have a variety of people who have been shooting competitively for years and some that started the month before. The friendly nature of the shooters is fantastic, everyone helps each other. Everyone comes away with things they can improve on and a sense of confidence that they are building skills in the event that they are confronted with a situation where they have to defend themselves.

I strongly recommend finding a group of people that can help you develop your shooting skills. Make sure that they are people you are comfortable with and that they are knowledgeable regarding gun safety and application. This life skill could end up saving your life or the life of a family member one day. As I said before, you continue to learn as you go through life. Just make sure you learn these lessons before you are in a situation where you need the knowledge.

3 thoughts on “Took my training… Now what?”
  1. If you’re trying to remember where your gun is, then finding the ammo, then loading it when the SHTF you are too far behind the curve to expect to prevail. Your HD piece should be ready to go and where you can put your hand on it in the dark. If necessary, unload and store in the morning, or put it on your person. Handling every day to unload and reload will maintain familiarity. My pistole de boudoir sleeps on the stand next to the bed with 3 reload mags, and joins me in the morning.

  2. I agree with the first comment. I used to keep my bedside gun, a 1911, with a mag in the mag well but nothing in the chamber. That made “safing” it easier in the morning. Then I woke up one night to find an intruder standing at the foot of my bed. Yes, I grabbed the gun and racked the slide, but that took two hands. If I’d needed to fight him off with one hand, the gun would have been useless. Keep your gun handy and ready to go. The only action you should have to take in an emergency is taking the safety off, if your gun has one. Oh, yes, the intruder ran. I chased him, but he got out the front door before I could get a clear shot at him. Saved us both no end of trouble.

  3. Thr nature of the training is essential. A state mandated concealed carry permit course is not defensive training; it is notification of the law for the purpose of issuing a permit. A defensive course will include topics such as drawing the gun, operating the gun in a variety of conditions, incorporating movement, managing the police, clearing jams, and so forth. If a person cannot remember how to load their gun, then they did not train.

    Attend several courses every few years. I try to do two annually and one is always a defensive pistol course. I found this to be a very good sequence:

    Any “Level 1” defensive pistol course from a variety of trainers.

    Any “Level 2” pistol course from the same trainer.

    shivworks.com ECQC course for handling contact situations (which are common).

    “Point Shooting Progressions” with Roger Phillips (it is a course on moving while shooting)

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