Recently I had the opportunity to take some defensive firearms use classes from some highly-respected pros in that field (no, I’m not going to say who). This was the first formal training I’ve had in a while, and it was a great weekend of experience which taught me a lot, and reminded me of a number of other things. Seriously, if you have firearms for any kind of self/home-defense, you owe it to yourself to occasionally get such training.
But in discussing the classes with friends later, I made a comment which surprised them: that while I found the classes both insightful and useful, I was going to continue to do one thing in particular the way I had previously, not the way that the instructor taught.
Why? Why would I take the time and pay the money to take a class and then not follow the lessons taught? That seems … foolish, at best.
So let’s talk about that.
First, I want to be clear on something: while I was taking the class(es), I did all that I could to follow the techniques and philosophy of the instructor(s) to the best of my ability. That started with using their preferred/recommended style of gun and extended to such things as proper grip on that gun, stance, carry style, aiming technique, reloading, etc. Because, yeah, I did indeed sign up for a class from those instructors and wanted to learn what they had to offer. It would have been foolish to take their class and not do my best to learn from them. Not only foolish, it would have been a waste of both money and time (mine & theirs) to do so.
And, as I said, I did learn a number of things, which I will be putting into my regular shooting practice going forward. Things I will share with others, as appropriate.
Yet I am going to stick with several of my previous techniques.
Is it fair to pick and choose like that?
If you have enough experience, it’s not only fair, it’s smart. And expected. At least it is expected by almost any decent instructor I’ve ever known.
That’s because with something as dynamic as any serious martial art (and defensive firearm use is definitely a martial art), there are so many complex factors that are involved that it is impossible to reduce the skills used to one simple equation that works for everyone. And there are just too many variables in physical ability/limitation, reaction time, opportunity for practice, and so forth. This is obvious, but sometimes gets forgotten by people who become enamored of the “one true way” — whether that’s the “perfect” gun, or stance, or grip, or whatever.
And besides, I’ve been around long enough that I’ve seen a LOT of fads come and go. Each time, there’s some set of true believers who think that their way is the objectively BEST way … until the next fad comes along to knock it off the pedestal.
So, what’s the “best” way? The way that works for you, when you need it. And really, only you can make that decision.
But make it intelligently. And I mean by exposing yourself to a lot of different possibilities, from different sources. And testing those possibilities with honest, conscientious practice.
This content originally appeared at text and was written by James Downey This content is syndicated and does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of The Liberal Gun Club