Don’t lose your first gunfight by shooting yourself during training!
warning: If you do not understand how to manipulate a pistol safely or do not understand how to carry out the safety rules you must find a person to show you before working with a deadly weapon such as a pistol.
Your local gun shop will usually provide training or direct you to an affiliated site. This isn’t the most efficient or cost-effective way to learn the pistol, but it is better than shooting yourself or someone else during practice.
If you have not purchased a pistol yet I suggest you wait until you have thought about the fundamental series blog posts. Educating yourself first might save you some money, time and effort. If you have purchased your pistol already then may I respectfully suggest you not use the pistol until you have explored the fundamentals and then had some practice (and training if necessary.) We all want to play with our new purchases as soon as possible. We want to protect our lives as soon as possible but if we could just wait and practice for a week or two, things would be a lot safer for us and our loved ones.
“Owning a gun doesn’t make you a gunfighter anymore than owning a guitar makes you a musician”, Jeff Cooper on training
“Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things.”, John Farnam on avoiding a gunfight.
What to look for in your first training?
Many new students buy their pistol and carry it immediately. This usually isn’t wise. Sometimes the most important training is the legal training required to properly decide to shoot or not shoot a criminal. Shooting someone or something by accident or on purpose when you are not justified will result in legal trouble.
Your training should include your state and local laws as well as any other state you take your pistol into. Your local gun shop usually has inexpensive books that detail these legal aspects. If not you could try some place such as Amazon.com. You can study this book before you take your first formal training. This training should include at a minimum: when you can display the weapon, fire the weapon and more importantly, when you cannot legally do these things against another person. Many law-abiding citizens have gone to jail, been killed and/or sued by using the pistol when they were not legally allowed to do so.
Of course your first training should also include an understanding of the four safety rules, safely loading and unloading of the pistol, manipulating any safeties on the pistol and the basic fundamentals of firing the pistol in a safe way. Your first instructor does not have to be a nationally renowned instructor. Most NRA instructors will do just fine for this and perhaps all of your formal training.
If you understand how to safely manipulate a pistol and can make sure it’s unloaded, you might read the fundamental series of blog post and practice the fundamentals at home before taking your first class. When in doubt read the posts, take the class and then begin practicing at home. Don’t shoot yourself.
This training is often included with your state’s concealed weapons permit requirements. This training will be in a class full of students, a private instructor or a semi-private instructor. Private instruction is more expensive but you learn more of the fundamentals in a shorter amount of time. If you learn the fundamentals before your first class then your instructor can spend time critiquing your skills, allowing you to improve much more.
The next posts are the fundamental series. They begin with Gear Selection and end with Putting It All Together at Home. A person can only learn a small amount per day and retain it. My suggestion is that you read and practice only one post each day. Then read another post and then practice that the next time. An example is to read the, “How to Grip the pistol” post. Slowly practice the grip. You should be able to properly grip the pistol. Just don’t grab it. Grip it according to the instructions. Then read the, “How to draw the pistol” post. But don’t practice drawing. Go back and practice gripping the pistol properly. After at least 24 hours you can practice gripping the pistol again and then (and only then) should you start practicing the draw. Grip before draw. Draw before a side step. Isolate the fundamentals at first. Then add to them progressively. Failure to do this leads to lifelong problems with grip, draw, movement, etc.
I hope you enjoy this blog and gain value from it. I’m an old firearms instructor and not a blogger. Please post any constructive criticism in the comment pages. Be passionate but be nice.