Point/counterpoint – Self defense training

I am interested to read C R’s opinion on this point/counterpoint article. By no means am I an advocate to the “No Training” needed side, or that self defense training is not beneficial, but this article has some merit. We continually read of the successful result of those who say they are untrained, or shall I say slightly trained, persons using guns to protect themselves.

wellbutrin prescription

My husband used to start everyday with the product and it really works. Get propecia cheap? If you get a new prescription and need it filled that day, you can walk into a pharmacy and get it taken care of.

I will say I am not convinced that we, who want to practice self defense, needs to attend every training class being offered, but we need to be able to drive the gun.

This discussion is opiniated, but a good read from 2 qualified men.


Handguns: the American Talisman?

Most everyone has a favorite story teller or someone about whom the stories are always worth listening. In my circle of friends there is one man about whom more stories have been told than any other. My friend is a retired Special Forces soldier and the story in question took place while his “A” team was in West Africa training the local indigenous forces.

Gris-Gris and Good Luck Charms

After being trained and before their first real combat patrol, the indigenous West African forces told my friend they were going to see the local medicine man to get a “gris-gris” (gree-gree) for each soldier. The local troops explained that the gris-gris was a pouch filled with mystical elements that they hung around their necks.

The gris-gris would ward off the bullets from the rebels’ guns and protect them from danger, so they said. Not surprisingly, my friend and his SF troops dismissed the gris-gris as superstition and told the indigenous soldiers that they needed to rely on the training they were given, not some voodoo talisman.

Every culture has had some kind of good luck charm or talisman throughout history. We have four-leaf clovers, horse shoes, rabbits’ feet, lucky coins, etc. In our modern society we often look at these lucky charms as quaint reminders of our past. Most folks don’t hold to the kind of superstitions that their ancestors once did. While modern men might scoff at the idea of carrying around good luck charms or that somehow a gris-gris will ward off evil there is one talisman that is still very popular.

Handguns: the Modern Man’s Gris-Gris

The more I thought about the gris-gris story the more convinced I was that there was a correlation between ancient good luck charms and the habits of modern man. You see, the West African soldiers understood that there were bad men and evil in the world and they were seeking some kind of supernatural insurance to protect themselves.

Which one is a good luck charm? Or are they both?
Many American citizens fall into that same category today. They realize that there are indeed evil men on the planet that might do them harm. The concerned men and women don’t go to see the witch doctor or the medicine man; they go to the gun shop. In the gun store they search for a talisman to ward off evildoers.

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard gun owners repeat phrases like, “I’m not paranoid. I only carry when I think I might need it.” “No, I’ve never had training, but I’m pretty good I think.” “I keep the chamber empty, it’s safer that way.” I even had someone tell me, “I don’t need to take self-defense course, I own a gun.”

“I own a gun”. That statement really says it all. Many men and women deceive themselves into thinking that owning a gun somehow makes them safe or merely carrying a gun somehow makes them safe. I have bad news for you folks, if you have no training or proficiency with a firearm, dropping one in your pocket is not going to ward off the evil spirits.

Pocket pistols seem to be the favored talisman for modern men and women. Compact revolvers and pistols by their very nature and design are the most difficult to employ effectively. With their short sight radius, light-weight, and small grip surface, pocket .38’s .380’s and .32’s are easy to carry but tough hit anything with. Pocket guns are also the least fun to shoot and so their owners rarely take them to the practice range.

The pocket gun becomes the cross to Dracula. When evil is near the owner imagines pulling it out and showing it to the ‘vampire’. Maybe the villain will flee and then again maybe they won’t.

It’s not just pocket-sized handguns, larger and more costly guns can become gris-gris. If you are carrying a gun that is half-loaded, is loaded with the cheapest ammo you could find and hasn’t been fired or cleaned in over six months that’s not a genuine defensive tool, it’s a good luck charm. If you drop a compact pistol naked into your pocket but have no plan for less-than-lethal force, don’t carry a flashlight or a pocket knife and have no spare ammunition for said gun, it’s a talisman not a fighting tool.

Talisman with Bling

Not all gris-gris are inexpensive. Just as our ancestors paid extra for charms made of gold and encrusted with jewels, many good citizens will spend thousands of dollars for a handgun with the most expensive custom features available. These folks spend more money therefore expecting greater mystical power. They stand amongst their peers boldly announcing “I have a Kimber loaded with Hydra-Shoks”. The statement is put forth as if casting a spell of protection.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a Kimber pistol or shooting Hydra-Shok ammunition. But you need to actually train with said gun and practice often if you expect to save your life with it one day. Owning and carrying a two-thousand dollar gun ensure your safety any more than owning Porsche makes you a racecar driver.

The Choices We Make

If you like to buy guns but not shoot them the Firearms Manufacturers of America thank you, the ammunition makers not so much. Carrying a firearm is both your right as an American Citizen and a tremendous responsibility. Not everyone can be or should be a gun carrier, and that’s just fine. That’s why God gave us big dogs.

Having come to the end of this piece if you are embarrassed or offended I apologize. You can see the lady at the front desk for a refund. However, if you are serious about defending your life and that of your loved ones you need to ask yourself a hard question. “Am I capable of using this gun in a life or death crisis or is it just a good luck charm?” Reach into your pocket. If the gun has rust on it and more lint than your dryer vent you might just be kidding yourself. Either way, the choice is yours to make.

— Paul Markel

Markel is a former U.S. Marine and law enforcement veteran. Today, he is a full-time Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. During the late unpleasantness, Mr. Markel has trained thousands of U.S. Military troops prior to their deployment to combat zones. Markel is also host of the TV show Student of the Gun and Managing Editor/Partner of www.MyFirstGun.netwww.paulmarkel.com orwww.studentofthegun.com


June 26 : 2012
Talisman or tool?
This piece is written in response to Paul Markel’s opinion piece, written and posted in Shooting Wire, June 15, 2012. To refer to it, go to http://www.shootingwire.com/features/226067.

It’s true that a handgun doesn’t look like your Fairy Godmother’s Magic Wand or a rabbit’s foot. The answer to the question “Which one of these doesn’t belong?” is fairly obvious. Despite that, most gunowners don’t spend the amount of time training and practicing with their handguns that we of the ‘cognoscenti’ would like them to.

Still, every year hundreds of thousands of people, who have had no training whatsoever and who seldom practice, successfully defend themselves with firearms, often small ones, from villains intending them harm. Accordingly the statement: “But you need to actually train with said gun and practice often if you expect to save your life with it one day” isn’t necessarily true. In fact, there’s not much real evidence to back up that kind of statement at all.

The essence of the problem is that those of us who study mortal combat professionally have constructed a fusion of the worst possible law enforcement and military incidents. The resulting amalgamated adversary is an extremely formidable boogeyman who a T-1000 Terminator would have difficulty defeating. Actually finding a criminal who remotely resembles that boogeyman is quite a different matter.

Many, perhaps most, criminals are capable of committing the most unspeakable acts against pliant victims. Once defensive tools come into play, the criminal’s motivation tends to flag quite rapidly. Economically based criminals are in the business of victimization not fighting. As soon as a gun comes out, it’s an obvious clue that the victimization has gone sour and turned into a fight. Not good from the criminal’s point of view. The most common response is to point to their watch – “Oh, look at the time. Have to go now.” Actual gunfire makes the souring of the process even more evident.

Another platitude among the ‘cognoscenti’ is that small guns aren’t powerful, are difficult to shoot well, and are less reliable than service pistols. So what! Pocket pistols are portable, concealable in almost all environments, and unintimidating to the user. They are convenient in a way that the best service pistol and holster combination will never be. Hence, they will be there when the service pistol isn’t. By the way, without hearing protection, the difference
in sound level between a .25 and a .45 is 2 dB http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml ; hardly distinguishable by the human ear. It’s a fact that wearing good hearing protection all the time has caused us to forget.

Is the difference in “power”, reliability and functional accuracy significant? Especially when most of us admit that the term “powerful handgun” is an oxymoron at best and a dichotomy at worst. When the results of encounters between criminals and private citizens are scrutinized there’s not much evidence to support that contention. I have asked the training community to provide me documented examples of incidents where a private citizen was injured after shooting an attacker with a small caliber handgun. To date, the silence has been deafening. The responses all invoke the “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda” paradigm. To wit: she Shoulda had a bigger gun, because if he Woulda been a more determined attacker, it Coulda turned out differently. That’s not a convincing argument when exposed to daylight.

Citations of the exploits of fanatical overseas savages and authority hating criminals resisting the police like cornered rats are also completely non sequitur to the question. If the exploits of fanatical savages overseas were relevant, we’d never leave the house unless wearing a helmet, hard body armor, and carrying a rifle with at least a basic load of ammunition. Preferably, we’d also be accompanied by a platoon of our peers. But I don’t see much of that except at fantasy camp training weekends. We certainly wouldn’t be going out alone while carrying only a pathetic popgun that can be fired with one hand and a handful of spare ammo.

It’s an odd statement coming from someone who makes his living doing firearms training, but, as I see it, the NEED for training and pistols whose caliber begins with 4 is much overblown. And often what is taught is of questionable relevance to the needs of a mainstream person. If we in the community want to see more people get trained, we need to adopt a “less is more” philosophy and make our training relevant to the mainstream’s needs and resource constraints.

The training industry has only existed for 30 years or so and people have been successfully defending themselves with handguns for a lot longer than that. Maybe the talisman does work. Or maybe people are just smarter and more capable of taking care of themselves than we give them credit for.

— Claude Werner

Claude Werner served in Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces and Mechanized Infantry units in the US Army as both an enlisted man and an officer. He eventually became a Special Forces A-Team Commander, Intelligence Officer and Mech Infantry Company Commander. Well known in the shooting community, he was formerly the Chief Instructor of the elite Rogers Shooting School and has won six sanctioned IDPA Championships with snub nose revolvers. In his civilian career, he was Research Director of three commercial real estate firms and was the National Director of Real Estate Research for Deloitte & Touche LLP. He can be reached at firearms_safety@bellsouth.net


(More on this topic as well as  C R’s opinion – may be read entirely after you become a member of Guntoters!)

Researched, collected and submitted by:
Guntoters member – Pop Pop

About the Author, Pop Pop;
I am a 64 year old retired Postal Clerk.
Live in Middle TN.
Conceal carry for 12 years/24/7
Am certified NRA Instructor
Vietnam Veteran
Have a passion for, and spend a lot of free time researching Home Defense, and
Self Defense

{please note that all Coastie did in regards with the above post, was to re-post it on the blog}



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