Firearms Food for Thought: Self-Defense Training, Yes or No?

Your lights are on/But you’re not home/Your mind is not your own/Your heart sweats, your body shakes” (Robert Palmer, “Addicted to Love”)

You break out into a sweat, perspiration drenching your skin even though you’re standing still. Your respiration rate increases abruptly; your heartrate skyrockets. Your digestion system shuts down as your body directs all resources instead to your muscles. Your body experiences an overwhelming dump of adrenaline and noradrenaline as your sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive. It’s fight-or-flight time, and these side effects only touch on the physical side of the equation.


There are conflicting schools of thought on the value of firearms training beyond the basics. Specifically, there are two schools of thought when it comes to self-defense training. And even when it’s possible to agree some form of training is needed the type of training becomes an issue. Should you train to fire from various positions given that there is no predicting what could take place during a firefight? Should you train to shoot with your weaker hand for the same reason? Or should you simply work on honing accuracy and grouping with an eye for human-body placement once those are well and truly mastered?

Of course there are many ways this discussion can be broken down into a number of other areas. Should you even be carrying a gun for self-defense if you haven’t trained properly or is simply knowing the basics of gun safety enough? What is muscle memory, really? Is there an ideal way to carry a gun for self-defense? Do you need to use your CC gun of choice while taking self-defense classes? Do you need to train with your chosen defense ammo? The list goes on.

It’s an argument that seems to come up regularly and one it seems will never be laid to rest no matter how many experts speak up, no matter how many studies are cited. What do you think?


TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • Major Tom

    It’s better to go through it than not have it. But on the flipside, if you know how to handle a gun inherently and you know how to defend yourself anyways, it may not be necessary.

    Of course, any of that is better than not knowing anything at all. You shouldn’t be carrying a weapon if you don’t know how to use it, not if you haven’t taken a self-defense course.

    • The_Automator

      How do you “know how to defend yourself anyways” without taking a class and learning, besides getting into a lot of fights? If that’s how you learned, how would you apply this to guns, since you aren’t likely to get into a lot of gunfights?

      • Roy G Bunting

        The simple answer is simulations. From talking through the problem, to practicing movement in spaces you control, to force-on force drills with airsoft or paintball. You can also benefit from range time and practical shooting matches. All of which you can accomplish with minimal infrastructure.

        It’s not training like a weekend at Thunder Ranch, but the idea that CCW and home defense shooters are day one newbies is overstated.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          There is a world of difference between training with a group who is qualified to teach force on force, and going and playing paintball.

          Having done both, I promise you it isn’t even remotely close.

          • Don Ward

            I think this is sort of the issue. There is a world of difference between training for scenarios that involve group “force on force” and self defense training that a civilian will realistically need in the real world. Most of us aren’t Law Enforcement. Most of us aren’t currently in the military. Nor are we working for some private security contractor. So why train like I’m going to stack with five or seven other guys to fight terrorists that have hijacked a jetliner at the airport?
            If you want to that’s fine. Go right on ahead. A lot of those courses look fun.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      if you know how to handle a gun inherently

      LOL WTF? No.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Came to watch you implode.
        Not disappointed. lol

        Why dont you tell us all where you got your training.
        Or are you too insecure?

        • JumpIf NotZero

          What platform? Discussing where I’ve trained on the internet might give a reasonable idea of who I am, and I prefer to keep that off the internet. But I’d be happy to answer direct questions that limit my identity.

          What platforms have you trained on again?

          • RogerM

            Please, we have Green Berets on Taliban hit lists out in the open on national TV, I doubt you’re that important. You want everyone to listen to your expert advice, yet your anonymity has only further discredits your claim to any being as such. Literally nothing you’ve preached here this whole time could not have been Googled.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Ok. I’m not sure what your value of my privacy has anything to do with the topic.

            Please, do not take my advice then. You didn’t ask for it….. In fact… YOU particulally, should do the opposite of everything I say.

          • Bill

            “Do you think this is some gotcha that I’m avoiding because I don’t have an answer?”

            Yes, I don’t think you have an answer. If you actually knew anything, you’d know it’s PERSEC in this context.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            “If you actually knew anything”…. Yea, I know a lot about firearms, was never military, so yep, I don’t know much about those things. It was a joke… Yea, you surely got me because I said OPSEC. Oh man, way to go!

            Please, feel free to do the opposite of anything I recommend 🙂 Because you’re going to have a tougher time actually disputing logic and opinions based on experience.

          • Bill

            Please, lecture me on empiricism, human performance, skills integration and evidence-based practices.

            So, what’s this “experience” you base your logic and opinions on? Grandad took you bunny-hunting’ when you were a tadpole?

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I’ve received enough and continue to seek formal training from proficient groups, enough so, that I seem to easily realize failures and issues other people’s “facts” that they’ve based on internet theory and myth.

            I have never been bunny-hunting. I find rabbit delicious, wouldn’t hunt them for sport.

          • Look if you’re going to put a clickbait comment into every comment you make don’t bother.
            I’m trying to be reasonable here but this is your warning.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            “Discussing where I’ve trained on the internet might give a reasonable idea of who I am..”

            I am honestly trying to think of a scenario by which you saying “I was in the Marines” or “I was a cop” or “Ive been to a bunch of tactical carbine schools” would allow me to discern your identity. Even saying you were a SEAL wouldnt allow that. And dont tell me SEALs dont advertise who they are because I see guys with BUDS t- shirts and trident tats all the time at the park where I work out and they talk freely about the Navy so its not all James Bond crap. Stop being ridiculous.

            And this is not meant to be an insult but I dont care who you are.

            “Do you think this is some gotcha that I’m avoiding because I don’t have an answer?”

            At this point I honestly dont know.

            I figure you’ve probably been to a bunch of private classes and you think that simply saying so will puncture the “aura” of mystery you feel you have been cultivating. I think that if you were ex-military or a cop you’d just say that and be done with it.

            I know that you complain a lot. About almost every post really which makes me wonder why you even come here.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            You’re way off. You asked where I’ve trained. Some of the places are small, you wouldn’t be able to make some guesses, but someone else would. I also worked for a specific firearm mfg as a technical consultant. I may work for them in the future.

            So it’s kinda easy if I said I was at a special “XYZ” school with “AABBCC”, and only 4 people who weren’t instructors or recon / PJ / whatever were there.

            Please ask any specific you like if it will actually help you out, but, will it? There is nothing I can tell you that you’d be forced to believe – so…

            Instead – find something I wrote that’s wrong or you don’t believe – and I’ll explain when/where/why/how I learned that. Or… Continue to try and troll with the rest of the unwashed giving you a circle jerk the whole way 🙂

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            The “You wouldnt believe me if I told you” thing is an obfuscation.

            I have no argument with any training method you advocate, I dont even read most of them.

            Just answer the question: Are you ex-military or LE?

            If you cant even answer that yes/no question I think its pretty obvious where your “training” comes from.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Are you ex-military or LE?

            No. I’ve state that multiple times, and have never implied otherwise. There is a caveat to that, but it isn’t important to the question.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Ive asked you three times point blank and this is the first non BS answer ive gotten.

            Thanks, that wasnt so hard now was it?

            This puts your comments into perspective. You can go to all the schools you want but if youve never been shot at youre not an authority on combat training.

          • Bill

            Great. Now that he’s told us, he’s going to have to kill us.

            Apparently the caveat isn’t important, so that’s what he mentioned that there was an unimportant caveat.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yeah, whatever thats supposed to mean.
            I guess he feels the need to maintain some sense of superiority/mystery.

          • CommonSense23

            His answer was deleted before I read it. Curious what it was.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            He said he was never a cop or in the military
            Just some guy who takes a bunch of tactical classes

          • What is with you lately. You’ve been grumpy and combative with half the readers! You really need to back it down a bit.

        • TheDude

          Based on his post frequency and speech mannerisms, my guess is he got his training at, “360 No Scope University.”

      • Bill

        As much as this hurts, I agree.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          😀 Ha Ha.

          That’s the issue with logical statements. You can be stubborn, or you have to agree.

      • Lee

        “Cant afford training, You cant responsibly afford the gun”.

        STFU, Are you saying i should give away all $200k of mine?

        Lmfao. Shooting guns is about as simple a task as there is. They call it the great equalizer for a reason. Basic research, access to land, a few steel targets, and half a brain is all that is needed to learn self defense and proper handling of firearms.

        If 10 year old kids can buy their first guitar, watch youtube videos, and learn jimi hendrix guitar solos within 5 months, a competent adult can learn to shoot just fine with internet videos, basic literacy, and practice.

        You can go on forums and people post the schedule of the famous instructor’s class they just took. Evey instructor is teaching the same crap or slight variations of the same crap. Look that crap up, try them all out, and put it to a timer. Done.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          STFU, Are you saying i should give away all $200k of mine?


          I’m sorry, we’re not talking about “shooting guns” in this article. The (rhetorical) question posed was: Self Defense Training: Yes or No

        • Don Ward

          Yep. Firearms have a low floor but high ceiling for users. The majority of the time for civilians, knowing the basics of firearms safety, how to manipulate your weapon and being able to reasonably hit a target is more than good enough. Particularly in the – as of this writing – the rare event that you’ll ever have to draw your weapon, fire it and kill and assailant attacking you. I’ll have to look up the FBI numbers for last year but there are usually under 1,000 cases where a civilian has to kill a criminal attacking them.
          Now for total proficiency in firearms? Yep, that ceiling is high and sometimes no matter how much you train, you’ll never come close to breaking that ceiling. I’m never going to be on the US Olympics Shotgun Shooting team no matter how much I try and train. Does that mean that I can’t go down to the Gun club and happily blast 26 clay pigeons out of 30 and feel good about myself?

        • n0truscotsman

          I disagree.

          Watching a youtube video or looking at a training schedule is a way to get a good overview of the class, though without appropriate context (if you are not former military or law enforcement for example) provided by a competent instructor (that is key), you are only getting a tiny part of otherwise excellent training.

          That is taking into consideration one of the most important keys to excellent marksmanship: dry fire.

          The same arguments were made in the 90s active duty army, particularly, on the subject of live fire training. The stress, intensity of training, and the idea of having live rounds (whats at stake) add value to the training that otherwise cannot be replicated.

          On the subject of civilian self-defense training, you will be better off with it than going without it. Its up to individual decisions of course.

      • Don Ward

        Except the majority of self defense incidents that occur in this country by civilians occur with people who have had no formalized tactical training.

        Again, if you want to spend money on courses, great. But most of the time, it is the homeowner “racking his shotgun” as you derisively have dismissed, and telling the perp to get out of their home or toolshed.

        Much “training” is needed for that.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Without a doubt, master the basics. Then start varying things, to keep practice interesting and fun, as well as preparation for the unexpected. Otherwise practice becomes drudgery, and excuses become easier.

  • Budogunner

    The NRA’s honor-code-based marksmanship qualification program provides useful drills for training up new folks or keeping your own skills sharp. They publish the rules and courses of fire on the web as free PDFs. You don’t even have to be a member to access them.

    I always recommend having a competent instructor, or at least RSO, present but you could use those drills as building blocks before taking an actual (and expensive) class.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    I think there are too many variables for there to be a Unified Theory of Self-Defense. That said, yes to training. Self-defense is a natural right but those who chose to exercise that right owe it to society in general to learn how to use their chosen self-defense tool wisely and effectively. If you chose to carry a firearm, I think that the bare minimum for responsible carry is:
    -a basic firearms safety course
    -a firearms training including a course of fire where you train with your firearm and receive personal instruction from a certified firearms instructor
    -a working familiarity with federal, state and local laws concerning your particular firearm and self-defense in general

    Of course, none of these should be required by law; just common sense. Even that is probably not adequate but I think it makes someone far less likely to make really grievous and stupid errors while giving them a better chance against a BG than they had with witty retorts and the one karate class they took at the Y in 8th grade.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      The requirements thing is such a double edged sword. I’ll fight for your right to not have to require firearm’s training… And I’ll fight you into taking it.

    • n0truscotsman


      Even if you will never need the training in your life, in my opinion, you will be a better gun owner for it.

  • Wolfgar

    You fight like you train, period. We all know how to drive a car but very few know how to drive professionally on a race track. A person would be wise to practice in all the shooting disciplines. Then take qualified self defense classes from reputable instructors to decide which approach to self defense works best for yourself. Every person reacts differently during a life threatening crises. A person who has good character can make all the difference, training will not change it if it is poor character.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Yes, that.

      Or… Or… You could hop on the Internet, call everything that scares you “tacticool” and “for operators”. Attempt to attack people who are trained, really just showing off your own insecurities. And very likely have an overstated perspective of your own skills.

    • iksnilol

      You obviously don’t drive in Norway 😛

      • Wolfgar

        No, I drive in Montana where there are crosses along all the highways where people have died in car crashes. Sobering!

        • iksnilol

          I know that one, drive past something similar almost every morning. Guy drove into tree.

          In Norway the roads have many turns so you indirectly learn rally driving if you don’t want to slow down to a crawl

        • BigFED

          I assume you are referring to US-89, specifically that stretch from north Yellowstone Park to I-94? The highway where one can only see the sun from 11:00-2:00? Where I thought I was watching a white picket fence next to the stream only to finally see they were actually crosses? I’ve walked through graveyards and cemeteries with fewer goosebumps than when I drove that road!!!

  • claymore

    Good to see some though put into this. God forbid anyone even has to shoot at a live person the aftermath can be traumatic. And then the lawyers get into it and just like this article advanced training can be turned and twisted by lawyers.

    On your side it shows a citizen concerned about firearm handling and the willingness to prepare for a defensive shooting situation.

    Then it’s the bad guys turn and they say and present you as some crazed gun nut that has gone to advance training ON THEIR OWN so they can shoot his client more effectively.

    Everything you do prior to and after a shooting incident can and will be exposed during any investigation.

    Sorry to say I have no magic answer other to say one thing after… and only one thing..”Sorry but I would like to talk with my attorney.” and stick with it.

    • john huscio

      Has anyone ever actually been convicted on the “gun nut gets training to kill more effectively” argument? Outside of chatter on various gunboards (THR, Glocktalk, arfcom ect) I’ve never even heard of a prosecutor even making that arguement.

      • claymore

        Guess you have never been in a shooting or attended any trials. And yes this evidence has been submitted. Get a law degree and study case history to answer to your question.

        • john huscio

          Never been in a scenario where I had to shoot someone in self defense and I hope to continue avoiding that turn of events. Even so, taking into account where I live, I highly doubt I’d be prosecuted, much less have any kind of training I had used against me in court.

          • claymore

            So you can read the mind of prosecutors or lawyers representing the client you shot?

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Have you?

            And do you have a single instance where you can show someone was prosecuted differently based on the fact they received formal firearms instruction?

          • Wolfgar

            We just had a trial for an elderly man who shot and killed a home intruder. A new DA got into office who doesn’t like guns and decided three years after the shooting to press murder charges. They dug under every rock to demonize him but fortunately it didn’t do any good. Yes they will look at every angle to prosecute if it serves their agenda. The victims worst mistake was not calling his attorney before calling the authorities after the shooting . Using a firearm for self defense is always the last option a person should use. This is why anyone who knows anything avoids conflict at any cost if possible.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Ok, I don’t disagee with your theme, but that’s not even an anecdote related to the question of whether this has actually happened, or it’s just more “home defense” myths.

          • Wolfgar

            Yes, this did happen, the prosecution attempted to make the victim out as a gun nut who wan-tingly killed a fleeing, non threatening house intruder. They tried to use his life long passion of collecting and shooting firearms against him. The victim was in his sixties being treated for cancer whom had recently lost his wife and was described as an outstanding citizen by all accounts. The prosecution has to prove motive when prosecuting a murder case and labeling a person this way helps the case of motive. It failed because the jury was made up of mostly gun owners but with a jury ignorant of the gun culture this tactic can work.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            prosecution attempted

            That’s their job. They attempt literally insane things. The claim Claymore makes is that training can be used effectively against you. Which is a frequently talked about – never seen myth.

            In my book, it’s right up there with “IMA RACK THIS HERE SCATTERGUN” to scare people off.

          • Wolfgar

            They could use training against you as they could use lack of training against you. How effective it is depends on the jury and other factors. I would never hesitate to get qualified firearm training but I would be careful whom I sought training from. Character assassination is much easier if there are skeletons to be found in ones closet or your instructor’s..

          • There are some instructors out there that would most definitely hurt you in court. As tempted as I am to name names most of you already know who they are.

          • Wolfgar

            My thinking exactly!

          • Bill

            Noooooo, you’re kidding, right? After all, the 270,000 ex-SEALs/DELTA/DEVGRU out there have to know what they are talking about, that’s why they are ex-SEALs/DELTA/DEVGRU at age 29.

            I evaluate instructors based on whether or not they have full sleeve tats.

          • Bill

            Actually, they have to prove a level of intent, which is different than motive. They could argue that attending a training that focused on shooting live humans speaks to intent, while the defense will frame it as a serious effort at preventative self-defense, which is why we have cliches like “shooting to stop aggressive action” versus shooting to kill or wound.

            We had a case that the prosecutor declined to take because of a “self-defense” claim: the shooter went after a guy who broke into an outbuilding and shot him in the back with a shotgun from about 30 yards as the bandit was running away. We all knew that wasn’t legitimate self defense, but there aren’t many people around here who’d look at it that way, particularly because the little hood wasn’t hurt that badly. Another lawyer in the same office said he’d indict any cop who shot someone, just to appease the leftover hippies up in the hollers.

          • john huscio

            No such animal as a “nonthreatening house intruder”. Sounds like something a prosecutor in California or New York would cook up….

          • JK

            Do as your attorney sees fit, but if I have to shoot someone in self defense, the first call I’m going to make is to 911 to beg for an ambulance for the former threat. Using different words as the situation dictates.

          • John Wisch

            You really should be seeking medical help for yourself on 911 as the victim, even if it is just to check out your racing heart beat, and shortness of breath. While your at it couldn’t hurt to be a good Samaritan and ask for the perpetrator laying on the ground playing opossum to be checked out as well.

          • st4

            If I recall the story right, a friend of mine was in a self-defense case against local LE after they got into a melee with him (gentle giant, but looks like a 6’6″ skinhead I’ll leave it at that). He fared quite well in the scuffle, well enough they accused him of being on drugs. His lawyer advised him to not bring up his extensive martial arts training for the reasons you mentioned. He got out of it luckily and hopefully turned down his night life adventuring.

          • claymore

            lol the lazy one always demanding everybody ELSE prove that which if he wasn’t so lazy or ignorant of the subject could very well look up himself.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I haven’t made a claim, you have, multiple times. You’ve made the ridiculous claim that seeking training will hurt you if you ever have to use a gun in self defense. That’s wildly reckless. As someone who has received formal training like 40 years ago, you should feel bad.

            You accused the guy of reading the prosecutor’s mind, but can’t show even a link or name of a case, or anything that might give validity to this extremely old troupe?

            FWIW, you have posted the only argument against training to answer Katie’s question in the negative. But it’s a bad argument you read in Shotgun News in the 80s.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        No, internet speculation. Add it to the million other nonsense posts about “home defense”.

      • Bill

        Not really, but recall the media coverage on the San Bernardino shooters visiting firing ranges. If there’s a perceptual problem, it’s largely due to the labels and images that the vast majority of trainers impart, and why I typically wear jeans and a sport coat to trainings, and will eventually name my training company “Bill’s Social Crisis Mitigation School” instead of “League of Snake-eaters with Veins in our Teeth Academy of Martial Gunrunning and Counter ISIL Zombie Horde Menace Home Space Invaders Pink Mist Cloud.”

      • n0truscotsman

        Im sure there have been cases, although none that I know off the top of my head.

        It would be a problematic argument in a relatively pro-self-defense/pro-gun state too.

      • John Wisch

        One case in Arizona, Phoenix I believe.
        It is the actual stuff of legend.
        A firearms instructor with really bad violent neighbors, and an even worse gun hating 2nd amendment hating DA.
        It FUBARed that dude for a long time.
        Cases like that are why USCCA, and the Armed Citizens Defense Network, & Second Call exist today.

      • John Wisch

        November 2008 through May 2010, in Tucson, Arizona. Larry Hickey, his wife and young son lived on a cul-de-sac in a modest Tucson neighborhood.
        Look this case up. It is interesting and may answer your question.

    • I hope nobody here does have to shoot anyone in defense! What happens after can be pretty bad no matter who you are.

      • Major Tom

        I’ve had to be in such a situation as a juror. Deciding what is and is not self-defense based on the evidence and the law.

        Long story short, that case had some legal self-defense but on the most serious charge of murder it was not. (Guy was shot in the back indicating he was fleeing and no longer fighting.)

        • That is a tough one Tom and I don’t envy you being on that jury!

        • John Wisch

          The defense sure could have used an expert witness on that one !
          I have no knowledge at all as to this case, or yourself.
          But people get shot in the back all the time for legit reasons.
          1 being they spun off of the first or second shot and the trigger pullers auto kinetic reflexes just keep working i.e. kept pulling the trigger for another second until the eyes told the brain that told the body that told the finger to stop moving. In most normal humans that is 3 more rounds shot off.
          Oops. if you don’t have an expert explain that in plain English to the Jury the defendant goes to prison. Hence if the criminal aggressor demonstrated all 3 opportunity means & jeopardy and for his efforts ate 1 or two to the front and 1 to 3 in the back, the good guy defendant aint necessarily guilty at all, he just may have had an incompetent or under funded defense budget.
          Like I said I don’t know, nor do I care what happened, but not all convicted people are necessarily really guilty, but they are found guilty any way.
          My main point is just because someone gets shot in the back does not automatically mean the shooter did it wrong. It just means that the rounds landed in the receivers back.

          • Major Tom

            I mean no offense man, but that was not what was going on in that case.

            The first shot during the altercation went into the victim’s backside, no other rounds hit him. Given that the ranging on the wound was further out than the other person hit in the incident it made situation boil down to one question which ultimately decided my vote: Would you as a reasonable person shoot someone in the back who was clearly running away?

            I wouldn’t. I’d shoot someone in the back on the battlefield, not my front porch.

          • John Wisch

            Sincerely, thanks.for the response.
            I wanted to make it.abundantly clear In my post that I knew nothing of this case. Cause I didnt.

            The one thing that sincerely always causes me speculitive stress is your exact final paragraph.

            Would a reasonable person shoot someone in the back that was clearly running away. Followed by you saying, “I shoot someone in the back on the battlefield but not on your front porch”.

            Here’s my issue with it and please don’t discount me is being an idiot. Hear me out and think about it then cast judgement if you wish. If you have a guy on your front porch who is opportunity ability in jeopardy to cause you to die or be critically maimed we’ll call it crippled. And you have clear purpose and reason to use lethal force. I submit to you if that guys on the front porch your front porch that is the battlefield. The battlefield is where death comes calling for you in a violent manner. I don’t know how much you love your life or your family that you support. But you gotta ask yourself if your mindset is dialed in on this I will submit to you again that most people are not. They are exactly the same people that don’t train because they don’t need to because they know how to shoot, they know how to defend themselves properly legally perfectly. I think you get my gist. Here’s work comes down to it they guys running out your front door hit your Portuguese still reaching back with his pistol cranking around while he’s looking to head the other direction running away your whack his ass with accurate fire if you’re not face and belly down on your kitchen floor. I can go further what makes you know that this guy is not going to go out to your front yard truck up behind an elm or an oak tree for cover and then turn & put accurate fire on you while youre in your house.
            I own a house that that happened at while I owned it. Fortunately was rental property and I didn’t live there at the time. So what I’m trying to tell you is it’s not speculative its not if. This stuff happens. And it isn’t always cut and dry as to what you do in that situation. You see you being one of the 12 jurors you think you yourself is that reasonable human being based on your assumptions and your own knowledge of the rules of civil discourse in society. That doesn’t apply too violent killers, criminals and gang bangers. They don’t operate like you. My clients here now and I got to go to work. You got any questions just ask a reasonable individual with a high degree of training and education on the subject matter. I guess I’m just lucky that way.

      • Core

        You get to live.

    • gunsandrockets

      That’s an excellent observation.

      How often have we seen advice about only using a stock firearm, not using handloads, and only using police type issued ammo to minimize potential legal liability in the aftermath of a self-defense shooting? Yet I’ve only heard the opposite advice when it comes to training. That is a definite contradiction of advice.

      • BigFED

        Almost ALL advice needs to be moderated by area, state, part of the country, region, whatever. A justifiable “self defense shooting” in Texas could probably be grounds for criminal charges in one of those “liberal” states because one didn’t verbally warn the “suspect” you were armed and going to shoot. It comes down to knowing the laws and how they are applied where one lives. But, even here (TX) there are some “liberal” District Attorneys that want to demonstrate their power!

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Click bait BS Katie.

    Just like your caliber article. This is the issue when the site is made up of 75% ads. Katie doesn’t want a real discussion about training – because there is only one answer to this thread – this is a money making post. And this kind of content is insulting to the people that want to see posts about firearms.

    YES – next post please.

    • Money making post?? Now what is that supposed to mean? There really is nothing unusual about asking readers opinions if that’s what you mean.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        You’re not old enough to not understand click-bait.

        You want to convince me this is a legit discussion? Turn off the ads on this page and we’ll see.

        • Meaning I don’t see what the post has to do with click -bait.I don’t see any ads for training. For one thing I don’t have any control or involvement in the ads. I couldn’t turn them off if I wanted to.
          It can be a legitimate discussion if the readers choose to make it so. That’s the chance you take when you ask the readers a question. Will the discussion stay on topic or wander off and talk about click bait.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Make a case for “No”, Phil. Go ahead…

            Make ANY SORT OF LOGICAL CASE where the answer to Katie’s question is “No, you should not receive training”.

            The question isn’t “Can you live without receiving firearm’s training” to which there answer is again obvious.

            The question isn’t “Is formal training the most cost effective way to safely handle and be proficient with firearms” to which answer is also obvious.

            Katie does not post a legitimate question. Rather it is a rhetorical question, posted in a way that will elicit a vibrant non-discussion between people who have received training and know the answer is clearly YES, and those too lazy, cheap, or insecure to have done so, this will just drive a lot of page views on a page that is mostly ads.

            CLICK. BAIT.

            (Now… Not ads for me, I’m a smart boy and run UBlockOrigin because F ads)

        • Don Ward

          Phil isn’t old enough to understand click-bait?

          I’ve seen some pics of Phil here and he looks pretty old…

          I mean well-preserved. I mean seasoned.

      • Lee

        Lol… starting a website and making money based on traffic is bad now???

        This notzero guy is great. Please screenshot this crap. I think we have a new “legend of the mall ninja” in the making.

        • Sorry I just removed him—–

          Strange stuff making money to keep the lights on huh:-)

          • Lee

            Thanks. Hes either coming down from a bender of cocaine and league of legends, or hes borderline autistic.

            Either way your marketing and advertising model is not in any way annoying or excessive.

          • Thank you Lee we appreciate that!

          • JK

            I dunno, he seemed to be generating a lot of clicks, or at least further replies. Hoping for a little less “Real Housewives” drama for a bit.

        • st4

          Apparently, every generation has its Gecko45.

          • Lee

            Yeah…these training guys are on another level. I thought this trend would of died down already. If 3 years from now morons are still dropping $1k for a course of material easily learned on youtube, im starting a “consulting” company with everyone else’s standard curriculum. Its too easy not to do it.

            1.explain zeros followed by deadlifts.

            2.height over bore followed by tire flip.

            3.bsa drill followed by waterboarding.

            4.moving and shooting followed by wind sprints.


  • Lance

    Do both need to be accurate but occasionally use or your off hand for certain scenarios.

  • Bill

    Katie, I love you like a sister, and not in the Appalachian way (I can say that because I live there), but really…the question should be more along the lines of differentiating quality, relevant training, from bad and/or irrelevant training.

    Gun owners fall into the same trap that anyone who drives a car does: they think they know what they are doing, and can get from Point A to Point B, but don’t utilize 90% of the vehicle’s capabilities and frequently wreck.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Dunning-Kruger Effect. People with no training or education will vastly overstate their own abilities, they can’t recognize their own ineptitude.

      When you do received education, you learn a bunch of things you didn’t know, now you’ll more readily accept there additional things you don’t know out there (unknown unknowns), while also being able to self-examine performance accurately.

      For example, someone who can hit the target pretty well, might not realize that they often point the muzzle at themselves while explaining or manipulating that firearm… Then post a video of that online, where people who are educated see the issue immediately, people who are not don’t recognize that failure.

  • Don Ward

    Honestly? Who here came to the comments section just to read Jump? I know I did.

    • 624A24

      I saw “training” and prepared my popcorn.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      I wish he would live stream, I want to see it when that vein in his forehead finally lets go.

    • Sorry guys it wasn’t funny anymore—he is gone—-

      • TheNotoriousIUD
      • Cymond

        Wow! I’m glad this day finally came. It was clear that he hated the commenters at TFB, and many of us hated him. I often wondered why he continued to degrade himself by frequently our lowly community of knuckle dragging wannabes. (That’s sarcasm, fwiw).

        Did his nan result in all of his comments being delete from every thread on the blog? Although I am loathe to admit it, a small percentage of them have been useful.

        • Just the last 30 days

          • Core

            who are you talking about?

          • Cymond

            Pretty sure it was JumpIfNotZero.

          • Cymond

            uhhhh … he seems to be back, but also seems to be polite (at least for now). Did someone give him a stern talking to or something?

      • iksnilol

        HE DIED!?


        Training accident with Puzikas?

        • Self destruction

          • iksnilol

            I see.

            He died a hero… self destructed so as to not fall into enemy hands and provide them with his superior training.


          • Zebra Dun

            Oh you are a bad boy LOL he hung fired and checked chamber too soon.

  • Jumps244

    I think at a minimum you should be comfortable operating in the dark with a flashlight, barricading you and your loved ones in a room and waiting for the cavalry. For you CCWs out there, throw in some draw and shoot at the local range. Maybe a dynamic class or two when there’s a special.

    As for money, I’m a big fan of the laser training systems. Can work from the comfort of home without waking the neighbors or spending all that cash on .45 ammo.

    • BigFED

      A minor point, but most ranges open to the general public do NOT allow “draw and shoot” for obvious reasons. Even at our range where we allow local PDs to conduct training, we have bullet holes where there should NOT be any. The includes more than one occasion with a new “drain hole” in the holster and about 4″ from my foot!!!

      • Looking at the target holders, walls and ceiling will make you think twice about going to a public range.

        • BigFED

          I have seen the same at private ranges also. Some members think they are exempt from “stupid” or “stupid rules”, but most often they are just “special” needs clients!!! They need an especially brisk kick in the ass!!!

          Most of us “commoners” have little choice since private range/club membership fees are often out of reach, especially for the number of times folks DON’T go. But, with proper range and/or firing line supervision, most of those errant bullet holes are in places people are not! Almost straight up (ceiling) or almost straight down (carpeted concrete) and the areas to the left and right are restricted by the stall partitions. For the record, we have 6 large windows (18″hX36″w) from which all 12 lanes (two 6 point sections) of the firing line can be directly viewed in addition to video surveillance. Each window is standard ⅛” glass with two panes about 1-½’ apart in a frame through the 3″ concrete wall. Inside (range/firing line side) has ¼” steel mesh to keep ejected brass and other large fragments from hitting and/or breaking the glass. Since the range opened in 1986 until about 2006, we had one pane broken BEFORE we added the mesh in 2006. Since then, nothing. The most common injuries are “hot brass down the cleavage” (which almost all guys quickly offer to assist with), then there are those folks that fail to understand that the slide reciprocates (thumb knuckle/web) cuts/scrapes. And then there are those “I can hand load this hotter/faster, AKA the ‘KABLOOIE’ folks and the occasional “nines are cheaper than forties and they work ALMOST as good” (sad but true and it was a retired cop!)!

          I don’t know ANY range, public or private that doesn’t practice the highest level of safety. At a small range like ours, the RSO is whoever we delegate it to and EVERY customer has the authority to admonish ANY other user/customer for safety violations! We have tossed out only a few that responded with a smart assed counter attitude. Fewer than 5 people have been banned from the range and one of those was Federal Agent with the “I am the best in the house” attitude. Since 2005, we have issued over 45,000 range cards to our customers. (Range cards don’t expire, but if lost we do charge to replace it). I worked at that range since it opened in 1986 until 2015 when I finally “retired”. Still help out occasionally and am often recognized when I am out shopping.

      • John Wisch

        You have some of the most relevant posts on this entire topic or thread. It’s nice to see someone who has actual relevant experience post on the subject that is being talked about here. Thanks, it brings a degree of realism to a topic that inspires posts from somewhere approaching Fantasyland in the opinion category of many that read and post here. At least thats how I read it.

        The scarry part for me is that these nice gun folks here are the active ones in the gun ownership and CCW cross section.

        The vast majority understand far less regarding the defensive use of force & tactics than these guys & or gals conmunicating & posting here.

  • Bill

    I’m stealing that picture.

  • Edeco

    I don’t think training is necessary. It depends on who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, but fundamentally a gun is a tool, it makes things easier. I think it’s fine to just take the low-hanging-fruit; read the manual, behave yourself at the range, put a hundred or so through… You decide your own level of involvement in Project Gun.

    People elevate firearm training to the level of a religion. Like, if it can’t be said with certainty what will happen, training is the answer. Accordingly there are bizarrely-attired prophets and proselytizers. My thing is I’m training-agnostic.

    • John Wisch

      You have a picture of a fury woodland creature as your identifying picture.
      Please forgive me for not caring what you think on this topic. You know that it is a prey animal right?
      My God.
      Yeah I seen the agnostic comment so I threw it in on purpose.
      Glad that you are pro 2a, & sad that you are a sheep, and neophyte with an entrenched uninformed and unsupported opinion on the subject.
      I aint going to waste my time trying to educate you, you wouldn’t appreciate it any way.
      1 question though ? Would you handle radioactive material with out actual proper training? Just wondering?

      • Edeco

        I don’t think you are just wondering, I think you’re asking rhetorically. The answer might surprise you though. I have no radioactive material specific training and if I were handling a radioactive material right now it wouldn’t be the first time this month. Radioactivity in general, as a hazard, for most people is a paper tiger. The fact that you’d bring it up makes me think you’re prone to superstition and fear-of-the-unfamiliar.

        I’m glad you’re a gun-person also. There are dogmatists on the other side as well. It’s not a bad frame of mind; one can be consistent, reliable, energetic. It’s good the gun camp has people functioning at that level.

        “aint going to waste [your] time trying to educate me.” Aw, dagnabbit.

        OK so I have a question. A lot of people use pics of animals as avatars. If you had to use a pic of an animal, what animal would you choose? I’m just curious, not planning on making a thing out of it.

        • John Wisch

          I gotta be honest with you man, based off of your reply, I like you…
          I don’t gamble, but I’d bet money that you’re a good dude.
          As for what animal Avatar I would use, my real answer is, I wouldn’t have one. I took a second to think about it, and that’s the truth. If I was going to have an avatar I would use an actual photo of myself, most likely the same one on my business card. It is the same thing with my screen name, I state my opinions and thoughts on here and I don’t hide behind a trick screen name. I also make a serious effort to communicate with out ever saying anything that Id be ashamed of saying, so I don’t mind my real name being attached to it.
          I’m no shrink, so I have no idea what that says about me either way, but I am real fortunate to have the personality flaw of not being very self absorbed so I don’t care about it either way, so I spend no time thinking about it.
          Thanks for your reply and have a great week.
          PS I re-read my original post to you, It was snide. I remember writing it and it was late, I was tired, and frustrated from reading so many goofy posts. I was wrong to be snide in my reply to your post.
          I meant what I said about not caring or giving credence to your opinion on the subject. I own that wholly as I disagree with your writing on that subject. But I could have, and should have been more civil and less smart ass in my reply. Sorry bout that.

          • Edeco

            Thanks, np 🙂

  • n0truscotsman

    Yes, get it. From a reputable, respectable instructor (no controversial loose cannons).

    You will have to pay some money, which is often outside the reach of some people over some other more pressing concerns, although I think its important to place more tools in your toolbox sort of speak.

    I dont think of myself as ‘better’ or ‘superior’ having received a fair share of training over the past 2 decades (counting military), I just see myself in a position of being more prepared for an extraordinary event, god forbid it happen, and in a more likely position to open doors for those willing to expand their knowledge sake, or for intellectual curiosity.

    Thats just my perspective. Gun ownership to me is an unending learning experience, which is why it is important to me.

  • Sam

    First, learn to fight with your hands.
    Second, learn to fight with your pistol.
    They’ll work hand-in-hand with each other. Training outside of your comfort zone is also good, i.e. things listed in this article.

  • ft

    Any training done by a good instructor is better than no training.

  • M.Mitchell Marmel

    Any new skill is a good thing, to me… 😀

  • scaatylobo

    I have a few friends that carry ,and they do NOT train for any S/D scenarios.
    In fact they dont “train” at all.
    They carry = period.
    And a few have NEVER considered what or when they would actually shoot.
    So yes,you could say I am a HUGE fan of “force on force” training with airsoft or simunitions.

    • John Wisch

      You sir are one of the smartest people in this topic thread. Thought I was a lone ranger on the topic.

  • BigFED

    There is an old saying “That no plans survives first contact with the enemy!” Learn how to shoot and handle your gun with it fully loaded and two reloads! Unless one is in a combat zone, most events will be resolved long before the need for the first reload! Going to all those advanced courses and scenarios just obfuscates how to survive! The primary purpose of an armed civilian is to get out of the event as quickly and safely as possible. Having a long “laundry list” of things to consider slows everything down!!! “Am I on my left leg, am I 10′ 20′ away, are they wearing a hoody,” are all irrelevant to one getting lead on target.

    One other factor that I always tell those legal carriers when they ask about advanced schools is that having that “advanced training” may work against them should they ever be involved in a shooting! All it does is open the door to unjust (in most cases) accusations that one was just looking for a reason to use that training!

    Number one training for EACH and EVERY course should be “Keep your head out of your ass!” and number two is “Know what is going on all around you at all times!”

    • Core

      I don’t see why training has any bearing in a self defense scenario. The bottom line is when someone shows ability and intent to kill you, you have a right to stop the threat. It doesn’t matter if you use your hands or a shotgun. If the courts are stupid enough to entertain such tangents they should be disbarred.

      • BigFED

        @Core – There are theories and then there are realities! No question that better training contributes to the safety of all involved just as in driving and other activities. If one has no training on how to use their weapon of any kind, how would one reasonably expect to survive? Some one just blasting away is still accountable for any collateral damage/injuries/wounds.
        For instance, when I lived in Japan, I was held to a higher standard of driving responsibility than was the average Japanese driver. I was held to the standards they applied to their “professional class” drivers like those that drove a bus, taxi, or other commercial vehicles! And that applied to any U. S. citizen driving there solely because of the “culture and history of driving” that existed in the U.S.A. Most people in the U. S. start driving when they are 16-18 years old. In Japan, most “beginners” are in their late 20’s, early 30’s or even older because they just can’t afford to own a car until then. In Japan and many other countries, it cost more to get a drivers license than it does any car they may buy.

      • John Wisch

        I’m not messing with you but I do have a serious question for you. Do you know what ability and intent look like? The reason you need training is because you cannot see intent, intent lies in the mind and the heart of a subject that is acosting you.
        Ability, Means & Jeopardy those are things that you can be trained to spot in advance recognized quickly and respond to as fast as possible. I’m glad you put in your post about using your hands because you are going to be behind the forst time continuum in most cases of a defensive use of force in a lethal manner you most likely are going to have to use your hands in order to gain distance or stun your attacker while you’re moving offline of their lethal assault in order for you to access a firearm or other weapon if you have one whether it’s in your holster or somewhere in your house. As simple as you seem to think or want to make it when you have one two three or four at the series all trying to do you harm your mind only process is clearly one thing at a time and there’s multiple things going on. If you try this for real the first time and his life and death in most cases you will fail and feel ugly as most people do. Some well they get lucky they respond correctly fast enough good enough and they get out reasonably unscathed good for them but that’s the exception not the rule. & I don’t think it’s very smart to hang your future on the exception to the rule. But the great part is this is America and you can do whatever the hell you want. And I’m not going to try to stop you. But as I said before and will stay here again I recommend training like your life depends on it because one day it might. Have a good day. PS I responded is because other people read your post and I think you’re right. Therefore you’re having influence even unknown influence over others and their training philosophy or methodology. And I wanted to give a counter argument in support of much training as is possible and necessary. That’s up for each individual to decide for themselves. I mean we are only talking about our life live and freedom right no big deal.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    “You break out into a sweat, perspiration drenching your skin even though
    you’re standing still. Your respiration rate increases abruptly; your
    heartrate skyrockets.”

    Sounds like a great intro until your wife says, “No you can’t buy that.” . . .

  • Jeremy Star

    A lot of people think they need zero training. A gun, some bullets, and I am king poop of survival hill! It’s like the “survivalists” who brag about how they will survive the zombie apocalypse because they have 30 years of food wand water and ammo stashed away, and yet they are 350 lbs, have no survival skills, and will most likely be among the first to die in a real disaster.

    I go to my range at least weekly. I am no Jerry Miculek, but all of my rounds are on target, usually in a small area. Comparatively, a LOT of people who I shoot next to are struggling to hit the target at all. Why? No training. Last week I was next to a nice older gentleman who told me he had been shooting 30 years. He had a bunch of pistols, and every one he shot his hand was at least 3/4 of an inch below the top of the grip. At 15 feet his target looked like someone was shooting it with buckshot. Badly. Right next to him was my wife, who hasn’t shot a pistol in a decade and has had no formal training. In 1 1/2 hours I had her shooting my P229 (in .40, no less) at 21 feet and placing every. single. round. in the center of the target. Why? I trained her and we worked on her stance, grip, and trigger control.

    Nobody is ever as good as they think they are, and we can ALL use more training.

  • Mikial

    If training beyond basic firearms handling wasn’t necessary, then the military wouldn’t bother training.

    Train! Learn to shoot from positions other than standing in a perfect “A” stances with a firm two handed grip and taking your time to aim and concentrate on trigger squeeze. Trust me, all that is great and helpful, but when you are exiting a vehicle under fire, or trying to move while someone is shooting at you, basic range training will not be enough.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Homie needs a better lawyer and the state will pay all fees including suffering . . .

  • Core

    This has been a big thought provoking issue for me lately. I have been following a few instructors since I left the Navy, neither is in the tacti-cool headlines. I know they are legit because they have evolved the training that I received, and NSW training IMO is good stuff. They made sure we had a fusion of FBI, Marine Corps, Civilian, and proprietary NSW techniques. But I often wonder if I get tied up with bad training it might get me killed. But in reflection I believe any training can be beneficial but building muscle memory with bad training can in fact be a death sentence. I think trends have potential for disaster, so I wait until enough folks adopt it and work the bugs out. In the end I think the best way to prepare for a deadly encounter is to ensure you have a healthy body with strength and speed. I think it’s the foundation of everything and not often enough emphasized. I know there are some great schools out there, but I’m very careful to adopt new techniques. Just my 2 cents.

  • carlcasino

    I read the first paragraph and said ‘Wow” just described my first heart attack. I now carry Nitro Pills 24/7 along with my side arm of the day.

  • John Wisch

    I should just leave here with out posting but I cant.
    The absolute truth is no one here knows what their fight will be when it comes for you.
    The good news is, for most of us, no matter how unprepared, underprepared, or how prepared that we are. The fight will never come to us. At least statistically it will never come. Sure you probably have a better shot at being in a gun fight than winning the power ball. But for most of us the fight isn’t coming to us.
    That said, It will come to some of us, and to those whom it comes for, they don’t get to pick the time, place, distance, lighting, or their state of mind when it happens.
    Going back to statistics it is going to be at Contact distance to inside of 5 feet to start.
    Most of the gun guys here I see posting up, I can tell that they have their mental image of their gun fight all mapped out in their head already. ( I don’t need any training, no one does, just shoot straight and follow the rules of gun safety). I’LL WIN !
    REALLY? Best wishes to ya. The root word of GUNFIGHT is FIGHT, not gun.
    Fights aint fair, Criminal assaults are successful most of the time. They are actually better at it than the good guy victims why? The criminals are more practiced at it, they have the initiative, they are the ACTION that cause us to be behind the Force Time Continuum.
    In plain English, because we are the good guys we have to wait and react to their criminal aggression. That my friends here, is a bad place to be. So all your square range shooting is out the window, and I am sorry but it counts for almost nothing.
    I know I aint making friends and I am bursting bubbles. But it is a fact, not my opinion.
    I have a Career and a life that takes me to interesting places very often that are at the minimum dangerous and on the level sometimes hostile.
    For me Training is something I do quarterly, I practice monthly or more, and I shoot weekly.
    Training classes for me is:
    Mind Set Classes.
    Empty Hand Force on Force on video. (On Video Means that the Force on Force part of class is Videoed for Re-Play and Critique at the end of class to be used as an enhanced training tool).
    Weapon Retention, Weapon Disarm, Force on Force on video.
    Empty Hand VS Blade/Edged Weapon Force on Force on video.
    OC Spray inert then live, Force on Force on video.
    Knife VS Knife, Force on Force on Video.
    Empty Hand VS. Club or Stick, Force on Force on video.
    Blind Folded or Head Bagged & Distracted multiple attacker Force on Force on Video using Green Gas Guns or SIMUNITIONS & Rubber Training Knives.
    Vehicle Assaults Force on Force on video.
    Vehicle Assaults Live Fire on video.
    GSW Trauma Basic Medic course. Including how to self stop your own hemorrhaging.
    It goes on, but I wont.
    Here’s the simple truth.
    If you are cool with it being your first time ever being violently attacked, robbed, or abducted at gun point or some other weapon by multiple bad guys, and you have never been under that type of stress, pain, or fear before and you are thinking that you are going to prevail as the victor.
    Awesome dude, you’re Rambo indeed. Not very lucid, but still Rambo.
    If you wish to avoid it to begin with, or at least have it be a somewhat familiar situation where you have been there and done that with big sweaty determined people trying to impose their will on you while violently trying to mortally wound you.
    Well then you answered your own question, then train for it.
    The professionals train for it.
    Law Enforcement trains for it.
    Alphabet Agencies trains for it.
    Ever wonder why ?
    You want to carry a lethal weapon daily, yet most see no reason to train for it.
    Make your own decisions, I mean its only your life, limb, & freedom that we are talking about here. No big deal, right.
    Oh yeah almost forgot, you are responsible for every round that you send down range under that intense stress of fight. I hope you don’t stick any friendly’s or innocents under that high stress adrenaline dump that you’ve never prepared for or never new that it would happen to you.
    I don’t know who this JUMP character is, but I aint him.

    Have a good weekend, and I recommend training like your life depends on it, because one day it might.

  • Bill

    “Not really” doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but a sample size of one does not a trend make. I’m confident that there are more cases, but it’s the rule of anomaly: no one ever hears about the cases where the cops show up and say “good work” and the prosecutor doesn’t even take the case to grand jury.

    “A firearms instructor with really bad violent neighbors, and an even worse gun hating 2nd amendment hating DA.” That may have been a perfect storm of bad circumstances. Change any variable and the outcome could/would have been different.

    • John Wisch

      Agreed, thanks for the reply, have a great week.

  • Zebra Dun

    Firearms training?
    As much as you can stand and afford.
    Basic and advanced, no funny stuff no B/S just real aim/point shoot hit.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I personally think that all of the people spending $1,000+ for some guy to teach them how to shoot their AR-15 and their Glock at a target that’s 10 yards away are mentally retarded. In my opinion, the only firearm training that somewhat makes sense to pay for is long range shooting. But even then, the information is already all over the internet.