I must preface this article with this statement:
I am a civilian, defensive firearms instructor. My background is not in military or law enforcement training. My responsibility is to deliver instruction on concealed carry, defensive mindset and practical skills the responsibly armed citizen needs to be safe in a less than 100% safe world. While I myself participate and encourage others to participate in tactical or advanced classes, that is not the current purpose of my particular shooting school.
The Shiny Vocabulary of the Gun Training Realm:
tactics (noun, definition) – an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end
tactical (adjective, definition) – (of a person or their actions) showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action
The firearms training industry is filled with certain terms and phrases which
are supposed to immediately incite an image of highly-trained, elite, anti-terrorism agent with the skills of James Bond and Seal Team Six. If you read through the endless Facebook posts and blog sites, you will see words like “operator” and “tactical”. You might see pictures of instructors dressed up in military style body armor or camouflage uniforms.
This is not what I do. This is not what I teach. My defensive firearms instruction is geared towards the practical and realistic side of what the responsibly armed citizen may need. I simply teach the skills and mindsets necessary for a person to defend themselves. I am not teaching the average citizen to go to war or to take down a meth lab. We teach defense not offense. The fact is, most defensive gun uses are reactive and do not have well planned endpoints in mind short of prevailing over an unexpected threat.
Let’s take a look at the two scenarios which cover the majority of the average citizens need for a firearm for self defense.
You are trying to protect yourself and your loved ones (note I do not mention property) from an assailant who means to do harm to another human. This is a scenario where I could foresee the use of a home defense long gun. This would be a shotgun or defensive rifle like an AR-15.
The idea here, as long as you have the time, is simply to gather your family, barricade in place with your gun at the ready and get on the line with 911. If you truly think their is an intruder, you should not try and “clear the house” or search for the bad guy. Look at it this way, Navy SEALS and Police SWAT units use team tactics to clear houses. Unless absolutely necessary to reach a family member in need, actively seeking out a threat in your home, can be a much more dangerous task than most people assume.
Defending Yourself in a Public:
You are responding to an imminent threat against yourself or loved ones from an unforeseeable event. If it were foreseeable, you should have left the area and avoided the conflict. The defense skills here are meant to stop the threat as quickly as possible, create distance from the threat and hopefully provide an avenue for escape. Even in the case of a spree killing event (the anti-gunners like to refer to this as active shooter events), the goal is not to seek out the threat, the goal is to gather your family to an escape point and defend them if necessary. The average citizen is not trained to seek out and intercept bad guys.
This is the essence of concealed carry. You have a concealed handgun available to you beneath your outer layer of clothing. It is there for defensive purposes. If it were for offensive purpose, I would choose a better platform than a handgun. But offense, is not what concealed carry is all about.
Why I am Not a Tactical Trainer:
Why do I not consider myself a tactical trainer? I think the word tactics is overused for the basic defensive skills people want to learn from their concealed carry permit class. This is why I call my company “Practical Defensive Training”. We teach practical skills, which are defensive in nature and train our students to prevail over threats to themselves and their loved ones.
Is there a place for the tactical trainer?
Absolutely. I have even taken classes from individuals whose credentials and skills allow them to teach those higher level offensive-force tactics. There is a great deal of information you can learn that will translate in to better defensive skills. I encourage every responsibly armed citizen to seek out higher levels of training. Still… the place to start is enrolling in one of our high-quality concealed carry classes. 🙂