By Paul Markel © 2013
LUVERNE, AL --(Ammoland.com)- With the tens of thousands of first time gun owners having purchased a firearm in the last thirty to forty-five days, we have a situation where there are a plethora of gun owners but not trained shooters.
The first step in that addressing that situation is to congratulate them for taking the very first step; buying the hardware.
The next step is to get the software or education and experience.
No one is born a good shooter. There are definitely natural athletes, but using a firearm effectively takes both mental and physical skill. Whether you have just purchased your first gun or have owned one for years; training and practice are the keys to proficiency, confidence, and ultimately success.
Although the two words are often used interchangeably, when it comes to firearms, training and practice are not the same. Training is something you do under the watchful eye of a competent instructor. From a practical standpoint, you cannot “train” yourself. Only an experienced instructor can point out the areas you need to improve and reinforce the areas you have mastered.
Practice, as opposed to training, is something you can and should do on your own. After you have attended training you should be able to identify your strong areas and weak areas. We practice so as to maintain a level of skill and to improve in certain areas.
For instance, you may have discovered during training that your first shot on target is often low and left. Your instructor explained and demonstrated a proper trigger press and front sight focus. You understand what you need to do; now you need to consistently apply that during practice.
An often overlooked aspect of training and practice is the development of a genuine confidence in one’s own abilities. You cannot trick the mind or body. If you don’t have skill with a firearm you cannot simply will yourself to have it. After you’ve experienced a professional training class or two you will have a very real and genuine understanding of your abilities.
Often the improvement over a period of two or three days is dramatic. New shooters will arrive unable to hit the broad-side of a barn and leave with the ability to shoot tightly clustered groups. You cannot buy confidence, you have to earn it.
Skill with a firearm is like any other physical skill, it is perishable. If you do not train and then practice regularly you will lose that skill. Using a firearm for personal defense is serious business. If the time ever comes to defend your life with a gun you will not have time to “warm up” or “practice”. The skills you have mastered will be the skills available at the time of crisis.
If you are stumped as to where to find professional training you can always ask the clerk who sold you your gun. They should be able to recommend someone locally. Better yet, if you have a trusted friend who has taken training, ask them. If not, the Internet is full of information, jump on and do your research.
How much training and practice do you need? Step one is to actually get some professional training. The more practical experience you gain the better equipped you will be to answer that question. Having professionally trained and competent gun owners in our camp is a benefit not just to the pro-gun side of the argument, but to the entire community as a whole.
StudentoftheGun.com is your 24/7 source for all manner of gun related topics. SOTG offers education and entertainment through on-demand video material, online articles, books, DVD’s and live-training events. Student of the Gun; a beginner once, a student for life. www.studentofthegun.com Sign up for training with SOTG: www.studentofthegun.com/university.
Paul Markel c 2012
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