Gun Owners Should Seek Training to Improve Their Firearms Skills

SIG SAUER Academy to Host 2nd Annual P365 EDC Championship

Texas – -( Have you ever wondered if you are up to the task if you ever have to use your weapon to defend yourself or those you care about?

I have and still do. I hope I never have to find out, but I hope I have trained enough to be ready when that time comes.

Before I mention the benefit of training regularly, I want to be clear when I say this… Citizens should NOT be required by the government to have training to participate in an inalienable right. If you must get permission, that is called a privilege, not a right.

With that said… Should we as individuals personally seek to improve our skills if we choose to carry? Absolutely!

I started off my journey to be better skilled at self-defense and shooting over a decade ago. When I started, I was like a lot of folks and thought, “I have grown up around guns, and I know how to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.” After many years and more money than I will admit to my wife, I have concluded that my personal need for training will never end.

While hog hunting, I kept running into the issue of only killing one or two hogs before they were gone into the brush. Many people know what I am talking about. I recognized I was not great at transitioning to other hogs during the chaos. It was at that point I decided to participate in competitive dynamic shooting to improve my skill set. I wanted to be the guy that could shoot several hogs before they got away and impress my friends in the process…and thus also be better at defending myself and my family should the need arise.

Over the last few years, I have been participating in shooting competitions, which has humbled me on how much training I still need. I started competing in local shooting events to get better.
At my first match, I had my butt handed to me. Out of roughly 40 shooters in my classification, I placed 37th. These were not the top national shooters. These were local guys there to improve their skills and have fun. I also learned shooting is not a skill set that comes naturally to me, and I have had to work hard to get to the skill level I have today. The biggest improvement I made through that process was to slow down and hit the target. Regardless of how fast I could move and shoot, my accuracy was suffering because of it. You cannot miss fast enough to win.

I eventually got to where I could occasionally place in the top 10 at these two-gun IDPA matches and started feeling confident about my skills. I also honed my long-range skills during this time. I decided to try another style of competition known as run and guns. They are typically 6 miles long, and we shoot out to 600 yards. The course designers like to make it as physically challenging as possible with steep hill climbs and uncomfortable shooting positions. We must carry our water, rifle, pistol, and ammo with us. Most guys carry around 20 to 25 pounds. I thought I would do well at my first run and gun match because of the gains I made with IDPA [International Defensive Pistol Association]. I got my butt kicked again and came in at the back of the pack. It was a reminder that I still needed improvement.

Since then, I have completed a few, and I am slowly moving up the ranks. I recently became friends with one of the fastest shooters/runners I have ever seen. It is a humbling experience to know how much I must improve even to get close to his ability. The professionals are on a completely different level in how good they are.

The lessons I have learned from competing are invaluable and a reminder that I need more training; even then, it may not be enough. If we aren’t prepared and trained, our odds of failure go up significantly. I have realized it is easy to shoot a deer at a few hundred yards with very little stress, but self-defense is extremely different from that, requiring several skill sets.

Keeping that in mind, shooting is a perishable skill. Once I attain the skills, I have to use them or lose them.

If you want to improve your skill sets, I highly encourage finding a good trainer in your area. It is a matter of life and death.

Wes Virdell
Texas State Director
Gun Owners of America.

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Knute Knute

Before making a decision of whether to spend your money on training, ammo, or both, learn the four rules until you know them by heart! They will serve you well no matter which direction you choose to go. Please do NOt make the mistake that so many make of trying to find the most important one. That is a fool’s errand. They are co-equal, and each depends upon the others. All guns are always loaded. OFC, it is understood that all guns aren’t truly loaded at all times. It means to treat all guns as loaded, until you check its… Read more »


Knute, that’s great information for everyone to know and always practice.


You had to know that and a whole lot more when I took my hunting course to get my license when I was 13.

Knute Knute

If only it was still that way, huh? 🙂
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”


I begin every firearms related activity, if not sure of the skill level of all present, with a discussion of J.C.s 4 rules, it is impossible to cause harm without violating at least 2 of them.

Knute Knute

You obviously know the reason why it is not appropriate to attempt to get the four rules down to one. Because they cover each other, as you stated. They overlap. Even if someone forgets one of them(and what human is perfect always?), the others will cover that mistake. If you don’t muzzle anything you aren’t willing to destroy, then it won’t matter much even if you did wrongly assume that the gun was unloaded and put your finger on the trigger and it went BANG. Embarrassing, yes… but body parts on the floor, NO. If you forget to check the… Read more »

Wild Bill

I suppose that it is just me, but now that you have said not to, I just have to try. So here goes:

Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Do that by keeping your finger off of the trigger, always pointing the gun in a safe direction, never pointing the muzzle at anything you do not intend to destroy, and being sure of your target and what is beyond.

Even as a purely academic pursuit, it is good that we internalize Jeff Coopers safety efforts. IMHO.


I strongly support firearm safety classes . Hunters safer classes have saved many lives by teaching the basics to safely handle and shoot firearms .


A good firearms instructor can save one money over the long term. I have seen people make the same mistakes over and over thus wasting ammo. Meaning they are also wasting money. I good instructor can help you determine what mistakes you are making and save you ammo. I have been a shooter for over 6 decades and a firearms instructor for 4 of those. I have shot several hundred thousands of rifle, shotgun and pistol rounds during that time period. While hunting, training, instructing and during competition. If you can hit what your shooting at all the time that… Read more »


With ammo very expensive right now and sometimes hard to find, most people have cut way back on their range time. It is very critical to practice as much as possible though, because as the article says, firearm proficiency is definitely a perishable skill.


Crack marksmanship is required primarily for offensive shooting happenstances only. Like military operations, tactical law enforcement and game hunting. Defensive shooting in crime racked US cities is most always point blank.


My experience after 36 years of training the public and law enforcement is that a strong majority of people who own firearms never prioritize learning how to effectively defend themselves. I see basic level concealed carry (CCW) permitees come back every two years to re-qualify and their skills are as poor as they were two years before. The vast majority do not practice and can barely shoot a very easy qualification score. They can fumble through reloading and malfunctions, but only if they have minutes, not seconds. I don’t know what the solution is, but many DO NOT prioritize improving… Read more »


I agree with some of what you said but as for the cause of why they don’t practice I think the high cost of ammunition, range fees or even places to practice has allot to do with it. The wife and I used to shoot 25 rounds each once a week when obummer was in office until ammo started becoming scarce then it switched to 50 rounds a month, then it got where I couldn’t get powder or primers and there were no bullets and it went to 25 rounds a month and then even projectiles started getting hard to… Read more »


A good substitute for live fire practice is dry fire practice. Much of what live fire can improve can be accomplished with dry fire practice. Using dummy rounds for reloading and malfunction practice helps build the solid habits needed to succeed under stress. All one loses is a bit of time. I guarantee you will become a better shooter with dry fire practice.


The best thing for me to practice clearing jams or anyone I teach is my Taurus Millenium Pro 45 cal. What a piece of junk. I teach people with that because it is sure to jam on the third or fourth bullet and who knows how many more will happen before all 10 rounds are gone and all mags jam. LOL. It also gives me a chance to see all the different places they point the barrel besides down range when clearing the jam. Using a good pistol I also load the mag with a dummy round so when they… Read more »


Also, the cost of getting good training is cost prohibited for a lot of people. The vast numbers of people getting CCP with no training is problematic as someone somewhere will pull and spray bullets everywhere. Antigunners will go crazy with that.
So, I don’t know how, but we should try to make training more cost friendly.