"Importance of Defensive Firearms Training" Essay Contest

Everyone has their own reasons for seeking out defensive training. PDN asked members of the Professional Outdoor Media Association to write a short essay explaining why they think it’s important. Here are the top five essays from these professional communicators… I think they’re great!

While you may not need to be motivated to train, you may know someone who does. Share these essays with them and give them some more to think about! – Rob Pincus

By Jim Braaten

This is an image of Jim Braaten

“Did you hear that?!!”

“Honey, wake up … did you hear that noise in the kitchen?!!”

“I think someone’s in our house….”

This is not the conversation a person expects to have in the middle of the night once they lay their head down on their pillow for the night. But it happens. Happens when a person least expects it. Happens far too often in this drug-crazed, take-what-you-want world we all live in.

As a sportsman, it’s easy to take a certain solace in the fact your trusty bird gun sits 10 feet away in the closet. Hell, you know you’re the best quail shooter at the club. But how are your skills at shooting felonious intruders these days? Chances are most sportsmen who own a cache of various guns and knives live under a false sense of security.

When you go on an upland bird hunt, you carefully plan your strategy. Spend months in the trap league honing those smooth swings on a passing bird. Choose just the right ammunition for best patterning performance. You leave nothing to chance to perform at your peak.

Yet, protecting your home is a different game. If you’re lucky, you might have a plan for how to escape the threat of fire … but what about the human threat? Can you quickly fortify your bedroom, making it off-limits to an intruder in a matter of seconds? Is your cell phone always by the nightstand? Do you have the training necessary to make life-and-death decisions in split seconds?

Nobody wants to encounter crime in their own home. Yet we can’t just wish it away. It takes preparation. It requires hands-on training.

Now is the time to make a pledge to your family they will be survivors.

© 2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

By Kevin Creighton

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Why should you get defensive firearms training?

… because you can over-train for some things, but not for a violent armed encounter.

… because you want to survive a violent armed encounter.

… because your loved ones and friends want you to survive a violent armed encounter.

… because your concealed-carry permit class was a licensing class, not a training class.

… because knowing how to hunt isn’t knowing how to safely carry a defensive firearm. Hunting is fun, but deer don’t shoot back.

… because a gun isn’t a magic talisman of self-protection and confers no special abilities of marksmanship onto its owner.

… because going to the range and punching holes in paper targets are good training for being attacked by a piece of newsprint, but not good training for being attacked by a 250-pound mugger.

… because knowing how to defend your life or the lives of your loved ones isn’t a skill we’re born with, but you might need if you own a defensive firearm.

… because if you’re facing the threat of armed physical violence, that new gadget or super-cool new gun isn’t going to be as important to you as knowing how to stop the threat with your firearm.

Why should you get defensive firearms training? Because on the worst day of your life, when your life or the lives of people you care about are on the line, you’re not going to rise to the occasion. You’re going to fall to your lowest level of training.

By Alan J. Garbers

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What does defensive firearms training mean to me? The answer is multi-faceted.

Reaction time is key in any life-or-death situation. Being effective at drawing and using a weapon can be the difference between protecting loved ones or a lifetime of regret. Just owning a firearm is a weighty responsibility, but efficiency doesn’t come from ownership. Choosing the proper weapon for a situation is just the first step in proficiency. Knowing when, how, and the degree to react takes familiarity from training. Accuracy and then speed are offspring of practice.

In this modern world, we live a complacent life, rightfully expecting to return home safely each time we step outside. However, nestled in complacency is danger, because most never learn situational awareness. Lack of awareness allows some to wander into confrontations that trained and vigilant people would have avoided.

Training by experienced and knowledgeable instructors helps foster awareness as well as honing abilities to react to any situation and make the proper decision when seconds count.

Using a firearm to defend life and liberty is a right, but it is the responsibility of the user to be ever vigilant and always aware. Defensive training conditions us to evade dangerous situations and react instinctively and effectively when they can’t be avoided. After all, in a life-or-death situation, there is no second-place winner.

By Kevin Paulson

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As a hunter, I practice year round with my bow, zero in my rifle, shoot trap, hike with my pack loaded down in my new boots, all in preparation for a fantastic fall hunting season. When my good buddy Jason asked if I had taken any classes on home defense, I laughed it off. The point hit home over the next several days. In the back of my mind, I knew he was right.

In any given year, I shoot tons of arrows in the months leading up to archery season, and yet I can count on my fingers the number of times I have shot a pistol or thought about what I would do in a critical situation if I needed to protect myself or my family.

This year my aim is to change all of that, starting with the beginning class that most every gun owner should consider: the concealed-carry class in your home state. These classes are paramount to understanding the laws of your individual state, when and where it is legal to carry, and how you can protect yourself. The next course will be a simple home defense 101 course, and I will look for some guidance from the instructors and friends after I complete those first two courses.

From one hunter to another, I am encouraging as many of you as I can to consider whether you truly are prepared to protect your family in a moment of crisis. Most hunters know how to aim a gun, but using one in the heat of battle is a different matter entirely. Do you think it is worth your time and money to invest in training?

By Kevin Reese

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“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” Sun Tzu’s ageless adage, adopted by Marine Corps drill instructors everywhere, still rings true today, and not just a midst ranks of uniformed troops; substitute “war” with “defensive situations” and you’re left with similar common-sense ideology in the civilian world. While practice doesn’t necessarily “make perfect” when operating in survival mode, it certainly does offer a calming of the storm, so to speak, while trapped in its vortex. In this context, training isn’t a function of simply educating. It’s a function of prevention, avoidance or, ultimately, committing survivor tactics to our subconscious – not processing what needs to be done but doing it automatically and without hesitation.

The Liberty Poll had it right when it asked readers, “How many times have you read, ‘An unidentified woman, heavily armed with a semi-automatic weapon, was raped by a man wielding a knife?” The question itself carries a lot of weight unless you qualify it with a lack of training. Let’s face it, lack of defensive knowledge manifested in ineffective subconscious responses has resulted in hundreds of thousands of victimized firearms owners.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” If my Pop said it once, he said it a thousand times. Strangely enough, the most effective ways to reinforce good habits while ending bad ones are training and routine practical application. By and large, concealed handgun license (CHL) holders and other defensive firearms enthusiasts recognize the importance of training and practice.

Unfortunately, even CHL curriculum can lack the level of training necessary to save lives and protect property, since the most critical components of defensive firearms training, situational awareness and critical decision-making, learned only through experience or training (I suggest training), are often lacking. As a result, scores of CHL holders agree that meeting basic permit requirements only marks the beginning of their defensive training.

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2 Responses to “"Importance of Defensive Firearms Training" Essay Contest”

  1. ernest irvan

    i am a beliver in self protection. i live in a neghborhood where crime is constant. there are many shootings and injuries and several drive by shootings. i believe all honest people should have a firearm to protect themselves.

  2. William Hartig

    I am a former combat Marine and my training and real world understanding came the hard way.. At 70 years old I would be a easy target for a gang of bad guys.. But YOU must be trained and put in range time to keep up your skills ... The real world can be very ugly and the cops are always after the fact... TRAIN as if your life counts on it.. IT DOES.......