Every year I spend a lot of time, energy, and money paying to go to other training courses. I try to identify areas where my skill set could use some improvement, and I seek out people who are better in that area for help. I consider myself to be a high-level shooter, but I also know that I am nowhere near the level of many other people out there. I likely never will be. But.....
Today's random rant is specifically for those people who make the argument that "they can't afford to train" or that "formal training is too expensive." This rant is not for the people who "don't need training because they already know how to shoot" but rather for those lost souls who will make the argument that formal training just costs too much. I am writing this rant more from the perspective of a student than an instructor, because the people that come to my courses are obviously not the ones that are complaining about the expense of formal training. No, this is for that special guy or gal who doesn't blink twice at a $120 bar tab or can justify why he "needs that new $800 rifle" but can't spare $150 to take a course.
This guy, we'll call him Tommy Tactical, owns dozens of guns. He probably has relatively little ammunition on-hand compared to the massive amounts of firearms which probably don't have too much rhyme or reason to the collection. For instance, this guy owns one of every caliber "just in case" but can't tell you the muzzle velocity on any of his ammo. Tommy Tactical can tell you the latest and greatest upcoming products from any manufacturer (and his personal opinions) but he would need a gunsmith to clear a double feed malfunction. Ol' Tommy Tactical will likely even make the statement "why would I pay $350 to take a 2-day course when I could almost buy another handgun for that?" Oh, Tommy Tactical- when the excrement hits the rotating cooling device (sh!t hits the fan), how I hope you'll remain holstered and let those less ignorant than you defuse the problem at hand.
Yes, Tommy Tactical- the guy with the 10mm handgun who thinks that the body of a car is "cover" instead of "concealment," you sir are probably a liability to those around you. The problem with Tommy Tactical is that he really doesn't know how little he knows. Because he's never taken a course to see how much informtion is available to him, because he's never been to a competition, because he's likely never done any real training with shooters who are far better than him, he is largely ignorant to his own ignorance!
Tommy Tactical doesn't know that it would be far more beneficial for him and those around him if he would sell 75% of his handguns and use the money he received for some formal instruction, ammunition, and actual training. Tommy doesn't know that he could invest in a case of ammo, a basic shot timer, a pen and paper, and a couple of formal classes and within about 3 months his skill set would be light years ahead of where it is now.
Might it cut into his ego to subject himself to a course called "Handgun Fundamentals and Safety" as if he doesn't already know that content? Maybe. He might also do himself a favor and go get absolutely smoked at any local IDPA or USPSA match near him. But Tommy Tactical isn't interested in seeing how far behind even intermediate level shooters he really is... However, let's consider the alternative.
Let's say that the unthinkable happens and Tommy Tactical finds himself in a situation where his life or the life of his loved ones is in real danger. I'd rather Tommy Tactical have his feelings hurt at a local training session than have his family member hurt in a truly violent situation. I highly doubt that Tommy Tactical could watch his loved ones get hurt in part due to his insufficiency with a firearm and then continue to argue that "formal training was too expensive."
If you are Tommy Tactical and are arguing that you can't afford to take formal training classes, then let me assure you...
You Can't Afford NOT To!
Just a thought, Tommy Tactical. See you at the range.