"I carry a gun in my car, but I've never shot it before."
Variation: "I'm carrying a new firearm that I've never shot before."
It amazes me that some people who are in agreement as to the need to carry a firearm will trust their life to a tool that they've never trained with before. Yes, I understand that it's a production firearm from a reputable manufacturer. I don't care. Yes, I understand that you have carried a firearm every day for years. I don't care. Yes, I understand that you like this new firearm a lot.
I. DON'T. CARE.
I have slightly more tolerance for the people who are extremely capable with their firearm carrying a firearm that they are less familiar with. Here's the catch: These people are rarely, if ever, the people that are willing to carry a firearm that they aren't familiar with!
Then there are the other people... Those folks who carry a firearm with the off-hand hope that in the remote chance that they must face violence on their own behalf, that they will somehow have an innate ability to operate a firearm that they have never shot and who never train. Some of these people have never shot any firearm, let alone the one that stays in their center console every day as they drive around.
Let's be clear about one thing:
Humans DO NOT RISE to the occasion.
They FALL to the highest level of training that they have MASTERED.
That means that a very competent shooter, one that trains on a regular basis and is very capable with their firearm, will see their skills greatly diminished in a high-stress situation. So if you compare that with the person who has never fired a gun, or has never fired the gun that they are carrying- I think we can all agree that this person is going to be literally useless with this foreign object while experiencing true body alarm.
If you carry a firearm- make sure that you are capable of using it. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and even us strangers around you to be competent and capable with your firearm if you choose to carry it. If you're not competent and capable with your firearm, then invest in a skill that could one day save your life and take a course. I recommend the Handgun Fundamentals & Safety course or NRA Basic Pistol. Both will leave you with a solid understand that you can continue to build on.
"Why are you carrying HERE? It's not like you're going to need a gun HERE!"
I absolutely hate that statement. To anyone who has ever put in any legitimate effort to study violence, that's among the most dangerously negligent statements that we hear anyone make. To make this more intolerable, we often hear this from people whom we know quite well. In fact, in order to make the above proclamation, we obviously know you well enough for you to know that we are carrying a firearm. Sometimes this is in a church. Sometimes this is in our home, a grocery store, a movie theater, a restaurant, or any other number of locations that you have obviously "deemed safe enough" for us to not need a firearm. Why do we hate this statement? Well- because we usually don't get to choose the location where violence happens. If we did, we would only carry a firearm in the areas where we proclaimed that "violence could happen" and we wouldn't burden ourselves with it the rest of the time. But we can't...
You don't need a firearm in a church? Would you be surprised to know that church shootings are actually prevelant enough to warrant their own database? Home invasions are on the rise, shootings in movie theaters seem to be a regular enough occurrence that they barely make this stupid list of "safe places we shouldn't carry," and virtually any other place that we find ourselves during our daily lives could be the scene of violence where we would need to protect ourselves or those around us.
Consider an alternative statement. Imagine the scenario where your "crazy, paranoid friend who carries a firearm everywhere" got into your personal vehicle with you to go out for a drive. As you turn on to the second of four roads leaving your neighborhood, that friend looks at you in shock and all but shouts "WHY ARE YOU WEARING YOUR SEATBELT HERE? IT'S NOT LIKE WE'RE GOING TO GET INTO A CAR WRECK HERE!" You pull into the parking lot of your local grocery store and this same friend asks condescendingly "Why are you locking your car doors here? Are you expecting car thieves at the grocery store?" See where I'm going with this?
One of the most common questions that I get on a regular basis often comes in the form of a statement. It usually sounds something like the following: "I just have a shotgun because you don't have to aim those." Sometimes it'll be in the form of "I could just pump the shotgun and any intruder there will immediately run away."
Let me be clear about my stance on shotguns (or any firearm, for that matter) for home defense. Use your firearm to defend yourself any way necessary. Rack the slide to cut their fingers, shoot them, hit them with the weapon- anything to win the fight. However, do not assume for one second that you can just scare them away by racking the slide or that you can shoot them without aiming at them. It simply doesn't happen that way- and anyone that has done any training with a shotgun knows that isn't the case.
The reason behind this myth of the non-aiming shotgun is because shotguns do shoot a spread of projectiles (unless you are using slugs) instead of one single projectile such as a rifle or handgun. For instance, shotguns are used for bird hunting because the shoot a spread of small pellets that make it plausible to hit a flying/moving object with reasonable consistency. Buckshot, which is very common for home defense, shoots anywhere from three to nine projectiles out that spread out more and more the further they travel. It should be noted that since a shotgun does fire a spread of projectiles that the effective distance of a shotgun is much less than that of a rifle.
This is one of my favorite rants. Why is it a favorite? Because it's laughable... I've had people infer (or blatantly tell me) that I only stress the importance of formal instruction because I offer classes. They infer that apparently this is my route to financial prosperity and that is why I encourage everyone I know to become educated and proficient with a firearm. HA!
Let's be clear... This is a side business for me. It is a business that has not ever, and likely never will earn a dime in profit. I have other side businesses, as well as a full-time job that I work very hard at. I'm in about my fourth year of being paid to offer firearms instruction- and it's never generated a positive net value at the end of the year. I invest in the business, the equipment, my own training and education, insurance (a ton), additional certifications, etc. In short, it doesn't take a financial genius to understand how quickly this "business" can be below the profit line.
So if it's not for profit, then why do you continue to do it?
I believe that we can train our entire lives in preparation for that one time that we must face the wolves at the door. I believe that as a responsibly-armed citizen it is my duty to be as prepared as I can possibly be in the event that I must face evil on someone else's behalf. I believe that if I train continuosly for that time and that time never comes- then my efforts were not wasted. I believe the same is true for everyone who chooses to protect themselves and others with a firearm.
Oh, I also love to shoot and tend to share a lot in common with others who do as well. As the old saying goes: If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life. Well, I love doing this, and don't have any intentions to stop sharing the information that I have with others and seeking more information from those more knowledgeable than me. If that gets on your nerves, then read carefully: Many of these rants are probably about you.