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You can’t teach civilians that stuff

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Tactics, navigating a difficult physical environment, citizen response to active shooter, low light, SWAT tactics…

“You can't be teaching civilians that.”

Do not teach regular citizens those things.

That's the sort response RECOIL contributor and Sage Dynamics training director Aaron Cowan got recently from an “old school LEO” about some of his curriculum. Thankfully the vast majority of LEOs we know don't think that way – and they don't, let me just head off the “evil jackbooted thugs of a militarized police state” trolls now. In point of fact, most of the guys and gals I know On The Job are huge proponents of civilian itraining, though admittedly I don't spend much time with unmotivated donut-eaters who allow their handguns to rust into their holsters.

But I digress. This is about taking offense to other people's training.

Says Cowan,

“We had gone down this road before with my Citizen Response to an Active Shooter course.  He didn’t like that either, those were “SWAT Tactics.” What bothered my friend wasn’t teaching someone how to navigate a door way or how to shoot from inside a vehicle or even how to clear a room this time.  No, he was hung up on me teaching low-light rifle tactics.”

The thing identified as most problematic with ‘civilian gun use' and CCW in the circles I run in is actually the complaint that people exercising their Second Amendment right don't train enough. Think about it now – you're walking around with something intended for fatal applications in the defense of yourself, your family or other innocents. Why wouldn't you want to spend at least as much time on it as you do on your putting skills? The fact that Aaron had to have this conversation (or that anyone is still having this conversation) pisses me off.

“The misguided notion that a “civilian’s” self-defense skills have an experience and training cap that is arbitrarily established by what I guess is someone having worn camouflage or polyester pants for reals.   I don’t understand the train of thought so it’s pretty tough for me to hang out near the tracks and listen to the cackling but it appears that the general consensus among some is that having not worn a uniform or badge, you somehow aren’t allowed to shoot fast, move or wear MultiCam.
Obviously there is a bit of a line here; should citizens get team based training, instruction on how to breach a door or more advanced skills like Austere Application of Non-Relevant Gear in a Disruptive Environment ?  That question is the problem because it presupposes someone doesn’t need something based on present conditions and personal bias.  Don’t get me wrong, I think someone taking a high speed carbine course before they have mastered the basics of personal marksmanship and safe weapon handling have put the cart firmly in front of the Crye Precision horse; but as an evolution of training, who are any of us to say when someone’s right to learn ends.”

Cowan and I don't always agree on everything (huge surprise) but we're definitely on track here. “Tactics” should be available to anyone who wants to learn them (you know, barring maybe the bending of bullets and post-explosive breach dual-wielding), particularly if the focus is on the realistic potential of each student. I've personally been out-performed (one might say humiliated) by several switched-on civilians on the range in the past (along with other military/LEOs). In no small part because of this I can honestly say I wish every civilian had the  opportunity and wherewithal to train rigorously, under difficult and realistic conditions, in and around vehicles and shoot-houses and at night. We could us more Baraka Js, Sabrina Ws and Ell Ps  (and Deweys and Durhams and Belloviches…you get the point).

Read Aaron's article in its entirety, it's worth it.


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