CONCEALMENT 7 The Importance of Firearms Training Hana Bilodeau The Reasons Go Far Beyond Politics Photos by Bob Rossi & Matt Stagliano In the ongoing debates about gun control, most discussions focus on making firearms regulations stricter. Very rarely is the focus on the training of gun owners. Gun laws and training regulations differ throughout the nation. At this time, 24 states require training as part of their concealed carry licensing process. Regardless of your feelings, we should all agree that firearm training is nothing to put on the back burner. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many gun owners do. They go to a store, purchase a weapon, shoot a small number of rounds … and then never train again. Remember, a gun is only as good as the training of its owner. Don’t ascribe to these rituals, because proficiency with a firearm is earned, not acquired. It’s easy for the average person to understand firing a gun accurately in a dangerous situation isn’t the same as firing a gun at a paper target. But it’s hard for the average person to envision him or herself in a situation where their safety is truly compromised. It’s because of the belief that “it won’t happen to me” that most people don’t make firearms training a priority. It’s easy to sit back and evaluate circumstances where others used deadly force, while sitting comfortably on a couch judging how we would have done things differently. We can all admit that at one time or another we’ve fallen victim to the sensationalism of media reports surrounding active shooter events. We’ve all seen the statistics or read the after action briefs and instantly jumped to conclusions about the person behind the gun. Let’s take a minute, look at some published reports, and think about our first reactions. In 2016 The Indianapolis Star reported that, after a lengthy pursuit, it took more than 200 rounds fired by Indianapolis police to eventually kill a suspect that earlier wounded two officers. In 2013, Radio Vice Online reported Norwich, Connecticut, police officers responded to a call of a man with a gun. Officers fired a total of 41 shots, hitting the suspect just six times. That’s a 15-percent hit rate. The New York City Police Department published a firearms discharge report for 2006 showing that officers fired 472 times throughout the year, but only hit their intended target 82 times; that’s a 17.4-percent hit rate. Most police departments require officers to qualify twice a year and attend a certain amount of firearms training to maintain their certification. A sworn officer receives more training than the average citizen. But if a trained officer involved in a gunfight has an average hit rate of less than 20 percent, where do you think the capabilities of a typical civilian lie? At first glance those statistics are frightening. What most people don’t take into consideration, prior to passing judgment, is that the majority of the time an average person (law enforcement, military, or civilian) spends behind a firearm is a stress-free, static environment with a stationary targets. Most actual shootings are anything but. They often involve a two-way range, movement, motor vehicles, innocent bystanders, non-traditional positions, extreme circumstances, and a high level of stress. Let’s take a look at how those circumstances can drastically alter our abilities to effectively operate a firearm, and the reasons why training is so important. It takes many rounds and countless repetitions to become a so-called natural. Firearm handling skills require continuous practice and dedication. And not just physical skills. Building a sound firearm foundation requires an intellectual investment, as well. For the rest of this article, subscribe here: Concealment 7 Explore RECOILweb:Christina Riordan - Going HotThe Arc'teryx Alpine Academy, Chamonix Mont BlancLeatherneck TacticalChildren of the Civil War NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!