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The Importance of Training

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I often struggle to find a way to impart the importance of training. There are many ways to convey this importance to someone standing in front of me, but how do you make such a case to you reading these words?

It isn't so much a problem of making a case as it is of relating to your desire to be better at what you do; what we all do.

The answer is often right in front of our face, and frequently much simpler than we first thought. For me, all it took was a conversation with a passionate student with a very dedicated sense of what training is for. His perspective turned out to be virtually identical to my beliefs, though he helped me see it through his eyes.

Owning and keeping a firearm is a fundamental right. It is American and it is a symbol of freedom. More than that, it is a reflection of you taking responsibility for the protection of your family, your country and yourself. It is a conscious decision to own the tools necessary to stand against predators and wolves. It is a tangible solution to the threat of injury to your loved ones, a tool to deter those who might wish you harm. By providing a means of defense even in contests of unequal strength, firearms provides a balance; they mitigate the advantage of strength, threat of violence or the willingness to do harm from those who might otherwise prey upon those unable to defend themselves or their way of life.

The right to own a firearm is the power to stand against inequality of strength with full conscience of freedom.

Training - there is no more passionate community in America than gun owners

With rights, however, come responsibilities. We responsible for our actions and the consequences of those actions. I am not speaking in the legal sense, but the moral one. Our responsibility in owning a firearm is that we are holding ourselves accountable for protecting life. To protect life we must be trained to do so. There is no greater responsibility and no more humbling reality than the protection of our loved ones when they are threatened.

We all have the ability to figure things out on our own, to experiment and practice something until we get it right. This is how we learn, how we develop tools to solve problems. Each lesson we teach ourselves increases confidence. This is the single greatest aspect of being interested in something, the excitement of learning proficiency. The more your skill increases, the more likely you are to want to continue learning. What we don’t know, however, we don’t know. When it comes to firearms, there is never an end to what can be learned but there is a limit to what we can teach ourselves.

I am an educator, but more importantly I am a student. I learn from other educators and instructors, but some of the best lessons I've received has come from my students. They may have thought of something themselves as a solution to a problem, had a skill passed along to them from someone else, or even taken something I taught and used it to develop a new technique there on the spot. No matter the origin of the lesson, it would not have been possible for me to learn it had they not realized something – that they needed to learn more about not just operating their weapon, but how best to use it defending lives. The stronger your need for knowledge, the more you will seek it in everything you do.

There are many roadblocks to training; from cost to travel to the feeling that you don’t need it. Perhaps the biggest roadblock is time. You cannot buy another day, nor mortgage hours. Time is the greatest currency you have. Anything you are willing to spend it on had better be important. You are spending something you cannot get back.

One thing your time can get you when spent wisely is a skill that helps you to protect others, and to teach them they may do the same.

There is no more passionate community than the community of American gun owners; we identify ourselves as patriots because that is exactly what we are. What is more impressive is the common bond that gun owners share. We may argue about the magical powers of the 1911 (especially when lubricated with unicorn blood) or the fact that anything black desert tan urban grey increases your skill by at least ten points. We never turn down a chance to debate AK VS AR15, nor the opportunity to speak up when someone encroaches on our rights. We are opinionated and protective, but one of the single most impressive aspects of our community is the willingness to pass our knowledge along.

Gun ranges, on line forums, hunting trips and coffee breaks; the flow of knowledge is constant and uniting. This flow of knowledge makes us safer. A single bit of advice, or the most powerful words an educator can use, “let me show you”, creates a string of knowledge that has no expiration date. There is no limit to how far it can spread. I won’t say that a simple tip will change a life, but it can certainly save one.

Sage Dynamics - time in training is the most valuable commodity you can invest

The time I spend teaching is always worth it, every single second I can spend with a student is potentially a second of their life, or the life of a loved one, that I have helped them save. However, it isn’t about me, it’s about the student. I give my time and my knowledge to help student exercise their rights, and to understand the responsibilities that come with that right. I strive to find the words to convey the importance of training and realize that most every gun owner already knows how important it is; they just have to find the reason to spend their time. I can only hope that I, or my peers can help them recognize the reason – it is the quality of our life and those in it. Our greatest currency may be time, but our greatest wealth is family. To best protect our family, we must train and be trained to do so.

The potential cost of failing to train is one that no one should be willing to pay.


Aaron Cowan, Sage Dynamics

About the Author: Aaron Cowan is the Lead Instructor for Sage Dynamics, a reality-focused firearms and tactics training company that provides practical instruction for the civilian, police and military professional. Aaron served in the US Army as an Infantryman, as a private security contractor overseas and as a police officer. In addition to patrol he worked as a a SWAT team member, SWAT deputy team commander, SWAT sniper, sniper section leader and in-service police training officer. Aaron holds multiple professional certifications including the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Division’s instructor training program, California POST certified academy instructor, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Active Shooter Response Instructor and Simunitions Scenario Instructor among others. He welcomes shooters of all backgrounds to his classes as long as they come with an open mind and the will to learn.

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