Understanding Training

Understanding Training

Why would anyone who has trained in the military or in law enforcement want to take additional classes if they don’t have too? The answer is simple – education.

Rules for Engagement

The rules for engagement are different for our military and law enforcement than they are for the average citizen.

Like anything in life, if you are trained to react in a certain manner under a set of circumstances, you’re going to react the way you were trained. Our fine members of the service or law enforcement are presented with dangerous encounters and therefore train to rely on their guns to settle conflicts. That’s not to imply they are “gun happy” but they are trained to rely on their firearms to deescalate or settle aggressive behavior. Their insurance is the full backing of the United States or the agency in which they are employed to protect and defend their actions.

In the civilian world, military and law enforcement rules simply don’t apply. Citizens do not have the protection of the government or some agency when they use their firearm. Therefore, citizens are taught their firearm is the “Tool of Last Resort”. Citizens have to follow different rules entirely. They must avoid confrontation completely, prove the threat of imminent death or great bodily harm, had no opportunity to retreat (forget “stand your ground” for this conversation), and had exhausted all other means to avoid the use of deadly force.

It is very difficult to break an old habit or to reprogram how you have been trained. This is important for everyone to understand and even more difficult to change. It’s not easy to take military or law enforcement training and translate it into civilian training. That’s because it shouldn’t be translated. Here is the where aspiring instructors should understand there is a difference in training. You see it all the time: “Training provided by an ex Navy Seal” or “20 year Law Enforcement Veteran”. While these titles sound cool, they also scream of aggressive training techniques and “special forces” powers. For military and law enforcement to teach firearms training to civilians, they have to restrain themselves and teach in a manner that benefits the civilian. Yes, hold “fun”, defensive techniques and tactical classes – but be sure the student is well trained in avoiding conflicts.

Civilian “Firearm Instructors” have their own set of challenges, being, they’re not as well trained as they should be when it comes to firearm skills. This is because, unlike the military and law enforcement, there’s no real regiment for training. For example, National Rifle Association (NRA) is the oldest and largest certification body in the world. To be certified as a pistol instructor, you attend approximately 24 hours of training. Of this 24 hours, approximately 18 are spent in the classroom listening to lectures with a few practical exercises. This leave about 6 hours of true range time and field training. Unlike law enforcement and the military, there are no on-going training requirements, no re-qualifications, and no system in check once someone is certified as an instructor.

What is a Weapon?

Let’s bring up another point – the attitude you have about your firearm. Both military and law enforcement are taught their firearm is a “weapon”. They go to work knowing if something goes wrong they can use their “weapon” to end the conflict. Most seasoned instructors refer to firearms as guns, pistols, revolvers, semi-automatics and so forth. The reasoning behind this is to diminish the thought process of using the gun as a “weapon” in the first place.

In addition, the word “weapon” has a negative connotation – implying you intend to use it to kill someone. This is why the industry receives harsh and, on many occasions, untrue or over-inflated and negative publicity. Let’s face it, we don’t live in Paleolithic times where a club is a necessary tool for survival. We don’t live in the “Wild West” where renegades and thieves are abundant. Nor do we use our guns for hunting on a daily basis – we have McDonald’s. This is the 21st century, a time where law and order is pretty much in place, we live as a community in cities and towns.

It’s important to think about the gun as a last resort and to train accordingly. Students who conceal carry on a daily basis are literally bringing a gun to a fight. If we train students they have a “weapon”, psychologically, they reason they can use it. Instead, we should teach them to respect and understand the incredible amount of responsibility they carry with them each and every day.

Firearms and the Law

The NRA Personal Protection courses also have a legal lecture titled “Firearms and the Law” in which an attorney, a person with a J.D., or a law enforcement officer with advanced Police Officer Standards Training (P.O.S.T.) certifications who lecture and assist citizens in making the right decision.

Most conceal carry instructors are allowed or mandated to provide their students with a copy of their state laws addressing the use of lethal force. This is a slippery-slope where firearm instructors find themselves interpreting the law rather than providing the law in its entirety. Neither the state nor the sheriff authorizes instructors to interpret the law. If a student has a question that requires interpretation of the law, the instructor would be wise to refer those questions to an attorney.

Law enforcement is the biggest violator of this rule. It makes sense they have been taught to enforce the law as part of their duties; they are not trained to interpret the law – that’s what an attorney will do for his clients. There’s a fine line between enforcing the law and dispensing legal advice…we suggest you simply defer to an attorney for those types of questions.

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