My internet friend Gundoc raises an interesting observation that he recently had regarding some of the folks that have recently separated from the military. Go read it, and weigh in on the subject.
Here are my thoughts:
In my limited time with the shooting sports, and the industry, I find myself shooting with a wide variety of people. A fair bit of ex-military and active law enforcement. A lot of folks that may have just picked up a weapon and are learning the ins and outs, and then the Cletus’s of the world. The point being, for military and LEO guys they are keeping a really close eye on shooters they don’t know. Once you have demonstrated your knowledge and abilities they welcome you with open arms but, you have to earn their trust and respect.
With new shooters, we are all always keeping an eye on them. Whether it is a training class or a match. Nobody wants to be the one that has to call them out on their safety skills but, no one wants to have to deal with the aftermath of an incident either and that over rides any reluctance to deal with a safety issue.
The damage that a firearm can do to the human body is horrific. It should not be trivialized. By the same token, the damage that a blade does to a human can be even more horrific and terrifying. I can understand Gundoc’s acquaintance’s attitude. I can’t defend it but I can understand it. To come from an environment where you are handling, and using a weapon (rifle, pistol, knife) everyday for a prolonged period can, and should, create a level of confidence and familiarity that is not present in those that do not have that prolonged experience. As many of you may will relate to, walking into a crowded public range can be a frightening proposition. There may be 20 other shooters in there and you have no knowledge of their abilities or safety consciousness or the condition of their weapon(s) and ammunition.
Even though it has been a while since I finished my time in The Corps, I can tell you that at the time seeing a hunter with a rifle was a jarring experience. Someone in cammies and a black rifle, no big deal. Someone with jeans and an orange vest…it just didn’t seem right. Once I got comfortable with the individual, and their ability / knowledge.. things settled in nicely.
Back to Gundoc’s questions and points:
- It all goes back to earning that trust. I think once his acquaintance begins to trust people and understand that they are trustworthy things will improve.
- Martial arts / Combatives is a great place to start but, it is not the end of the road. Martial arts by definition includes weapons of all kinds, and imbues a level of discipline and respect for weapons and weapons systems that serve as a solid foundation for firearm handling.
- In most cases, no one should be discouraged from seeking the CCW. However, it needs to be supplemented by training, and knowledge. While I don’t have any statistics to support this, I tend to believe that most people will allow a stranger to near “bad breath” range before they start to alert to a potential situation. Therefore, starting with some knowledge of combatives and having levels of escalation in your bag of tricks before you get to the firearm is a good thing.
- Confidence. I am surprised by Gundoc’s comments about confidence and teaching skills from this individual. For an Annapolis or West Point grad those that I know are some of the most confident and competent people around. On the other side of the coin, they are also the most open to looking for ways to improve. Perhaps the mistake here is that what is being observed is not someone lacking confidence, as much as he is trying to fit and adapt his style to the audience. I spend some time training with an retired SOF guy every year. He also spends a fair amount of time with the active duty units in the area training them up. I hear an awful lot of “roger that” and “Hoohahs” that slip out from him in his instruction. I believe that adapting your style to the audience is one of the biggest keys to success that instructors / lecturers have. I suspect that in this case, that is what is happening.
Read Gundoc’s article and give him your thoughts.