by Aaron Marshall
The world of firearms is filled with misconceptions and myths. I want to zero in on three myths related to women and handguns. Throughout my career, I've trained thousands of women to use a firearm, and these three misconceptions (often believed and circulated by men) are among the most common myths I've heard. Let's look at these three myths and why they're wrong.
If you've been around guns for at least five minutes, you've undoubtedly heard the terms "negligent discharge" and "accidental discharge". Some people use these terms interchangeably. Others will pedantically insist that "there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, only a negligent discharge." The truth is that there is such a thing as both a negligent discharge and an accidental discharge, and while both involve an unintentional firing of a shot, they are not the same thing. Let's examine the difference in an effort to make you safer when handling a gun.
When I was a young boy, my parents gave me piano lessons. I had a knack for it, but soon ran into a problem: I needed to learn my scales, but I didn't want to practice them.
I didn't see the point. “What does this teach me?” I asked. “Scales are boring. Why can't I just learn to actually play some music? That's what I really want to do.” I thought I knew them well enough to move on, but my teachers thought otherwise. Because of my distaste for scales, I soon stopped practicing altogether. And thus ended any hopes my parents had of their son becoming the next Liberace. While I would dabble on the piano for years afterward, I never became anything remotely resembling a pianist. I learned to play a handful of pieces, but never seemed to get over "the hump".
It's very common to hear someone say that they're heading to the range to “do some training”. You may have used some variation of this phrase yourself. Usually what they mean is that they are going to go to the range and shoot at a target for an hour or so. They'll shoot a smattering of random drills or exercises, firing somewhere between 1 and 10 rounds per second depending on how they are feeling at the moment. At the end, they look at the group on their target, shrug, and say “Not bad”. Maybe if they really took their time and drilled a ragged hole in the paper, they snap a selfie in front of their target for posting on Facebook.
What they are doing is not training. It's practice. You might think I'm playing a semantical game, but the difference between training and practice is an important one to understand if you are a student of the gun.
Here at Guncraft, we are frequently asked if we teach the Texas License to Carry (LTC) class (formerly known as CHL). When we explain that our training is what you need after you've completed an LTC class, we're often given quizzical looks, as if to say “What else is there?”
If you believe that your LTC class adequately prepares you for a self-defense situation, you are not alone. Many people believe that the reason this course is required is because it gives you the skills to protect yourself with a handgun. After all, it's a state-sanctioned course necessary for carrying a handgun, so it must give you all the information you need, right?
Not by a long shot. The LTC class serves several important roles, but preparing you to successfully use your gun in self-defense is not one of them. Read on for four reasons why this is true.
Has this ever happened to you?
It's time to go out into the cold, cruel world, so naturally you prepare to don your trusty sidearm. You saunter over to the gun safe, peruse your diverse selection of handguns, and select a one from amongst the throng. You strap on the accompanying holster, load the gun, and slide it into its holster while saying any of the following to yourself:
“This one's dusty. Better carry it for a while.”
“When was the last time I shot this one?”
“Ah, my old friend, how I've missed you.”
“Wow, I'd forgotten this one was in there.”
I am often asked how I got into the business of training people to defend themselves with firearms. When people hear that I am an Army Reserve officer with two combat tours, they naturally assume that it must have flowed from the knowledge and experience I gained from the Army. However, the truth is that the Army played only a minor role.
I had long been an Army primary marksmanship instructor, but it was during my tour in Afghanistan in 2009 that I began thinking about teaching others outside the military to shoot. I figured that I had solid skills and credentials to do so. After all, I was Army expert-qualified on the rifle and pistol. I had my NRA instructor certification. I thought I was a good shooter, because the Army told me I was. I thought I was a capable instructor, because the NRA told me I was.
Turns out I didn't know anything.