Standards (A Series)

Standards (Part I – Introduction)

While I’ve been on hiatus, I’ve been thinking a great deal about Standards. The Free Dictionary lists the first noun definition of Standard as: An acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value; a criterion.

In the area of personal protection, standards can apply to many different facets of our skills and body of knowledge. Standards imply measurement, something that many people are deathly afraid of. While ‘public speaking’ is often mentioned as being the most prominent fear, that is merely a subset of a larger body, individual performance measurement.

The most obvious and contentious type of standard regarding Private Citizens who own firearms is the concept of marksmanship standards. The discussion comes up regularly among the training and gun communities without any general consensus about what is appropriate. Generally, the topic revolves around Citizens who have some form of of License to carry a weapon. We should keep in mind that it can also apply to those who keep firearms for home defense.

Opinions vary widely about what standards are appropriate for those who carry weapons. On one end of the spectrum, some people feel there should be no standards at all. Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training holds this view as do advocates of Constitutional Carry. On the other end of the spectrum, there are very difficult standards such as the FAST Drill developed by the late Todd Green, the Humbler popularized by Larry Vickers, or the Handgun Testing Program developed by Bill Rogers of the elite Rogers Shooting School.

In the middle are the Qualification tests used by many States as one of the prerequisites for obtaining a Weapons Carry License or whatever name the State puts on the card. For those who wish to carry a weapon in those States, the discussion of what standard is appropriate starts with what their State’s requirement is and how to meet it. No two States having a Qualification requirement are alike

The difficulty of these State Qualifications varies quite widely. Anywhere from 10 rounds to 50 rounds have been mandated. The distances shot at fluctuate from six feet to 15 yards. Some are timed but most are not. The targets may be large or much smaller. Interestingly, very few States have a test requirement that includes drawing from a holster. In fact, some States specifically prohibit the Qualification test from including drawing from a holster. While this might seem paradoxical, it is not because of liability and fairness issues.

What this series will explore is the various types of standards that exist, what skills are required to meet them, and how to choose what is appropriate for you, if anything.

14 responses

  1. this can also be a way for the government to keep a lot of people from protecting themselves. accuracy goes out the window when the adrenaline flies. most police shootings have dismal records on accuracy in actual gun fights. life is not perfect and there will always be a small percentage of screw ups in what ever is done. trying to limit or exclude those folks almost always does not work and stops the people that need it most from being able to protect themselves. yes, anyone that wants to protect themselves with a gun should have some knowledge of how to shoot. i think the accuracy stands should be fairly lax on the public. less then the police standards, which have proved accuracy goes out the window when the SHTF. criminals understand that when there are more guns in hands of the prey they are less likely to prey. as it sits now i know of no instances of concealed carry people doing crazy things with their hand guns. i am sure there are some. in fact, they have less crimes committed then police when compared across the board. the people that need it the most are the poorest people that live in the poorest neighborhoods. that also means they have less money to practice with. until a time when there are real problems, i personally think the standards should be lax.

    1. Good point. Legislatively mandated training requirements can be written in bad faith to de facto outlaw firearms ownership for all but the wealthy and politically connected.

      I am also of the view point that evaluations should exist in concealed carry classes to let a student know where they stand and the work they need to do to be proficient.

  2. Reblogged this on .

  3. a. I think your proposed series is needed, and that it will be beneficial.

    b. I am strongly in favor of testing prior to issuance of a concealed handgun permit. I understand those who argue against testing, but those same folks seem to be (for the most part) OK with requirements for hunter safety courses.

    Anything we can do to promote safe gun handling, coupled with some mechanism to test for minimal competency, is a good thing. The scariest people I encounter are those who tell me “I’ve been around guns my whole life.” There has to be a solid “middle ground” in this sort of debate.

  4. Welcome back! I look forward to your thoughts.
    As someone who has carried a weapon for over 40 years, competed, taught and been instructed at GUNSITE, Rogers, Thunder Ranch and with other Instructors, i can see the attraction of an “Evaluation”, not necessarily a “qualification”. Perhaps in terms of Standards, we don’t limit ourselves to shooting, but also weapons handling and a check of knowledge of pertinent laws, if one wishes to be licensed to carry concealed. Don’t know how one would reconcile that with an elderly person say, so maybe suggest an optional evaluation.
    Interesting question-look forward to discussion.
    Interesting question

  5. I would rather see standards for instructors than armed citizens.

    1. Amen brother, pass the bacon.

  6. Good thought, Mr. Hayes.
    Some “official” Instructors in states and at the US Federal level, do have to meet standards. There is a relatively new shooting qual for the NRE LE Instructor. I know of one firearms company that “quals” their Instructors.
    Are you suggesting a national qualification for an Instructor? What would that look like? Something related to an LE qualification?

    1. Read “NRA”(for National Rifle Asociation), rather than “NRE”, please.

  7. I like Chris’ wording of evaluation rather than qualification. The state sets a qualification standard that I must meet in order to maintain my peace officer certification. It’s not much of a standard as a person can miss the target completely with six out of 30 shots and still “qualify”. The standards set by such people as Todd Green and the Rogers Shooting School are true measuring sticks.

    Regarding instructor certifications and standards, I hold instructor certifications from numerous entities of both the public and private sector, but the one that means the most to me is the one from Rangemaster. I feel this way for three reasons. First is my respect for the person who signed it. Second is that it is recognized by people “in the know” and not just the masses. Third is the fact that the scores are written on the certificate; thus, one knows exactly how they compare to others holding the certificate.

  8. Greatly looking forward to this series.

  9. Whenever government decides ‘standards’, that legal authority can – not always – lead to restrictions on the item or activity ‘standardized’.

    In the immediate instance, anti-firearm, anti-second amendment and anti-self defense (pro criminal) governments can effectively prevent most people from getting and using a firearm by setting the ‘standard’ artificially high.

    In the same manner, states could prevent many people from driving simply by requiring licensees pass a simple driving course. At Watkins Glen or similar location, for instance.

    No criminal has to pass a competence class to be a stick-up man. No criminal has to pass a test in order to be a mugger. So why do I have to pass a test to defend myself, either in or outside my home?

    None of this is to imply I am against gun owners being competent and rational in the handling or use of firearms. I just do not trust government – especially the pro-criminal faction – to ‘regulate’ my ability to defend myself.

  10. Really looking forward to this.

  11. Reblogged this on RealDefense and commented:
    Buy Claude Werner’s book Indoor Range Practice Sessions!

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