Crawl, Walk, Run

A discussion came up on a Firearms Instructor group that decried the fact that many indoor ranges only allow NRA training and don’t teach ‘Concealed Carry’ classes. Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.

More people don’t carry than do. According to John Lott, the current figure for those having some kind of weapons carry license is 18.66 million people. The Gallup Poll indicates the 43% of US households have a gun. That would be 51.4 million people, which is probably underreported as compared to licenses. My personal experience is that the demographic with the economic means to afford training is most likely to NOT have a carry license.

When we teach people, either formally or informally, we do ourselves and the gun owning public in general a disservice when we place so much emphasis on the techniques for carrying a gun. It’s unfortunate that the NRA’s philosophy of Personal Protection training is buried in the Instructor manual for the Personal Protection Outside The Home course.

A synopsis of the NRA concept as excerpted from that manual is as follows:

The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.

The first course in this series is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, which develops in your students the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.

The second course in this series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, (which builds on the skills already learned in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course). In this second course, participants learn to use a defensive or flash sight picture, …

The third course in the series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home (which builds on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course).

A very intelligent female friend explained to me her personal journey to carrying a gun. It involved five phases over the course of three years for her to consistently carry a gun and feel comfortable with it. That’s far more common than most people who teach, either as formal instructors or just friends giving guidance, seem to realize.

The NRA philosophy has a great deal of logic behind its structure. It pains me when our training community ignores it. We spend a fair amount of time talking about the ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ approach to training but what we actually teach is ‘Run and then Run some more,’ period. Maybe it would be a good idea if we tried to guide people through a process one step at a time instead of ‘feeding them with a firehose.’ There’s a reason I wrote Indoor Range Practice Sessions before I wrote Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.


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4 responses

  1. Another problem with getting training in regard to some of the more prominent instructors are classes that are too large. I took a combative pistol class in September with Tom Givens. There were 21 students in a outside range. With other instructors alongside. There wasn’t enough one on one training. I walked away frustrated having not learned much. Cookie cutter training.

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  2. “Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.”

    Then site the calculation because this doesn’t pass the smell test. You’re saying that only 0.1% of gun owners have access to outdoor ranges. My entire state has access to outdoor ranges that are operated by the state in each county.

  3. I highly recommend Dustin Salomon’s “Mentoring Shooters” to build foundational gun handling skills the way the brain actually learns. No firehose here. With current training models, many instructors are teaching beginner students (who have no prior gun handling experience) too many complex skills at one time rather than actually making sure students learn skills at a pace (over time) that are consolidated into procedural memory and can be operationally used when needed. As a result of not actually learning the skills, many beginning students get frustrated and quit or they continue taking basic courses (good for the instructor’s business model) until they eventually acquire some fundamental skills. The focus needs to be shifted from a trainer training model to a student learning model based on how the brain actually learns. Mentoring Shooters (and the foundational book, Building Shooters) provides the neurological foundation and practical framework for learning fundamental skills.

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