Editor's Note: This piece on gun myths was submitted by reader Joseph Terry. Terry is a retired law enforcement instructor who now offers tips for using firearms as a tool for preparedness.
It's important to stay level-headed with any element of preparedness, but it's especially true when it comes to firearms. There are plenty of assumptions about their use during personal protection encounters. Don't fall for the hype. If firearms are part of your preparedness plans, you owe it to yourself and your family to seek training from professionals.
Three Gun Myths that Need to Die
by Joseph Terry
Guns come with a ton of mythology that can get you killed. Here I will bust three of the most common gun myths.
Gun Myth #1: It's Enough to Just Have a Gun for Personal Protection
Purchasing a firearm for personal protection when you don’t get adequately trained in its use is just like handing your kid the keys to the car without a driving class.
Think about the effective use of that firearm. It's the ability to deliver, in less than two seconds, two adequate projectiles into the center chest area of a person who has demonstrated the intent and capacity to do you lethal harm at distances of 10 feet to 25 yards.
Do that while you are so amped on adrenalin that you can’t see straight, take a deep breath or perform any fine motor functions.
Get the picture? A gun without effective and frequent training is a hollow threat.
Gun Myth #1 Solution
When you go to the gun store, don’t buy a gun (yet). Ask where you can get good training.
All serious shoot schools and gun clubs have “loaner” guns, and they are both friendly and effective at giving a beginner a good launch pad.
Before you buy any gun, get trained first in basic gun handling safety and see which guns seem to fit well in your hand and point naturally. (Pick a spot on the wall, close your eyes and point the gun at where you remember the spot to be. Open your eyes. If the gun is on-target, it fits you.)
Get the gun type that is most simple to operate and that fits you, then pick the caliber. Shot placement is much more important than what the gun shoots. Figure into the price of the gun the cost of 500 rounds of ammo for it. (It will take you not less than three hundred rounds to learn to shoot your gun.) Store the remainder of the ammo in a cool, dark place. Price and availability on ammunition will vary widely with the political winds. A gun without ammo is as useful as a microwave oven in a power outage.
It's also a good idea to take a concealed carry class if one is offered in your area.
Gun Myth #2: I Can Just Take My Gun Out and the Bad Guy Will Go Away
Do not point a gun at anybody unless you are legally justified to use lethal force. Train using verbal commands, such as, “Back off or I will shoot you.” And for goodness' sake, sound like you mean it.
Gun Myth #3: I’ve Shot My Gun, I Know How It Works
Think so? Let me tell you what basic firearms proficiency is as a police firearms instructor. It is the ability to consistently:
- Pick up the gun from a table and quickly confirm that it is unloaded, or safely unload it.
- Combat load (with a cartridge in the chamber and safety “on” if magazine fed).
- Holster or sling without looking.
- Draw the handgun or shoulder the weapon smoothly, in a good stance without endangering other shooters or bystanders.
- Demonstrate standing, kneeling, prone and barricade shooting positions.
- Aim using the sights properly and sweep the safety “off” (only after the gun is pointed on target).
- Engage multiple targets at varied distances appropriate for the firearm, then immediately return the weapon to “safe.”
- Reload while moving to another shooting position without looking at the gun or ammo pouches.
- Clear jams if they occur, smoothly and quickly, without losing sight of the target(s).
- Field strip, clean and return the firearm to whatever condition required by the instructor.
Gun Myth #3 Solution
Do that drill at least three times a year (which means you have to find a range that lets you move while you shoot) and guess what? You are still a “novice” defensive shooter.
Then, take a class at one of the many excellent schools that offer personal defensive shooting techniques and rise to the intermediate proficiency level.