I have been a gun owner for as long as I can remember. Being raised in the environment that I was it was just a way of life for my family. Some of my earliest memories are of me hunting with my dad – memories that I will cherish for years to come. Now, as a father myself, I work hard to create these same memories with my own children and pass down this lifestyle to another generation.
Along with hunting, it was always a known fact that we relied on our firearms for personal protection too. However, there was much less of an emphasis on this than the hunting aspect. My father enjoyed hunting, and even though he owned different pistols, this was not a favored hobby over hunting.
When I was in high school I started participating in competition pistol shoots with some friends of mine. There was much more of an emphasis on things being tactically correct in these shoots – far more than I had ever been exposed to before. This really fueled something in me, to say the least. I began to study tactical shooting and what it really meant to rely on my firearms for personal protection. This subsequently led to me going into the law enforcement field and from there my knowledge grew exponentially.
However, despite all of my training, the one thing I learned was that practice makes perfect. You can own the best firearm, the top of the line ammunition, and be taught the best tactical moves available, and if you don’t practice these skills or use your tools regularly, you simply won’t be effective when the situation arises that you need to be at your best.
One of the things that drives me crazy is when someone runs out and purchases a firearm and a box of ammunition all in the name of “personal protection,” just to take it home and put in on the top shelf of their closet or lock it in their safe “just in case”. Just in case of what? If you have never fired that firearm a day in your life and someone breaks into your home, are you really going to know what to do with it? Many times people are so nervous they can’t even get the thing loaded, let alone use it to stop a perpetrator. Then the individual is actually at a greater risk for having the firearm taken away from them and having it used on themselves. Suddenly a good intention ends horribly wrong.
No, it isn’t enough to just own a gun. Yes, you are exercising your 2nd Amendment right and that is great, but that is not enough to protect you if something were to happen. So, what do you need to do? Well, you need to practice and you need to practice regularly. Pick one day a month (minimum) and make yourself go shooting. Take along any family members who may be relying on that firearm for their personal protection as well, and have them practice too. Even if you only shoot one box of ammo, you will be so much more ahead of the game because of it.
You may be asking yourself – what is the big deal? Why is so much practice necessary? Well, it is necessary for a lot of reasons. First of all, the more you shoot, the more familiar with the firearm you become. Every firearm is different, and they each shoot differently as well. You need to learn how to use yours. You also need to break your firearm in properly. For this you really need to use that manual that your firearm comes with. Many firearms aren’t considered “broke in” until you have shot at least 500 rounds through it. What does “broke in” mean? It means that it is finally shooting as consistently and as accurately as the firearm is capable of. Firearms are not designed to not be used. They are not only designed to be used, but they are designed to get better with use.
You also need to practice your technique. You literally want to practice so much that it becomes pure habit – you can do it in your sleep, or at the very least, without thinking. You want to ensure loading and reloading your firearm is done with ease. That is the only way you can be assured that, in an emergency situation, you won’t freeze up.
So, are you shooting your firearms regularly? Are you as sharp as you can be? How about your family members that rely on the same firearm for their personal protection? If you didn’t answer an emphatic “yes” to all of these questions, perhaps you need to implement a little more “shoot time” into your schedule. After all, your life just may depend on it.