There’s a fine, but bright, line between enthusiasm and motivation. Being enthusiastic about learning defensive skill with firearms is part of the program.Shooting is, and ought to be, fun. If you are serious, though, about owning and carrying a firearm for protection of your family, friends, and yourself, you need more. You need a concrete motivation.
People often attend training classes as a fun weekend, or treat a course once a year with their buddies as an annual vacation. Don’t be a hobbyist in the area of defensive-skill development, which deals with the most serious matter of life and death. It is great if you take pleasure in knowing that you are better able to defend yourself or your family if you need to. But, if the only reason that you train is because you enjoy it, you will inevitably start compromising your training–you’ll begin depending on techniques that you perform best in the training environment, not the ones that would serve you best in a confrontation.
Instead of falling back in training on what you do well because it is enjoyable, you need to work on things you really should be improving. If you are training only at what you like, you’ll start rationalizing the deficits of gear that you like, instead of choosing gear that is best suited to your needs. You’ll start attending training courses without regard for the consistency or integrity of the materials taught, but simply to add another certificate to your collection. This happens to too many students too often. They will complete an intensive two-day defensive shooting class, far more training than most people with CCW permits will ever undergo, and then ask what other pistol courses they should consider taking!
The vast majority of people would be far better served simply by practicing for the rest of their lives the things that they learned in an initial comprehensive defensive-shooting class and spending their limited training resources in classes covering other topics such as emergency medicine, unarmed combatants, home and family defense strategies, or the aftermath of defensive gun use. Worse, far too many people who start out sincerely interested in learning defensive skills end up on a path that takes them into what can be called “Fantasy Camp” courses, learning military type skills like CQB (“Close Quarter Battle”) or taking “Sniper” courses. These can be a lot of fun, but they don’t provide much practical value to civilians carrying a 9mm pistol in their daily lives with co-workers, family, and friends.
So, stay focused on learning and practicing defensive skills that you can apply in the context of a dynamic critical situation based on your life activities and environment. Shooting can, and should, be fun; but, training should be seen as a more vital enterprise; and practice is work that needs to be done to develop and maintain your skills, not just because you enjoy it. Real proficiency with your firearm is what will make you truly happy.
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