Training — For Elites Only!
‘It’s a waste of time to train civilians’ — Retired Marine. ‘It’s illegal to teach team tactics to civilians’ — Retired Deputy Sheriff. ‘Tactics should only be taught to military, police and security guards’ — Security Guard. These are among my favorite quotes of why certain training should only be offered to a select few. No matter what the level, some feel they, and ONLY they, should have access to certain tools and techniques. Guess what? It’s all a bunch of bull…
Everyone likes to feel like they are a little more special than the next guy. And to some degree this is true simply by vocation. But it’s not just the profession but what you do in that profession. Front line military troops are going to have a lot more training and experience with armed conflicts than most. Military cooks, clerks and other admin types, not so much. At the same time, just because someone is in law enforcement, doesn’t make them an expert in firearms and tactics.
A lot of this training elitism has been promoted by training equipment providers. By marketing themselves as exclusive to military and police, they create an aura of superiority over anyone that isn’t part of their target group. Keeping things out of the hands of civilians also helps keep prices higher since ‘military/police grade’ products command a premium price point.
Do you as a civilian need this type of training equipment or tactics? When you look at the history of armed civilian encounters you’re going to find the majority will be solo engagements with a single armed criminal at short range. But that doesn’t mean engagements with multiple attackers, at greater distances, or while working with one or more armed citizens doesn’t occur. If you think playing the odds and just preparing for the most likely scenario is all you need to do, you may wind up woefully physically and mentally unprepared for anything else.
Take a minute and think about the possibilities of having an armed encounter in your daily life. Let’s start with your home. Home invasion style robberies/burglaries by more than one perpetrator are popular tactics by criminals as their overwhelming force is less likely to encounter readily armed citizens in our new politically correct, gun controlled world. Have you and your spouse/significant other worked out how to defend yourselves in a close environment with children, pets and all the daily clutter of your lives in the way?
What about when you go out to dinner with family and friends? Have you considered what your response will be to a threat in a public place? Even if you are the only one in your group who is armed, the ability to work together and direct your non-armed friends is going to be critical to everyone’s survival.
If you still think civilians don’t need more than the basic point & shoot, square range training, I’ll have you look at any of the times where there has been a breakdown of law and order due to natural disaster or a manmade crisis such as riots. Or if you live in a jurisdiction where help may be 15–45 minutes or more away, or even in a well staffed city police environment where help is already dealing with someone else’s emergency, you’re going to be on your own for an extended period of time. YOU and ONLY YOU are going to have to ensure your own safety. The more training and preparation you have, the better the chances you have to emerge on the other side of whatever situation you are dealing with.
Take a little time and read the reports of armed civilian self-defense encounters around the world. They range from being able to deter a criminal attack without having to fire a shot to multiple attackers and full nightmare, drawn-out fight scenarios. By the way… Those law enforcement only scenarios the police train for, who do you think has to deal with them until the police arrive?
Remember those ‘not available for civilian use’ products. A funny thing started happening with them. Active and retired military and law enforcement members started their own side businesses offering the ‘restricted’ tools and techniques learned from their government service to the public. By having exclusive access to the restricted products, they were able to offer training nobody else could. And business was good. So good, the product companies took notice and decided these products didn’t need to be so exclusive any more. And business was very good.
Historically many training practices in the civilian world have come from military and law enforcement experience. That makes a lot of sense, as these are the people with the latest and greatest armed encounter experience. At the same time, the civilian world has influenced military and law enforcement because it was able to innovate without the burden of a government procurement contract. Some top trainers, sought out by the military and law enforcement are in fact civilians. They excel at what they do because they make it their business to learn and teach others. Go figure.
The level of training you as a law-abiding armed civilian achieve is up to you. You start with the basics and once proficient at that level, you can move up to more mentally and physically challenging programs. Team tactics, scenarios training, shoot/no-shoot, 360 degree ranges, low/no-light and force-on-force training are not only appropriate, but provide skills for the unpredictable real world encounters you may face. Each builds on the essentials of safe and effective firearm manipulation and marksmanship skills you started with and adds more mental and physical stress to it.
So the next time you hear someone puffing up about certain training tools and tactics being inappropriate or unnecessary for civilians, take it for what it really is, elitism and someone needing to feel superior about themselves.
You and only you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your family. The more physical skills and mental preparation you can bring to the table, the better the chances you will survive a violent encounter, or better yet — avoid it all together.
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