Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CHP Classes And Readiness

By Dave Dargo

We teach a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) class.  Some jurisdictions call this a CCW (permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon).

The CHP/CCW class is an important start to that big decision to start carrying a gun for self-defense.  It is a big decision and it is just a start.

In Louisiana, for example, the CHP class is a nine hour class that follows a fairly specific format.  Some states require more time and some states require no class at all.  In, fact some states don't even require a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.

Personally, I don't think a permit should be required to exercise a fundamental right.  I do, however, feel that every responsible gun owner should have adequate training before making that big decision to carry a firearm for self-defense.  While the nine hours Louisiana requires for a CHP is a start, it's not an adequate amount of time, in my opinion, to prepare an individual for the awesome responsibility of using a firearm for self-defense.

Many anti-gun people use the argument that the average individual doesn't have the same training as a police officer and, therefore, isn't qualified to carry a gun for self-defense.  I don't agree with this sentiment for two reasons: one, it's quite possible for a completely untrained individual to effectively use a firearm for self-defense and, two, I don't think an average police officer is adequately trained.

The state of Arizona requires zero hours of training.
The state of Louisiana requires nine hours of training.
A California Highway Patrol officer has 40 hours of handgun training before going on patrol.
I've had somewhere over 240 hours of defensive handgun training.

What's the right amount?  What amount would satisfy the anti-gun people?  What amount of training would make an individual adequately prepared to use a firearm for self-defense?

Like most things in life, it all depends.  It depends on the person and the situation in which they find themselves to determine if their training is adequate to handle the crisis.  Ultimately, though, it's not just about training.  It's also about mindset and the willingness to use force in self-defense combined with the ability to do so.

Gunsite Academy teaches the Combat Triad.  Others call it the Combat Mindset.  The NRA refers to it as the Defensive Mindset.  All of these phrases, generally, refer to the same thing; the ability to use your mind, your training and your will to deal with a crisis in an effective way.

In the Combat Triad, Gunsite teaches the balance of Mindset, Gun Handling and Practical Marksmanship.  The NRA teaches about the willingness to use force, the determination to never give up, developing a plan and visualization.

Pistol training is designed to give you the skill-set to know how to dependably use your pistol in an effective manner.  It teaches you the mechanics of proper presentation, how to reload, how to move and react to a threat.  Advanced training will utilize methods designed to place pressure on the student so the student is performing the physical tasks in a mechanical way freeing the mind to deal with the crisis at hand rather than trying to figure out how to manipulate their firearm.

With all the training in the world, though, one is not truly prepared to use a firearm for self-defense without the mindset.  The zero hours of training required by Arizona is perfectly adequate to someone with the appropriate mindset who wants to survive a lethal encounter.  The 240 hours of training I've had would be worthless without the appropriate defensive mindset and a willingness to do whatever it takes to survive a dangerous crisis.

What's the right amount of training for you?  The only way to find out is to start training.  You will start to recognize in yourself your ability and your willingness to save yourself in a lethal encounter.  You will be able to determine if carrying a firearm is right for you.

Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite Academy, said, "Man fights with his mind.  His hands and his weapons are simply extensions of his will."

You may want to train with firearms for the fun of it and we fully support that endeavor.  However, if you truly want to carry a firearm for defensive purposes then we strongly encourage you to go beyond the minimal requirements for a concealed handgun permit and develop the skills and mindset necessary to be able to adequately and properly use your body and tools as an extension of your will.

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