First, I’m going to ask you to go to the PDN site and watch this video of Rob Pincus speaking at last year’s NRA Annual Meeting (watch through at least the 4:45 mark, but I strongly suggest watching the whole thing.)
One of the issues I confront frequently is the excuse that people “can’t afford” the self defense or defensive shooting training they need. They’ll acknowledge that it’s important, agree that they should have it, then say that they just can’t find the money for it. Then they post pictures on Facebook or the gun forums of their latest firearms acquisition. That calls their integrity into question, because if they can afford a new gun they can certainly afford a class!
If you tell me that you have guns for hunting or shooting matches, if you tell me that your primary reason for owning firearms is recreational plinking, you can ignore everything in that video and everything that I say here. If, however, your primary reason for owning your pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns is self defense (to include defense of your family in your home) then you are a bit hypocritical if you own lots of them but haven’t taken a course in the last year or so.
Yes, classes are expensive. They cost a lot of money to hold, and consequently a not insignificant amount to attend. When you factor in the cost of the ammunition used and perhaps a hotel for a couple of nights (because classes never seem to be held within a convenient daily driving distance), a good class isn’t cheap.
That’s still not an excuse to avoid taking one when you have a safe full of guns. How to afford that expensive class? Sell one of those guns. Yes, I’m serious.
I can hear the howls and screams already! I know the old adage: “you buy guns; let other people be the ones to sell them.” I know how attached people get to their possessions. Still, the best way for you to afford to learn how to use them efficiently to defend your life is to turn one of them into liquid funds which can be used to pay for that instruction.
Too radical, you say? Too drastic? Too anti-American? You don’t own enough of them to be able to dispose of just one? Okay, I’ve got an easier method.
I know a lot of people save up to make a gun purchase (or two) every year. I’ve known people who take a little out of their paycheck and sock it away so that they can visit the gun store at some future date and buy their next “grail gun”. Some people put guns on layaway (yes, there are stores which still do that) and pay a little every month until they can take it home.
How about doing this: every other year, save that money for a class. Yes, this means you’ll buy half the number of guns — but you’ll be much more proficient with those you already own! This is a nearly painless way to get in solid training to develop your skills and keep them sharp. (Don’t forget to budget for practice ammunition during the “off” years — shooting skills are perishable.)
Now I suppose, being a defensive shooting teacher myself, that I could be accused of having a vested interest in what I just said. In fact I’d agree with that assessment! Of course I want people to train with me, but here’s the kicker: in the end I really don’t care who you train with, as long as you get the vital education that you need to be a responsible and skilled defensive shooter. (I can actually prove this: look at my blog and see how often I recommend classes that I don’t teach, or see how often I recommend other’s classes in comparison to my own. I am probably the least self-promoting person in the defensive shooting world, which might explain why I don’t make nearly as much money as some of the people I endorse!)
Yes, defensive shooting classes are expensive. So are guns. Slow down collecting the latter and start attending the former. You and your family will be better off.
– Grant Cunningham
P.S.: Last week I taught my Perimeter Defense Rifle class in Phoenix as part of the PDN Training Tour. People asked me what the Training Tour is, and thankfully PDN just posted a video explaining the what, why, when and where of the Training Tour. Click here to check it out.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons