Generally speaking, you shouldn’t specialize.

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If your goal is to make you and your family safer, to learn how to survive dangerous events, you need a generalist’s perspective.

That’s because there are a wide range of things you need to know to make safety happen consistently, which means that you need to study and prepare in many different areas — most of which have little overlap. Most importantly, you need to know how everything works together to protect you.

In order to learn about each of those things, you go to specialists: people with a deep body of knowledge in the individual things you need to be familiar with. So you go to a specialist to learn one thing, then you go to another specialist in different area of expertise and learn about the next thing.

Repeat until done.

The problem comes when you go to a specialist in one thing, then another specialist in that same thing, and then still another specialist in that thing — because that thing is fun. You may be enjoying yourself, but you’re only learning about one small piece of the total picture. It’s easy to believe that you’re learning a wide range of things because each specialist has a slightly different take on his/her thing, but you’re just learning the same thing over and over.

Your job as a generalist is to understand how to use specialists, not become one yourself. Make that your thing.

– Grant


Photo: Dariusz Sankowski/

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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