My friend Claude Werner is the preeminent researcher of armed citizen-involved shootings. He has a great post out today covering a couple subjects, but the quote I found that dovetails into this post is:
The NRA Defensive Pistol standards, probably at the Sharpshooter level, will suffice to solve almost every confrontation I have been able to find between an Armed Private Citizen and a marauding criminal…Once a person can shoot a pistol to a reasonable standard, it’s time to move on to thinking about the circumstances of personal protection and becoming proficient at decision making in that context.
What makes me a little nuts is the fact that so many shooting instructors, many of whom I have nothing but great respect for, will get up on their macho high horse to preach about the necessity of obtaining much higher levels of performance than this…usually by attending their own courses. This would be one thing if they were billing themselves as shooting instructors, but they usually bill themselves as (armed) self-defense instructors. Like I’ve said so many times: There’s more to shooting than shooting.
Improving your self-defense, even your shooting self-defense, skills involves much more than improving your shooting ability.
Now, most of these instructors are well-meaning as they focus on making you a faster and more accurate shot. But speed and accuracy are only two dimensions of performance to worry about when the bad thing happens. Here, just off the top of the head, are three more dimensions to work on:
- Getting safer, both for you, the people you might be protecting, and bystanders. This includes things like muzzle control in a 360×360 environment, using cover, choosing and implementing appropriate tactics, and so on.
- Making sure your decisions are legally defensible. This assumes you are working on decision-making at all, not just blasting away, albeit ever faster and more accurately.
- Making your technique more reliable, including, most importantly, reliable under very high stress.
So there’s three things to work on after you have a reasonable level of pure shooting skill, and five things to work on overall.
I’m sure you can think of a few more.