Today I’m going to go into a the importance of getting proper training. I don’t just mean in the world of firearms either. Though that should be one of your top priorities. I’m talking about not trying to completely self teach yourself everything. Let me show you why you should try to find an instructor over a book.
I’ve always been a self learner. I prefer to learn in a very non-linear way. Reading, writing it down and most importantly just doing it. I try and try to learn from my mistakes and get better. But you say this article is about getting training not learning yourself. Your right, that’s the way I used to do everything. I’ve learned recently a few things that have change my perspective on a few points of learning.
I’ve always been big on trying something and if it didn’t work try something else, Keep doing that till success. Tweak it a bit and see if you can increase proficiency. For the most part that has worked very well for me. Although it has two big drawbacks. The first is that it is a slow method. You have to try something until failure before moving on. You have to find out why it failed and figure out a different method. Doing it this way eventually produces a high quality result at the cost of time. The second is often you wont even know you are doing something wrong. You will know the end result is not what you want but you’re not sure where the issue is.
An example of this is the way I used to grip a handgun. I didn’t shoot a gun until about three years ago. I of course used what I thought I saw in movies. This produced terrible accuracy. I could not hit anything. I had more problems than just the grip, but I didn’t know any of that. I figured I just needed to practice and concentrate harder. So I practiced bad form for about two years. I somehow got marginally better. But that was a huge time investment for a tiny improvement.
I decided I needed to get my carry permit this year and that was my first experience with at least professional firearms training. I shot using my awful action movie stance and Sesame St grip and shot like crap. It was terrible, anything past 15 feet I didn’t even hit the target. Luckily one of the instructors came and gave me a tip. He told me to change my grip. It seemed like a tiny difference to me. After that one tiny change I put the next three shots on the bull’s eye. Wow. Tiny changes producing huge increases. Maybe with enough reading and practice I would have corrected my grip. But this happened in less than a minute.
The skill of someone who has mastered a skill can very quickly correct the small mistakes you make before you waste too much time with it. It’s a much more fluid learning than mess up, Google to find out what went wrong then try again. You get to learn tips and tricks picked up to further accelerate your learning.
I’m in the process of learning to speak Japanese right now and I started out using my usual self-taught regimen. I noticed some differences in what I was learning and what was actually used in conversation. It comes down to books usually teach very proper language. Which is not how people really speak. I remember in high school we had a German foreign exchange student that once said “Shall we go to the cinema” which is completely accurate but all wrong. So I got pen pals and Japanese friends and I talk to them. They always call me out when I say something stupid. I get practical practice and learn to speak in a manner that a native would not a Baka Gaijin.
So I’ve decided to seek more training from experienced practitioners of what I’m trying to learn and follow that up with self study and practice. Not only is it faster I think its much more human. It adds back the missing social element you can’t get from YouTube. I’ve met some great people getting training. Everyone I met from Condition 1 were awesome guys, Thanks Justin and Daryl. I met some great instructors in Georgia at Rivercane Rendezvous. Dave Canterbury is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
In conclusion I want to stress the importance of getting out there and learning some actual people. I love the internet and books. They have a place in your learning for sure. But it should be supplemental. The amount you can learn from human interaction is far superior and should take priority. If you want to see what some amazing firearms training looks like check out James and Mikes reviews of their Tactical Response Fighting Pistol Class. All I can say is I’m very jealous. So get out there and get some training!