Just some USA gun information for other countries if they are interested in reading some. (I do get asked some questions overseas from time to time about our "crazy gun culture.")
Yes, the USA has a LOT of gun courses. Even in the most anti-gun states, there are still a lot of gun courses available. You can throw a small rock in the USA and hit somebody somewhere fairly nearby with a shooting course.
In the states, there are some places you can go to where you can rent just any gun they have and you can shoot for awhile (and they clean it! My favorite part.) Tons of places, and by and large, I would estimate that most of the instructors for courses over here are okay. Just fine usually. Through the years there is an overall, general collection of a good, basic gun knowledge in the USA that everyone seems to know about. (Yes, there are some knuckleheads).
If I see any problem in the U.S., many are consumed with minutia and love arguing about that small stuff. A lot of discussion is spent not “driving the car,” but rather arguing about “small engine mechanics.” Reviewing experts/psychologist that look into this gun minutia situation call it too much, “internal focus.” (now watch the arguers argue over this point.)
A number of instructors here are indeed better than others. Sure. As there are with everything. What makes them better than others might be debatable, but we do seem to really favor folks with a lot of police and, or military experience and intelligence (and yes – personality too) like Clint Smith, Scott Reitz, Paul Howe, Dave Spaulding, etc. And there is a batch of military vets finally out there teaching that catch some attention too. Sometimes I think young people naturally gravitate to the younger instructors too, for a host of reasons not related to guns. But really, on paper, they do teach much the same things as the inexperienced or lesser inexperienced ones, despite the hot dog names, beards, tattoos, etc. Because…it just is what it is. The info is just what it is. And that general "is" has gotten around to almost all kinds of instructors.
Shooting a pistol is a pretty simple process but it still becomes “mystified” in the “rat race of cool.” A lot of young guys trying to re-invent the wheel with new cool, names for old things, and making up new things with cool names and terms that are really not needed. And still, somehow, minus this specialized training and bling nomenclature, somehow totally untrained people can shoot the hell out of you, quite successfully in the real world "streets," close-up (see stats on gang shootings in the USA, and see several of the latest Dr. Lewinski, Force Science research which sadly claim that trained officer performances are about equal to totally, untrained citizens. (I often sit and ponder just what that means.)
Many of my UK friends have fled to the nearby Czech Republic and Poland for shooting courses. Even South Africa. In Australia, they flee to Thailand or the Philippines to shoot a little. Who are these foreign instructors and what are their resumes and courses about? We here in the USA drive about 20 minutes or so to find a course. You might not like all that they say. Who does? But you did just drive only 20 minutes.
And yes, what you have heard about the USA is correct, there are millions of legal, concealed carry people here. The US Government awhile back claimed there were about 8 million carry permits in the USA. Could be more now. But, you might not know that most of these people do not want, or do not care for any follow-up training past that initial, simplistic, carry permit course to get their license. (Live fire is next to nothing in those courses). Also, my experience is, as well as many of my friends in law enforcement is, that many licensed carriers do not carry their guns around anyway. I am not religious but, "God bless em all" if anything actually happens. I might add that many do quite well when confronted with crime, but American newspapers do not seem quick to report these incidents. And such small news of thwarted crimes would not be news big enough in foreign countries. Just the stories about crazy people with guns gets spread around.
In the USA, we have about 320 million people, they tell us. There are millions and millions of guns coast to coast. 8 million people have carry permits. All this in about 3,800,000 square miles. Only the tiny, teeny-ist percentage of us are actually shot or are in shootings. Minuscule, given the vast population and guns. Within this big picture, we have an absolutely, fabulous and amazing track record of safety when you think about it. Liberals would have you think that enormous percentages of the American population are-
1: blowing their heads off in suicides,
2: killing off each other in the streets like the Walking Dead,
3: or we are accidentally destroying tons of children while cleaning our guns.
No. Not true. Shootings, for example in the Democrat-run, severest, gun-control sections of the south side of Chicago, utterly distort the shooting and murder rates of the USA. Just in the last two weekends, ONE HUNDRED criminals were shot there (see below news report). I mention this here because I know Europeans who pick vacations to Canada over the US, just fearing the wild, wild west of guns and violence. Foreign folks read these stats, not knowing that a five-square-mile crime zone in Chicago may make Benton, Arkansas seem like a war zone. Or how about ridiculous USA action movies exported around the world? All this plays in the mind game.
Gun crime and gun accidents are an oddity, an anomaly, a rarity in the USA when you consider the big picture, and the billions of small interactions of people and situations every day. There are way more life and death problems in the USA with health issues and car wrecks than guns.
Yes, things still happen. Deaths from cancer. Auto pile-ups on the highways. Heart attacks. Cancer from legal cigarettes sold everywhere. Falls in the bathroom. All the actual, big reasons of massive death in America and other countries too. And yes...people get shot now and then, from situations. In all gun training worldwide, not just in the States, along with the live fire basics, it is the gunfight SITUATION that needs to be greater understood and explored. Every gun fight is a trauma and a drama. A story. A legal issue. Not merely a few trigger pulls on a paper target once in awhile. It's war, or crime. And these traumas and dramas can be somewhat replicated and introduced (with - brace yourself – oh no – with airsoft, gas guns, or SIMS ammo, whatever) to prep people with various situations. The solution to “internal focus” problems is “external focus” –shooting at moving, thinking people who are shooting back at you in real world environs.
What instructors can best organize that sort of interactive training, is the next big gun world question and challenge. Many gun range instructors today do not have the creativity to develop these courses, or they feel doing so will destroy the gun range business model and their livelihoods. (This just isn't true, as one will always need live fire training, re-quals and vital re-familarizations.) Numerous stubborn, gun instructors consider anything less than a real firearm as a toy, despite the fact that for more than a decade now, special forces teams have used simulated ammo guns to train for raids, missions and invasions. The same for SWAT, infantry units and the regular police.
Many attendees do not have the athleticism, the drive or the courage to attend such “active-mobile” courses. (Warning! You will probably "die" a few times in this training, even when following the sage advice from your favorite range master. You still die in the situational chaos). Needless to say, this interactive training is all I teach now- after the range, situation training...or the "external focus" part. The "he-shoots-back-part." It sure changes a lot of stuff.
People both inside and outside of America have to come to the realistic fact that the US government will NEVER be able to collect the preexisting millions and millions of American guns from hundreds of millions of people covering about 3,800,000 square miles. Whether you like the idea or not, it is too late. Even if it is tried, it will be horrible on so many levels. Revolutionary. But people with liberal thinking disorders will still rant and rave about the fairy tale idea of doing so.
Harvard University's Journal of Law and Public Policy stated, "overall, guns in the United States are used 80 times more often to prevent crime than they are to take lives."And if the world does truly fall into revolutionary, religious hell? We here in the States already have that proverbial gun behind that “every blade of grass.” An acute student of world history and a student of the routine stupidity of the humanity race, surely must appreciates this.
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