What a difference training makes
After reading countless threads (not all on this site) about spouses or significant others who have a concealed carry permit, yet do not carry, I’d like to relay some observations that I’ve made after the wife and I took a (what I consider) basic defensive handgun course while on vacation last month.
We both have had our ccl/ccp’s for a couple of years. I’m very comfortable with firearms and the procedures for safe handling and use come naturally to me after 30 plus years of handling them almost daily. My wife grew up around them but was not exposed to them on an everyday basis like me. She knew the safety rules and carried off body every day. She wanted to carry on her body, however, she was neither comfortable enough with her firearm nor confident in her abilities should she have to actually use her firearm.
We planned a vacation for July and scheduled a two day “defensive pistol” class with Zia Firearms Training in Albuquerque, NM. The first day was basic stuff. We went over safety, stance, proper grip, sight picture, trigger control and discipline, different reloads and legal issues and considerations. In between the “classroom” sessions we shot about 250 rounds during the day. Afterwards, my wife admitted that going into the day she was very nervous. However, she had learned a great deal and enjoyed it very much. I also enjoyed it. I got a refresher on things that I had not even thought of in years and I learned a great deal of new stuff.
Day two consisted of a short review and then the real fun began. We ran all kinds of drills. Speed drills, multiple targets, strong hand, weak hand, behind cover, prone, on your back, on your side. Drills with combat reloads, reloads with retention, all kinds of failure drills. At the end, we ran some IDPA courses of fire in a friendly competition. We shot 3-400 rounds a piece and had a blast.
What I would like to relay to you is the transformation that I watched my wife go through in those two days. She went into this as someone who carried a firearm due to the realities of the times in which we live. She wasn’t truly comfortable with the use of handguns and should the terrible need to use it have come she may not have had the proper mindset and skills to do so effectively. Over those two days she began gaining the skills and confidence to correctly and effectively use this tool if the worst should ever happen. The change that I saw from the start of day one to the end of day two was amazing. I am very proud of her.
I believe that a big part of the success of this training is the fact that I was not doing the training. I’ve taught people to operate equipment that could kill them and others if used improperly or carelessly, just like a gun. Many times my students’ spouses were instructors just like me, however, there seems to be a disconnect in the communication process of teaching between spouses/S.O.’s that I think comes from the familiarity of the relationship. If your spouse or significant other won’t carry it may be due to a lack of confidence due to a lack of training. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Get them (and yourself) all of the training that you can. It may be just what they need to make that big change.