How effective are minimally-trained armed citizens?

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Thread: How effective are minimally-trained armed citizens?

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    Member Array Vuva3rae's Avatar
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    Question How effective are minimally-trained armed citizens?

    Many of us on this forum have turned shooting and preparing for defensive use of firearms into a hobby, and enjoy going to the range regularly, attending tactical training courses, and reading and thinking about defensive scenarios. However, there are many that do not have the interest and time for a new hobby, yet want to carry (or have been talked into carrying) a gun for personal protection.

    Suppose that someone has taken a class that teaches gun safety and the basics of when it's justifiable to use lethal force, then has received an hour or two of competent instruction at the range. The person buys a gun that is small and light but difficult to shoot and starts carrying it. He or she rarely thinks about tactics or scenarios, and goes to the range to shoot a box of ammo at most once per year. How effective is this person going to be if the need ever arises to use the gun defensively?

    On the one hand, many attackers flee at the sight of a gun, and even those without any training to speak of manage to hit their target sometimes. On the other hand, it may be better to gamble on a risky escape or defense with improvised contact weapons than to try to fight back with a gun if the chance of hitting the target is very low.

    Is there any data that can tell us how much training is required before carrying a gun makes sense?

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    Senior Member Array The Fish's Avatar
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    For the people you described,the correct question is How Dangerous are these people.
    The basic ccw course in FL is an absolute joke and anyone who relies on it solely has no real training at all.
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    Your question does not have a quantifiable answer.

    Consider the popular use of another lethal weapon - the automobile. Licensing standards aside, some people master the complex skills required (coordination of hands and feet, depth perception, speed adjustment and awareness of other vehicles) like they were born behind the wheel. Others can't manage the same activities well after years and years of driving.

    Find a copy of "Thank God I had a Gun" by Chris Bird. Only a couple of the armed civilians whose stories are related had any significant defensive training. What was common to all, however, was a mindset that they were not going to surrender themselves to violent criminals.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    From what I have seen and heard from different media outlets, the private armed citizen such as Suzy Homemaker, or John Citizen seems to doing quite well without all the tacticool training.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Your question does not have a quantifiable answer.

    Consider the popular use of another lethal weapon - the automobile. Licensing standards aside, some people master the complex skills required (coordination of hands and feet, depth perception, speed adjustment and awareness of other vehicles) like they were born behind the wheel. Others can't manage the same activities well after years and years of driving.

    Find a copy of "Thank God I had a Gun" by Chris Bird. Only a couple of the armed civilians whose stories are related had any significant defensive training. What was common to all, however, was a mindset that they were not going to surrender themselves to violent criminals.
    Agreed. It's an immeasurable variable.

    Training is probably never going to hurt you (assuming it's knowledgeable and quality training), unless the prosecution chooses to use it against you, but it's probably never going to be something that you can put a "need" upon. The most basic variable that you can boil it down to is if you ever need a firearm to protect your life, you'll either have one available or you won't. Past that, I think everything else sort of goes out the window...
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    From what I have seen and heard from different media outlets, the private armed citizen such as Suzy Homemaker, or John Citizen seems to doing quite well without all the tacticool training.
    Amen to that. Far too many with some level of military training think that no less is no good. I feel civilian training should concentrate more on when to use a firearm rather than how to assault a street gang. Using a firearm is easy; knowing when to use it is far more difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fish View Post
    For the people you described,the correct question is How Dangerous are these people.
    Do you mean in terms of negligent discharges during daily handling? If the gun travels from the safe to the belt or pocket and back again without leaving the holster, not much can go wrong. (After all, the gun is almost never fired, dry-fired, or cleaned.)
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    I practice defensive shooting regularly. Defensive shooting for me is shooting from cover, moving and shooting and practicing reloading and malfunction drills. That being said, when I took my ccp class, I had to be able to unload snap caps from a revolver and show the instructor the gun was empty and safe. I believe in the right to carry, but I also believe in knowing your equipment and being proficient in its use. good luck

    ps...to answer your question, anyone who has a gun and doesn't know how to handle it in a variety of different situation is a very dangerous person, not only to themselves but those around them.
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    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuva3rae View Post
    Do you mean in terms of negligent discharges during daily handling? If the gun travels from the safe to the belt or pocket and back again without leaving the holster, not much can go wrong. (After all, the gun is almost never fired, dry-fired, or cleaned.)
    VERY true. Which is why, especially those of us who shoot allot, MUST check the breach every single time we touch a firearm. We are the ones who are most likely to have an AD. When I'm buying a firearm at the LGS the guy takes it out of the case, checks the breach and shows me it's empty before handing it to me, and what do I do when it's in my hand? I repeat the same thing as if he had handed it to me loaded, because ALL GUNS ARE LOADED ALL THE TIME. It is so repetitious that if I'm cleaning it and set it down in front of me and do something else while I'm still sitting there I check the breach when I pick it up again. You simply can't trust the human brain. You must make safety automatic all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Amen to that. Far too many with some level of military training think that no less is no good. I feel civilian training should concentrate more on when to use a firearm rather than how to assault a street gang. Using a firearm is easy; knowing when to use it is far more difficult.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Lots of variables. Hard to say.

    The question could be flipped, too: how much more effective is the average well-trained person (in defensive skills) going to be in typical SD situations?

    Certainly, some things (ie, disarming someone) require some fair understanding of basic techniques. And, decent H2H skills don't come cheap; you've got to put in the time to get trained on effective moves, to hope to be effective with someone who knows such things.

    In the end, each situation is different. Different assailant(s), different levels of ferocity and mindset on the part of the players, different proximity and focus, etc. As with car driving situations, I think most folks are fairly capable of quickly dealing with strange/new/dangerous situations to the point of getting through it (though, obviously, some don't do well). It's amazing how our basic "chemical dump" physiology and adaptability can accommodate for ugly situations gone awry. Myself, I'd much prefer to be better trained, of course.
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    Senior Member Array BkCo1's Avatar
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    Read the Armed Citizen on the NRA web site. Almost all are ordinary people.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    The majority of defensive shootings I read about seem to involve minimally-trained citizens, and they seem to do just fine. I suspect that compiled data on this subject won't be found, as the results of such a study are unlikely to benefit the narrative of the anti-gun crowd - they lean heavily on the idea that the average person is too stupid and clumsy to be allowed to carry a firearm.

    Many of us practice and train regularly in an effort to become more effective, and therefore more safe, but the fact is that shooting at "typical defensive range" simply isn't that hard, and misses DO count if one gets lucky and the BG runs away (obviously not something to count on, but it definitely happens a lot). As noted, WHEN to shoot is the more difficult part.
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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    I know I'm going to ruffle a few feathers but....

    I think a lot of us gun ummmm people who go get training, practice all the time, always cleaning and fiddling with their gun, participate in gun forums, own a different gun for every possible scenario, I could go on... I think we're just as dangerous, and only minimally better prepared, and far more likely to have an N/D.

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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    I think an lot of us carriers are way past the H2H days, and just happy to be moving under our own power. Many people speak of training as a holy grail. While some training is good... " Urban Combat Carbine" and similar courses are pretty much gaming.

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