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Rather than try to come up with specific shooting solutions for specific problems, we try to deeply ingrain the notion that only hits count, but faster hits count more. Our shooting drills are designed to reinforce this at every turn.

eJournal: If a student receives 16 hours of training in which a dozen different techniques are presented, how can he keep that skill available for emergency use?

Givens: That will be difficult, unless the student is willing to do the work after class. Notice that I only listed half a dozen core skills earlier in this discussion. I think those are about all we can reasonably expect a student who is not a recreational shooter to absorb and retain.

A small bit of dry practice, especially on the presentation from a concealed holster, once or twice a week will go a long way toward retaining these skills. In addition to the dry work, a monthly range session of 30-50 rounds would keep the skills fresh and sharp. I would much rather a student fire 30 rounds each month, than 500 rounds twice a year.

Frequent small practice sessions mean it has never been too long since your last practice. Recent practice means the neural pathways from brain to fingers have been refreshed recently, and are more likely to fire reflexively when needed.

eJournal: What, in your opinion, is the biggest impediment the average armed citizen has to overcome in preparation for using a firearm in self defense?

Givens: Perhaps the largest obstacle is the lifetime of cultural indoctrination to be a good victim. The nanny state constantly admonishes people, “don’t resist,” “don’t carry weapons here or there,” “just call 911, someone else will come fix it,” etc. Then, add the fear of lawsuits and frivolous prosecution, and we have people who are reluctant to act to even save their own lives.

Maybe the first step is to get a little righteous indignation going within yourself. The goons have no right to rob, rape, cripple or murder you. No, really, they don’t. On the other hand, YOU have the right to live free from being robbed, raped, crippled or murdered. But, who has to enforce your rights? You do.

An experienced psychologist who deals with police officers and others took some classes with us.

During a break, he told me that he had figured out why our students have been so successful in defending themselves. He said, “You give them permission to defend themselves.” Of course, what he meant was we counteract that cultural indoctrination to be a victim, and develop within our students not just a willingness, but a commitment to defend themselves and their loved ones against unlawful predatory aggression. That is far more important than make of gun, brand of ammunition, and so forth.

At this writing, we have had 63 Rangemaster students who have found themselves in violent confrontations with dangerous criminals. Those are the ones I know of, there are probably a few more. The record is 61 wins, zero losses, and two forfeits. The two forfeits did not wear a gun on the day they needed it and died as a result. Both were killed in separate street robberies.

All 61 who were armed on the Big Day won their fights. This brings us to the final obstacle, understanding and accepting that to have the gun when you need it, you will need to routinely carry it, all the time. The two students who died made a decision not to carry on the fateful day, and both died as a direct result of that decision. The 61 who successfully defended themselves did not get up that day and say, “I better wear my gun today, because today is the day I will need it.” What they said was, “I better wear my gun today, because I might need it.” As a result, they are all alive. This is a big leap for an awful lot of people, but one simply does not get to make an appointment for an emergency. Be aware, be alert, be armed, be safe.

eJournal: Those are words to live by, Tom. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending this time with us and helping us better understand the relationship between our training and practice and genuinely being ready to act in self defense. We appreciate your role as a member of the Network Advisory Board, and all that you do to help armed citizens be better prepared.

Tom Givens
2611 S. Mendenhall Rd., Memphis, TN 38115

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