Not-So-Common Sense

not-so-common-sense-commander-model-colt-super-38-automatic-sherrif-jim-wilsonRecently I wrote a blog post for the American Rifleman website about the foolish practice of carrying an auto pistol with an empty chamber. I almost didn’t post it because I really thought that most people were smarter than to try this. Boy, was I mistaken!

I am beginning to realize that we’ve got a lot of people who are playing at personal defense. They buy any old kind of pistol and then they make up a justification for what they carry and how they carry it. I’m sure that they also search the internet chat rooms until they find someone who supports their cockamamie ideas. It’s pretty scary when you realize that these fools are running around out there with loaded guns and a head full of screwy ideas about guns, the law, and tactics of personal defense.

I mean that is really a lot like running out there, buying yourself a car and deciding that you are going to teach yourself how to drive. No need to bother with learning traffic laws or the common driving courtesies. And you can just forget about safety techniques because those are just for sissies.

Let me be real clear about this… I am not in favor of mandatory testing before a person can own or carry a firearm. Governments will just screw this up like they have screwed up everything else. But people ought to have enough sense to see the value of seeking training before they elect to defend their lives or those of their family. And reading the words of some nameless fruitcake on an internet chat room is not training.

What makes the whole situation even sadder is that we live in a time when defensive training is available from quite a large number of sources. I have personally attended Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, and the Sig Academy… I recommend them highly. In addition, I hear very good reports about the classes put on by Tiger McKee, Dave Spaulding, Grant Cunningham, and Marty Hayes.

If you are serious about carrying a gun for personal defense you will make quality training a part of your shooting budget. If you aren’t, then you might fall into that fruitcake category whether you will admit it or not. I know a number of lawmen and ex-lawmen (myself included) who have been in harm’s way and continue to get quality training at every opportunity. I wonder what we might know that the fruitcake gunfighters don’t know… never have experienced… and won’t admit.

We worry about the nut cases who are out there committing heinous crimes with firearms. Well, I am beginning to wonder about the nut cases who are carrying guns with no training and their heads full of seriously ridiculous ideas about what to do when confronted with a violent criminal attack. Which category do you fall into?

Thanks for listening to my rant. I feel better now (but only just a little).

This entry was posted in Personal Defense, Philosophy, Politics, Second Amendment, Training and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Not-So-Common Sense

  1. LC says:

    Hard to disagree with Sheriff Jim. Have to say that I benefited greatly in my training by the my past employer, a large PD that took training very seriously. And – I went far beyond the ‘minimum’ requirements by spending alot of range time challenging myself.
    But having worked in gun shops, and teaching my state’s CC course, can tell you that it is absolutely scary the concepts a lot of folks have when it comes to personal defense with a firearm.

    • jason burrell says:


      • Ken says:


        I don’t see where you explain why carrying a weapon with an empty chamber is a bad idea. I have a shield 9 mm and I don’t rack, or load the weapon until I’m ready to fire. I don’t have a safety on the weapon so it seems like a good idea. However you seem to wanna ridicule the idea of doing That so I’d like to understand why.

        • Justsomeguy says:

          I’m not the guy you responded to, but I’ll give your question a whack. In many defensive situations, you simply won’t have time to rack the gun and if you’re talking about loading it too, you’re talking about even more time. That’s also an awful lot to do in a stressful situation without messing it up. If you aren’t comfortable carrying a loaded gun, you need more training and or handling experience.

      • Ken says:


        I don’t see where you explain why carrying a weapon with an empty chamber is a bad idea. I have a shield 9 mm and I don’t rack, or load the weapon until I’m ready to fire. I don’t have a safety on the weapon so it seems like a good idea. ….However you seem to wanna ridicule the idea of doing That so I’d like to understand why.

  2. Amen to everything Sheriff Jim has to say. I spent almost 20 years training law enforcement and armed private security agencies on judgmental use of force and gunfighting tactics nationwide. I ALWAYS carry with chamber loaded and magazine full. Also, I can attest to what Sheriff Jim has to say about training. The greatest part of my job was that I often learned as much as I taught, and was able to pass on the accumulated knowledge of literally thousands of years of law enforcement experience to my clients!

  3. D.M. Brewster says:

    Well, I guess me and about 90% of the rest of the gun owners in the country fall into the “fruit cake” category. The fact is that most folks don’t have the time nor the budget for a lot of that high end training and although I’d really like to do some of it, I haven’t yet.

    None the less, CHL holders, shopkeepers and housewives do a pretty good job of winning when confronted with a bad guy. In fact some studies say that CHL holders have a better hit percentage and less hits on unintended targets than the cops with only a modicum of training. Lets face it, most of us don’t have much training, but the bad guys are worse. We aren’t up against trained operators nor are we knocking the door down to to serve felony warrants.

    Under no circumstances am I saying that training isn’t worthwhile and that I wouldn’t like for more people (including me) to have more, hell I’d just like them (us) to have a little more range time. FWIW, my CHL instructor carried on an empty chamber. I don’t agree with it, but he is out training people with some regularity, so trainers aren’t always that great either and that includes a bunch that are doing combat handgun type courses. I will say though that your post much like some of those poor instructors I’ve seen, denigrated a great number of people and is unlikely to help the situation much, but it did give more ammo to the other side.

    Thanks for the opportunity to put in my 2 cents

    • Jim Wilson says:

      Well, at least I got your attention. Get some decent training. You won’t regret it.

    • Lee Cruse says:

      I agree with the article, however, it needs to be mentioned that many local ranges offer good tactical classes at prices most of us can afford in both money and time. The local range that I frequent has a 5 star rating from NSSF and the credentials of the trainers that I have had seem quite impressive.
      Second, while there are known correct principals, there are also places and times to make adjustments based on environmental and personal requirements. The more different views and understanding of the reasoning behind the views is certainly one part of going from “owning a gun” to “bearing arms”

  4. Larry Venable says:


    I’ll buy a drink in Marathon
    in January


  5. Larry Berry says:

    Amen to your article. A small group of us were talking about concealed carry. One man was carrying a 1911 on half cock in a shoulder holster. My friends and I have been to multiple Gunsite courses . We hope we set him straight. All these people that teach concealed carry locally don’t know what they are doing. We were told by one of these guys that if we carried our gun in an inside the pants holster that sooner or later we would have a negligent discharge. My friends and I have been doing this for 35 years and never has this happened , partly because we had great training at Gunsite.

  6. Pingback: Weekend Knowledge Dump- October 23, 2015 | Active Response Training

  7. Larry Venable says:

    I’m gonna be at Elephant Mountain next
    month on a javelina hunt.
    Which the best rig??
    Colt SAA in .44 Special, Colt Python .357, S&W 25-5
    in .45 Colt ??

  8. jason burrell says:

    Sold plenty of guns to people I’d liked to have denied but were legally able to purchase them. If racking a 12 ga is such a great deterrent, why by it? Just build a contraption that mimics the sound.

  9. No argument there, except to add that some of the ‘instructors’ I’ve run across are pretty squirrelly as well.

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