Self-Defense: Stick WIth What’s Tried and True

Sheriff Jim Wilson on the range Gunsite Academy

We live in an era of instant gratification, and this can be a real pitfall for the defensive shooter. There is a great temptation to believe that people can quickly become adept at defensive shooting if they have a certain kind of gun, holster, ammo, and other accessories. There is a further temptation to look askance at those who go their own way and don’t follow whatever the popular trends of the moment might be.

A good example might be the idea that polymer-frame, striker-fired pistols are the ultimate handguns. The best examples of these pistols are excellent guns. They can be reliable, effective, and relatively inexpensive, but they are not a one-size-fits-all product. The only way for people to know if these kinds of guns meet their needs is to spend a lot of time with them, burn lots of ammo, and shoot them in defensive-training classes.

In a similar vein, double-action revolvers are currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. The fellow who thinks for himself will check them out, run several drills with them, and decide if a double-action revolver meets his defensive needs. The fad follower will switch to a double-action revolver because he or she read a really cool article on the internet. I’ll let you decide which of these people is more likely to truly succeed in their quest.

Of course, one of the pitfalls of avoiding fads is listening to these instant experts who crop up on the internet. Recently, I encountered one of these instant experts who was blasting the guns and holsters of yesteryear. Checking him out, it became apparent that he was about 30 years old and admitted to no previous experience with gear or gunfighting. All he had was his “expert” opinion. He seemed shocked when he couldn’t impress his audience, made up of older men who had actually used those guns and gear–older, more experienced men, some of whom had actually been in gunfights.

People who are serious about developing valuable knowledge in self-defense will become avid students. They accept the fact that this will not happen overnight, they seek knowledge and seek training. They ask the advice of those who have been there and done that. They are in it for the long run and are willing to spend years perfecting the skills that can potentially save their lives. They listen instead of pontificating.

With that kind of attitude towards personal defense, new shooters will begin to recognize and tell the difference between useless fads and the guns, gear, and techniques that are truly of value.

This article originally appeared in Shooting Illustrated.

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