Idea stolen from Monsieur Giddings:
In an effort to be honest with myself, get people to think about being honest with themselves, and stop my rantings that are clouding up another guy’s comments section, allow me to discuss limitations.
I once wounded a crow at inside of fifteen yards and never recovered it. I hit the clays before I went bird hunting again. Learned that I wasn’t leading enough.
Missed a squirrel with a rifle once, the sights have never been able to adjust low enough and it shoot high at anything under seventy yards. I got a scope on the rifle and sighted it in again and again before I took it hunting again.
I met what I thought to be a burglar at my door once. My hands were steady, my front sight was in focus, and it turned out to be a bear. It took off before I had to do anything, but I have no doubt that my shot would have gone where I wanted. I still practice shooting while retreating just to be sure.
I don’t shoot running game because it could easily end badly. I am actively trying to find a cost effective way to simulate a moving threat to practice that.
I don’t use SAO pistols defensively because I have almost no experience with them. DAO and DA/SA, work for me. Every range trip, I send a flyer into the target with the Woodsman because I am not used to a single-stage SAO trigger, between shooting Mil-Surp rifles before I turned 21, and using a Beretta 96, I am so used to a two-stage single action, that I try to take up slack out of habit.
I once dosed a patient with 324mg of ASA per order of the EMT-I next to me. She had a GI bleed, and denied any allergies to aspirin or any bleeding issues before dosing. The nurse knew and didn’t tell us, but we should have asked her specifically before we left. I now ask nurses more questions when I pick up a patient, and am not afraid to ask any that I think the more experienced EMT may have missed. (Limitations aren’t just about guns)
I won’t run an ambulance any faster than 80mph on the highway because I am not used to stuff vehicles that top-heavy. Tell me to speed up all you want, I’m not driving any faster than I know I can handle. No mistakes led to this rule, I just know that 80 in a top-heavy rig is about the extent of my abilities right now.
I turned down full tuition to an EMT-I course because I still need to get better at vitals in a moving vehicle and patient assessments.
Gore, throw all of it you want at me. I have stayed in a situation so ungodly, that the Intermediate couldn’t call a medic fast enough and had to leave to dry-heave. I’ll be distubed later and have it stuck in my head for a while, but during the scene, I’m fine.
I am nitrox certified. I’m not using it when I dive because I have done nothing with it since I got the card. I’ll just dive with plain air.
I don’t use a shotgun for home defense. The time and money to become competent with it are not in the cards right now. I use the carbine I have had for years and can bounce soda cans around between 0-100 yards all day long. I am fine with penetration issues because I only have one neighbor not separated by a berm, and the strong-room line-of-fire faces away from him. Bears are a more likely threat here, also, so the rifle makes more sense.
I haven’t been able to run at all since my knee surgery. I need to work on that.
My draw from concealment is better than most around here, but I am still working on it.
I need to work on target transitions, threat identification, and speeding up my shooting.
I don’t rotate carry pieces, with one exception. I have one primary, and my backup. I don’t want to muck with bouncing details in my head from one platform to another in a fight. I do have a second pocket pistol that is DAO like my backup, but I only carry it when absolutely necessary and accept that it is purely a belly gun in my hands. I am trying to find a load for the secondary BUG that performs well enough for it to retire my normal backup. Then there will be no rotation.
I can carry a full-size pistol, fully concealed, in a suit, with no jacket. The big sidearm helps me shoot better, so I would be an idiot to leave it at home in favor of a weapon I can’t handle as well. It is on me 99% of the time I’m not working. I don’t use a pocket gun as a primary unless I absolutely positively can not be made. This occurs, at most, once a month, and I’m not taking a few shots I would with my Beretta. I still practice with the pocket-rocket as much as it’s big brother.
In EMS, I am “Always a student” I will never be good enough at anything, but I am trying to improve as best I can afford at everything. A commentor at gunnuts trained for eight years for combat and still missed an aggressor at less that 20 meters with a rifle. He did the right thing and upped his training regimin as much as he could afford, and admitted his error publicly. Good man. We should all train as much as we can.
One problem. 24 hours in a day. One-hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. Forty hours at work drops you to 128 hours in your week. Spend another fourty hours sleeping, you now have 88 hours of spare time. Oh yeah, let’s assume a half-hour a day of commute to and from work, which leaves 85.5 hours of your own time per week. These 85 and a half hours need to be divided between shopping, raising a family, keeping a relationship with your spouse healthy, cooking, eating, maintaining your home, and study.
Study what? In EMS, study your job, most specifically skills that are less often used. A mistake in patient care can kill just as dead as a stray defensive round. Lawyer, cop, judge, assistant to any of the above? Study the law as no one knows it all at heart. Teacher? Study your lesson plans to improve them. So-on, etcetera.
Study your shooting, improve at it. Study tools and craftsmanship to better maintain your home and vehicles.
Now add in a low income and you are more limited in your studies. Pay for con-ed to maintain certification, or pay for a pistol class? Con-Ed. Plink around when you go to the range, or set up a few scenarios? Scenarios. Crap, out of ammo sooner than if you had money. Go home and watch the boob tube, or dry-fire, work on draw, so-on? Work on stuff.
The point here is two-fold and applies to any level of training, and any facet of your life:
- Know your limitations.
- Always be a student
Just got home from Mall-Ninja school? You still need to keep practicing, you are not perfect. Spent the last few years in combat training? You can still miss and need to keep working. Just finished an ACLS course? You still need to keep working on it. No money to spare? Suck it up and do the best you can without screwing with your other obligations.
“All the crying in the world about how tough it is to afford training won’t soften the blow either to yourself or to others involved if your untrained actions end up hurting or killing an innocent person — especially if that person is a member of your own family.” Yup, but that goes for the cocky from their spiffy training just as much as the not-so-well trained. Just be careful to not take that time and money from your other obligations, mis-dose a patient because you took a pistol class over a refresher course and the world sucks just as hard for all involved. Same goes for the well-trained, you take a shot, or exceed protocols because you think you are so well trained that you know what you are doing and you fuck up, your training didn’t mean shit.
To end: Carry your fucking gun as long as you know the basics of its operation, know your limitations, and are willing to improve. This is not a training issue, it is a humility issue. Cocky kills and all the training in the world won’t keep you alive if you get arrogant.
P.S. Pax: Please do not insinuate that I would dump rounds irresponsibly. I love your website, but don’t ever say that I am crying about something when I am just making a point. I enjoy learning and look forward to it, I have never whined about study being too inconvenient. Well, once, when my hand cramped up while coloring in an anatomy book.
P.P.S. The guys who carry a gun, spend money on optional stuff, and never go to the range: Go fuck yourselves with a rusty iron rod. If I can give up cigars to buy a case of ammo, so can you.