06 Feb 10 Things Your Conceal Carry/LTC Class Didn’t Teach You But You Need To Know!
According to Guns To Carry, there are approximately 16,358,844 active conceal carry permits (license to carry) in the U.S, and increasing by the day. This number definitely makes a 2A supporter very happy after-all, that is A LOT of people who are exercising their right to bear arms. Depending on which state you reside in, your licensing requires a class and qualification followed by an application process. After issuance, the permit may have reciprocity with other states which will honor your conceal carry permit in their state, and you can check the status of that on sites such as USA Carry If you’ve done the course in your state, you may be taking the responsibility to continually train, and some others may choose to think that the LTC/CCL class has given them enough information.
Recently I was asked to come give a brief presentation at a LTC course here in Dallas, Texas. The room was filled with a couple dozen students who were all anxious to get their permits and exercise their Second Amendment rights. My presentation was an added bonus to the class as I was asked to give some additional training tips to the class. I was mid-sentence speaking about pistol retention when a student asked why the License To Carry class doesn’t teach this, which led to other students asking relatively the same thing. I had to think about all of the CCL/LTC classes I’ve personally taught or witnessed for a moment when I was reminded about a few things…
- Your Conceal Carry/LTC Class is NOT about skills, it is about legality
- The state takes the responsibility of requiring your understanding of law, they do not take responsibility of your skill (or lack of)
- If actual skill was taught in any Conceal Carry/LTC class…it would be a year long of constant training
Unfortunately, the process of getting your conceal carry permit here in Texas or any other state isn’t about teaching the students about life saving skills…it is about knowing the law. So what are they NOT teaching you? Here is a list of 10 BIG things the class doesn’t teach you….but you really NEED to know!
- Dryfire Drills and Skills: Ask any high level shooter about their skill and one of the first things that comes out of their mouth is how much time they spend doing dryfire drills. We have to keep in mind that almost 90% of our firearms skills can be replicated without the gun going BANG. That is everything from holster draw, to grips, to acquiring a good sight package, trigger control, etc. Dryfire Drill Progressions can also include movement, malfunctions, and manipulations! If you want to learn a few dryfire drills, all you have to do is head over to YouTube and find a few that work for you. As always, make sure that you practice proper safety and follow the 4 Rules of Safe Gun handling at all times. Dryfire practice is a real winner in the realm of firearms training. The analogy I always make is that dryfire practice is to firearms what shadowboxing is to a pro boxer.
2. Malfunction and Clearing: Firearms are mechanical devices with moving parts, and like any mechanical item with moving parts you will inherently encounter malfunctions. Typically, firearm malfunctions can be caused by ammunition, user error, or even a problem with the firearm’s hard parts. Regardless of the cause, it is important to be able to identify and clear any malfunction immediately. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a violent encounter in which you need your firearm, and have it not work. Many classes/instructors certainly demonstrate the malfunctions and clearing procedures, but the class time doesn’t allow a student to work on it and develop that skill. The class also doesn’t allow you to test that skill under stressful conditions. I urge you to think this through…if you are in a defensive situation in which you are fighting for your life and using a firearm, Murphy’s law (whatever can go wrong, will go wrong) is in full effect. Plan and prepare for the worst case scenario.
3. Movement (Off The X): You may have heard the phrase “Get Off The X” as it relates to self defense training with a firearm. But what does that actually mean? The idea behind movement is to teach you to move into a different location that you originally began. Especially if you are the target of a violent attack!! Standing in the same place and trying to draw your firearm from your holster is a sure-fire way to get injured or killed. We need to remember that in the self defense equation, you are on the REACTION side and not on the ACTION side….so you are always late to the party. The one step to the side that is often taught simply isn’t valid. We need to truly get moving and be in a different spot. Conceal carry classes typically do not teach the student about any of this! So next time you are at a firing range that allows it, start practicing the draw sequence as you move at least 3 to 4 steps laterally and then get on target to place rounds. It is important to coordinate your body with your firearm, so please take your time and progressively build the speed up.
4. Threat/Cover Principles and Applications: The concept of Threat/Cover is a VERY important one! It tells us that as soon we are presented with a threat, we should move to a position of cover. This is closely related to #3 on this list, which also tells us to get on the move immediately if possible. Aside from avoiding being a standing target, threat/cover principles also put us behind something that may offer us some protection or at the very least will make us hidden as much as possible. This might be behind a wall, behind furniture, or crouched behind a vehicle etc. Certainly, not everything will afford us the luxury of stopping incoming rounds, but it will for sure hide us for a few moments. The Threat/Cover principle is also a good reminder of Environmental Awareness. Where you go, make sure to take a mental note of place and things you can use to your advantage. A true life saver!
5. Hallways, Doorways, Stairs and Corners: Home Defense is a common concern among those who are applying for a conceal carry permit. Almost no situation is as volatile and dynamic as protecting your home. We will not only need to be concerned with other occupants or loved ones in the home, but we also have to consider the layout of the home. Have you considered how you would navigate your home if you had to? Have you considered how many doors, hallways, stairs, and corners there are? It’s literally a maze!!! Now to be fair, I should also let you know that I don’t recommend that you hunt thru your home unless you absolutely must. In most situations, it is best to barricade yourself in, arm yourself, and contact the authorities. In some situations you may find yourself navigating the home in order to get to a loved one or rallying your family into a safe room. None-the-less, we need to be well aware of how to deal with any environment. This particular skill can be applied anywhere including your workplace, shopping mall, grocery stores etc. One tip that I use myself is that wherever I go, I try to negotiate the “fatal funnels” for practice. If I am going thru my home, I try to walk in patterns that allow me to see further out and assess. Same thing no matter where I go. Those few moments of practice tend to add up quickly, and keep me in practice.
6. Pistol Retention Skills: Crime Statistics show that the average distance between an attacker and their victim is less that 5′ in over 80% of the attacks documented. Most of those will get entangled in an attempt to overwhelm the intended victim. Think about crimes such as muggings, sexual assault, kidnapping, etc…. those all require someone to latch on to you at some point. Majority of those crimes happen with no pre-cursor and by ambush. That means there is a great chance the attacker may find the firearm, or may tie you up while you are trying to access it. It is important to have a unarmed skills just as it is armed. They often relate and many situations will require you to go hands on before accessing your firearm. The problem is that unarmed skills are physically challenging to learn and maintain…so many people thing that they can make up for that deficiency by purchasing a firearm. Don’t be lazy about this, take the time to educate yourself. It’s an investment into yourself!
7. Ground Fighting Skills: Many physical attacks quickly end up on the ground. Someone tackles or throws the other person, or someone trips on a curb, or the sheer blunt force trauma can drop you. Once you are down the attacker can then mount you, kick you, bring in other friends to stomp on you, drag you off somewhere or even worse. Honestly, there is NO worse place to be in a violent altercation than on the ground. It limits your ability to move, run, or access your firearm. To add to the trouble…being on asphalt, snow, ice, gravel, concrete isn’t very kind to you either. All of that being said, if you intend on accessing your firearm on the ground, you better first know how to navigate the ground and deal with the positional issues. For example, if you are on your back and someone has mounted your chest and is reigning punches down…you not only have to stop the punches but then you have to be able to tie them up and reposition yourself in a manner that provides you access to your firearm. Ground fighting is an extreme close quarter situation with 100% body on body cohesion and with great disparity between what you can do vs what they can do. If you can find the Nov 2017 SWAT Magazine issue you can find my article on this matter. You can also check out this podcast with Modern Combat and Survival where we discuss this subject in detail.
8. Multiple Target Engagement/Mass Attack: Violent encounters that include multiple attackers is a very real possibility. There are thousands of documented cases of sexual assault, flash mob beatings, gang assaults, home invasions and riots that you can learn from, and even view surveillance video of. Dealing with multiple attackers unarmed or armed is going to be challenge. Some of the principles remain the same, but there are infinite variables that can change the game-plan. Being armed with a firearm, the best response is to gain as much distance as possible right away to negate their movement or ability to divide your attention. If that isn’t possible, then you have to deal with whatever is proposing the greatest threat at the moment. Whatever you decide, you should be quick to action! Also note, your firearms skills will be challenged here. Recoil management, front sight press, trigger control….. there will be a lot to deal with. Check out the 22422 Drill by Travis Haley to help you! I love this drill to challenge my firearms handling skills that directly apply to multiple attackers. Just keep in mind that bad guys don’t stand still, so it is not a “fighting” drill. You can also learn more about unarmed response on dealing with multiple attackers on one of my online lessons by clicking here.
9. Low Light Shooting: As if there aren’t enough challenges in defensive firearms, but now we have to deal with using a flash light while using our firearm too?! Yes! Many crimes occur in low light situations such as back alleys, or in your home at night, etc. Being able to use your flashlight is a critical skill! Not just use it…actually know what to do with it. Low Light shooting is not turning the flashlight on and walking around, it is actually OFF more than it is on. You need to learn how to flood an area with light, or bounce light, or flash it while you make a quick approach, and be able to handle your firearm and the flashlight at the same time. There are some great training courses on low light tactics out there…find em and go! And decide if you want a weapons mounted light or not….and get that! Quite probably one of the most important accessories you can purchase. It is a tool that you should have with you at all times.
10. Cognitive Processing: Violent encounters are very stressful, and with stress comes the science of the SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System). In simple terms, it is related to the fight/flight/freeze response and the thresholds in which our skills begin to diminish. Finger dexterity, audio/visual exclusion, etc. The only way to truly develop cognitive skills for self defense is to have the right training methodology. This is why consistent training in self defense classes as well as those defensive/tactical firearms classes is so important. Ultimately, the more stress that you expose yourself to in the training, the less it will effect you in real life. This is important because you need to make decisions on the fly…. decisions that can cost you your life, or someone else their life, or put you in direct violation of the law and end up in jail. Decision making and problem solving skills are critical in all things, but even more so in a fight for you life. Here’s a fun video of Instructor Zero doing some Brain Processing Drills to push his shooting! I like drills that make you think while you shoot. There are many ways to develop a higher level of combat-stress management and cognitive processing. If you need some tips on this, let me know and I can write a few tips and tricks out for you.
There you have it folks…10 things that your conceal carry class didn’t teach you, but you really need to know! These skills are truly about the preservation of life and safety and should be taken seriously. It is important to understand that a conceal carry/license to carry class is not designed to give you life saving skills, they are designed to teach you the state requirements and law. Developing skills beyond that is 100% up to you! As I list these 10 items for you, my intention is not to criticize your conceal carry class or instructors, but to give you some insight on what should be working on after you receive your permit. Continual and Quality training is the real key to success! Take your training outside of your comfort zone (under proper instruction) and push those limits. You’ll be happy you did! Conceal Carry Training is necessary to attain the license/permit, but real world training is your responsibility.
In the meantime, stay safe and be well!
S2 Strategic Defense
www.S2Online.academy online training