This is a question that comes up a lot when it comes to gun ownership…how often should someone owning a firearm be trained in its use? Depending on who you ask, the answers you get will cover a very broad range…anywhere from once to monthly (or even more). So what’s the right answer?
As with most things relating to firearms and gun ownership, it depends on a variety of factors. Such factors as…
- How you intend to use your firearm
- How proficient you desire to be with your firearm(s)
- Whether you use a firearm for protection, recreation, or marksmanship
- Your personal level of security
- Other factors
Based on the answers to the above questions, you can determine more accurately how often you want (and should) be trained in the proper (and safe) use of your firearms. But even when you feel you have an initial answer for yourself, it’s always good to seek the counsel of others that are experienced in the use of firearms and get their opinions.
For example, how often do you think police officers are (or should be) trained? This is a tricky question because again it depends on a variety of factors. But to give you an example, there was an article, “Police firearms training: How often should you be shooting?” in PoliceOne.com that talked about this very topic. Some insights into what they found out might be interesting, surprising, and give some guidance to your thinking.
When they talk about firearms training in this article they are talking about a specific area…shooting. For the most part police offers officially train twice a year…with more personal practice occurring on their own rather than formal training. Their goal was to try and get it to a quarterly basis just to keep them fresh and up to date on new advances and techniques. But what is important is the type of training they receive may be very different from the average citizen. For example, they cited that the “usual and customer” training they receive includes…
- Low-light and judgmental (decision-making) shooting
- Shooting while moving to cover
- One-handed firing
- Giving verbal challenges
- Firing and clearing malfunctions from various “officer down” positions
- Engaging multiple targets
These probably are very different skills than the average gun owner would probably receive or want to be trained in to this degree. Yet they have a very different job and need for firearm training than the average citizen gun owner. So it’s important to understand the differences but to learn from what those who use firearms as part of their daily routine consider important and critical.
One thing to keep in mind with all of this is the word “TRAINING” as it can, and usually is, interpreted in many different ways. In the article I referenced above, they were focused specifically on “shooting” rather than “overall training.” These are very different. When I speak of training, I am focused on all aspects of gun ownership training. This includes safety training, firearm handling, shooting skills, concealed carry skills, and other aspects you need when you take on the responsibility of owning a firearm.
It is critically important to plan out training in all areas. And unlike the police force that is around it all day and has different types of training in a variety of areas, most gun owners aren’t and need to have consistent and continual updates to stay safe and to be prepared. Frequency is the friend of gun owners…and this absolutely includes training in all aspects of gun ownership. Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.