I don’t intend to cause controversy, hurt feelings or ostracize any specific groups or people. But there is a phenomenon out there in the training world that often has me scratching my head. It’s the number of average Joes (and Janes) seeking out the high-speed, low-drag firearms and self-defense classes with a combat mindset.

A Combat Mindset

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a mindset that enables folks to develop an attitude of awareness, confidence and purpose but rather one that intends to prepare people to seek out danger, kill the “enemy” and then continue on with the fight. There is a big difference between the two. And while I wholly support the former for everyone who desires to be responsibly armed and trained, I do not believe the latter is the optimal (or safest) choice for new gun owners, armed civilians or everyday people like me.

Of course, I have the utmost respect for those who have served our country in the military. And I am very grateful for — and in awe of — combat veterans and special operations forces. But that’s not something I chose to do. I never had the interest; I never felt capable. It wasn’t something that was a fit for me. And it’s definitely not a part of my everyday life now.

So it concerns me that so many people scramble to take combat classes or include those types of training as No. 1 on their lists. Personally, I don’t want to look for — or run into — the fight. What I want to do is be a responsibly armed mom who is better prepared and better able to defend myself and my loved ones in the real, everyday world.

That’s not law enforcement. That’s not military. That’s not combat. That’s not seeking out bad guys. That’s not taking out the “enemy.” It’s avoiding, escaping and then defending, as necessary. It’s stopping the threat. And that mindset is exceedingly different from one to the other.

The Problem

The problem arises when people don’t recognize the differences. In fact, I have encountered many classes in which instructors have given their students a false sense of security and a dangerous focus on heroism by hammering a combat mindset and telling a room full of captivated and impressionable students that THEY are responsible to “go out and save lives.” In one class taught by “an operator” (with an impressive resume, no doubt), a group of brand-new and intermediate gun owners was taught how to push their way through crowds to find the bad guys, take them out and be the “frickin’ heroes.” That kind of messaging is risky and impractical for everyday people needing to defend themselves.

The Result

Maybe it’s just me, but being a true hero to my family means being there to take care of them … and coming back home, safe and sound. And while it could certainly be very interesting and exhilarating to take a low-light, moving-vehicle bullseye shooting class from an elite, special forces cadre, we should not overlook the significance and the real-world application of concealed carry or defensive shooting fundamentals.

Train for what’s most plausible in your world … and in your life.