If you took a class, got your permit and feel like you are prepared to defend yourself, you will likely be in for a huge and unpleasant surprise in the event that you end up in a deadly force incident.
First off, you need more training than the simple understanding of the law that your CCW permit class gives you. Yes, you need to know the law and you need to follow the law in every instance, but you also need to know how to respond to serious incidents concerning your safety. What will you do? If you haven’t trained, you won’t know what to do and chances are pretty good you will do nothing right.
So, I suggest advanced skills training. This is not standing at the seven-yard line on your local range plinking away with your pistol. Real training means so much more than that. The root word of gunfight is fight, not gun. You have to be ready to fight.
To be ready to fight means you have to be ready to move. When the fight starts you can’t stand there and let the fight come to you. You will need to move, if not to cover, at the very least out of the line of attack. Different trainers use different terms: Get off the train tracks. Get off the X. Move, shoot and communicate. Pick one and remember it.
If you believe me, you are going to find a good training school and enroll. You’ll pay for training, ammo and travel and when you are done you will feel great about it. You will feel prepared. You may even have more confidence.
Don’t believe the hype.
A two or four-day training course is outstanding and a great place to start, but remember that your average career criminal is way more experienced at committing crime than you are at defending against it. My suggestion is that you work hard to keep your edge. All skills are perishable. If you don’t use them, you lose them. Train as often as you can afford it. Train at places that teach you to fight, not just shoot.
In the interim, spend some time focusing on “what if” scenarios. Anti-gunners will call this paranoia. I call it preparation. Think about where you park your car. Is there some lighting nearby to allow you see if someone is hanging around? Notice people as you walk down the street. Is anyone paying you extra attention? Do you have a reasonable avenue of retreat? Where is the available cover? Is there something you can put between you and someone who may approach?
Self-defense is not a one-trick pony. It is system of actions that keeps you safe. It starts with situational awareness. You need to pay attention to where you are and what others are doing around you. If you don’t need to go into a bad neighborhood, don’t go. If you can stop and get gas before you get to a place that may be unsafe, do it. Don’t intentionally provoke people. If someone cuts you off in traffic just hit the brakes, smile and drive on.
A gunfight is like a fire; once you are in one, the damage is already done. Prevention is the best option. But like a fire, if a gunfight starts you want to use the best gear and have the best training available to make sure you can put things out quickly.
Stay sharp. Stay safe.