Recently I was talking to a friend about training and he said something that I have heard several times lately. He said “Firearms classes are expensive. I am just going to compete in IDPA or other competitions because those are cheap and they give you real world scenarios, and real world training.”
Since I have heard this several times I just wanted to talk about training in general and maybe put some perspective on it.
Martial training of any type is generally carried out in the same basic way.
First they take you over to the side alone and have you work on very basic techniques in the air. “Throw this punch, kick, or whatever 100 times.” In the gun world this might be equated to getting your new gun, reading the manual, and dry firing. Step one of your training complete.
Next they put a target in front of you. This might be a bag that you actually hit or even a person that you are supposed to pull your technique just short of hitting. Let’s go back to the gun world. Now you are at the range actually putting rounds on paper.
As you continue your martial journey now you have a real opponent that you interact with. Either he reacts to you or you react to him but it is in a prearranged manor. Everyone knows basically what everyone else is going to do and what is supposed to be the result. This might be some “self-defense” techniques. I am sorry to shock awe you but back in our gun training this is the stage that IDPA falls under. Now before you start spitting and snorting I am not saying this is bad training. It is actually great training. Just like any other martial art this competition starts adding complexity, mental components, and STRESS that you have not had before. All that makes for great training.
Here is what I see as the bad point for us in the gun world. All other martial arts then move on to a free style real world training method. Depending on the art it could be anything from points fighting (somewhat real world) to full on MMA style. In any case it is a free sparing situation where neither party knows what the other is going to do and pain, defeat, even injury are possible. This is true for every martial art including sword training except for guns. In the gun world, for obvious reasons we have stopped our training back at the “staged” level. Yes simunitions have been around for a while but these are expensive and hard for even some LE to get and use.
Thank goodness for technology and people that think outside of the box. Airsoft has given us a way to take that next step and actually train against opponents in real world scenarios, without, well, killing each other. Being hit by an airsoft gun does hurt. That is good. It gives us negative feedback and causes us to flinch and react like we would in a real fight. You don’t “want” to get shot. The stress is super high. Let’s face it. IDPA stress is only there from the standpoint of, you don’t want to look bad at the game. Your targets are fixed and they do not shoot back. So once you have done it a few times and you know the game, the stress comes way down. With airsoft the more I get hit the less I want to get hit. Force on Force is the final step in martial training for the gunfighter. In most cases you can actually get the exact airsoft version of your personal conceal carry gun. I carry a Sig 228. I found a Sig 228 full metal, blow back, airsoft gun. The controls are in the same place and the gun operates exactly like my EDC. Except I can use it to learn how to WIN gunfights with real opponents.
Now as a final thought I will address the “training is expensive” part of this. My question is, is it really? I look at it much like I look at a gun purchase. Why am I buying this gun? If it is strictly as a hobby or for fun or even as a collector then ok set your price accordingly. If however you are buying that gun with the idea that you are going to use it to protect your life or the life of others then I think that price should be the last consideration. Not that you should not consider it but it should be the last factor. I want a gun that I am sure will function 100% of the time. A gun that carries as much fire power both in raw power and number of rounds, that I will carry 100% of the time. A gun that feels good to me and instills confidence in my ability to handle and hit with it. Last I need that gun to be one I can afford. Now when I say that, I don’t mean I have to have the money in my pocket today. If the gun I described is $700 and a gun that is sorta good is $400 then for goodness sake do whatever you did to get the $400, and get another $300 to get the gun that meets all your other criteria. I look at it like this. A good gun will last you the rest of your life and most likely your kids. Average the price of it out for 30 or 60 years and even the highest price is pretty reasonable. Now apply that to your training. If you are training as a hobby or to play IDPA then price is a huge consideration. If you are actually training to be able to defend yourself then price has to be way down on the list of considerations. Most of us are only going to know how our training holds up once in our lives. If I save $375 on training and get shot by a street punk, am I really going to think that was a good deal? You can get in a Force on Force class for $400 for two days. Yes that is not chicken feed but how much did you spend going to the deer lease last week? Heck how much did it cost you to take the family out for dinner and a movie? I skipped two of those movie nights and got my tail in class:)