Training, Tradition, and Two World Wars

by: Justin Hinckley
LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

There is a veneration for tradition in the gun community. Perhaps a result of the historically conservative bent to the community overall, this love of tradition often manifests as a kneejerk rejection of new technology and shifting training doctrine. Now, the gun community is not immune to its share of fads and trends that catch on quickly, burn hot and bright for their 15 minutes, then die out once said thing has been tested by those the community relies on to sanity check new stuff. Because of this, a healthy degree of skepticism is needed in browsing the latest endorsements from your favorite gunfluencers (trademark pending). But this goes both ways. "That’s how we've always done it" or "that's how I was taught 20 years ago" are no better than "it's new so it must be better." This article is not meant as an attack on tradition, per se, but is meant to overtly challenge the dogma and relics held within that tradition simply for their own sake. Let's burn our sacred cows and make shiny veal out of our golden calves.

I recently watched a video of one of these aforementioned gunfluencers discussing the trend of concealed carriers putting lights on their guns and condemning the action based on the fallacious refrain loved by the anti-gun crowd to defame concealed carry in general: when's the last time you needed it? Certainly, needing your gun is a statistical rarity, more-so if you need to activate your light while doing so. Glossing over the obvious and weak argument normally reserved for the gun haters, perhaps we can evaluate such ideas and the reactions to them with less outright dismissal. And what else is the statement "you’ll never need it" meant to do besides dismiss an argument? You can’t prove that statement false, there is no open curiosity implicit in it, and it does not offer the opportunity for clarification of the person being addressed. Why do you feel you need a light? Let us accept that perhaps our view of the world is not the only rational one. Indeed, step one may simply be to restrain our desire to ridicule until we ask enough probing questions to find out if our peer is full of crap and deserving of said ridicule.

While at the range recently I was listening as a vintage shooter told me about how red dot optics were a useless gimmick since you're not gonna have time to use your sights in a real fight anyway. What data, personal experience, or testing did this gentleman cite to back up his argument? "Trust me, sonny."

Curiously, this gentleman embraced certain technological development, showing me his 9mm Staccato 2011 he uses for home defense. I guess those were acceptable upgrades to the 1911, the fabled pistol first discussed in some translations of the book of Genesis. In all seriousness, it seems an axiom in some circles that useful technological developments on firearms ended sometime around the turn of the century... the 20th century that is. This is the school of thought that says things like "if it's good enough to win two world wars, it's good enough for me" as justification for why they carry variants of the capable, but rustic, Colt 1911. They tout shot placement and "stopping power" over gimmicks like polymer frames, striker-fire systems, double-stack magazines, defensive ammunition, lights, optics, or kydex holsters.

So, what to do to make us, as a community, advance with useful, safe technology and avoid the litany of gimmicks and unsafe practices out there? For starters, I would encourage all of us to start asking the question "why" to ourselves about everything we do. Why do I carry the gun, caliber, and ammunition that I do? Is there a good reason to change any of these? If so, why is that a good reason and is it a good enough reason to make the change? Why do I shoot the targets I do at the range? Why do I shoot at the distance I do? Why do I shoot the drills I do (or don’t)? Once we have answered a personally sufficient number of these questions for ourselves and our actions, it may be time to look at others. I think most of us can agree that approaching things with genuine curiosity and a desire to learn is better than approaching things close-mindedly and with pre-conceived judgment. Certainly, if someone were to ask me why I carry appendix instead of telling me I’ll shoot my crotch doing so, that person is more likely to have a pleasant if not engaging conversation, instead of me turning and ignoring him or her.

Several training groups I follow on social media have rules related to people challenging others on a topic. The rule is usually something like: if you want to criticize someone who posts videos of themselves training, you better have posted some of your own videos in the group for people to see from what authority you speak. AKA if you want to act like the expert, you better post yourself doing some expert stuff first. Armchair quarterbacks not welcome. There is a reason most people are much more polite and humble at your local shooting match than they are on the internet. It's the same reason all your gun friends talk big but get real quiet once it's time to put rounds downrange in public. It's easy to talk crap until you're the one in the spotlight.

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  • Rob yates
    published this page in 2A Talk 2024-05-31 03:46:21 -0400
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