I don’t mean to sound like an old grouch—really I don’t. But you can’t believe how tired I get of hearing, and reading, some of the foolishness that people make up about personal defense. Yes, I said, “make up,” because a lot of this stuff really doesn’t have anything to do with reality. It can’t come from real street experience. It can’t come from actual range experience. It has to be something concocted in a dark basement, late at night, by yet another Keyboard Kommando.
Here are three personal defense myths that really get my goat. What’s more, they can get you hurt if you are stupid enough to believe them.
#1: NO NEED TO AIM A SHOTGUN, JUST POINT IT IN THEIR GENERAL DIRECTION AND FIRE AWAY
This is advice that usually comes from someone who has actually never fired a defensive shotgun. Or, if he actually fired it, he certainly has never done any pattern testing with it.
At gunfight ranges, a shotgun has to be aimed if you expect to hit anything with it. Regardless of what size shot you are using, or what length barrel you have, the payload from a shotgun leaves one ragged hole out to about 7 yards. For all practical purposes, the shot charge functions as one single projectile and, yes, you can miss with a shotgun quite easily at gunfight ranges. From about 7 yards to about 25 yards, the defensive shotgun charge spreads out and is most effective for defensive purposes.
Shotguns are great home defense guns. But it is important to do pattern tests at the range, with the shot loads you plan to use, to know exactly how your gun and load will perform.
The only time you have to aim a shotgun is when you actually expect to hit anything with it.
#2: IN A GUNFIGHT, YOU WILL FOCUS ON THE THREAT SO THERE IS NO NEED TO PRACTICE USING YOUR PISTOL SIGHTS
Advocates of point shooting will often refer you to some videos on social media showing some police officers firing 20 to 30 rounds at a bad guy and getting a couple of hits. What you are actually seeing is a few of our policemen who don’t train and practice nearly as much as they obviously should.
The truth is that you can, and should, use your pistol sights against a violent threat. With proper training and practice you can learn to see your front sight during an actual encounter. We know that because there are quite a large number of us who have done that very thing. However, instead of watching videos, you might want to go to a qualified school and let an actual professional trainer show you how it’s done.
#3: THE FIRST RULE IN GUNFIGHTING – HAVE A GUN
Guns are not magic wands. What that means is that guns are of no value to you if you don’t know how to use them. During a violent encounter, you are not going to rise to the challenge—you are going to sink to the level of your training and practice. And, if you don’t have any training and practice it means that, when the encounter is over, the crook is probably going to walk away with a new gun. One that you have just provided for him.
And what about those of us who are around you when you start blazing away at the bad guys? If the fact that you haven’t bothered to get some good training means that you injure me and mine, you can expect me to be somewhat less than kind towards you.
You wouldn’t just buy an airplane and then tinker with it until you finally learn to fly on your own, would you? You want to own a defensive firearm, that’s great! Do yourself, and those of us around you, a favor—get some training. Good defensive training is available like never before. (Hey, you can even get it through the National Rifle Association! Who knew?)
If I sound a little out of sorts with these Keyboard Kommandos it’s because their fantasy games can get good people hurt. The best way to counter these fantasies is with professional training. If you own a defensive firearm, get that training – you and your loved ones will be glad that you did.