The reality of the situation is that tactical combat, survival and self defense training is not something that can be mastered in a week or a month. Training needs to be consistent to the point where the drills become as a reaction that you don’t even have to think about it…. The point is that terrorists and threats to you have been in serious training for a long period of time while many of us still see the concept of learning the inner workings of firearms as being premature.
Private survival training in the present day has often been seen as an invitation to police repression. Examples such as the Black Panthers in the 1960’s and the Militia movement of the 1990’s are often sighted. For the most part these organizations stayed within the law and were mainly small groups of private citizens trying to exercise the same Rights as the founding fathers did at Lexington and Concord. The focus of these organizations was to make an expression through show of force.
Private firearms ownership in America for anything other than target shooting and hunting has been made to appear unwise and even illegal. For that reason people have become more dependent on the government for their defense than ever before. The reality is that in every one of the 50 states in the Union it is Legal to own and use a firearm in defense of life. What happens when the National Guard is called up and sent overseas? Do you know 30% of most local law enforcement are members of the Guard and reserve. We are becoming more and more dependent on Federal Law Enforcement… and a dependant, defenseless people is an enslaved people.
So you have a desire to train, to become confident in what you carry, how you carry it and what to do with it but you are not a member of the law enforcement community or the federal military. What can you do? How can you train?
Unregulated Live Fire Self-training
“Grab some rounds and head to the local dump or the woods and Go shoot”- NO
This is the worst thing you can do. Worse even than not training. If you go to the local shooting pit and blast a box or two of shells out all you are doing is shortening the life of your weapon and reinforcing bad habits. If you typically are doing something incorrect, odds are- without the proper practice to correct that bad habit- all you accomplish is building the wrong muscle memory. Guess what you are going to do when the SHTF? You will fall back on your worst training which is this.
Regulated Self Training of Firearms
Research your courses of fire that are available. Go online and Google ‘course of fire” and you will find any number of courses plainly outlined. These include Cooper Drills, Shoot and Move drills, Dozier Drills, the El Presidente, various courses used by law enforcement agencies such as the NYPD and LAPD, military courses of fire for rifles, pistols and shotguns. Go to an actual range (or build your own safe one using established range safety guidelines) and run these drills until you can do them correctly. Exercise your fundamentals of Sight picture, trigger control, good solid position, and breathing. Use actual targets instead of beer cans, washing machines and the like. Paper plates can be substituted.
Inquire around at local gun shops and sporting goods stores for local rifle and pistol clubs who offer regulated ranges and competition shoots in exchange for nominal fees. Many State Departments of Wildlife have free ranges that are open to the public at no fee. This will also introduce you to the best part of training which is networking. Make contacts with like-minded individuals that can help point you in the right direction for your goals.
Live Fire is only a small part of firearms training. You need to spend hours training with an unloaded and safe weapon for every minute you spend sending brass downrange. Again, exercise your fundamentals of sight picture, trigger control, good solid position, and breathing. Practice tactical reloads, administrative reloads, one-handed reloads (for if injured), drawing from cover, firing positions etc.
The Boy scouts
Yes I am speaking of the ubiquitous organization that is the Boy Scouts of America. They are faith based and are represented in every community large and small. They also are a cornerstone of one of the few organizations that still attempt to provide firearms training without profit. Get with your local troops and find out the contact for the Shooting Sports Council for your area. Volunteer your services as a Range officer for the Marksmanship classes they have during semi-annual jamborees. Many councils offer full fledged certified NRA Firearms Instructor certification classes at reduced cost (sometimes as low as $25) to volunteers willing to give up a few weekends of their time to help local scouts learn to shoot.
You can learn valuable skills, gain an expanded knowledge base and provide a legacy for our youth in the process. Again, you see the chance to network your training opportunities by making more contacts and sharing information.
The non-profit Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) offers nationwide Appleseed Clinics that generally cost $70 for two days however, it is free for active military/guard/reserve, people who are under 21 years of age, and currently for 2010, women are also free. These provide training in long arms to a ‘rifleman’ qualification. They also offer longer week long courses and 30-hour instructor courses for much less than what you would get from the custom for-profit training academies.
Bring a rifle and a few hundred rounds of ammunition and put in some legitimate training. Spend your down time networking and making contacts to further your training.
PoliceOne Training Articles- http://www.policeone.com/training/articles/ with hundreds of free articles such as “Training Police Recruits to Think”, Relevant and Realistic Firearms Training on a Tight Budget” and “Watch Behavior Indicators for Potential Violence” this resource is vital to anyone who is looking for training needs. While these are written by law enforcement and security professionals for use by law enforcement and security professionals many of the same concepts hold true for a TEOTWAWKI situation, CCW holders, and anyone who just wants to gain the upper hand in a bad life or death situation when the zombies come.
Emergency Management Institutes-
Government and National organizations in partnership with colleges such as the University of Alabama- Birmingham Texas A&M and Tulane University officer online web interfaces such as the South Southern Public Health Partnership, FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, and the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center
These institutes lean mainly towards Health and Safety aspects of Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism with dozens of amazing free courses such as “Food as an Effective Weapon of Terrorism”, “Preparedness: Factors for the Emergence/Reemergence of Infectious Diseases” Applied Epidemiology of Terrorist Events”, “Agro-terrorism”, and “Medical Effects of Primary Blast Injury” while they are dry are some of the best online training available from accredited sources.
Spend one night a week and devote four hours to one of these free classes. In a single year that is 52 classes under your belt. Take extensive notes that you can understand and create a chapbook with lessons you learned from each class. When the lights go out and the phones die the notebook can be your reference back to those night classes you took.
State Defense Forces
About half of the States in the Union offer a State Defense Force. These range from small relatively top heavy cadre groups such as the Mississippi State Guard to the large and very well organized 1000-manVirgina State Defense Force. Some 23 of these organizations are chartered by the state military department and work hand in hand with the local National Guard AG to perform “State’s only” service as directed by the governor.
Many of these organizations offer membership regardless of physical conditions to residents with clean criminal records. They typically have monthly drills and an annual summer camp much like the regular National Guard. While some offer limited weapons training most are good for at least an introduction into basic military courtesy, field craft, land navigation, communications and other tasks that will come in handy post- TEOTWAWKI without being in danger of a federal call-up or the unfortunate stigma of ‘militia groups’.
The Red Cross
Well known for more than a century of community outreach the American Red Cross is in every community. Contact your local chapter and inquire about joining their Disaster Action Team (DAT). In exchange for agreeing to help with local disaster response inside your own county the Red Cross will provide all the necessary training. A DAT team member is required to have the following training, at no charge to the volunteer: Orientation to Red Cross, Introduction to Disaster, Disaster Team Training, Standard First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Mass Care, Shelter Operations, Damage Assessment, Family Service and Providing Emergency Service.
Some of these courses will be more involved than others and each will have its own opportunity to learn lessons and new skills. Networking with individuals on your team can pay great dividends.
So what are we looking at for training as far as an outlay in money?
You can join your local State Defense Force for free, take classes online from the EMI, NEERTC and other agencies for free, catch the nearest Appleseed shoot for free (in some circumstances), help with the Boy scouts, browse online courses of fire and read your Police training articles all for free.
How about time?
Set up a schedule. Allocate one (four hour) night a week for online classes and articles. Schedule one full day a month (eight hours) to drill with your State Defense Force. Set aside one (four hour) night a week for regulated unloaded training with a safe weapon. Spend one (sight hour) full day a month on the range following a course of fire. Attend an Appleseed or Boy scout range when they come up to help brush up your skills and pass the knowledge along to others. Go to your Red Cross DAT team training dates.
This totals some 48-hours per month on average. This is a part-time job to learn the skill-set now that will be literally invaluable if the worst case scenario evolves and you have to utilize it.
As the old saying goes- it’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.