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The 30 Myths, Excuses and Old Wives Tales that Prevent People from Obtaining Professional Firearms Training


“Training costs money. I cannot afford it.”

You can afford dinners out, vacations and hobbies but you cannot afford to learn how to protect your family. I am certain that the Connecticut Doctor, whose wife and daughters were raped, tortured, doused with gasoline and burned alive, wishes he had spent the money to learn how to protect his loved ones. Check your priorities.

“I am busy with family activities. I do not have time.”

Your primary responsibility to your loved ones is to protect them, not to watch them play soccer.

“Guns are dangerous. I have children. I will not have a gun in the house.”

Ignorance is bliss. 100 million gun owners, over 300 million guns and yet, “gun accidents” are last on the accident list.” Annually, almost 3,000 children die in bath tubs, falling from shopping carts, riding in cars and drowning in swimming pools. On average only 20 young children die in firearms accidents each year and all of these could easily have been prevented by properly trained parents.

“I learned to shoot when I was 6 years old.”

Was it then that you were taught how to draw from concealment, clear malfunctions shoot from a weapon retention position and perform all manner of combat drills, or did that occur later?

“I grew up with guns in the house and have been around guns all my life. “

Are we to assume that you learned the martial art of fighting with firearms by some mysterious spirit emanating from the .22 rifle kept behind the kitchen door?

“I served in the United States military.”

As an Infantry Light Weapons Sergeant who received the best small arms training that the United States military offers, (outside of special ops) I know for a fact that such training is dismal.

“I was trained by a Police Officer.”

As the Chief Firearms Instructor for the LAPD SWAT team and the LAPD Police Academy and having worked with Police Agencies all over the country, I can assure that most LE firearms training is not very good.

“I used to be a Police Officer.”

See above.

“I have a CFP.”

The CFP course is little more than a rubber stamp so that the state can attest that you were exposed to the laws of the state and any mistakes are your responsibility and not theirs.

“I am a CFP instructor.”

See above.

“I am an avid hunter.”

As a Combat Soldier and a LAPD SWAT Officer I hunted men. That experience did not prepare me for hunting animals about which I have much to learn. Consider the reverse.

“I hit what I shoot at.”

It is human nature to remember our hits and forget our misses.

“I once hit a tin can at 50 yards with my handgun.”

What you have accomplished once or on occasion and perhaps by good fortune is irrelevant. It is what you can do “On demand and under stress that matters.”

“I am a life member of the NRA.”

I once heard a man say those exact words a moment before he had a negligent discharge with his .45 which narrowly missed another man and a woman standing nearby.

“I am an NRA instructor.”

At a recent NRA instructor class we observed several “instructors” who had difficulty hitting a 10 inch target at 5 yards in slow fire. They were also unsafe.

“I am a NRA Range Safety Officer and I would be bored with training.”

See above.

“I own lots of guns.”

We have one friend who owns several hundred guns and yet he is a very mediocre shooter. Owning multiple guns only means that you own multiple guns.

“I shoot in competition regularly.”

Last year I had a “World Champion Shooter” in my Defensive Firearms Course. During the course he commented many times on how much he was learning and how little he knew about fighting with a firearm before attending the class.

“When an intruder hears the action of my shotgun, he will run away.”

Having seen attackers shot multiple times and continue to attack, I find it extremely unlikely that they will run away because they hear you operate the action of your shotgun. You have merely told him where you are and that you are armed, so that he may devise a better plan to defeat you.

“I can just point my shotgun in his general direction and the spread will hit him.”

Buckshot spreads at approximately one inch per yard. At a typical indoor self defense distance of 15 feet, the pattern can be covered with your fist. In other words, there is no pattern. Interesting how facts tend to burst myths.

“My spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, brother, father or uncle has trained me.”

Their expertise was acquired in which of the irrelevant categories described here. Also, knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it to others are two very different things. The best shooter I have ever known was a terrible instructor.

“My spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, brother, father or uncle says I shoot well.”

They care about you. You are always a success in their eyes. Their job is to praise you and keep you interested. By what standard do they conclude that you shoot well? Occasionally hitting an old TV is not much of a standard.

“I own a membership to a major shooting school, although I have never been there.”

We are certain that this membership which you may never utilize has prepared you for armed combat; we simply cannot seem to understand how.

“If I shoot a prowler in my yard, I know enough to drag the body inside.”

Why do you need to shoot a prowler who is outside your home committing only a minor trespass? Do you really believe that scientific investigators will not know what you have done? Shooting someone who is not trying to kill you or cause you great bodily injury is a good way to go to prison for a long time.

The Police will protect us?

Are you serious? Were you raised in Disneyland? The job of the Police is to protect you after the crime by investigating and thus trying to prevent the next crime. No one can protect you during the crime except you.

“I have been watching people fight with guns on TV and in movies all my life.”

There are a few actors who have received professional training and have learned how to fight with a firearm. I have trained several well known actors myself. The vast majority however, have never fired a real gun in their entire life.

“I have envisioned a self defense scenario many times and in my mind I always win.”

In our mental preparation we tend to visualize a situation which is within our limited capabilities. When an actual deadly threat appears which requires far more training, knowledge and skill than we possess, we become lost.

“When in danger I will be lucky and hit my target.”

In my experience we tend to make our own luck. People who practice and train properly are much more likely to be lucky than those who do not.

“If in danger, I will rise to the occasion and become brilliant.”

Not likely. When in danger we do not rise to the occasion, we default to our training. So the question becomes, how relevant is your training?

“If I attend training and do not perform well, my ego will be damaged.”

Finally we have identified a very real and very common concern. This one is never stated but often considered. You have convinced yourself and your spouse that you know how to fight with firearms based on one of the irrelevant myths described here. What if you attend training and do not perform well? Or worse, what if your spouse performs better than you do? It is far easier to pretend that you do not need training than to set your ego aside, take an emotional risk and try to learn something.

How many of these myths have you used to justify your failure to become properly trained in the Defensive Use of Firearms?

If you are really being honest with yourself you know that these excuses are worthless. If you can somehow manage to consider them objectively you will see that they are simply not valid.


These are the excuses that we hear on a regular basis from friends, neighbors and relatives as to why they do not need defensive firearms training. We recently manned a booth at a preparedness fair in Orem, Utah. We made this list of the reasons that people offered as to why they did not need training. Those who offered these excuses were often deeply entrenched in their beliefs. We would often ask these folks one question. “If you confronted a home invasion robber tonight and experienced a type three malfunction with your first shot could you clear it in the dark?” The answer was always the same. “What is a type three malfunction?” We were thus inspired to write this article and to do so without pulling any punches.

No sugar coating, no political correctness, just a hard cold look at the facts. People need to be properly trained to defend themselves with firearms and they often avoid facing this fact by hiding behind these myths, excuses and old wives tales. Our mission is to help our community to prepare to defend themselves and this requires that we dispel these myths. We hope that you are not offended by our efforts to wake people up to the truth. In any case, it needs to be done.

Why do you imagine that tens of thousands of Americans attend hundreds of professional firearms training schools all over the country spending millions of dollars each year to learn the martial art of fighting with a gun? They do this because:

“Many people own guns, a few of them may even shoot fairly well but until they have received “Professional Defensive Firearms Training,” almost none of them really know how to fight with a gun.”

To be unprepared to protect your family is to be irresponsible!

Larry and Stacey Mudgett