January 25, 2012

Vol. 6   No. 4

Winning & Reality


“Winning” is what matters.  “How you played the game” is nothing more than a tired cliché that winds up on your tombstone if you lose.

CHL Students should know that carrying a gun requires a major lifestyle change.  The change should be based on cold, hard facts, and not false praise.  What can a CHL instructor do in only 10 hours?  Emphasize winning.  Give a lot of thought to the words you use.  Teach students that the object is to “win,” not just “survive.”  Nothing short of winning is acceptable.

Students should be taught that being adequate is not worth striving for.  Rather, they should be slammed with the reality that there are no ‘second place winners’ in a gunfight.  Finishing in second place means you lose.

Encourage winning attitudes. For instance:

I doubt that there is even one CHL instructor who, with reference to the B-27 Target, has not been asked, “How is the target scored?” and “What score do I need to pass?”

For many years, I answered the scoring question by going through the B-27 point value, i.e. ‘5 points inside the 8 ring’, ‘4 in the 7 ring’, etc…

Then, one day, I responded to the query with my own questions,

  •  What difference does it make how the target is scored?

  • Are you going to try to achieve the minimum score?

  • If you want the maximum score, isn't it obvious that you will get more points by hitting the middle?

  • Why would you want to shoot for less than the maximum?

(That’s the way you win.)


We have become a society obsessed with heaping praise on everyone to raise their self esteem.  We try to create situations in which the woefully ill-prepared can feel like winners.  We have blurred the line between being a winner and just feeling like one.

Make sure students know that shooter “classifications” only apply in games, and don’t exist in the mall parking lot.  Teach the reality that everybody on the street shoots in the same classification, regardless of skill level.  If you can’t avoid the fight, make sure you have the skill level and equipment necessary to win against what might be a very well trained adversary, who doesn’t give a damn about the rules you were taught to play by.

Teaching reality includes making students aware of the fact that the pretty, pink S&W J-Frame that their boyfriend bought them is going to start making a horrible “clicking” sound after they pull the trigger only 5 times.  Maybe that’s why his handgun holds 18 rounds.

Reality also includes the inescapable fact of life that a well placed hit with a 9mm bullet is infinitely more effective that 7 or 8 misses with a 45 ACP.

Be honest with students.  Don’t tell them they are good, if they’re not.  When you know the odds are against them even being able to get a gun ‘on target’, don’t give them false assurance that they will probably rise to the occasion in a gunfight.  Remind them that in a stress situation they will be able to rely only on what they have practiced.  Help them develop a plan to train and practice, so they can develop the skills necessary to be winners.

On the subject of reality, I recently ended an initial CHL class with the following parting thought:

Soon after submitting your application to the Texas DPS, you should receive a license to carry a concealed handgun, the world’s least lethal firearm.

If you find yourself in a situation with no options left, other than to use the handgun, your ability to combine the ineffectiveness of the weapon, with grossly inadequate training, and a total disregard for the need to practice, will probably be enough to ensure that I won’t be seeing you in a renewal class.  - - Go with God.

Practice, Practice, Practice


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