Few things in life are more humbling than arriving at MCRD Parris Island for the first time. The exact, and abrupt moment the bus comes to a complete stop, an onslaught of hysteria ensues with what seems to be, at least at the time, a near crazed group of Drill Instructors. In near sequence, as if perfectly orchestrated, the screaming starts and you and the other 30 or so recruits are told to get off the bus. This, not surprisingly, happens in a flurry of at most 10 seconds. Your next perceivable thought comes after the rush as you line up on the famed golden footprints. It is at this point that RAW EMOTION and UNCERTAINTY set in. You are now officially scared. It is sheer madness, pandemonium at best. Humbling is the least responsive of words I can use to explain this process. Yet all of it, each second, is directed or manipulated with purpose. Not a moment will pass without reason. Those seriously scary and downright mean dudes, Drill Instructors, are sworn to build MARINES. Not just an average soldier, a one of a kind tyrant on wheels, built to destroy all in his or her path, provided you’re headed to the fleet as a ground pounder anyway. NOT ALL MARINES ARE CREATED EQUAL. Leaving Paris Island most are, but the moment you get to the FLEET everything changes once again, as you are molded into what the Infantry or some other unit is looking for/needs. All of this brings me to one clearly definable point: ATTENTION TO DETAIL. This may be the single most important bit that you will learn during the evolution that takes you from boy or girl to United States Marine. This same evolution can be applied to one who has an interest in becoming a certified carrier of a concealed weapon.
The purpose of such an opening is to set the stage for a simple discussion. This discussion deals with attention to detail and the time you must invest if you truly want to be good at anything. Meaning attention to detail by the sculptor as you’re being sculpted into something new, something better than you once were. This idea of attention to detail defines my point. What point might you ask? The one that states there is no way to replace good old fashioned one-on-one training. This is especially true when it falls in line with firearms training, in particular, concealed carry training. Everyone wants to rush in, pay their fare, and move to go without paying any real attention to the details. This is an unfortunate mistake. IT IS “possible,” that in your haste you have done yourself, and more importantly, those around you, a grave disservice by taking a shortcut. Yes, that is exactly what you’ve taken, a short cut. A short cut that could potentially mean the taking of a life in error. That is a serious infraction in intelligent thought. Remember, you are only as good as your last day on the range. Seriously, I am not screwing around. Take it from someone who has seen even elites in this business make mistakes. Do you honestly think that you won’t make a mistake with the carelessness that you put forth in your training? Time matters…, lots of it. Time on the range, time doing your research on everything including your instructors, time putting lead down range, etc. All of it is a matter of life and death. Oh, you think I am over the top in my assessment? Well, you’d be wrong. I have done this long enough to know, to understand fully the pitfalls in training. If you’re going to train for a combative environment, and don’t get it wrong, this is a combative environment, you must do it with the understanding that time matters. There are times when things will move slowly and a time when they move fast. You must ultimately understand that no matter the time, slow or fast, you are learning. You are learning if you are wholly invested. If not, truly what is the point of carrying a weapon you barely know how to wield? The only thing you will be good for is hurting yourself, or worse yet, someone else due to your carelessness.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I am very straight forward, after all, we are talking about the potential to take a life if necessary. This is no small measure and needs a great amount of deliberation. You may not want to carry based on your position, so think it through. It is the most important process you will ever consider. Life is beautiful, and life is just that-LIFE. Should you be forced to take one you must be both prepared to do so properly and be ready for whatever consequences may come of it. This all is a direct reflection of the time you’ve put into your training as well as the training itself.
The implementation/application of time in training is particularly important when talking about grasping a tactical edge and proficiency behind the gun. When on the range, every shot you put down range should be scrutinized, thought through thoroughly, and adapted from. Throwing lead down range isn’t the same as honing one’s skills with a weapon. If you want to waste money be my guest, but why, what will that do for you except give direction for bad habits? The key is in creating good habits, ones that will effectively help you in a gunfight, when seconds, no…, milliseconds will count. Shooting is fun, it is a release at times. If necessary, go to the range and throw lead down range to exhaust your stress, just know that this is not training. It is not a sufficient use of time or your skills, it is purely a waste in both respects. If you need to exhaust tension, box, or run, or do anything other than simply slinging lead without purpose. Shooting is a technical skill with the greatest of ramifications. Shooting is about one thing, protection. The better you are at it the more likely you can protect yourself and those that you love. Keep this thought in mind as you gather your things for the range; get in the correct mindset, grasp what it is you’re doing while on the range, think through the what and the why. You are becoming proficient with an instrument meant for protection, an instrument that can take a life. A life of an animal or that of a human being, it is a LIFE. Think time and training, they matter greatly in this equation. “You will only ever rise to the level of your lowest level of training.” This is a Marine Corps saying that we like to use in training; it has become a saying because it is tried and true. This skill is perishable, meaning, if you do not keep up with it you will lose it. It is not the same as riding a bike. Find the correct training for what it is you want to accomplish, find the correct instructors, find the time necessary because it is. Use your time wisely as it is all you have, in a fleeting moment it will be gone, FOREVER!
My hope is that this world should change so that I would not find it necessary to carry a weapon of such destruction. Until that point is realized, I will do what is necessary to protect my family and those that I love from the ugliness of this world. I am my family’s protection and forever will be. This is the life I have chosen and I would have it no other way. I am a sworn protector of what is good in this world and will not allow the evil in it to take what matters from me.