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The Words That Every Firearms Trainer Hates To Hear

“I already know how to shoot.”

What people usually mean what they say this is “I know how to point the gun at something, pull the trigger and make it go bang.” What this means for the instructor is they will have an uphill climb to teach this student. They “already know how to shoot!” What could you, as a mere mortal, teach them about shooting? They already know how to shoot!

To the best of my research, this attitude only pops up in firearms training. People say they know how to drive, but rarely get any sort of driving lesson after they get their license. Nobody says “I know how to play golf,” because one day on the driving range will show them no, they don’t. Same is true of riding horses or paddle boarding or just about any other recreational activity I can think of.

Actually, I take that back. People say they know how to shoot pool, but in reality, all they know how to do is push balls around the table. There is an entire section of the criminal underworld, the pool shark, who relies on the exploiting the gap between how people THINK they play pool and what they can actually do.

The armed citizens of America are fortunate in that there is no large amount of crooks (yet) who exploit the gap between what the average concealed carrier thinks they know about guns and self protection and what they can do. I’m fortunate in that I walked into my first class with an open mind. I’d shot on regular basis before my first class, but didn’t think I “knew how to shoot.”

I mean, that’s why I took the class, right?

To this day, with hundreds of hours of firearms training classes under my belt, I still walk into a class with an empty mind. I don’t go to a class to force my way of shooting onto what the instructor teaches. I take classes to learn what the instructor teaches can integrate into what I already know, and make it better.

Do I “know how to shoot?” No, not yet. And I probably never will.