In today's world, being prepared for worst-case scenarios has become more important than ever. With the rising civil unrest, riots, and images of burning cities during the COVID lockdown still fresh in our nation's memory, more Americans than ever are turning to firearms as a means to protect themselves.
Among the choices of firearms available, the various carbine platforms, like the AR-15, have gained immense popularity due to their effectiveness and versatility.
Weapons like the AR-15, the various pistol carbines, and similar platforms, are known for being lightweight, highly accurate, and customizable. These rifles are highly versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes, including target shooting, self-defense, and depending upon the caliber, hunting as well.
Carbines like the AR-15, are especially effective as a self-defense weapon due to its ability to fire rapidly and accurately. It has a large capacity magazine, allowing for multiple shots without the need for frequent reloading. This can be critical in high-stress situations where every second counts.
So, to answer my original question, yes. Civilians should own an AR-15 or similar weapon - if they train properly with them.
And when it comes to training, the name of the game is developing your ability to safely maximize your effectiveness with these systems. To do that, here's some big ticket items you'll want to build into your regiment to ensure you're developing a real-world skill set. Some of these items include:
1. Fundamentals. One of my favorite quotes comes from retired special operator, Paul Howe, who says being high speed is simply being able to perform the fundamentals upon demand. The fact is, you never outgrow your need to work on your fundamentals to improve your speed and accuracy. Fundamentals include, among other things, stable position, proper aiming techniques, breath and trigger control. If you want to build the skills necessary to make quick and accurate hits, you have to keep working these throughout your shooting career.
2. Economy of motion. Speaking of making quick hits, one of the easiest ways you can learn to make faster shots, is by eliminating unnecessary movement. This includes not only the way you present the weapon to the target, but also in how your transition between different shooting positions. For instance, moving efficiently from the standing to kneeling position, or making smooth magazine changes while reloading. Some of these adjustments may appear minor. It may only save you a second or two, but the seconds add up.
3. Target acquisition and engagement: Another important skill to master is the ability to quickly acquire and engage the target. This is especially true when dealing with multiple threats. Learning how to scan your sector, avoiding target fixation, as well as proper shot placement are just some of the skills you need to learn to be successful.
4. Moving and shooting: In a self-defense situation, it's unlikely that you'll be standing still. That's why learning how to shoot while moving forward, backward, and laterally, while maintaining accuracy is so important. Working on proper footwork, particularly during your dry-fire sessions will go a long way to preparing you to tackle more advanced training like close quarters battle (CQB).
5. Maintenance. In our classes, I've seen more malfunctions caused by improper maintenance than anything else. It's not the shooters fault. Most people simply are not taught how to properly clean, lube, and care for their weapons. And while no one is born knowing this stuff, it is the responsibility of the shooter to learn how to it. In the military, we have a concept known as pre-combat checks. This means, each soldier checks their weapons and gear to make sure everything is functioning properly before stepping off on a mission. For me, making sure my firearm is maintained and functioning properly is an implied task before I teach a class or step out the door with my everyday carry (EDC).
So, there you have it. Start adding these things in your regimen and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your performance.
If you're looking to level up your training with some fun dudes with professional experience, check out the dates below. Come out and train with us!
Until then, stay sharp!