Are you training for the wrong gunfight?
The holy grail of firearms trainers and students has been to know what really happens in an armed citizen gunfight. Not in a law enforcement gunfight nor a military encounter, but in legal defensive gun uses by CCW holders.
For decades we’ve bemoaned the fact while there are excellent data sources for the distances, times, conditions, shots fired, etc. on law enforcement and military gunfights, there is not a similar database for civilian encounters. After all, if there were such a repository we’d know what to train for and, by extension, largely how to train for it.
I’m not a professional statistician, nor do I have a database of thousands of incidents. I have, however, been training people professionally for over 35 years and doing so full-time for the past 18 years. I have trained tens of thousands of students and most of them are in Memphis, one of the most violent metropolitan areas in the United States. To give you some idea, the violent crime rate here per capita is about double that of Los Angeles.
To date, I have had 64 private citizen students — I am aware of — who have been involved in using a handgun in self-defense. Although not a huge number of data points, we clearly see the same things occurring over and over again in these incidents. A policeman would call this a clue. I believe this is the kind of data we ought to be basing our civilian training on. Generally, what works in a military battle overseas, or what works for police officers stateside — won’t work for Sam and Suzi Homemaker.