Don’t Just Do …. BECOME

Training without focus is not training                                                                                                    

September 7, 2016        |         By Deane R. Marrs        


During a recent church homily, our priest said a phrase that caught my attention: ‘Don’t just do …. Become’.  That got me thinking about the phrase within the context of self-defense – firearm self-defense in particular.


What Does It Mean?


The phrase has to do with making a choice – a choice between simply going through the motions or instead focusing on reaching a defined objective. For self-defense, this has everything to do with training. So train with a purpose!


To truly improve, it is critical to have a clear objective and a defined path with which to reach it.  Simply throwing lead at a target will not improve your firearm effectiveness and proficiency.  Instead, it can build complacency or overconfidence – a bad thing in self-defense.


Over the years, I have observed many shooters who look at their targets and say ‘that’s good enough’. More often than not, their shot groups are all over the place.  If they are shooting that poorly at the range, how much worse will they be in a real life-threatening situation?  ‘Good enough’ will NOT be if they ever encounter a determined attacker.


The Value of ‘Art’


Early in my training involvement with the local sheriff department, our group simply went through the motions during our monthly open shoot sessions.  We were allotted 50 rounds a session, which we burned through in about 5-10 minutes by simply standing on the line and launching rounds at paper.  What had we learned?  Nothing.  Did we improve?  Nary a bit.


After a few months of observing us, Art, our range master, finally pulled us aside and said ‘Enough! I am tired of watching you guys simply stand there and waste ammo.  Starting next month, we are going to have specific training drills designed to make you better.  I’m going to make you gun fighters.


From that point on, each training session had a specific objective, always focused around the realities of a gun fight.  We covered shooting fundamentals, sustainability skills, tactical movement, understanding the fight, etc.  Soon, our shot groups were tighter, our tactics more sound, and we moved with a level of subconscious proficiency that allowed full attention on the threat and our surroundings.  We were starting to become gun fighters. I can’t thank Art enough for taking the time and having the faith in us. Thanks to him, we continue to train with focused determination. Hopefully you find your own ‘Art’.


Where Do I Focus?


Firearm training can be costly and time-consuming, so make the most of your training investment.  Arrive at every training session armed with a defined training objective and specific drills focused on challenging and improving skills associated with that objective. If you select the right drills, you can very easily spend 2 hours of effective training yet only use 50-75 rounds. It just takes some preparation, dedication, and maybe some guidance from an experienced instructor or two.


When considering a potential self-defense training objective, ask yourself these two questions:


  1. Does the skill being developed make sense?

  2. Is this something I would use in a fight for my life?


If the answer is ‘yes’ to both questions, you are probably on the right track.  


Don’t just do - become … a gunfighter.  The life you save might very well be your own.


Train Hard and Be Safe.

  About the Author:

  Deane Marrs is the founder and lead instructor of Marrs Tactical Solutions, Inc., offering pistol tactics 

and defense courses in Illinois.  He is an Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor, NRA Pistol Instructor and Range Safety Officer, AHA BLS (CPR) Instructor, and has 6+ years of law enforcement experience.


   Visit MTS on the Web           |           Visit MTS on Facebook           |           Visit Deane on LinkedIn


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