I recommend that all my students take at least a basic gun safety course at some point. I prefer they do a course which involves live shooting on a range. There are a number of reasons for this.

The topic of guns can be an emotionally charged one. When emotion gets involved, reason goes out the window. A few years back my wife told me that she had always been afraid of guns. I signed both of us up for a gun safety course and we fired a couple of handguns at a range. My wife’s irrational fear subsided and, after the first shot, she found the experience to be fun. Hey – target shooting is a safe sport enjoyed by millions worldwide – it has nothing to do with violence.

US Marine Corps Designated Marksman, armed wit...

USMC marksman Image via Wikipedia

So here’s why I make the recommendation for everyone:

A healthy respect for the danger of firearms starts from understanding not ignorance. Ignorance breeds irrational fear, which breeds poor decisions.

Love them or hate them, guns are part of our world. Even if you live in a country where guns are banned completely, criminals are still armed. You should understand the capabilities of firearms so that you can more realistically learn to defend against them.

If you were to encounter a firearm, say your child found one, or you disarmed an attacker – do you understand how to make different types of firearms safe so that nobody gets hurt by accident?

If it comes down to defending the life of your family, and you had the chance to pick up a firearm, would you know how to use it? Beyond just pointing and pulling the trigger – would you know how to chamber a round, clear a jam, or reload?

Once again, your opinions about firearms are yours to make, but don’t you think they are better coming from a place of education rather than a place of ignorance? Unfortunately, like martial arts, most people get nearly 100% of their information about guns from TV and movies. The reality is very different.

For modern martial artists, learning about guns is like learning about swords for the traditional martial arts.

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