By Whose Standards?

This photo of a target was posted in firearms-related Facebook group I belong to, and the person who posted it claimed he “knew how to shoot.”

Uh-huh.

Look, we can say we “know how to shoot,” but at some point, we are going to have to back up those words with our actions. Ideally, we should demonstrate our ability to shoot on a range, in a safe, controlled environment before the need arises to defend our lives with our defensive firearm of choice. In other words, we fail on the range so we don’t fail when our lives are on the line.

So when it comes to pistols, how do I personally define someone who “knows how to shoot”?

  1. I never have to remind them about safety
  2. Their carry gear is up to the task: No nylon waist holsters, small of the back carry or similar stupidity
  3. Their carry gun is of decent quality and is loaded with good, name-brand defensive ammunition, with one in the chamber and appropriate safeties engaged.
  4. They have taken a firearms class after their concealed carry course from an instructor who has more than just NRA credentials
  5. They can shoot a 5×5 drill
  6. They can shoot an El Presidente in 16 seconds or less

That’s the baseline for someone who I would consider to someone who knows how to shoot. That first item, knowing and practicing the rules of gun safety is THE most important one. Statistically, the person you are most likely to shoot is your own sorry self, and rock-solid safety habits can take care of a lot of that worry. You can achieve some of items two and three with some money, research and practice at home, but items four through six are only achievable if you step outside your comfort zone, realize that no, you are not a good shot, and make a conscious effort to change.

Everybody wants to lose weight. Not everybody stops eating candy. Everybody wants to be a good shot, but not everyone wants to accept the fact that they really aren’t.