Your First-Response Team — Can Your Spouse and Kids Shoot?
by Greg Perry by Greg Perry
On April 19th I attended my first on-site rifle training course. I’ve had loads of pistol training but if you’re in a gunfight a knife is better than nothing, a pistol is better than a knife, but a rifle is best to have. A rifle can reach out and touch someone and do so far more accurately than the other weapons.
A few years ago I hired a gun trainer to come to my home and give me personal rifle training but it was the prone, long-distance kind of shot training. The problem is we have no "long ranges" where we live.
My class in April was close-range, combat rifle training using what many call a "carbine" rifle. A carbine shoots out to about 250-350 yards reliably. Some carbine-class rifles do better, some not as good, but the general carbine category is considered fairly short distances where you can easily see your targets without binocs.
Today, I want to convince each and every one of you to:
- Master short-range combat shooting skills.
- Do so with your mate by your side.
I don’t address this article to shooters. I address this to freedom-loving people who know little about guns, know they should know more about guns, but don’t know where to begin.
Shooting Short Distances
We live in a part of Oklahoma called "Green Country." That’s not some faux environmental label; it was called that long before the environmentalists invented Global Cooling as something we should pay to fix (the 1970s), and long before they then had to scramble to invent Global Warming as something we should pay to fix (the 1980s to present). Northeastern Oklahoma is called "Green Country" because of rolling hills of dense trees and numerous lakes all around us. When you think of Oklahoma you might think Grapes of Wrath—like dust bowl plains but that’s not reality in the eastern 2/3rds of the state.
Here, when you look outside, you see trees. Lots of trees. When you walk anywhere that’s not paved you’ve got to watch out for limbs poking you in the eyes. When you want to plant a garden you must cut down trees. So far, we’ve cut down about 75 trees around our home and I have my sights on about 30 more I’d like to take out within a year or so.
I love to cut down trees. It makes the environmentalists seethe with anger, it makes my property look cleaner, and I have it on good authority that a tree is never as happy as when it’s used as a piano or baseball bat or something else exceedingly useful.
In spite of the clearing we’ve done, the typical distance one can see from our home before dense trees close down the horizon is about 100 yards. When we shoot, a shot of 500 yards simply isn’t possible because there is no 500 yards within miles of here if you don’t count the highways. As much as I want sniper skills, and as moved as I am to attend an Appleseed Project course, the reality is that if I must ever use my rifle skills to defend myself, my wife, my home, or my neighbors, it’s close-range shooting that I will be doing.
We live in the middle of nowhere. You must drive a mile on dirt roads to get to our house. Our little township has only one municipal building and it stays empty except once a month when the residents meet to discuss local concerns. (Talk about small government!) I suspect the majority of you live in the cities, or at least live in towns with more than one mostly-empty government building. I suspect very few of you live 40 or more acres from your nearest neighbors with scores of trees between you.
In spite of our different living situations, mastering carbine-like rifle ranges is as important for you as it is for me. See, you may not have trees but can you look across your street and see more than 100 yards without houses and buildings impeding your view? Perhaps some Kansas and Wyoming residents can but for most people the reality is that if you ever need your rifle to defend yourself you will be doing so at short ranges. As a matter of fact, that’s the whole point of rifle defense; if you ever want to start a rifle fight, you prefer to be as far away from your target as you can with as a high-powered rifle and scope as possible, firing one-shot/one-kill and moving off point as quickly as you can before being spotted or shot back at.
Most of us never want to start a rifle fight. That means the odds are exceedingly great that we’ll be defending ourselves from 25 to 150 yards if the need ever arises.
It turns out that short distance rifle training is far different from long-range rifle training. You’d better have both but it’s probably more critical to put short-range training skills in your bag of tricks first.
I celebrated the historical April 19th by attending a 2-day combat rifle training class taught by Gabe Suarez. Maybe it didn’t exactly look like a celebration of the first volley in the American War of Independence though, because all 18 students came to train with Commie AK-47s.
I joke a lot in these articles about calibers and preferred guns. We all have our favorites and I’m always harping on the AR-15/M4/M16 owners (basically that rifle is what most American soldiers carry in the Middle East) because of its weak .22-like caliber that requires multiple enemy hits before taking down the target and that too often just ricochets off glass. When I write things like that, those of you with AR technology write back to correct all the ills of my words. (You never write much about what I say about the weak caliber though…!)
I prefer the AK-47 for several reasons. It takes under 4 minutes to learn to clean and operate as opposed to 3 hours to master cleaning and basic operation of ARs. The AK-47 works reliably when dirty and seems to work even better the more beat up and dirty it gets. (It’s Russian after all.) It uses a 7.62×39 caliber round which is basically a 30-caliber bullet. That bullet causes lots of hurt, more easily drops its target with a single hit, punches through brick and glass without a whimper, and is the round most often used by the enemies shooting back at American soldiers in the Middle East.
AK-47 ammunition is about half the price of AR-15 ammo. You can buy an old AK-47 online for $250—$350 and expect it to work.
Best of all, the liberals despise the rifle because it looks so mean. Try to get a bayonet for your AK because it really makes them furious.
What Is Your Excuse?
In that April 19—20 class, some of us showed up having never really touched an AK before. Gabe Suarez taught us to operate our AKs, shoot reliably from 25 to 100 yards (the most typical rifle defense range), transition to pistol when needed, move when shooting (because it’s far better to not get shot than to shoot your opponent) (shooting your opponent is a close second though), and shoot ambidextrously from left-handed and right-handed positions. By the second day we were shooting as much from the left-handed position as from the right which emphasized how vital that skill is to master as well as how simple it can be.
Simple is the key.
Is all this too much for you to want to do? Gabe’s 2-day AK class costs $400 so price is not an issue. Difficulty is not an issue because I can do it. The name of the game in a Suarez course is "caveman simple." Every single skill must be caveman simple or it’s tossed out.
Some of you know I have a few physical annoyances, namely a grand total of 3 deformed fingers and one leg. Caveman simple? Heck, combat AK rifle training is so simple even I can do it.
So, I ask again, what is your excuse for hesitating to get training that might save your life?
Gather and Prepare Your First-Response Team Now
Who do the odds say will be by your side if a situation breaks out? If you’re married your spouse is the person most likely to be at your side when a situation breaks out. In spite of Annie Oakley, gun training is overwhelmingly attended by men so let me address you. You are responsible, not your wife, for her safety. You are responsible for her falling into one of three categories:
- Getting shot when the fight breaks out
- Running when the fight breaks out
- Helping you win the fight when the fight breaks out
See, she is part of your problem or she’s part of your solution. She can be your First-Response Team. So can your children if you have them.
Are you training and then training some more but you do not include your family? Sure you take them to the range maybe sometimes but do you take them to gun training classes too? If not, then your First-Response Team is incomplete and your family members are possibly casualties-waiting-to-happen. Last weekend, just thirty days after my 2-day AK combat rifle training class, I packed Jayne in the car and we drove to Houston to attend another AK combat rifle training class with Gabe. It was review for me (always good) and new for her. Our class had a whopping 28 students all armed with AK rifles, many of whom had never touched one before.
She went with major back troubles that broke out just the week before. We were not certain she could even pick up a rifle. Yet, the smell of gunpowder in the morning brings out the best in all of us. Jayne performed each and every drill and skill with as much — and often more — precision than anyone else. She was a trooper. Her previous rifle skills were zero. After last weekend, my Primary Response Team is skilled and ready: she and me.
Do you have children? How well can they wield a rifle if the time ever comes? Don’t want them to be in that position? Nobody does. Unfortunately good guys rarely get to pick the time and place for a gunfight. You can either set the odds up they will survive and help you survive or you can keep the current odds that they will be a burden in such a situation. The odds are stacked against you anytime you must respond to an attack. Do you want to stack the odds against you even further by making your children a liability?
In the 1990s, Clinton’s Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders said we should never give children toy guns. I tend to agree with that. Make sure you give your kids real guns and make sure everyone in your family can shoot. (Even a broken wristwatch is correct twice a day… although I doubt Elders was ever correct twice. You’ve got to give her this one even though it would appall her to learn why she was correct.) I think it was Boston’s Gun Bible that discusses what happens when we try to teach our wives shooting skills. You have less patience than you would with a stranger and she gets more sensitive than usual and the dynamic doesn’t usually go well. That’s why she needs to be by your side at a class.
Right now, the caveman-simple class is the hot one to take. That would be any class from Suarez International, and yes, I’m biased. But I have recent and firsthand knowledge so I have reason to be biased. More important, I have a wife whom I would trust by my side if tonight someone begins a fight so I have even better reason to be biased.
My First-Response Team is in place. It’s insurance we hope we never need.
Jayne isn’t a gun gal who looks forward to shooting. She isn’t comfortable with guns any more than I’m comfortable with our oven. I’ve already told you about my physical annoyances. I’ve also told you about the major back and muscular pains that come and go on a regular basis with my wife.
Yet, Jayne was at my side at this weekend’s AK combat rifle training class. She loved it and she was dreading it before we went.
If you aren’t making plans for your wife’s training right now, I ask again, what is your excuse?