Slowly each student took out their firearms from their locked cases.
This is always an interesting part of the class.
Each CCW trainee lays out their weapon, or weapons on the table with the actions open as our instructors and range personnel examine each firearm to ensure that it is cleared, and help the students fill out the paper work for their certificates.
It never ceases to amaze me the types of weapons that make their way into our classroom.
People begin the journey towards their CCW’s from differing starting points.
Many have been gun enthusiasts for many years, and as such have determined that one or two of their favorite pistols would be the best to carry around with them.
I get it.
They enjoy shooting them, and they feel that as target shooters they have developed a proficiency with their weapons.
Thing is…. this is not target shooting…. the purpose of carrying a firearm is for defensive shooting, and that is a whole lot different from target shooting.
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Speed of reloading, conceal-ability, accuracy… and speed of reacquiring the target all must be factored into the equation.
That revolver that you just love that you’ve been plinking with since 1972 may not be the best fit for this application.
Others enter the world of firearms ownership with the intent on getting a CCW.
Often they come to us first to ask for suggestions on what their first gun should be.
Our response is usually a striker fire handgun.
Glock, Smith and Wesson, and Springfield all make high quality, and fairly available striker fire handguns. There is a reason we strongly recommend them as a “first” handgun:They work well, and are far easier to master then other firearms.
We’ve learned this from experience.
We always have a few students who have brought in their recently acquired Beretta’s or Sigs.
Make no mistake, I enjoy both…. and when I’m not carrying my 1911, I carry a Sig 239, still… becoming a master at these guns requires a heck of a lot more work, and if practice is done incorrectly you can develop negative training scars that are hard to break.
Striker fire guns allow for a greater degree of focus on fundamentals.. proper trigger press, sight alignment and trigger resets, all while allowing for a building of muscle memory around sound safety protocols.
Throw in a de-cocker, or a safety and for some reason the wheels come off.
When we chose a firearm for our Artemis guns we chose the Glock 22.
This was not a cavalier decision.
We wanted a fairly ubiquitous firearm, and one that would allow the trainees a base uniform level of training.
You see,… if you have the fundamentals honed in on a gun like a Glock, those skill sets will translate across the spectrum of firearms. With the focus on the four rules of firearm safety, proper presentation, and a development of good marksmanship the trainee develops a skill set that is transferable to other… more complicated guns like the 1911 or the Beretta.
This does not mean that one gun is “superior” to another. (Though many will be shocked that I’m not claiming the 1911 is a “better” gun than anything else… for the time being I’m trying to keep this academic). Each firearm has it’s unique characteristics as well as strengths and weaknesses.
Furthermore, the individual wielding the gun has certain biological limitations that make one firearm a better choice that another.
Still, for a basic self defense handgun. One that you can learn and master, I strongly recommend a simple striker fire.
Once a mastery of Skill at Arms has been achieved on that platform, then it is time to consider expanding your CCW armory to include more exotic guns.
That being said… my first handgun was a Sig Sauer. De-cocker and all.
I got it because that was what was available to me at the time, and frankly I didn’t know any better.
I made a conscience decision to become a master of that platform and spent an inordinate amount of time doing dry fire and range work.
I took that gun with me to numerous tactical training courses and worked both it, and me hard.
To say that you MUST start with a striker fire would be a miss statement.
If you are dedicated to the proposition of becoming a master of that DA/SA Sig, Beretta, or similar handgun,… good for you…. rock on!
But if you are reviewing your options, and are looking for what I consider the most efficient pathway, I would highly recommend staying with the striker fire family.
Don’t worry though… your first gun will definitely not be your last… you will have ample opportunity to add a few exotics to your safe as well!