Many firearms instructors make a big deal out of realism in the training environment. That’s good, and more do-able than most people realize. Although each crime is unique and its details therefore unpredictable, we can see patterns in how crime generally develops and plays out. We can see patterns in how criminals approach their intended victims for various types of crimes, and we can see patterns in how the intended victims usually respond. We can also look at effective and less-effective responses to criminal predation. All of those things play into building a solid teaching program.
When we talk about reality in training, there’s one critical reality that’s all-too-easily dismissed: what our students will realistically do after class.
The best teaching program in the world has exactly zero effect if our students don’t take it home with them and make it a part of how they live. Students come to class looking for ways to protect the lives they already live. They aren’t usually looking for a transformative experience or a way to turn their entire living structure upside-down. They don’t even necessarily want a new time-consuming hobby. Many of them simply want ways to protect themselves from the painful consequences of criminal violence, and they are hoping that the cost of learning how to do that won’t be more than they are willing to pay.
Many of them are willing to carry a pistol – if they can do so comfortably and discreetly without breaking the bank.
They will carry defensive tools in daily life – if they can do it without risking their jobs or their marriages.
They will learn how to fight – if someone convinces them that the reward is worth the effort, and if the risk of injury does not outweigh their need to be at work tomorrow morning.
An instructor who does not take time to address the students’ real concerns about living with the gun is not conducting realistic training — no matter how many cuss words they might let fly during the scenarios.