As we stumble into yet another New Year, feelings are mixed among the general populace. Although some undoubtedly feel at least a glimmer of hope, many are feeling despair. It is not just 2015 that was a difficult year; after all, things have been increasingly hard for some time now and, as with all years, the New Year’s resolutions are proclaimed far and wide. There are many reasons why the average resolution fails – lose weight, eat healthier, control your temper, be nice to your crazy relatives – so perhaps it’s time to make some less-than-ordinary resolutions. If you’re a gun owner, these resolutions are for you. If you’re not a gun owner…well, we’re going to make the first resolution all about bringing you into the firearm-loving fold.
First and Foremost: Get a Gun
“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter written to his nephew Peter Carr on August 19, 1785)
If you’re about to enter the New Year without a firearm, why not make your New Year’s resolution to get a gun? The reasons for gun ownership are extensive, but here are a few: self-defense, home defense and hunting. Having the ability to protect not only yourself but those you love cannot be overstated. Dialing 911 during an emergency is all well and good but the cold, hard truth of the matter is that law enforcement cannot help you during those crucial early moments. At the time when your life is in danger, you are on your own. Whether you’re out and about or at home, being in possession of a firearm – and knowing how to use it – means being in possession of a life-saving tool. That’s what a gun is, you know: a tool. It is capable only of carrying out the wishes of the person holding it. Make sure you’re that person.
Or, Get a Better Gun
“The 1911 remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair.” (Col. Jeff Cooper, founder of the American Pistol Institute which is now Gunsite Academy)
So you have a gun, but it isn’t quite up to the task. For self-defense purposes, this could mean your pistol is of a smaller caliber or perhaps is cheaply made and unreliable. Conversely, it could mean your pistol is of such a large caliber you yourself are unable to wield it properly. Maybe the felt recoil makes you flinch or perhaps your hands are too small for the grip and reach to the trigger. Having a gun is good, but it’s important to have a gun you can and will use. It’s also important to have a reliable gun, one that not only performs consistently but is powerful enough to do more than annoy would-be attackers (if you think a gun cannot simply annoy someone, you obviously haven’t seen certain calibers of bullets embedded shallowly in someone’s forehead or ricocheting off bone rather than doing actual damage).
There is no reason to name manufacturers or calibers. Doing so would only start a round of arguments that would lead nowhere while leaving everyone upset and aggravated. Of course, it is true that it’s far better to carry a smaller-caliber firearm with you than to have no gun at all. However, that smaller-caliber pistol should be seen not as the end-all, be-all but as a good place to start. Improve your marksmanship so you can handle a larger gun. Save your money to buy a better-quality gun. No, it is not necessary for everyone to own a $1500 pistol; there are quite a few reliable handguns out there at only a fraction of that price. Just make sure your daily carry weapon is reliable, and if that means saving up to buy the right gun, then do so. You neither need nor want a gun that might fail you at a vital moment. It does not matter if it was a great deal, looks really cool, or if that particular model is owned by thus-and-such person or used in XYZ movie. Get a good gun – or ten (there is no such thing as too many guns or too much ammunition, which leads to the next resolution).
Become a Prepper
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” (George Washington, from the first State of the Union address, January 8, 1790)
The liberal side of the aisle has made it quite clear that prepping means only one thing: you’re dangerous. By their logic, if you take steps to be prepared for disaster you must be unbalanced, paranoid, insane, and prone to random acts of wanton violence. Apparently it would never occur to them that it might actually be wise to be well-prepared for potential disaster whether natural or man-made. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, even a devastating snow storm – these are events that can quite easily trap us in our homes, or without homes, and leave us in dire need of basic supplies. Man-made events such as riots and the looting that seems to occur immediately in the wake of the aforementioned natural disasters cannot be overlooked, either. Then there are the man-made events some refuse to acknowledge such as the possibility of some sort of uprising, street war, or a complete economic crash. Could it happen? Of course. Anything can happen. This is life and it is, at best, wildly unpredictable.
Being prepared includes important basics such as food and water. Storing up other necessities such as extensive first aid supplies and clothing is also a must. But what about gun-related gear? How much is enough? Frankly there is no such thing as too much and anyone who has actually been in a firefight can tell you just how fast ammo goes. In the heat of battle you burn through ammo at an alarming rate. So tell me, how much ammo do you have in your house at this very moment? Could you fight for your life against invading forces? Hunt for game to feed your family through uncertain times of unknown length? Probably not.
Stocking up on gear and ammo takes time and money. It does not happen overnight, and that’s okay. Do what you can, when you can. A 50-round box of ammo here and there is far better than throwing your hands in the air and giving up entirely. While you’re stocking up don’t forget that guns do break and having tools and spare parts in your possession is also a must. Remember that holsters wear out, slings snap, and springs break. What might seem unimportant today could end up being of great importance during an emergency. Make a list of what you have and what you need. Prioritize ruthlessly and begin building your stockpile. After all, it’s not paranoia when they really are out to get you – and it’s not unbalanced craziness when disasters really do happen on a daily basis all around the world. The real insanity is believing it could never happen to you.
Train Like You Fight, Fight Like You Train
“A free people ought not only be armed, but disciplined…” (George Washington, first State of the Union address)
“I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence… I think that upon the whole it has been about one half of the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from infancy.” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Giovanni Fabbroni on June 8, 1778)
“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and including, according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” (Richard Henry Lee in “Federal Farmer No. 18”, January 25, 1788)
There are far too many gun owners out there lacking the proper training. Many have never taken a single class while some have not even fired more than a few rounds but somehow they think they’re skilled. I’ve been around more hunters than I care to admit who see themselves as talented shooters when they’re actually not only poor shots but unsafe in general. Is it possible to be self-taught? Just remember this proverb: “He who undertakes to be his own teacher has a fool for a pupil.” Yes, you can spend many productive hours honing your marksmanship all by your lonesome. No, you cannot teach yourself with no foundation to build on. The need for an experienced instructor whether in a structured class or in the form of a skilled acquaintance cannot be emphasized strongly enough. There is always something to learn and always room for improvement.
Ideally, all gun owners would have the means and opportunity to attend classes at quality places like Gunsite or Academi, but reality is something different. The finances required for such training exceed what the average person can afford, making it necessary to rely on whatever is locally available. A basic gun safety class is a great choice for a brand new shooter but it also makes sense that many firearms academies require all new students to take their beginning course. If you don’t have the basics down you should not be attempting to move on to anything more advanced, and if you cannot exercise the four golden rules of gun safety you should not be shooting at all. (If you think that sounds harsh, just wait until you’ve had someone sweep you with a loaded gun or have a bullet actually go whistling by your body in a near-miss. After that I guarantee you will be a hard-core gun safety advocate.)
Train like you may one day need to fight. After all, one day your training could save your life or the lives of your loved ones. Or, conversely, your lack of training could result in injuries or deaths that could otherwise have been avoided. Train hard. Isn’t your life worth it?
Join the Fight
A final New Year’s thought: there is an active fight taking place over the right to bear arms in this once-great nation. Those who believe certain members of our government are not after our guns are either in deep denial or are simply fools. If you own a gun but do not participate in efforts to preserve our Second Amendment rights, you’re doing it wrong. It cannot be put more bluntly: you – yes, you – are doing it wrong. Expecting someone else to protect your rights is not unlike expecting someone else to provide for your basic needs of food and shelter which is a mindset that seems to be running rampant in today’s society. Do you want to own a gun? Do you want to carry a gun? Fight for it. Silence is consent. If you believe in the Second Amendment, back it up before it is ripped away. Some losses occur suddenly while others take place with the erosion of time, time and the persistent efforts of politicians.
It’s 2016. Ring in your New Year with the report of well-placed rounds.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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