I got to thinking about this during a recent carbine class, how many people treat their firearms, defense, and tactics training as simply a diet?  You know what I’m talking about, in fact most of us-myself included-have probably gone on the latest wonder diet or meal plan in order to knock off a few of those pesky pounds.  When I was a detective sergeant, and made sure I never missed a burrito break, I weighed nearly 230 pounds and was a mess physically.  Every time I decided to get the weight off and get back in shape I’d buy the latest fitness dvd or buy a gym membership.  Supplements, workout machines, magazines were a constant drain to my finances.  Sure, most of them had some effectiveness toward my goals, I lost some weight or gained some strength.  I figured I just needed to work harder, sweat more, put on some road miles and spend more money on stuff to keep me in shape. But no matter how much money I spent, any weight loss or fitness gain was soon lost because I became satisfied that I was approaching my goals and didn’t need to work as hard toward them.  Soon, there I was right back at the taco stand, not going to the gym, drinking dark beer instead of running a couple of miles.  Sure, the diets worked, sure the Soloflex machine built muscles and the latest coolest running shoes helped me put on the miles.  But as soon as the diet got boring, or the Soloflex became a clothes hanger and the shoes stood a chance of getting wet from running in the rain, I would go right back to being out of shape and looking for something to get me where I wanted to be and right now.  I was on that famous “diet roller coaster” and didn’t realize it.  Later in life I discovered that things like proper nutrition and regular exercise were far far better for me that dumping a lot of money or sweat into the latest loose weight now fad.

So what does that have to do with shooting and gun stuff?  Well, you guessed it, it’s exactly the same.  I’ve seen so many people spend a bunch of money on the latest and coolest gear to make them shoot better.  Then they dump a bunch more money into an expensive course or school where they are taught some damn cool stuff that they can do with guns, which they start to forget within about 48 hours of their check clearing the bank.  Then they are sent off just to be replaced with the next crop of folks who are trying to buy their way to their goals.  Now, don’t get me wrong….there is nothing wrong with spending money to help you achieve your goals.  But honestly how many people who buy the latest video for  CrossFit or P90X or the newest nordic-flex-bow-kettle gizmo actually meet AND maintain their goals with that equipment or plan?  The answer is easy and you have to look no further than CraigsList or Ebay to see how many used fitness machines and exercise books/videos are on the market.  How many people actually renew their gym membership because they have used it all year?  Not many.

Which brings me to the point.  How do we make firearm training, safety, tactics etc a lifestyle, not just a diet.  Learning to shoot and shoot safely and responsibly should be a lifestyle choice, just like proper nutrition and regular exercise.  Protecting yourself and your family has to be a constant state of vigilance, not a SlimFast shake.   But instead they often seem to be treated like the latest fad diet-get results now, now, now.  But then what?   Do people expect that the very technical skills they learned at the pistol class they took will still be with them tomorrow?  Or next week?  Or next year?  No one knows when those skills are gonna be needed and I can promise you one thing, technical skills are very perishable and degrade immediately without continued and dedicated practice.

This is one of the main reasons we promote basic skills at Badlands.  I tell students all the time that there is no such thing as “High-Speed, Low-Drag” but rather the best of the best simply employ the basic skills perfectly, every time.  EVERY TIME.  That is why when we are your instructors we pick on the every little detail, why we train until each student has it right, and why we stay away from the coolest new gizmo or trick from the latest action movie.  We believe that a “brilliance in the basics” is what makes us and you successful.  Whether that success is taking a trophy Ram, or having the highest ‘X” count, or maybe it is making it home to your family from a long patrol shift or getting your team back to base or stopping the armed criminal from getting through your back door. Those successes are why we choose to do what we do.

So please, make some lifestyle choices that will keep you fit and healthy physically….but then apply those same choices and attitudes to your decisions about firearms, tactics and safety.  Make them a lifestyle that you can live with.  Buy good equipment that will work and not break, get a good solid foundation of training conducted by professionals.  Then commit to continuing that training and always working to better yourself.

Remember, at Badlands you are all part of our family.  And this is the lifestyle of our family, to shoot, train, discuss, we even argue and bitch!!!  But most of all, to stay at it, to keep getting better and to keep you motivated to train and learn!!!!


Come shoot–Rich

2 Responses to “A diet? Or a lifestyle? What is your training to you?”

  1. MelAnn Morales,

    Great article, Rich! That is so true. I’ve heard that being successful at any new habit is making it a lifestyle – not just some checklist or guidelines to adhere – but to infuse it in your every day life. I love the way you discuss “brilliance in the basics”…

  2. Chuck Hunt,

    We cannot make shooting a discipline that others pursue. Shooting IS a discipline, and discipline only comes from within. Once a person decides to embrace it, they have to wholeheartedly make it integral to their life.
    This goes back to the “Does this make me look fat?” article that Rich aptly wrote. Are you going to carry the tool that will do the job, and become a disciple of it (hence the term ‘discipline’) or will you simply get the most convenient gun to compliment your lifestyle? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard other officers and friends tell me they carry some little squeaker of a pistol because they wanted it to be “comfortable” in their shorts. Actually shoot it until past proficient? Nah, that’s uncomfortable. So….does it work, reliably, each and EVERY time you pull the trigger? Dunno….only put three rounds through it. Discipline? I think not. If you carry a gun, you must accept the premise that YOU WILL USE IT. If you use it, it must be used effectively, and it WILL be under less than optimal conditions. Effective use requires practice, and that requires discipline.
    Discipline comes from within, coercion from without. Hit the wrong person in a gunfight, in today’s environment, you will soon learn the difference.
    I’m a rifle guy. Like Quigley, I know how to use a handgun, I just prefer rifles. There is no place around, locally, to practice over a hundred yards. So….I make the six-hour trip to Badlands on a regular basis to practice my chosen craft. Is it an inconvenience? Not really. It would be, if I had not, long ago, decided that I was going to discipline myself to the art of the rifle. I dress for the gun I carry, because I owe it to myself and my loved ones to carry enough pistol to stop a bad situation. That means I don’t normally get to wear shorts and flip flops. (For which, the entire population of Texas is grateful!) oh, well. I also have to drive three hours to practice with that pistol. Do I have to? No. I am no longer required to by department policy, but now I have a much tougher mandate, the one to my family and myself.
    Lifestyle. If that lifestyle involves carrying a weapon, then that lifestyle MUST involve practice and discipleship to the skill. A new laser sight won’t make you better. The latest gizmo you saw in MasterBlaster Magazine isn’t gonna tighten your groups. Some sacrifice, untold amounts of practice and dedication to an ideal will.
    I LIKE dark beer.