Training, decision to carry, prior service member

I’m a new member looking for input from the community.

I am a five year active duty service veteran (Coast Guard 90-95). My service training covered the basics: weapon handling, safety, range etiquette, etc, and I carried a side arm during deployment - but I recognize that was a long time ago and a entirely different environment. I do not feel I presently have the appropriate training to carry on a daily basis.

I have been looking at training courses to increase / update my training. I would like to maximize my expenditure but I’m not sure of what the recommended or appropriate level I should consider going in at would be. I am presently a gun owner and I frequent a local range.

I am signed up for a personal defense in the home class in September, but wondering if perhaps there are other courses I should consider before this one. My question is: Are there any general recommendations on training approach for this type of profile, and were any of you in a similar situation and at what point in your post service training did you decide to start actively carrying?

Edit with relevant facts: I live in a constitutional carry state. Have shot over the years with friends but purchased own pistols within past 12 months.

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Welcome to the community!

I’m only similar in that, past shooting over several years was very light and at infrequent intervals and only owning European model pistol. By chance, was offered CCL class early fall last year and thought, why not. Since then, I’ve accelerated my behavior to learn and gain knowledge along side with each “accidental” weapon purchase. This is untypical to how I would go about purchasing an automobile, but time is of the essence for me. I put accidental in quotes, because each purchase has pleased me to no end based on in depth research done online. As far as training goes, I follow and also teach what I deem worthy from videos online; off the top of my head, Carry Trainer, videos are impressive as a starter & hope to attend one of his classes/outings. But until then, there are other channel sources I can suggest if you’d like.

Decision to carry: when the momma bird pushes the baby bird out of the nest…I pray that bird made the decision to carry before it’s too late. Yep, that idea motivated me to first practice at home for 90 days, then after getting the CCL in the mail, I chose this Community as my family. From there I practiced in public, but w/out (1) in the chamber. And if I hadn’t been “pushed out the nest” I would’ve just done the holster only to test several outfits of clothing to ensure I didn’t brandish or print. Come to find out, most of the population near me are still code grey with this stupid masks and don’t notice my plain white t-shirt is all I need to pull up; and when some of the t-shirts that have too short of tail, I add button-down shirt, but unbuttoned while wearing. After 30 days w/out one in the chamber, I started “flying” w/ 10+1, but still keeping extra mag in car till I add my first IFAK to my EDC.

I don’t have prior service membership, but working at the bank with the security guards or off duty officers put me near firearms. I can say working with large amounts of cash makes code…what’s after yellow? But eventually a person becomes numb to the idea of cash flow and accuracy of accounting for it all, that’s when I learned to be code “yellow” with ppl.

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Welcome to the family and god bless you and you are in the right place at the right time. The USCCA offers e learning classes and training on the DASHBOARD where you can definitely get the training videos that you need. The USCCA also has certified instructors and they can teach you the basic home defense/self defense courses. They have the proving ground videos which are excellent. I came to the USCCA and joined already having carry experience with law enforcement background. I was still very surprised on how much I learned. Well I hope this helps brother and once again, WELCOME.

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Semper P from a fellow Coastie, and welcome. I’m a retired USCG HSC ('84-'04), and was in similar circumstances. Even though I too had qualified when I was on active duty, I chose to re-start at the beginning with a basic firearms course, and then take an intermediate, and advanced course.

Rob

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@Todd74,

Welcome. It’s a great question! That home defense class is fine, but also take a defensive pistol 101 (basic) course. Personally, I’d look for a good weekend seminar with a serious pro specializing in civilian defensive pistol fundamentals. Invest the money and the time this one time. After that, spend your money on at least a monthly trip to the range with 100 rds of ammo and several high quality holsters. It will take you awhile to find the best fit for you. We all have a drawer full of lonely holsters. No avoiding it.

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Welcome Todd and glad to have another vet join the ranks.

It sounds like you’re looking to get more “comfortable” with the notion of carrying. Carrying is a responsibility, but it’s something you really won’t get comfortable with until you actually do it. My previous instructors all used to say you have to do the walmart walk where you walk each and every aisle carrying your pistol for the first time concealed to really learn to be more comfortable and confident. I thought it was silly till I did it too and it really does help.

Now, building up to that day, There are countless classes out there that you can take in preparation…but you need to decide which fulfill your needs. Home defense can be good, basic marksmanship, intermediate, advanced might be others, etc. You need to decide what your skill level is and what will suit your interests and fulfill your need to be more prepared and comfortable.

Honestly though, I would highly recommend starting the process of getting your license/permit to carry as it tends to take a while. Once you reach the concealed carry class (if your area requires it), it too will help to answer your questions and help to prepare you. once its all done, you can continue taking classes till you’re feeling more comfortable and decide to start carrying it.

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Hi and welcome to the community. I was in the same boat you were. I was in the Navy and carried while on watch. It’s been 4 years since I’ve retired and I only started carrying about a year ago. I was living in a very unfriendly gun state but have since moved to a more conservative state where carry with hollow points is legal. All that being said I still go to the range about once a month cause ammo is scarce. There is a former army brat that works at my local range and he has a firearm self defense class I am planning to take. I still carry even though I haven’t taken his course yet. I have my wcl and I iwb strong side hip carry. I still am comfortable around guns and I trust myself. If you feel uncomfortable in the slightest I would definitely say to take a course. The course can only help you in any lacking areas and make you a better concealed carrier.

Best of luck and igy6

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Thanks! I appreciate the comments and insight.

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Thanks Johnny. Working my way through the USCCA videos now. They are excellent. Will definitely be seeking additional training.

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Hey Robert! Nice to find another Coastie already. Where were you stationed? After MK A school I was one the Sundew on Lake Superior and then at MSO Portland Maine. Also had a TAD to Haiti with PSU 302.

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Hi Ken, already started that collection :roll_eyes:. Thanks for commenting on that though because I thought I was being ridiculous with them - haha.

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Thanks Eric. Hit the nail on the head with the comment about being comfortable with it. I am personally comfortable with my handling and the safety aspects. Its more that concealed every day carry being new territory for me. I will defiantly take the advice that has been given in this thread. All the comments have been great. At some point I have to make that first step and start down the road to getting comfortable with it and right now I’m focused on “are you ready / are you sufficiently trained”. I’m fortunate that I live in a constitutional carry state, but on the other hand I can appreciate the structure of a training checklist. Ultimately it still all comes back to a personal comfort so I’m going to have to find that path from here to there.

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Thanks for the insight Bubba, and congrats on your retirement!

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@Todd74 Welcome aboard!!! As you have noted the military gives us the “FUN - DUH - Mentals” but carrying concealed for self defense is another animal entirely. I carried for too many years without the knowledge of the self defense laws and quite frankly the basics of what to do post shoot. One of the things the USCCA is very good about promoting, developing and presenting. I will also admit that our good resident council @MikeBKY has made some significant points that have further altered what I would do following a shoot scenario. In short become confident and competent with your firearm of choice. Go through the pain of finding the closest acceptable version of a perfect holster that your wallet can stand. SPEND at least as much time learning the laws as you do on the range and by all means utilize your membership to it’s fullest.

Cheers,

Craig6

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POOF! Either someone must have rubbed my lantern! Your wish is my command.
Welcome to the Community @Todd74! You will find a lot of very helpful folks in the community and maybe a grungy lawyer or two.
As everyone has said, train, train, train. Marksmanship is important but so is knowing the law where you happen to be, what to say (and more importantly what NOT to say) and tactical training based on the type of incidents you may encounter.
I cannot advise on the laws of states other than Kentucky, but I have been known to delve into the laws of other states to get an overview of what their laws look like, without giving legal advice.
Feel free to tag me if you have a burning question about, well, just about anything.
And as others have opined, spend money on good equipment but be ready to have a drawer full of holsters (and other accessories) that seemed like a good idea at the time.

I couldn’t imagine needing to get every weapon approved. In Kentucky, our license (and Constitutional Carry now without a license) is to carry a concealed deadly weapon … any deadly weapon. Well, maybe not weapons of mass destruction, but almost anything else.

Deadly weapons here are:
“Deadly weapon” means any of the following:
(a) A weapon of mass destruction;
(b) Any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged;
© Any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife;
(d) Billy, nightstick, or club;
(e) Blackjack or slapjack;
(f) Nunchaku karate sticks;
(g) Shuriken or death star; or
(h) Artificial knuckles made from metal, plastic, or other similar hard material

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Hey Todd,

I was stationed quite a few places. After HS A school I went to AirSta Cape Cod, then Group Long Island Sound, Loran Station Marcus Island, TRACEN Yorktown, Naval School of Health Sciences in Portsmouth, CGC Midgett (We did WESTPAC 99 with the Constellation Battle Group). and finally MLCLANT in Norfolk, VA.

Rob

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Todd, I completely understand the reluctance. I was well trained in weapons and was nervous as hell the first time I carried it in public. There was a thread I wrote about my first time I concealed carried. I even used to carry an M-16 in public in the military and it didn’t give me the same nervousness as when I carried a concealed pistol.

Let me be the first to say, no training and no class is going to help that. The only real way to overcome that is to just carry it. If you’re like me, the first time you carry (after getting your license/permit) you’ll likely NOT have a round chambered because in your mind you might have to build up to that…and that’s fine. Do what you need to in order to be comfortable. I carried with an empty chamber the first week because I wasn’t yet comfortable knowing I had a chambered round. Once I grew more comfortable, I then moved to chambering a round and it took some more time to grow comfortable.

Now I consider it part of my everyday preparation and don’t think anything about it. I don’t fidget with my clothes, don’t check myself regularly…I know its there and ready if I need it. I’ve wrestled a little with my kids, thrown balls, and every other everyday activity without worrying about it because it’s just like my pocket knife…there if I need it but doesn’t require my constant attention.

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