Something that has bothered me for years is when a students asks if they can perform a weapon’s check to confirm the condition from the last time they used their firearm. This is not a game, this is combat.
That’s your excuse?
I have played along for years, been amused by it most of the time. When I have to listen to the asinine excuses of why someone is not ready, not ready to defend their lives I have to question the mental preparation. Now, there are times and places for a weapon’s check, but when you strap a firearm onto your body unless it is specifically requested to be unloaded, why would you not keep it in the highest state of readiness. Why, because we as instructors have failed. We have created an environment where we promote this mentality. We promote the mentality by not encouraging and empowering students to stay in the highest state of readiness when appropriate.
In the beginning I completely understand the importance of progressing students at a safe and manageable state. There needs to be controls set in place to ensure a safe training environment. They need to be observed for safe conduct while manipulating their firearms and they need to perform as many repetitions as possible. I am a strong supporter for delivering the material allowing them to develop the skills, knowledge and correct attitude. This is where we fail as an industry. We fail to emphasize the correct attitude.
Carrying hot all the time
Once they develop proficiency at basic manipulations the mind must then be developed. They must be encouraged to carry operationally ready as often as the curriculum or situation allows. The shift in mindset should be towards holstering a firearm that is ready to protect life. Ready so the next time it is pulled from the holster, there is no doubt. I understand this is a class, held at a range, but the mentality we are depriving our students is the importance of handling themselves responsibly at all times with loaded firearms. It is not something to be taken lightly, but it must be encouraged.
You reap what you sow
The negative outcome is students who rely on you to dictate the situation, to set the conditions. Rather than being in a constant state of readiness they miss out on cultivating the warrior mindset. I am not saying you fail as a warrior because you ask to make ready, but when you have doubts as to the condition of your firearm prior to a drill that is a failure. If you have to ask the instructor if you can inspect your firearm prior to the buzzer then you run the risk of creating a lifetime of bad habits. Now, with all this being said, if the class level is appropriate to maintain hot firearms then encourage students to do so, cultivate the always hot mindset.
There is nothing worse than drawing your firearm and getting a click, but where did the failure originate. While willingness may be a mental state, readiness is a statement of fact.