We’ve talked before about the political divide between hunters and shooters/Second Amendment advocates/self-defense advocates. As part of that conversation, I started wondering about the nuts-and-bolts of that relationship: can the training we do as CCW folks augment the training hunters do, or vice versa? Toward that end, I did a little research and talked to a few people in both camps and drew some conclusions.
First and foremost, good gun handling habits are consistent across disciplines or shooting sports. These are all based on the rules of gun safety—which we should all have memorized by now—but they also include general familiarity with weapons use, clearing a malfunction, maintenance, and other “best practices”. It’s a solid foundation for any shooting sport, and a skill set that transfers regardless of your destination.
Likewise, the fundamentals of good shooting are generally the same or at least close cousins. Sight picture, trigger control, breathing, and sight picture reacquisition are going to be fairly comparable between rifles and handguns, giving a clear link between training for hunting and training for CCW. Time at the range spend drilling those fundamentals will likely improve performance in either discipline. However, there are some differences between shooting a rifle and shooting a handgun, so toward that end . . .
Let’s remember that you can hunt with a handgun! Granted, generally not with a handgun you’d choose as a CCW; hunting handguns are typically either larger, longer-barreled revolvers for big game or rimfire for smaller quarry. Nevertheless, your handgun skills can be used in the pursuit of game and this gives further utility to your CCW training at the range. Small game hunting might also provide a chance to engage smaller, moving targets under more realistic conditions—near ideal practice for self-defense shooting.
Cross-training, for lack of a better term, introduces you to another community of shooters. The sporting guns crowd may have some differences of opinion with tactical and CCW types, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t hunt together, train together, and support each other. We’ve written before about the need for both diversity and unity among supporters of the Second Amendment, and to my mind this is just another way of building and enhancing that.
Finally, it’s an excuse to do more shooting. You’ll have another reason to hit the range, another set of drills to run, another discipline or three to learn. Whether you’re a waterfowl hunter discovering the immense fun of three-gun or a dedicated tacticool type going out for his first deer hunt, it’s another way to learn about and enjoy doing something that you love. And you’ll have a reason to buy more and different gear; let’s admit we all love that.
So in closing: yes, I do think hunting and CCW training can compliment each other quite well, and I think that as more of us embrace both we’ll all be better off.
I’m sure quite a few of you both CCW and hunt, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article either in the comments section below or via email. Drop me a line and let me know what’s on your mind. And until then, stay safe out there.