Alfonso Faustino: Sidearm Owners Should Take Safety, Legal, and Tactical Training Classes

Don’t use your sidearm unless you absolutely have NO other option.

When I first got my sidearm, Sig Sauer Black Nitron P226R 9 mm, I did not use it; instead, it sat in its safety case for about a month until I got accepted into an exclusive 18-month combat tactical training class in Virginia, which was taught by SWAT officers, former military special forces personnel (e.g., Navy SEALs), medical surgeons, and law professors specialized in constitutional law. It was a course reserved primarily for SWAT candidates, law enforcement officers, DEAs, border patrol officers, park rangers, professional body-guards, and secret service agents. I was allowed to join the class, as a civilian, due to special circumstances in my background, my education, and a sponsorship from a sheriff.

Christmas 2015: Christmas present from mum & sis: Sig Sauer Black Nitron P226R 9mm DA/SA.

Now, I’m not saying sidearm owners should go the extreme training and eduction as I did; I am saying sidearm owners should get at least a basic level training program in sidearm self-protection and safety.  I also believe a basic level course in sidearm law is needed.  In my training, we had about 16-20 hours of legal education in carrying and operating a sidearm in our castles and in public. We also learned about constitutional law and statutes.

alfonso-faustino-sig-sauer-p226r-black-nitron-9mm
My first exam was center-mass shots.  After that exam, the second exam was head-shots. (Not a bad grouping for my first time out.  I definitely achieved a better grouping after my 18-month training.) Both exams were timed, moving, and shooting under pressure, using ONLY double-action. In this scenario, I had to imagine I was in a stand-off with the threat; and, the threat had his gun pointing at the head of his hostage. So, I had to focus my shots to my threat’s head at 8 yards.  Shots to the head have a better chance of dropping the threat and a higher chance of immobilizing the threat’s body function.  For example, eliminating the threat’s ability to  move his trigger finger.

In addition to lawyers, medical surgeons came to the site to give us lessons in first aid and understanding the critical areas of the human body; so, we know the areas of the body for lethal shots and immobilization of certain body functions.

Brand-spanking new — out-of-the-box.  It remained in the box until I started my 18-month intensive combat and tactical training in Virginia.  I wanted to make certain I was an effective, safe, and responsible sidearm operator.

The reason I’m writing this BLOG is because of this article I read: Minnesota Homeowner Charged With Manslaughter After Shooting Burglar.

Owning a sidearm is no joke; and, I truly believe many people, like this Minnesota homeowner, out there are not properly educated nor trained to own and operate a sidearm; hence, these sidearm owners, like this homeowner from Minnesota, can be a risk to innocent people.  Imagine if you lived on his block and was walking your dog at night while he was discharging his sidearm, you could have mistakenly gotten hit by a stray or ricocheted bullet.

If the homeowner in this article understood the law regarding the use of his sidearm in his house and out in public, the chances are he would not have been charged with a manslaughter and discharging his sidearm in public.

As mentioned by the attorney in the article, the moment the burglars fled from the homeowner’s castle, the burglars were no longer a threat.  The moment the burglars made it to the public streets, the homeowner had no legal justification to discharge is weapon.  The jurisdiction belonged to the local law enforcement officers in his county and city — he should have called the police.  The only opportunity he had to discharge his sidearm towards the burglar was the moment the burglars broke, entered, and trespassed into the homeowner’s property; and, even then, the homeowner had better made sure that the burglars posed an imminent threat of injury and loss of life to the homeowner.

I use one set of cartridges for training; and, I use another set of cartridges for self-protection.

When I went through my 18-month combat tactical training, we had many hours of classroom-study regarding, safety, the laws, and tactical strategies.  The first thing I was taught was to avoid a confrontation.  If confrontation cannot be avoided, I was taught to assess the situation, then act accordingly.  Assessing the situation involves many factors that I won’t get into this BLOG.  These principles were tested against many different fact patterns presented by my instructors in the classroom and combat training field.

Even if the homeowner shot the burglar in his castle, it doesn’t mean it was justifiable; hence, the reason it is so important to know the laws surrounding the protection of the homeowner and his castle.

Even if the homeowner was legally justified in discharging his weapon and killing his threat, he is now involved in a legal process that is gonna cost him money and time to defend his actions — so , no one wins in a gun-fight — if he had firearm insurance, his cost to defend could be mitigated through his firearm insurance, but most sidearm owners do not have firearm insurance; and, I bet the homeowner in the aforementioned article does not possess firearm insurance.

I didn’t take this 18-month combat-tactical training course to be a SWAT officer nor Navy SEAL; rather, my interest was to be a smarter, more experienced, more responsible, safer, and self-controlled civilian sidearm operator; and, I forecast that my training and education will mitigate my chances of getting into a negative situation like that homeowner from Minnesota.  I hope I won’t ever have to draw nor discharge my weapon on anyone; but, in the event I have no other recourse, I feel confident I can operate in a manner that protects myself within my legal rights and within the rights of my threat.

Getting a sidearm is a lot of fun — hell, I enjoy going to the firearms dealer and viewing all the firearms — in fact, I’m picking up another Sig Sauer sidearm in the coming weeks — it’s exciting and fun for me; but, understanding the proper use of that sidearm takes a lot of time, work, and self-control.  So, get educated and get trained — be a responsible, safe, and a controlled sidearm operator.

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