This last weekend Shootrite hosted Mas Ayoob and his MAG 20 class. MAG 20 is twenty-hours of listening to Mas lecturing in the classroom. There is no shooting. In his words MAG 20 is "A two-day, 20-hour immersion course in rules of engagement for armed law-abiding private citizens, emphasizing legal issues, tactical issues, and aftermath management."
When it comes to firearms training most people only think about range work, or maybe watching a video or reading a column in a magazine or a book. I've recently been taking an informal poll among "experienced" students, those I know that have taken multiple classes from a variety of instructors. I asked them what type of training they've attended and the material covered during these classes. So far none of them has mentioned attending a course that wasn't focused on tactics and shooting. Yes, these are mandatory skills, but owning a firearm for self-defense involves far more than this. You need a little education on the law and what to expect and how to conduct yourself if forced to use your weapon against an attacker. Once you've used that firearm to stop a threat, or any other weapon for that matter, you're facing a new and different battle.
Part of MAG 20 is a "legal" education. Mas cites law cases and the information you need to research these cases in depth and the material that's relevant to the armed citizen. He discusses how the legal system works, actions and circumstances that stipulate when and why you can use your weapon in defense, and the "affirmative defense," saying you were justified in shooting - which may have killed the attacker - but stating this in a way that works within the law. You have to remember that anytime there is a death it is considered a homicide. This is legal, but only under a strict set of circumstances.
The second day of the class is "proprietary" information, knowledge that can't be written about or shared with the general public. What I can say is that without this knowledge it's possible to do everything right, and still end up in a legal nightmare. This is information that you only get by actually attending his class.
If you just keep a firearm at home for defense and don't actually carry it you still need this information. This is an ideal class to attend if you don't own a firearm but are thinking about buying one for defensive purposes. For those of you who have attended multiple classes and carry daily as an armed citizen, or professionally as a law enforcement officer, this is a mandatory class to put on your list.
Remember, self-defense is a personal responsibility. When you carry a firearm you have to know when, where and how to use it safely and efficiently without endangering others and in the proper legal context. This is a heavy load. You pray it's never necessary to use a weapon, but reality is it could happen tomorrow. You can lighten this weight some by training and practicing, preparing your skills in advance. Being prepared also means understanding the legal use of lethal force. Make the time to attend this class. Ensure your actions are righteous, both legally and morally.
For information on the MAG 20 class, see MAG 20
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org