DECEMBER 10, 2020

Skill Set: Never Say “Never”

There’s been a lot of things I said I’d never do, and ended up changing my mind. It’s strange that we often become more flexible as we age. But, it’s not only age – the software side of things – but also hardware, and the advances we’ve seen in gear. And so after saying, “I’d never …,” we sometimes end up doing that very thing.

Maturity requires time to gain the required knowledge necessary for change. For example, although I grew shooting revolvers – also my first carry handgun - I couldn’t wait to get a semi-auto. “I’ll never go back,” I thought after getting a Browning Hi Power for high-school graduation. Next, I drank Col. Cooper’s Kool-Aid and began a twenty-five-year relationship with the 1911 - .45 ACP of course. “I’ll never go back,” right? Today I carry revolvers, except when I’m teaching. Then, it’s a Hi Power. (My hands don’t work exactly right these days, and it’s difficult to get the grip safety on the 1911 depressed.) After a lot of “never” I’m back where I began.

It wasn’t too long ago that the common, collective stream of thought was that the .380 was never adequate for defensive use. Recent developments in both the platform and ammunition have changed a lot of thoughts on that. There are now many semi-autos that are ultra-reliable for the .380 cartridge. And, you can get them in compact to full size platforms. There have been great advances in ammo design, especially for the .380 caliber. A 90-grain bullet exiting the barrel at 1,000 FPS is not a bad round, especially when it’s a well-designed defensive bullet especially designed for defensive purposes.

There’s recently been a lot of people who said they’d never have a firearm in their homes for defense, much less consider carrying one. Recent events have changed a lot of minds. The numbers for “first time” buyers have seen a significant increase in the last few years, but dramatically so in 2020. As the number of crimes has increased, and law enforcement is stretched thinner and thinner – in some cases even told not to intervene – more and more people are finally waking up to the fact that personal defense is an individual responsibility.

The same is true for platforms like the AR. “I’ll never have a reason to buy an ‘assault rifle,” many have exclaimed. Now, that the AR has become popular – it’s available in a wide range of calibers and works well for almost any application – the never-AR types have changed their tune. Of course, the recent “unpleasantness” or “peaceful protests” have fueled appetites for the AR, which especially shines when it comes to self-defense. The same is true for pistol caliber carbines. There’s simply too much cool gear out there to not attract one’s attention.

As you age the word “never” is used less and less. You realize that things change – both your attitude and the gear that’s available. Something that you’d never consider eventually becomes a possibility. The key is to make sure you don’t become sedimentary; never hesitate to explore the possibilities. Or, as they say, “Remain rigidly flexible.”

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. Visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.