More and more people making the decision to get their concealed-carry permit to defend themselves. But, is getting you CCW permit enough to protect yourself in a deadly situation? I decided to try it out for myself.
The plan: Take the Firearm Training Simulator test (F.A.T.S) at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office before and after my CCW course to monitor my progress.
I was starting out fresh. When the Summit County Sheriff’s Office set me up with the F.A.T.S test two days before my CCW course, I could tell my nerves were going to be problem throughout the journey. A real-life scenario was projected on a large screen where I was given a handgun to defend myself. My scenario: A robbery in progress inside my home. When I come face to face with the robber, he pulls out his gun and I shoot. Little did I know, he fired a shot in my direction before I even had a chance to pull my trigger.
The next two days, I spent 10 hours in a classroom and 2 hours on the shooting range to complete my CCW course. My instructor, Daniel Clevenger, veteran police officer, taught us the very basics: firearm safety, CCW laws, laws pertaining to self defense and proper handling of a handgun.
“I try to instill, in all my students, the importance and the responsibility that goes along with carrying a firearm,” Clevenger said. “Just because you’re carrying a firearm, doesn’t mean you can use it.”
Although a portion of the course is focused on self-defense, Clevenger says additional training is needed to build confidence and have a good understanding of the law.
“Like I tell everyone in my class, you’re all 16-years-old again. This class, although it gives you a great deal of information, prepares you to get you temporary drivers license. If you want to be a good driver, you must continue to train,” Clevenger said.
A few days after I was handed my CCW training certificate, I prepared myself for a second round at the simulator. It turns out, my nerves got the best of me. I was too scared to even pull the trigger. In both situations, I fired my gun only after the suspects fired first.
“You have to be within your legal boundaries to use your weapon and I think that’s one area that needs to be stressed. They need to have a good, firm understanding of the law when it comes to self-protection,” Summit County Sheriff Deputy David Fatheree said.
When you're put it in as dangerous situation, your stress levels increase causing increased heart rate, auditory exclusion and tunnel vision. Fatheree says even though the situation I was put in was not real, my reaction time slowed down during the training simulator test.
With proper training, Fatheree believes a CCW permit can help protect you in a deadly force situation, but he also says a CCW course does not teach civilians how to use the weapon in stressful situations.
Earlier this week, a 23-year-old man with a concealed-carry permit turned an attempted robbery around after he pulled out his own gun when two armed suspects approached his car on West Market Street late Saturday night. The 23-year-old and his father attended Clevenger's CCW course earlier this year.
Even though I wasn’t as confident as I thought I would be after taking my CCW course, I was able to grasp the basics of carrying a handgun and when to use my weapon. The class focuses on the basics. It’s the constant training following your certification that instructors and law enforcement say is necessary to have before making the decision to carry a handgun.