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Green Beret Responds to Report: ‘Half of Today’s Army Recruits Have Never Held A Gun’

Friday, September 23, 2016 11:42
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Editor’s note: This column is a response to an Associated Press article entitled, “Half of Today’s Army Recruits Have Never Held a Gun,” which begins with the following paragraph, “As gun ownership drops among young Americans and the Army trains a generation more accustomed to blasting out emojis on cellphones than taking aim at targets, drill sergeants are confronting a new challenge: More than half of raw recruits have never held, let alone fired, a weapon.”

A travesty in the making if you ask me, and a sign of the times for certain. A nation of people unfamiliar with arms is a soft nation, and none of this bodes well for the military charged with protecting our way of life. I hear often, and even referenced in this article, the following lie,“It is easier to train someone that has never shot a weapon before, and they are often our best shooters.” The particular Drill Sergeant quoted by the AP in the article is a former Cavalry Scout, which is a combat arms MOS. I find his opinion shocking, so allow me to retort.

As someone who has trained over a thousand SOF guys and dozens of civilians, I would always rather have someone who has shot before. Preferably a lot. If a noob shows up to a class, I can teach them many things in an afternoon. One thing I cannot teach is familiarity with a weapon to the point where he is completely comfortable in using one. This develops over time, through many hours spent on the range.  Now, I can teach the basics of gun safety, but it is always a lot better if someone else has beat that into them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you cannot teach everything in one sitting. If someone is already safe with a gun, and familiar enough they aren’t scared of the damn thing, we can get on to the part about putting a bullet where they want it, preferably quickly. Also, in my experience, anyone that has started down the path of marksmanship with even a tiny bit of self-awareness will adapt to new techniques or revised fundamentals faster than someone totally new.

Someone totally new is generally amazed that gun goes bang when you pull the trigger.

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