At some point, on the range, in general conversation, at a gun show, perhaps attending a concealed carry class, we have all heard or even possibly said; “I don’t need that training, I was in the military”. In reality, that statement simply doesn’t hold water. While military training is beneficial, in terms of familiarity with firearms, the primary focus in military training is “team tactics”. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly aspects of military training that can be, and have been, adapted to the civilian self-defense world, but the military training alone is simply not enough. The military world and the civilian self-defense world are apples and oranges. There is no clear target, objective, or defined enemy. The civilian self-defense world is complex and difficult to navigate at times. I walked into my first concealed carry class with an air of arrogance. I’ve been around firearms all my life, yeah cliché. It wasn’t twenty minutes into this class when I realized just how little I knew. The instructor would show video footage of an incident that was clearly justified self-defense followed by another video that leaves more room for interpretation. I’d think to myself, yeah that was self-defense, he assaulted that man. Sure, he was assaulted. However, the assailant was unarmed and started to retreat when the weapon was drawn. One of things that resonated most with me from this class was this statement; “When you carry a firearm, what you are carrying, in actuality, is a holster full of consequences”. Later in the course, we were joined by an attorney that specialized in self-defense cases where deadly force was used. He went into great detail explaining the legal process and the obstacles that an individual may face following a deadly force encounter. If I am being completely honest, many of these things I had never even considered. What I learned in my concealed carry class put to bed any preconceived notions that I had going in. I realized that much of my prior experience and training was simply not enough. We also need to acknowledge that much of government training, including much military training, is “check the box training”. Come on, you know it’s true. As a former DOD Contractor and current Government Contractor I am required to complete certain training annually. For example, I am required to complete “Active Shooter Training”. This training consists of a 30 minute video and a 10 question quiz. Ultimately, your military training alone is simply not enough to prepare you for the civilian self-defense world. Knowing how to shoot is not enough to prepare you for the civilian self-defense world. Always seek additional training and education. Be your own advocate, don’t let an ego keep you from becoming better. The moment you cease to learn is the moment you cease to improve. Shooting is a diminishing skill. In the civilian self-defense world, where you are already behind the curve, that additional training could be the difference between life and death. That additional education could be the difference between justified and jail time. Stay frosty and keep shooting.