Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you call yourself “3 to 5 Solutions?”
Folks who examine defensive shooting incidents have found that many occur at a distance of 3 to 5 yards, involve 3 to 5 rounds being fired, and are resolved in 3 to 5 seconds. Hence the name of our LLC.
Your Concealed Handgun Permit class doesn’t involve live fire. Isn’t live fire practice important?
Yes, it is. I’m quite conflicted about this topic. On the one hand, it’s difficult to overstate just how important regular live fire training is. On the other, I feel self-defense is a basic human right without which few other rights matter. As such I believe there should be the fewest barriers possible between law abiding citizens and access to effective means of self-defense. Moreover, times are tough and we in the Shenandoah Valley don’t make six figure DC salaries. I want to make sure that a concealed handgun permit is within reach for all qualified citizens, and then hope my students continue their education in one of our live fire offerings. Please note, I offer the 8 hour CHP class and the 5 hour live fire class for less than many instructors who handle both elements in the same day.
What’s the best self-defense pistol caliber?
Ask this question on an internet gun board and a heated argument will ensue. I don’t think there is any one correct answer—circumstances often times dictate ones choice—though I do believe there are smart compromises that should be embraced. All pistol calibers are quite wimpy with a mortality rate of under 30 percent last time I looked it up. As such multiple, accurate, fast shots are required to end a mortal threat as quickly as possible. Therefor the caliber you choose should be one that allows you to accurately place 3 to 5 rounds into a target in 3 to 5 seconds, at a distance of 3 to 5 yards. If you can do this with a .500 Smith and Wesson, more power to you. If all you can manage is a .22 pistol, well then that’s what you should carry.
I started off as a dyed in the wool .45 caliber guy, and was something of a zealot about it. However, the more I instruct and the more I train the more I come to conclude that consistent practice is what will allow you to run a gun quickly and accurately and so should be a primary consideration when choosing a defensive pistol. Currently 9 mm ammunition is the least expensive training round available, so I currently practice with and carry 9mm pistols.
What gun should I get?
Again, a lot of debate about this can be found, most of it quite erroneous. The simple answer is you should buy a gun that fits your hand well and that you can capably operate. On a semi automatic pistol this means you need to be able work the slide, operate the slide release, reach and use the mag release, get good trigger finger placement, and that you can achieve a good, two handed grip with. Revolver are lower capacity firearms so I generally don’t recommend them for defensive carry as they have a limited number of 3 to 5 round doses in them. If you select one, however, make sure you can achieve a firing grip and work the trigger. Please note that many folks have trouble completing a couple dozen trigger presses of a double action revolver, which greatly limits how much they can train with one.
I think striker fired pistols such as the Glock, M&P, XD and several other recent pistols produced by FN, Sig, etc. are the easiest to master so I recommend them, especially at beginning levels.
You are a big fan of dry fire practice. Won’t doing so hurt my gun?
Read your gun’s manual to see what the manufacturer says about dry fire. And if you are truly worried about it, pick up some “Snap Caps,” which function as small shock absorbers, for your gun. For my part, I can’t see how dry firing a gun can possibly have a greater impact on it than live firing it, so I don’t worry about dry fire practice as it is a cheap and easy way to greatly enhance your proficiency. A couple of provisos: rim fire guns should not be dry fired as the firing pin makes metal contact, rather than just punching air as it does on a centerfire gun. And second, older revolvers where the hammer makes contact with the primer should not be dry fired as hammers have been known to develop cracks when doing so.
Why are you unable to provide training to people who are not United States citizens?
In the wake of 9/11 the State Department enacted new export controls known as International Trading in Arms Regulations or ITAR. Some of those regulations speak to military training, including small arms training. ITAR is vague, contradictory statements have been made about it’s implications, and we’ve been unable to find any authoritative source clarifying ITAR’s impact on self-defense training for non-resident aliens. Moreover, several large training organizations, including the National Rifle Association, have stopped training foreign nationals due to ITAR. Our small company certainly does not have the resources to convince the State Department to clarify its position on this sort of training.
With that said, resident aliens—those with “green cards”—can obtain training. And it appears that foreign nationals can complete State Department form DSP-83, attach it to an export permit issued by the country of citizenship along with a non-refudable fee of $250 to see if some sort of waiver or exemption can be issued. We’ve no experience in these matters, but would certainly work with any student willing to navigate this process.