A new season of American Guns airs tonight on the Discovery Channel.

It’s a show about Denver Gunsmith and former law enforcement officer Rich Wyatt and his family, who own and operate Gunsmoke. Among other things, Gunsmoke teaches people how to properly use guns in self-defense.

The Wyatts are your typical suburban family who just happened to own one of the premiere firearms facilities in the world. Rich Wyatt and his wife Renee own Gunsmoke, located outside Denver, Colorado, where they buy, sell and trade guns – from hand canons to hunting rifles. And if you don’t see what you want, they’ll build one for you – from nothing more than a block of metal. Gunsmoke has the largest and most experienced group of gunsmiths in the state. When the Wyatts aren’t building or selling guns, they’re shooting them. No gun leaves their shop without being test fired by the family first. They – and the one-of-a-kind and historic guns they make and sell – are featured in Season 2 AMERICAN GUNS, premiering Wednesday, April 25th at 7PM Mountain Time.

Lots of people fear or don’t understand using guns for self-defense. There’s even a word for it: Hoplophobia, an irrational fear of weapons.

I interviewed Rich Wyatt last Thursday, after my friend Jesse Csinscak, the professional snowboarder and former Bachelorette winner, told me his wife Ann just finished the three day pistol class and is now a “convert.” Before the classes, she didn’t want guns around the house, and especially around their toddler. Now, she’s no longer afraid, and can draw her gun and get off a shot, hit a target at conversational distance, in under a second. (The school strives for under a second and a half.) From Jesse’s website:

Jesse and Ann Csincsak, both of The Bachelor fame, learned firsthand the importance of taking such a self-defense class. Prior to signing up for the class, they both agreed that they needed to learn the necessary skills to protect their family. However, they disagreed about having weapons in the house: Jesse was comfortable with the idea, while Ann was against it. Jesse reached out to Wyatt, who recommended that they sign up for the course and said that he’d refund their money if Ann didn’t have a change of heart.

Of the experience, Jesse shares, “The class teaches you that a gun is a tool. If you pull your gun and you own it, the bad guy is going to run in the other direction nine times out of ten. You have to present with self-confidence.”

Jesse and Ann will be featured in an upcoming episode.

Rich is a believer in the Jeff Cooper “pure doctrine.” You can read about Colonel Cooper here. He was a master firearms instructor and one of the 20th century’s foremost experts on the use and history of small arms. His philosophy stresses self-reliance and self-defense. Rich Wyatt is one of only six people in the world certified by Col. Cooper.

Rich stresses Colonel Cooper’s four rules of gun safety:

  • All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  • Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
  • Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
  • Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Col. Cooper also used a color code to describe the stages a person goes through when confronted with a situation calling for self defense. From Volume 7 of his Commentaries:

Vol. 13 #7 of his Commentaries.

“In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.

In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.

In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant.”

Rich told me he believes everyone should be armed. He’s armed at all times, even around his kids and family. He said:

  • Don’t be a victim. Don’t show fear. Someone wanting to harm you will sense it right away, the same way dogs can sense people who are afraid of them.
  • Be alert to what’s going on around you. Being alert doesn’t mean making eye contact. It means looking at everything. Eyes don’t tell you what the person has in their hand.
  • Be prepared to use reasonable force to protect yourself.
  • Be armed and have the proper mindset for using a gun. No one can take a gun away from someone who’s properly trained.

Rick’s Essential Pistol classes include a day in the classroom and a full 2 days on our private outdoor range. The class accommodates around 16 students and costs $750.00. Among the lessons:

  • Drawing from a holster
  • Tactical vs. Combat reloads
  • Cleaning your gun
  • Engaging multiple targets
  • Engaging your target in under 1.5 seconds.

Also included in this class is a mindset lecture, based on Col. Jeff Cooper’s Pure Doctrine.

Rich says after this class, you will be ready for action, with all the necessary skills to be confident and competent with your firearm. You will be able to draw your gun and strike a target who is within a conversational distance in less than 1.5 seconds.

The crux, Rich said, is the decision time. It takes 3/4 of a second to make the decision, 3/4 of a second to communicate the decision from your brain to your fingertips and 1/2 a second to hit the target with a bullet.

More from my interview with Rich:

Where do you aim? The center of the chest. You aren’t trying to kill, but to stop the target.

Rich maintains most home invasions and robberies are committed by those who are high on drugs, and not your average criminal. You have to be prepared to fight.

Most households have items more dangerous to kids than their parent’s firearms: Drano, knives, scissors. Be responsible, when your gun isn’t on you, keep it in a locked box or cabinet.

Train your children. For one thing, this takes the “forbidden fruit” concept out of the picture. The curiosity and desire to use a gun are lessened when the gun is treated as an every day object.

What age should you start training kids to use a gun? It depends on the kid. Age 5 is typical, some kids are ready at age 4. Some kids are never ready. “You can’t fix stupid” he says. His rule for his own kids was that they had to be able to write out the safety rules before he allowed them to shoot.

You can teach kids to understand guns and the devastation they cause. For example, shoot up a bucket of water. They get the picture.

Again, if you’re interested in guns and self-defense, tune in to the Discovery Channel tonight for the season premiere of American Guns, with Gunsmoke’s Rich Wyatt and his family. And if you want to get rid of your Hoplophobia, consider signing up for Gunsmoke’s classes.

Click to see the full story : http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/4/25/205812/674