You own a gun, but do you know how to use it?

Firing an AR-15
Brett Nielsen fires an AR-15 rifle at the "Get Some Guns & Ammo" shooting range on January 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
George Frey/Getty Images

Nearly half of Americans have at least one gun in the house, according to a 2011 Gallup poll. Self defense was the most common reason given for owning a gun, chosen by 67 percent of the gunowners surveyed.

But what would happen if you actually needed to use that gun in self defense? Unless you are highly trained, it might not go so well, according to Time Magazine:

"Real gun battles are not Call of Duty," says Ryan Millbern, who responded to an active-shooter incident and an armed bank robbery among other calls during his decade as a police officer in Colorado. Millbern, a member of the National Rifle Association, believes there is value in trained citizens' carrying weapons for defensive purposes. He understands what the NRA's Wayne LaPierre meant when he said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." But he knows from experience that in a life-or-death encounter, a gun is only as good as its user's training.

Under sudden attack, the brain does not work the way we think it will. Millbern has seen grown men freeze under threat, like statues dropped onto the set of a horror movie. He has struggled to perform simple functions at shooting scenes, like unlocking a switch on a submachine gun while directing people to safety. "I have heard arguments that an armed teacher could and would respond to an active shooter in the same way a cop would. That they would hear gunshots, run toward the sound and then engage the shooter," Millbern writes in an e-mail from Baghdad, where he now works as a bomb-detection K-9 handler. "I think this is very unrealistic."

Jim Glennon, a retired police officer and former police academy trainer who has been in the line of fire, joins The Daily Circuit Monday, Feb. 4 to talk about what it takes to use a gun under pressure.

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