Practicing Second Amendment rights
Participants in a concealed handgun license (CHL) class wait for their targets to be scored during the shooting portion of the state-required course.
FLORESVILLE -- It’s been said that “when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” While that certainly may not be true in all cases, there is some level of validity to the statement. As such, when it comes to self-defense, and to the protection of a person’s family and loved ones, many citizens are choosing to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.
Although Texas doesn’t have an “open carry” law, as some states do, Texans are allowed to carry a “concealed” firearm, provided they obtain the proper licensing. A minimum level of training is required to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL), and fortunately, there is an instructor in the area to help out.
Allan Houck, owner of 181 Firearms Training, brings a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience into the classroom as he walks his students through the state-mandated CHL course.
For Allan, the path to this point began in 2004, when he joined the U.S. Army and trained as a Military Police (M.P.) officer. Through his years of service, Allan soaked up every training opportunity that came his way, and even learned a few things the hard way.
One such lesson was learned on July 26, 2006. Like most of us, Allan was trying to find ways to beat the summer heat, and looked for every opportunity to cool off. However, unlike most of us, Allan was riding in a Humvee in Iraq that day, and quickly found himself in the middle of a firefight, as his convoy came under attack.
It was a day Allan will never forget. He and his friends were being attacked. People died.
Allan and the other troops had to give in to one of man’s most basic of instincts, and choose between “fight or flight.”
Without much pause, Allan quickly jumped on his .50 caliber machine gun, known as the M2, or “Ma Deuce,” and began to lay down a seemingly endless barrage of bullets toward his attackers. Together with his fellow soldiers, Allan helped repel the attack and capture a number of prisoners. For his part in the effort, Allan earned an Army Commendation Medal with “valor” device. It isn’t something he runs around talking about, and it’s really a story he wishes he didn’t have, but it happened.
For Allen, it was yet another lesson in expecting the unexpected. It underlined the importance of being prepared, and in knowing how to deal with a hostile situation.
After returning stateside, Allan eventually found himself at Fort Hood near Killeen. He was assigned to serve as an operator on the Special Reactions Team, which is an elite army unit, similar to a civilian “SWAT,” or Special Weapons And Tactics team. There, Allan greatly increased his knowledge of firearms combat, and trained constantly. He was able to gain knowledge from outside the military community, too, participating in training exercises with the Harker Heights SWAT team, and he even completed a course in “Terrorist Bombing Response.”
Following his active duty commitment, Allan served in the U.S. Army Reserve as an instructor in the Small Arms Readiness Unit. He was charged with the great responsibility of training deploying soldiers in basic marksmanship. It was during this time that Allan learned about the finer points of effectively teaching people of varying skill levels.
Learning to teach
Armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and believing deeply in a person’s ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights, Allan decided to continue teaching in the private sector. He attended the necessary training course in April 2011, and soon was certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety to teach the state CHL course. The following month, Allan began operating his own business, 181 Firearms Training.
In addition to teaching the state CHL class, Allan teaches basic firearms introduction classes, is a National Rifle Association (NRA) certified pistol instructor, and even offers an advanced “Tactical Concealed Carry Course,” where students learn and practice the practical skills needed in order to survive a gunfight with an armed opponent.
“Gun ownership needs to be taken seriously, and proper training is important,” Allan said. “Marksmanship is a perishable skill. I encourage gun owners to seek training, and there are lots of classes out there.”
Allan teaches classes in San Antonio, and also conducts a CHL class in Floresville on the third Saturday of each month. If companies or groups want private classes, he can arrange that, too.
Allan believes training is important, because it’s imperative that people have the knowledge and the right attitude to deal with those life-or-death situations.
“Having a gun and carrying a gun is not about being the toughest kid on the block,” Allan said. “It’s about protecting yourself and the ones you love.”
Some people simply are not comfortable with carrying a firearm, and that is a personal choice. But, for those who are interested, Allan is able to help.
“I encourage people to practice their Second Amendment rights,” he said, of a person’s right to bear arms. “If we don’t exercise our rights, we may lose them.
“We need to practice and train as often as possible,” he added. “And if you have kids in the house, education is that much more important. Don’t try and hide them [firearms] from your kids. They will get curious and find them.”
Allan lives in Floresville with his wife, Laura, and his daughter, Grace. He teaches at Jack’s Café in Floresville, A Place to Shoot in San Antonio, and at private venues upon request.
For more information, call Allan at 830-393-3458, or visit www.181firearmstraining.com.