I did not get a chance to read all the replies just the post so my apologies if this ground has been covered.
Some of us will be lucky enough to never encounter a situation where our loved ones or our own person is in a life threatening situation. However there may be a time when the unthinkable becomes our reality. Despite the hours of training on the gun range, instruction from firearms professionals, etc. we may never be fully be mentally prepared for the real deal.
Case in point.......
Besides my enjoyment of firearms I also enjoy archery. I have seen the best shots in the world fall apart under a real hunting scenario with the animal close, the terrain unfamiliar and the weather changing. These guys could hit a dime from 100 yards upsidedown, but have trouble with a 300lb. bear 10 yards away. Just like in the military no amount of training can prepare you for how you will react when your buddy gets shot right next to you or the Hummer in front of you gets blown away in seconds. There is no traininng for that.
I practice as much as I can on the gun range so I am familiar with my firearm. I mentally go through the paces of what I will do should an assault occur, but I have no idea what I will do under that life threatening stress.
I carry as an insurance policy. Another tool in my protection toolbox that hopefully will only see paper targets. The carry classes are excellent and ask some pretty tough questions that make you wonder if this is really what you want to do. Could the classes improve.....sure.....all training can improve, but its a well done class with former military and police instructors. Given the extreamly low instance of the average Joe needing to use his/her CC weapon I say we are doing just fine.