Choosing the right school and/or instructor for YOUR training needs
Finding the right firearms instructor and/or school is a necessity gun enthusiasts. This guide covers how to find firearms instructors that fits your needs.
It seems there is a firearms instructor on every block these days. The political climate has made the gun industry explode and with it the need to learn how to shoot your newly purchased firearms.
The first thing you need to do is honestly look at your skill level. This is a time to be honest and leave the ego behind. Guns aren’t toys and you need to know the facts, so don’t let your ego get in the way of truly learning what you need to know. Next, choose the right instructor for your skill level. Thirdly, get weapon specific training in a small class or one on one setting. There are things in common from one platform to another, but handguns and long guns are completely different animals. Don’t take a basic pistol class and think you have mastered the art of shooting carbines and shotguns. It doesn’t work that way. Finally, find someone that you feel comfortable with. Especially if you are a female and/or new to shooting. Not all instructors are created equal and some might not fit your needs. In many cases, an instructor could expect you, as the student, to have some basic knowledge. Even when that isn’t always the case.
What’s your skill level? Many schools and instructors offer a wide range of classes from extremely basic courses to advanced defensive classes that are very high level training. This is both good and bad for a few reasons. Some of these guys teach classes well above their own skill level and are teaching by theory rather than by personal experience. Know your skill level and your instructor’s skill level. It will save you time, money, and frustration.
Remember: There is no shame in starting with fundamentals. If you haven’t perfected your stance, draw, grip, sight alignment, and trigger control then all the training in the world is for naught. In laymen’s terms, if you can’t hit the ‘x’ ring ten-for-ten shots, then you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. This is not to say that you are incompetent with your weapon, it’s just that you have not yet mastered it. Shooting and marksmanship is a perishable skill. Keep training and don’t be ashamed of remedial training.
Weapon Specific Training
If it’s handgun training you seek, then get an instructor that specializes in handgun training. You will find that there are many instructors that have a specialty. This is usually based on their personal skill set. An instructor or school that specializes in lower lever classes is usually not the school that you would go to for cross training with carbine and shotguns. A basic pistol class is different from a defensive pistol class, a skeet class is different from a defensive shotgun class, and a hunting class is very different from a defensive carbine class. The training is different and the weapon systems are different. They may be the same type of weapon but have very different end use and characteristics.
Get training on the weapon you intend to use and In the manner you intend to use it in. You may hunt every year with a rifle or shotgun, but that doesn’t mean you are proficient with said weapon as a defensive tool. It also doesn’t mean that that particular weapon is ideal for defending your family. Every weapon is different and their uses differ. You don’t shoulder an AR-15 in the same manner you shoulder a shotgun or hunting rifle. You do use a lot of the same skills sets across handgun, shotgun and rifle platforms but the end usage is different. Get training in each discipline for defense. How you use these skills varies hugely and doing something wrong can mean your life or that of your loved ones.
There are additional aspects that you need to consider. If you are a new shooter then someone that is good at teaching the basics is also a must. An instructor teaching over your head and expecting you to “catch up” is a disservice to you and the class in general. It can cause safety issues in the class and yourself when you return home. It may also frustrate you to no end.
Make it easy on yourself and find the right person from the start. A humble instructor is a good instructor. I learn from my students in almost every class because they teach me how to be a better teacher. If you are taking a class from John Rambo, then you may need to reassess.
Your instructor should be someone you trust your life and your spouse with! Literally, I mean that. If you don’t have that much confidence in your instructor, then you should find another one, period!