3 Ways Your Training Will Fail You
If you’re one of the many new gun owners out there today, you should be focused on getting quality training from a reputable firearms trainer regardless of your skill level. As a professional trainer, selling training to ‘gun guys’ is always hard. Most folks with some firearms experience have an over-inflated sense of their skill level. Knowing how to shoot straight is a very small fraction of what you need to know in an actual gunfight. Can you move while shooting, reload without thinking, issue verbal commands, clear malfunctions without looking, communicate to those around you, and utilize cover and concealment? These are just a handful of skills that you’ll need to learn from your trainer if you choose to carry for self-defense. With that being said, let’s cover some of the ways the training you received might fail you down the road.
Selecting a reputable trainer is the most important factor when making your choice. Do your research. Look at that facility's reputation and reviews from former students. See if they’re safe. Getting shot from a negligent discharge during your training might be worse than getting shot during an actual defensive situation. If there have been any accidents at that facility or they’ve deliberately put students in harm’s way during drills, avoid that facility. At one class I attended, the instructor told me he was going to point his gun at me during a drill but not to worry because it was “unloaded.” I left in the middle of that class. See what kinds of classes they’re teaching and see if those techniques translate to real-world applications. Some skills and techniques look amazing on camera but may not be practical. Odds are, you won’t need to be doing a barrel roll while reloading your concealed carry gun during a robbery at the local convenience store. Your trainer doesn’t need to be a former tier-one operator with 75 confirmed kills oversees and anyone who claims that’s what you need in a trainer should be met with skepticism.
If you’ve found a facility you want to use be sure to study the curriculum. How much are they trying to teach at once? Most people have a limit to how much information they’re able to retain in one day so your class should be focused on a few techniques repeated over and over in one sitting. As a student, you should always be taking notes so that you’re able to review them later. Your trainer, if they’re a good one, will always be available to answer questions during and after the class. I’m always available to my students for a resource even years after a class. One of the best forms of instruction is to teach a technique in the classroom, go to the range to practice that technique, and then come back to the classroom to review. This gives the student a chance to make notes, ask questions, and allow the brain to process the new skill. If you’re on the range all day with no chance to break or make notes, odds are you won’t retain a lot of the skills you’re paying to learn.
This one is on the student. You can pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a training session but if you don’t practice the skills you were taught, you’ve just thrown your money away.
Remember when I said that shooting was a small part of using a firearm in a defensive situation? That means that almost all of the skills you’ll learn from a good trainer you’ll be able to do in your living room. If you don’t already have one, a blue ‘dummy gun’ is a mandatory purchase if you’re taking training seriously. You can practice your stance, grip, draw, holstering, moving, scanning, utilizing cover, and so much more while in the safety of your home. Snap caps or dummy rounds are also a mandatory buy. With these you can practice all of the basic manipulations of your handgun and even malfunction drills. I can’t tell you the number of students I’ve had stop in the middle of a drill because they didn’t know how to tap-rack-bang. Firearms skills are perishable, if you don’t practice them on a regular basis you’ll lose them.
Getting training is an important and potentially life-saving choice. Be sure to do your research and select a trainer based around your needs and abilities. Once you’ve taken a class, be sure to practice the skills you were taught. If you’ve made the right choice and keep your skills sharp, training will never fail you. ~ Tim