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Old August 5, 2008, 06:18 AM   #1
threegun
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Training question?

For years I have trained using exercises taught at schools like Gun site and Thunder ranch as well as others taken from videos and reading. I recently began adding some things that allow me to move very quickly while still getting good hits on target. However I have never had any formal training.

My question is to those who have attended a formal shooting school. If you obtained all the information taught (much from folks who actually attended) would the course still be worth the money? Why?

I ask because I out perform friends, two of which have attended multiple expensive shooting schools, in every exercises.

Could I gain mentally or perhaps gain by an instructor pointing out any quirks?
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Old August 5, 2008, 06:39 AM   #2
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would the course still be worth the money? Why?
I haven't taken one of these courses, but I feel qualified to answer. I've taken guitar and karate. Both need correct techniques to do properly. An instructor can teach this.

Practicing using bad habits simply makes for bad knowledge/ability. An instructor can catch those bad habits and correct them.
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Old August 5, 2008, 10:54 AM   #3
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Is it necessary to have bad habits eliminated by an instructor? I have had several great shooter identify problems and offer solutions.

What type of bad habits aside from firearm handling and grip are there?

Say for example I run my LRRF drill. I draw, run, and fire in the direction my partner calls until he changes my direction either left, right, rear, or forward. I can't figure what bad habits could be identified so long as my grip is proper and handling safe.

Give me some examples so I may identify them myself please.
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Old August 5, 2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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If you obtained all the information taught (much from folks who actually attended) would the course still be worth the money? Why?
If you want to progress and attend some advanced classes you usually have to go throught the basic course offered. It also depends what your goals are. If you want to get better at IDPA, maybe look for a class with top people in that sport. If you are interested in self defense then look to people who teach from that context.

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Could I gain mentally or perhaps gain by an instructor pointing out any quirks?
Yes to both, if you have an open mind. An instructor has experienced eyes, so they can see things some people miss.

Quote:
What type of bad habits aside from firearm handling and grip are there?
Lots. LOL, sight allignment, triggercontrol, drawstroke and body mechanics come to mind.
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Old August 5, 2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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Take some formal training. You probably won't see a huge improvement from doing so but its kind of like the 80 / 20 rule. You learn 80% of a skill quickly, the remaining 20% takes virtually a life time. At your level, training will probably help refine your skills rather than teach you a host of new ones.

The biggest reason to take some training. Its a lot of fun!
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Old August 5, 2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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Are you interested in pure shooting technique classes or tactical application classes?

Folks offer both. You often can't see your own mistakes or learn new techniques to move up to a new level. The tac classes are really a different beast than the competition classes.

For example, I've seen folks who self-taught one finger typing and are very fast. Then, there are folks who learn touch typing and can beat them in speed.

It's fun. Do both.
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Old August 5, 2008, 04:44 PM   #7
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It's kinda like seeing a doctor. A second opinion never hurts .

Seriously, even if you're video taping yourself for a self-critique, a good instructor might catch small things you might miss. You can either use what he says or dismiss it, but either way, there's more potential for improvement with a good instructor.

I've noted too that a fast paced class helps a lot with rapid decision making and walking and chewing gum at the same time .
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Old August 5, 2008, 05:33 PM   #8
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The biggest reason to take some training. Its a lot of fun!
Its expensive too.

Years ago when I couldn't afford to go I had to do the next best thing which was self teach using as much information as possible from professional sources. I would often team with friends and coworkers. Now I can afford to attend but I don't feel that I will learn enough to justify the cost.

Yes it will be fun and to answer Glenn I'm only interested in gun fight survival.

Now you guys have me wondering if I'm leaving speed on the table by some bad techniques.

Capt Charlie, After years of shooting threegun matches I have definitely learned to chew gum and walk at the same time. These guys set up some really tricky arrays and its easy to get left behind so to speak. I lost what would have been my 1st first place finish some eight years ago because I forgot to shoot a target 3 yrds away.
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Old August 5, 2008, 06:42 PM   #9
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threegun

Take a level 1 tactical carbine class from Clint Smith at thunder ranch. I think you will find there is a world of difference between the "game" and training for the street.

And no I do not think you can get the full effect from some one who took the class once and is now ready to revile all. You will get your moneys worth.

Good Luck & Be Safe
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Old August 5, 2008, 07:30 PM   #10
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I think the "learn on your own" approach will work OK as far as the mechanics of handling a gun go. But the good courses in self-defense teach a lot more - legal issues, liability, and other aspects of carrying and using a gun that you can't get on your own. Most people here and on other sites concentrate on the mechanics; in other words they learn a lot about how to shoot, and choose to remain ignorant of when (and when not) to shoot. That way can spell trouble if or when you draw that gun for real.

Of course, those considerations generally don't apply to range firing, especially to bullseye target, so that kind of shooting can be learned on your own.

I might also suggest that the worst way to learn either the mechanics or other aspects of self-defense is to rely on the absurd nonsense put out by most gun rags.

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Old August 5, 2008, 08:24 PM   #11
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I certainly understand expense. Going to TR or Gunsite is very expensive. One should examine the local environment.

For example, in TX - one can spend $350 for a weekend tac class with quality local trainers or a well known guest.

If one totals up the expense of ammo, etc. for matches and are frugle for half a year - you could save for it. That's my plan. Or I do some extra work.

It's well worth it.
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Old August 6, 2008, 06:09 AM   #12
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I want to try sweatnbullets Fluid Threat Response course. I find the static drills offered by the big schools to be useful but boring. My mindset is geared toward getting proficient at shooting while on the move. I understand the benefits of using cover however many times it isn't readily available and movement may increase survival rates. Shooting while moving should further increase survival rates. Shooting while moving real fast should bump survival even more.

Glenn, In the last formal training you attended can you give a brief summary of the drills you ran? I'm curious to see if things have changed much with respect to curriculum.

Jim, I agree with the legal issue. I already have researched the issue with respect to Florida. Recently things changed slightly further benefiting the law abiding citizens of my state. Now I am not required to retreat from potential trouble before I can use deadly force. I am still obligated to adhere to the same strict justifications.....fear of death or great bodily injury. When I decide this justification has been reached is my own decision and one I must make at the time. I don't want anything to cause hesitation at this point. I want to survive the attack period. I'll deal with court and potential prison latter.

Scattergun bob, I play the gun games for fun and a little time behind the wheel so to speak. Admittedly I don't dedicate nearly as much time to my AR as she deserves, I have and occasionally run drills designed to maximize the platforms effectiveness.

To put something in perspective........I rarely practice for threegun, IDPA, IPSC, PPC, Balloon shoots, Bowling pin matches etc. I shoot many of them simply for fun and some stressful gun time. See I get really twisted in the guts before even a lowly PPC match. Shooting with tons of folks watching you......embarrassed if you miss......especially a reactive target (not in PPC)LOL.....and all with a timer on your butt. Most of my practice is for self defense.
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Old August 6, 2008, 07:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
I ask because I out perform friends, two of which have attended multiple expensive shooting schools, in every exercises.
You need to find a set of friends with a higher skill set. No offense, but you may be judging yourself against a poor sample. For example, my grandmother was smarter than most college educated folk, but she only had a second grade education. Does that mean school isn't a good thing?

Quote:
Could I gain mentally or perhaps gain by an instructor pointing out any quirks?
Of course.
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Old August 6, 2008, 10:06 AM   #14
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Tactical courses are not so much about drills as situational responses. There's a disconnect here between technical handgun skills and the larger picture of action in dynamic situations.

Besides, as folks pointed out - running drills on your own is good but it's better to be observed by experts. I will demur on listing drills for that reason -plenty of media already exist for that.

In a sense it is like a DVD with sexual activity to observe alone vs. the real thing with other participants. The former only goes so far in one's development - pardon my earthy metaphor.
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Old August 6, 2008, 12:22 PM   #15
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threegun, have you given any thought about one-on-one training with one of the instructors you respect? Perhaps this would be the best use of your funds; tailor the training to what you think you need, with the instructor having the leeway to make changes based on what he/she observes while working with you?
The reason I suggest this is I'm at the point where I don't want to take a class with other people taking up the instructor's time. I want that time so the training is concentrated on me and my faults and I'm about ready to invest in that, knowing it will cost more but also knowing I will get more "bang for my buck."
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Old August 6, 2008, 12:38 PM   #16
Glenn E. Meyer
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One on one training is great for gun handling technique but is not for tactical applications.

We need clarity - is it handling technique or tactical applications. Gun fight survival needs more than handling technique as it is part of a more complex interaction.

Tac classes usually assume some level of handling competency so they can move to the application.

So I'm confused as to end state of the proposed training. Drilling on techniques with paper or steel targets - no matter how complex the scenarios lacks the interactional component of FOF, FATS or other simulation based courses.
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Old August 6, 2008, 02:53 PM   #17
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Well, let's have a little storytime. I grew up shooting a lot. Read everything I could on it. became a fairly good shot with rifle and handgun. Went into the military, got military training in rifle and handgun, etc. Got to train with some SAS guys in what we tend now to call "Israeli Technique Shooting." Became a police officer. Went to Academy, got LE training, etc. Served as a member of the Nat'l Guard shooting team. I was a firearms instructor for both military and LE. Generally outshot everybody I knew that wasn't also on a competition team. Still read just about everything I could get my hands on about shooting. Then I went to my first professional firearms trainer and found out just how little I knew and how much of what I did know was wrong. So yes, I'd suggest thta no matter how well-intentioned, one will not get the quality/caliber of training one gets at a professional firearms school anywhere else. Haaving said that, I also caution that there are a number of 4th and 5th generation trainers out there that you'd be better off buying a videa than going to them. My $.02.
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Old August 6, 2008, 05:42 PM   #18
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You need to find a set of friends with a higher skill set. No offense, but you may be judging yourself against a poor sample
They are excellent shooters but you are right perhaps they stink compared to professional instructors. Which means I stink LOL.

Quote:
threegun, have you given any thought about one-on-one training with one of the instructors you respect?
No but I am trying to work a deal with the range that I (R.O.) at. If I can get them to host a Course........I can get a free entry. I'm gonna go to the next club meeting and ask the club officers.

David,
Quote:
Then I went to my first professional firearms trainer and found out just how little I knew and how much of what I did know was wrong.
Can you give a brief listing of what you learned at that first session and what they corrected you on?

Would you have felt the same if you already knew and practiced the curriculum of that first school?

I know we butt heads on a few issues David but please be honest. I only have x amount of play money and it is divided between competitive bass fishing and shooting.

I can do it all from engaging multiple targets to shooting on the move. From what to do if the gun malfunctions to what to do if the bullets fail to stop. Transitioning from one platform to another willingly and after a failure. From weapon retention to point shooting. I run scenario based drills also. Plus much more that I can't think of now. Whats missing beside the critiquing of any bad habits or time consuming unnecessary movements?

Thanks in advance.
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Old August 7, 2008, 11:11 AM   #19
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In reply to david armstrong... Is it really wrong or were your techniques just differant. I was teaching room clearing the other day with my sgt. overwatching. I was on my last group and another sgt. came up and straight up called the tactics crap. Why? Just because it wasnt how he was taught. Now both had to been iraq multiple times, and both have actually used their training. And both are still here. Get my drift? Oh and I know civilian and military training is differant, but the principle of training is the same.

Not bagging on schooling at all. But differant people are taught differant ways, and in the end if a technique works for you then use it. I'm not saying accept a lesser technique or try to polish your already crappy techniques (generally speaking) but don't think your not adequate because you werent taught by the gungods themselves. They did afterall come up with these techniques by doing what?.. putting rounds down range.

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Old August 7, 2008, 12:34 PM   #20
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threegun ~

Save your money. You wouldn't learn a thing in class. Guys who go in knowing it all never do.

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Old August 7, 2008, 01:22 PM   #21
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Let's try this a different way. Drills vs. simulation training seems to be a hangup here.

So you are going to be a fireman. I've read about all kinds of simulation training and stress - only done the FOF stuff however but the idea is the same.

Reading about fireman:

1. They need to learn the equipment very well. They can watch videos and hear lectures on the equipment.
2. They practice with the equipment on the equivalent of paper punching targets.
3. THEN, they go into simulated fires under smoke pressure, heat, noise, confusion, interacting with other fireman, panicked victims, injured folks.

So does this suggest that all the gun handling drills are not sufficient if one really is concerned about the higher end of gun fight survival?

Why do the military and police all go to shoot houses, FOF, FATS, etc. ?

Because drills aren't enough. Why do FOGs really interested in the issues manage to do significant FOF (granted it costs) besides just techniques classes and competitions (which are very useful) - it is because the stress innoculation, seeing yourself screw up, facing thinking opponents in a range across the force continuum is different from a match, a video or drill.

Would you think it is sufficient for the fireman or woman not to have the simulation experience given what we know about training disaster/crisis/stress responses now?

Simulation under stress is crucial to modern training regimes - folks relearn that lesson all the time.
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Old August 7, 2008, 11:18 PM   #22
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My $0.02

For years I have trained using exercises taught at schools like Gun site and Thunder ranch as well as others taken from videos and reading. I recently began adding some things that allow me to move very quickly while still getting good hits on target. However I have never had any formal training.

My question is to those who have attended a formal shooting school. If you obtained all the information taught (much from folks who actually attended) would the course still be worth the money? Why?

I ask because I out perform friends, two of which have attended multiple expensive shooting schools, in every exercises.

Could I gain mentally or perhaps gain by an instructor pointing out any quirks?


Threegun,

I get 5-10 calls a day from potential students asking about what kind of Handgun training the person should take.

I simply ask what do they want to get out of the class? Do they want to become more accurate with target shooting? Do they want to learn how to clear rooms (CQB)? Do they want to learn how to FIGHT with a Handgun?

Please not that I clearly define the learning objectives of every course I teach at the beginning of the class and then review them at the end to make sure my students have met the objective.

Any Instructor who is worth a darn should be willing to discuss with you what you expect from the training you want to take and guide you to the proper course to fit your particular need.

Having said that I will tell you that I get More students for my Advanced Handgun Courses than I do for the Basic Handgun Course. I hear all the time I have been shooting for years. The fact is 60% are not up to par to take an Advanced class. I hear all the time you just want me to take the Basic course so you can make more money........So I do a basic Range Skills test at the beginning of the course and if they can not pass they do not train in that class. It is not fair to the folks who are up to speed with the skill set.

So as an Instructor I would ask you to clearly define what you want to learn so that YOU can get the most from your training dollar.

I will send students to other schools if I can not help them. Because in this business your reputation as an instructor is all you have.

I had a discussion with a good friend and fellow BW instructor Scotty N. the other day and this is what he said: 5 different instructors will teach the same class with the same power point the same range drills and the same course objectives and if the same person took the same class from all 5 instructors each class would be different………….

Make sure you VET the credential of the instructor who is teaching the course……Just because someone can shoot very well, that will not make them an instructor. Just because someone was a cop or in the military this alone will not make them a good instructor.

Anyone can call the line…….It takes an Instructor to fix what is broken.

Just my $0.02
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Old August 8, 2008, 07:52 PM   #23
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Pax,

Quote:
Save your money. You wouldn't learn a thing in class. Guys who go in knowing it all never do.
Did I say I know it all? Or did I ask a question of folks who have attended the actual courses? Maybe you will answer this question. If you already knew and practiced using much of the same curriculum as was being taught at say school X is there a benefit enough to warrant the expense? If yes please list what if you would be so kind.

For the record Pax I am a sponge when it comes to learning something new and improved. Your assumption wasn't really cool.
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Old August 8, 2008, 08:05 PM   #24
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DCJS, I you have the same flunk out percentage with competitive shooters or just guys saying they've been shooting for years.

To take your advanced course what does your pre class test involve?

Right now I'm working on shooting on the move. Not the traditional half walk used to maintain a stable shooting platform like I've seen on videos but a full run in any direction. My focus is on advanced self defense shooting and tactics.
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Old August 9, 2008, 12:36 AM   #25
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I can say I learned to shoot from my dad as a young man... had someone in the military give me some advice ( couldnt really call it instruction). Went in the military and worked with some SOCOM folks and made me a better shooter. Got some more instruction that led me back to basics and made me a consistent shooter. If you go into a course thinking that you know nothing and leave your ego at the door you will win hands down. Are you at the level of a basic handgun course or rifle course .. I would say no. What I think is that we can all learn something from someone. Sometimes you will also meet others at these courses that might have a idea that will work for you and make things work for you better. Take as many courses as you can if you like shooting... each course will be different and each course will provide something for your personal tool box.
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