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Old May 25, 2010, 10:18 AM   #1
Deputy Dog
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Cheaper Instruction....

Would you pay alot less for Instruction by someone who has taken Instructor courses from big name schools, or would you rather pay the big bucks and get the same material?

DD
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Old May 25, 2010, 12:14 PM   #2
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My only wat was to pay for a less expensive instructor who has studied with some of the greats. In my case it was Dan Southard who is one of Mas Ayoob's Level 3 Instructors. He held a small class at Las Cruces 2 months ago. I'm waiting for him to get the OK at Ft. Bliss for civilians to attend as he sets up his military class there.

Then I'll attend one of Ayoob's classes.
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Old May 25, 2010, 01:15 PM   #3
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Half the time I think people train under the hollywood instructors just for bragging rights. This nonsense reached its pinnacle with all the Costa wannabees/copy cats recently.

Out here in AZ, one of the City Colleges offers Law Enforcement training, including firearms training. We can take 2 day AR, Pistol, and Shotgun courses for under $200. The instructors are "been there, done that" instructors with extensive Mil/LE credentials.

Unless you're paying for a really amazing facility, I don't see the value in helping a super star instructor's house payment. The basic drills and concepts are the same.
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Old May 25, 2010, 04:29 PM   #4
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I think if one is looking for in-expensive (notice I didnt say cheap) shooting instruction, you should give your State Rifle & Pistol Assn a look see. Most put on High Power and Bullseye Clinics at fairly reasonable or no cost, (I dont charge for my clinics). These are the same as the Small Arms Firing Schools new shooters fire before the Camp Perry matches.

I know, I'm gonna catch flak becauise HP and Bullseye isnt "tactical" but it will give you the basic fundementals you can carry forward for your so called tactical type matches.

I got my orginal LE firearms instructor from the FBI Firearms Instructor Developement Course, USAMU Sniper School, NRA LE Rifle Instructor's course, and the NG Coaches Clinic. I've coached NG Rifle and Pistol teams, composite and combat. Most of my 20 years in LE I was a LE Firearms instructor. I did the orginal rifle training for APDs SWAT (we called them CRT). I've taught Sniper Schools and Machine Gun Schools for the NG, Reg Army, & LE.

I don't say that to be bragging, but to point out, regardless how much training you get, you can still learn from HP & BE Clinics.

I have the back ground but I still learn something, or get something refreshed when I attend or put on a Clinic.

I should have the basics down, but still when you shoot combat at the Wilson Matches (NG Championships) you start out with a SAFS or Clinic. I still learn.

Go to the CMP Website, they list CMP Clubs, find the closest to you, contact them about a HP or Bullseye Clinic.

Everytime I get start getting sloppy with my combat style pistol shooting I shoot a Bullseye Match. It always improves my other pistol shooting.

Give it a shot, its cheap if not free, and you're gonna learn something, and dont sell the instructors short because they arent wll named national firearm instructors. Most if not all have Dist. Badges, See how many of your national well known instructors have earned all their leg points. You dont get distingushed without learning something along the way.
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Old May 26, 2010, 08:24 AM   #5
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The reason why I posted this thread, was too find out why people dont sign up for courses offered by instuctors who are taught by the big name schools, and teach the same quality material that the big name schools teach. Usually the Certified Instructors teach somewhat of a better or more interesting class than the big schools, for 1/3 the price. So why do people feel they have to pay big dollars at the big name schools? The only thing I can think of, would be what someone already posted is, paying for the facility.

DD
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Old May 26, 2010, 09:40 AM   #6
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People still pay for the bragging rights in my opinion. I mean... We get the big time instructors out here in AZ all the time, and they put their classes on at the regular old LE and Public ranges all the time.

Now if you go to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch where they have dedicated private facilities, I can see paying the higher prices for instruction.
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Old June 11, 2010, 12:32 PM   #7
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Some instructors are going to be better than others. It doesn't matter if you can pay for and "pass" an instructor's school course, you may not be as good at instruction as another individual. You may be better than the guy or gal who taught you to be an instructor - there's just no way to quantify that with a certificate.

The only way to ensure that you have a reasonable chance at getting a good instructor is by getting an instructor who has good reviews from other shooters and instructors. Some smaller/less expensive outfits have this, some don't. Unless I personally know someone who has gone to an instructor who I can't find good info on, I probably won't test the waters unless it's just material that I want to brush up or get a different perspective on.

There are some great affordable instructors out there. I have one in my neck of the woods who I am returning to in September. Does that mean I wouldn't want the opportunity to train with Clint Smith? Of course not, but it sure is a lot easier and cheaper to drive five hours and shoot reloads than it is to fly 9 hours and shoot copper.
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Old June 12, 2010, 02:34 AM   #8
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"...Instructor courses from big name schools..." Whoopie! What other experience does he have? Teaching?
"...for 1/3 the price..." You get what you pay for. Mostly the name of the instructor. What matches has he won, etc.
"...becauise HP and Bullseye isnt "tactical"...I shoot a Bullseye Match..." None of the shooting games are in the least bit 'tactical'. They're shooting games and nothing more. Nothing whatever to do with reality. No 'power factor' in the real world.
It's amazing how many new shooters don't think Bullseye shooting matters. Don't know a single good IPSC/IDPA shooter who isn't a very good Bullseye shooter.
"...Massad Ayoob..." Top notch guy. Miculek is too. Nothing whatever to do with their talent though. It's about how they interact with us regular shooters. Aces, both of 'em.
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Old June 12, 2010, 06:14 AM   #9
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It's about reputation.

You may (and I have) found local trainers who are excellent communicators, have current skill sets and can run a safe dynamic range. But I did a lot of digging to turn them up, and weeded out a number of guys who'd been to big name schools and were now droning out material they had taken from that training, often incompletely understood, and charging for it. (One was even using the 'big name' school's handouts, copied with the letterhead changed!)

So you pay for the reputation and 'known quantity' that an established instructor represents. Sign up for a class from Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, Givens, Cain, Farnam, etc, and you KNOW you're not wasting time, money and ammo training with someone who's not up to speed.

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Old June 12, 2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Old June 12, 2010, 03:42 PM   #11
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Having taught professionally (not gun related) for several years, I know that when I select a course, the most important criteria is first: his/her experience.

Classrooms are fine, . . . practical labs are fine, . . . scenario games and role playing are fine, . . . but if someone wants my money: I need to see experience first.

Secondly, I want to know his/her standing in the community that teaches the same or similar courses. Col. Pappy Boyington of WW2 fame was undoubtedly one of the finest fighter pilots we had, . . . but he could not teach from what I have read.

Plus, . . . we all know the old message game: everyone tells the person on their right about the message, . . . which when it gets back to the source, it is compared with the original message. Teaching is the same in many respects as the NEW instructor adds things that are more important to them, and less important (to them) items are dropped.

They can have gone to all of the finest schools, . . . but if that is all, . . . then we have a firearm instructor with no ability to test if the instruction is valid, . . . bummer.

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Old June 12, 2010, 06:59 PM   #12
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I do wonder about these schools.

What is the criteria to be an instructor?
Who decides what class, and lab material is to be covered?
I notice that different trainers have different scools of thought. Who decides what is right?
What is a reasonable cost for some professional training?
What makes one instructor better than the next?


I have read some of the most practical advice from poster's with no fantactical experience, and from guys, n gals with real world military, and police experience. None of them instructors.


My friends and I have come up with a kind of an inexpensive soloution. We a very diverse group, have come up with our own training regimen. Based on our collective experiences, and anecdotal information.

Maybe I'm just cheap... But I'd rather take the time to read the experiences, and opinions of some 22 year old just back from his second tour in the sand box.... Than to pay someone several hundreds of dollars to tell me how I'm hitting the bull's eye wrong.


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Old June 13, 2010, 12:39 AM   #13
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I'd suggest checking out an affordable well-reviewed school before deciding that you're simply paying someone to tell you how you're hitting the bullseye wrong. Even if you don't think their experience is superior, having access to someone with teaching expertise and a dynamic range to explore techniques is worth a few bucks.
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Old June 13, 2010, 08:01 AM   #14
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It's continuing education...

Continuing education is valuable in any pursuit that requires a high level of skill. Making it affordable is important. This was true in my military career and remains true in my second career as a health care provider.

Next month I'm going to take a close combat handgun course from one of Gabe Suarez's stringers. I'm doing this because it's local and cheap. With gas for the car I expect to pay under $300 for a weekend course. The word from my circle of gun people is that the instructor is a good guy, but not somebody who has "seen the elephant." My biggest concern will be safety (mine). If it appears that the guy can't run a safe, dynamic, hot range, I'm outta there. That said, anything I can learn and get refreshed on will be money well spent. The plan is to retain anything new, good and sensible and ignore any stupid, merely trendy stuff that might be presented.

Big name schools? Sure. I'm planning on taking a Thunder Ranch course a year from now just to drink from the well and see what high-end training at a dedicated facility is like. But, with air fare, lodging, food, tuition and "green ammo" it's going to be at least 5-6 times more expensive.

It's all good.
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Old June 13, 2010, 08:04 AM   #15
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I could never afford or get the time off to go to TR or Gunsite, so for 20 or so years I did VHS, DVD's and books for learning.

In the last 4 years, there has been a local boom on training in my immediate area. Alabama Defensive Pistol Academy (Matt Sims), Shootrite Academy (Tiger Mckee) and Randy Harris (Suarez International) are all within easy driving distance of me. Gabe Suarez has also been coming locally about once a year.

I'll say that the classes (5) I've taken over the last 3 years has taught me quite a bit. I wish I had known the material during the time I was trying to teach myself through the various media. It would have saved me a lot of money in the long run.
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Old June 13, 2010, 11:18 AM   #16
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Agree with smince completely. I took a three day course with Tiger McKee and learned bunches. I picked up two techniques that even if that was all I learned, the course was a success. And he has a great range!
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Old June 13, 2010, 12:37 PM   #17
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I read alot of Forum members from different forums in the area where I live talking about how they want to take some Personal Protection Courses. Yet when you offer to teach them a course at 1/3 the cost of the big schools and they are getting the same material being taught as the big schools, you would think it was a no brainer. Especially if the Instructor has over 28 years of experience under his belt with firearms and over 14 years experiance teaching Basic Safety as well as Personal Protection and LEO's. I dont have a book published, nor am I a famous LEO. What I do have is over 13 years experience in the Armed Proffessional field. Do I know everything there is to know about firearms? Nope! Who does though? I get asked to give some references of the LEO's I have taught, and when I say no do to sworn privacey. People think I am making the stuff up.
How are people going to know what people can do and or teach, unless you give them a chance? Just my .02.

Maybe I should go to Front Sight or Massad's School, I guess Sig Sauer Academy and the S&W Academy arent good enough. OOH! OOH! maybe I'll go down to Black water and spend my lifes savings to become recognized as an Instructor. In all the years I have been carrying a firearm for work related and Personal Protection, I have had to draw and present my firearm about a Dozen times, never having to pull the trigger ought to speak for itself.

DD
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Old June 13, 2010, 02:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
I read alot of Forum members from different forums in the area where I live talking about how they want to take some Personal Protection Courses.
I think the majority is just "Talk". Lot's of people say they want to this or that, but never follow through.

I was an NRA certified Personal Protection instructor for a while in the early 90's. I think I taught a grand total of 10 people during my stint.

Some of it stems from the "I'm an American, by God, and I don't need no training to own a gun" attitude.

Some of it is $$$. Even at 1/3 the cost, plinking at paper at the local chert pit is still cheaper than professional training.

Some of it is the same attitude that allows a person shoot a cylinder or two through their j-frame, stick it in their pocket, and pretend they are prepared. "It won't happen to me, so why spend the money for something a cop or security would need, but not an everyday person?"

Some of it is ego. People don't want to find out they aren't as good as they imagine themselves to be. Shooting in a class or competition might cause them to lose a little face.

Maybe a little of all the above. I'm sure there are other factors.
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Old June 13, 2010, 03:40 PM   #19
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I have been to many of the big name instructor courses. I even teach classes. Am I as good of an instructor as the big name guys? Not even close. The guys who teach full time for a living have the classes down pat. I can teach private classes very well. The trick is being able to teach 15 people of varying skill levels at once. That ability only comes with teaching experience. Keep in mind that just because someone has credentials from a school, it doesn't mean that they absorb all the doctrine from that school. I typically pick up one or two tiny aspects from a class and the rest I don't use because I know what works for me. You can also take classes from guys with 30yrs law enforcement or military experience. That doesn't mean they can teach. I would say that the best instruction comes from the guys who are good enough to make a living at it on the national/global level.
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Old June 13, 2010, 05:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deputy Dog
I read alot of Forum members from different forums in the area where I live talking about how they want to take some Personal Protection Courses. Yet when you offer to teach them a course at 1/3 the cost of the big schools and they are getting the same material being taught as the big schools, you would think it was a no brainer.
Ever seen the movie Multiplicity with Michal Keaten and Andie McDowell? Sometimes, when you make a copy of a copy, you don't exactly get the same result. If your theory was all there was to it, then why don't we have a bunch of automated robots teaching the material to our public schools? It has to do with the quality of proven instruction. When I went to aviation maintenance school, some of my classes were assigned to the same instructor. One class he was magnificant, the other class he taught was mediocre. Sometimes, the 1/3 cost you provide is still quite a chunk of change for some and maybe they'd rather risk spending more of their hard earned money for surefire quality instruction.

On another note, I received top notch training from Randy Cain. He's a disciple of the late Jeff Cooper, Louis Awerbuck, Steve Tarani, and many others. He also taught at Gunsite with some of the aforementioned. Unfortunately, he isn't well known in the training circuit. Mainly, IMO, is he doesn't seek the fame. But the cost was a fraction of what it would be to go to Gunsite and receive the same training.
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Old June 16, 2010, 11:57 AM   #21
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Personally, I don't have a problem taking courses from local guys / at a local facility --- in fact, often I prefer it. It is way less hassle than getting to some of the big prestigious schools - with guns, ammo, etc ...if you have to travel more than 500 miles.

One way to overcome people asking for references - is to ask your students to consider giving you a a recommendation that you can publish anonomyously - to support your business. When you get critiques back at the end of a class - contact a student that gave you one you liked - and ask for permission to use it in your marketing.

Personally, some of the big name schools ..have their way of doing something ...and its their way or no way .../ so its another reason why I tend to shy away from some of those guys or places. I want knowledge / and training - but I want it from someone with the flexibility of considering it from my perspective as well / not just 100% their way.

As an example: I'm not a Glock lover ..in a prestigious 3 day class..instructors basically said, if you are not shooting a Glock, you made a mistake in weapon choice. Out of 20 shooters (half shot Glocks, 3 of us shot 1911's / a few XD's, Rugers, H&K's & Beretta ....). A couple of times on the firing line ---one instructor wanted you to stage a trigger on your weapon ... taking all the slack out, taking part of the trigger pull out of the equation ... but on a custom 1911 ( that is absurd ! ) ...my 1911's break like glass - with no slack, no slop ... / and I got tired of hearing about how valuable a skill it was / and that custom guns with triggers that break like glass were a waste of money. Now, I understand his point - on making a 10lb trigger pull more like a 4lb trigger / and he could have done the same thing - made his point / but recognize that not all guns have to have triggers staged - and we would have been fine. But these instructors were not flexible / they were preaching a Glock mantra ( and I think the pro shop attached to the range / was a big Glock dealer ) ... I won't go back to that school / and I've told at least 50 people about their lack of flexibility ...on triggers and several other issues ( range time, lack of organization, poorly prepared texts, redundant reading, etc --- probably costing them at least 30 students just because the way I was treated and how the class was run ( and some of my buddies love Glocks ). So big and prestigious isn't always the way to go .....its a business / listen to your students / teach what you think is right ...but listen and I think you'll have some repeat customers and some good classes locally - just give it time - and good luck.
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Old June 16, 2010, 12:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
I would say that the best instruction comes from the guys who are good enough to make a living at it on the national/global level.
Not always. I've had local instructors who are every bit as good as the Hollywood instructors. And I agree that most of the time the material is exactly the same.

Judging by the reviews I've read online by students... I get the sense that many students are more like cult followers. People obsess on every piece of gear and article of clothing that the instructors use. There's a guy who posted a pic of himself shooting next to Costa on another forum, and you had to look close to try to figure out which shooter was Costa, and which shooter was the lacky!! The guy had the same haircut, gear, facial hair and clothing . These goobers actual morph into their instructors due to their infatuations.

Are the big name instructors good? Of course they are. Are they that much better? Not in my opinion. Either you're a good instructor, or you're not.
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Old June 18, 2010, 03:20 PM   #23
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Cheaper Instruction?

In the mid 90's I also was a Certified NRA Instructor and taught a ton of people, more women than men. I was also getting up to speed on IPSC and found people who had the skills that I wanted and got them to teach me for a fee. I found them by watching them at matches I attended so I knew ahead of time which skill sets I wanted to get better with. This year I took my first CRG class and learned a lot more. We were told in the class that this group of folks does not have all of the answers needed, but neither does any of the others. If you take this course a couple of years from now it will have changed to keep up with current trends of how to skin the cat. You have to learn from several different teachers to improve the skills you need. Only you can know this. That is why all of the Big Name schools have such a detailed listing of the classes and a Call Us if you have questions about your ability to attend. The lesser name schools I have seen some require you to take their first, second, third, fourth step classes and no body gets to graduate without taking all of their classes. I sent in my experience level to the school I atttended and the reply was "You will do well". I am now looking for a class to attend later this year. I will pay for good teaching. I also need to drive to it so it will be within a days drive and there are alot of opportunities within 400 miles of where I live.
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Old June 18, 2010, 08:07 PM   #24
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I dont get it... I look at some of the experience, and experiences of members. I see the questions, and opinions of member. In my opinion many of the members could be instructors in their own right.

As it happens I am an instructor/teacher. Not with firearms and tactics, but with technical subjects. I attended courses teaching me to teach. It's really not rocket science. I'm sure that 90% of people could do it.

Strangely enough. Teaching has nothing to do with knowledge of the subject. If a teacher is knowledgable of the subject... thats great. I personally worry with a teacher who never says "I dont know".

Getting back to teaching "Firearms, and tactics". Other than training provided by former employers I have never taken an organized shooting course from a private instructor. I'd like to ask those who have... Did they find the instruction objective, or subjective in nature?


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Old June 18, 2010, 08:30 PM   #25
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I plan on taking a class or two.

However, I wonder if some of the attitude against people that don't take classes isn't marketing hype.

I have read hundreds of stories of people that used firearms to defend themselves. I can not recall one story where the person had "training." Most said they went to the range.

I am not against training, but I don't agree with the idea that a American citizen cannot arm himself unless he attends a name brand combat class.
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