View Full Version : Best training you have attended???

August 16, 2006, 09:57 PM
Hey all, I am starting to look into a good training class to attend. I tried searching, but it won't let me include "best" in the search, so it is kinda hard to search for.

I am new to CCW and don't even have my permit yet. I am not new to guns, but outside of military training, I have never had any classroom/practical training.

I want to know what has been the best training class you have attended and why. There are alot of them out there and I want to make sure I get my money's worth, b/c I can probably only afford one class a year at best.

I am interested in Knife Defense, Fighting Pistol/Force on Force and also CQB w/Shotgun.

I want real world training and not just mindless drills and boring classroom talk.

I live in Georgia, but don't mind traveling to other states for training, as long as it is well worth it. I was looking at Gabe Suarez training and also RangeMaster.

I would really appreciate reviews and input from people who have taken classes and what they think is essential to take and what they have found to love and what they could have lived without.

Thanks all for your time and help.

Capt. Charlie
August 17, 2006, 12:01 PM
Mav, click here (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206311&page=2) (or look at the top thread in this forum ;) )

August 17, 2006, 01:53 PM
Yea, I checked out that thread before I posted my own, but basically that just tells of the training across the US.

I was looking for reviews of the training classes and what people thought were worthwhile and which ones they thought weren't that good.

Also, was looking for something regional and not across the US.

Thanks though.

August 17, 2006, 02:11 PM
Best training I've had on ethical and legal implications of the US of deadly force: Lethal Force Institute LFI-1

Best training I've had for shooting: hard to say, but probably Randy Cain, Cumberland Tactics -- I agree with much of what he teaches, but there were a few things I disagreed with.

Blackwater in NC is supposed to be good, but I don't have any direct experience there. I've taken classes at Sigarms Academy, but their training cadre has pretty much been completely replaced since that time, so I can't comment on the current cadre.

August 17, 2006, 03:35 PM
Best training I've ever had was my Torts I class in law school.

Second best was private instruction from a former Army competition team shooter.

August 18, 2006, 11:46 AM
Shooting IDPA, IPSC, and Threegun matches. Lots of reading, videos. Then use your head and take from everything to taylor your own ideal tactics. I can hang with anybody in any course with the three main fighting tools the rifle, shotgun, and handgun. The knife is my weak link.

August 18, 2006, 12:01 PM
Gabe Suarez offers classes in everything you talked about wanting. I've been to two of his classes and had a great experience. I've also been to Blackwater and it was top notch, but pricey.
You asked about the best, I haven't had a bad experience with any of the classes I've been to, but I thing the best bang for the buck so to speak was Gabe.

Never been but I've heard good stuff about Tom Givens at Rangemaster.

August 18, 2006, 01:09 PM
About a dozen years ago I talked Mrs R into attending an intro defense and shooting class..the catch was I had to go too.

She shot very well and will go to the range about one-two times per year and enjoys the experience.

The class was OK but the reason it was so good is that now I could easily explain 'why' we needed the additional 3 handguns I've purchased since then :D and those we may 'need' in the future.

August 18, 2006, 05:28 PM
Because the course taught when to, when not to, an what was likely to happen after.:)

The shooting part was good, and far advanced from same course today due to the number of new shooters attracted today. I took LFI I 20 years ago.

Pure shooting, Farnam advanced from about 20 years ago.:)

Done several hundred hours of training since the first two, and all has been good.

Today, I would aim those starting out at the same two people.

August 18, 2006, 08:26 PM
Gunsite will teach you weapons manipulation.
Louis Awerbuck will teach you tactics and gunfighting.

August 18, 2006, 08:52 PM
My military training was the best and after 16 years of it prepared me for whatever I might encounter.

tony pasley
August 18, 2006, 09:10 PM
If you can qualify there is a real good school in Burnswick Ga.

August 18, 2006, 09:35 PM
Do you have a name of the place?

August 18, 2006, 09:52 PM
Sir, not meaning to sound trite, smart or anything else--but you have the best training in the Nation, if not the world, right at your doorstep. I went through it in 1977, and I believe that it's gotten even better since.

This would be the US Army School of Infantry, Ft. Benning, GA.

If you're young enough, think about it.

If this is not an option, consider this: The best hands on training available only prepares you for the physical aspect; the shooting part. Of far more importance is the mental conditioning and the legal aftermath of a justifiable shoot.

For the mental conditioning, find someone who's BTDT: combat veterans or street cops, or regular joes and janes who have had to drop the hammer.

For the legal aspect, talk to your local prosecutor. This is the guy or girl you'll be sitting in front of, if you ever have to use that CCW.

Best part is, this stuff is usually free. Good luck!

August 18, 2006, 10:45 PM
I've already had my government issued training, courtesy of Parris Island, SC, USMC style.

Granted that's good and all, but that teaches me nothing about conceal carrying and what to do if encountered by numerous BG's in a dark alley.

Now, if I had an M16 by my side, then I would have no problem dispatching them, or maybe a grenade or rocket launcher.

I agree about talking to criminal lawyers to see how your local area government responds to conceal carriers and home invasions and robberies and such.

Reading helps tremendously when it comes to mental conditioning and how to deal with the aftermath.

But, right now I am searching for hands-on training in the real world that applies to my situation: a civilian, who will be armed shortly enough, that is trying to live his life and protect himself, his family and innocent people around him from BG's.

Thank you though and thanks to all who have replied. The info is greatly appreciated and is all being considered.

August 19, 2006, 08:28 AM
This would be the US Army School of Infantry, Ft. Benning, GA.

If you're young enough, think about it.I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with this. Unless you are an MP or in an elite unit, the US Army and Marines provide very little training with a pistol. In the past, this has included no more than 50 rounds of familiarization. They do not teach holstering a loaded gun, drawing from a holster, drawing from concealment, alternative concealed carry options, speed reloading, low-light shooting with a pistol and flashlight, shooting on the move, shooting with the weak-hand, shooting a pistol from difficult positions, etc., etc.

Don't misunderstand me -- I have great esteem for our military and for those who serve our country. But the average infantryman gets very little training with a pistol and nothing about concealed carry.

August 19, 2006, 10:42 AM
I have taken a class from Gabe Suarez.

I will never take another class from him.

On the range, I had no issues with what he taught. He taught some good stuff, and I particularly liked the fact that he never dictated how many shots to fire, so you don't habitually fire just one shot regardless of results. The class was fast-paced, interesting, and taught good shooting skills.

One specific skill did not work well for me, though it apparently did for others on the line. We were firing from retention position and Suarez wanted the gun at a particular angle. It seemed obvious, during dry-fire, that I was going to need to adjust the angle slightly to suit my body shape, and I did so. Right before we went live, he came over to me and readjusted my gun hand to get the gun into the exact angle he wanted. I pointed out that if I fired with the gun held at that exact angle, it would hurt a delicate body part. He said, "Try it anyway." I did. It didn't just pinch my boob, it left a nasty blood blister. Forseeable and inevitable!~ and he wonders why he gets so few female students. I was and am annoyed that he blew off my concerns beforehand, irritated at myself for doing what he said even though I knew it was stupid, and even more annoyed that he didn't apologize for blowing me off when I got hurt for doing it his way. (In his defense: I'm a grownup, we were playing by grownup rules, and how did I know it didn't work unless I tried it? Stuff like that does happen in training classes, and generally you just suck it up and move on.)

On a legal level, I wouldn't send a new shooter to him, especially not one who has any sort of impulse-control issues. Among other things, he advised his students, if they were ever involved in a shooting, to huddle up with family members and "get the stories straight" before calling 911. He told his students to shoot the attacker to the ground (probably good advice) and to keep shooting until the attacker stops wiggling (good advice in some situations, but disastrous advice in others, depending on circumstance). He skirted coyly along the edge of not-quite saying to let the perp bleed to death before calling 911. Plenty of similar talk in the class, some of which seemed likely to land one of his students in legal hot water if they swallowed it whole.

The other reason I would not send a new shooter to him is that his own legal issues from a few years back make it unlikely that he'd be a desirable ally in court. People who get involved in defensive shooting can sometimes benefit from having their firearms trainer testify about the training the shooter has received, and about the shooter's state of mind during that training. It could look bad if a convicted criminal were your only choice for such a witness.


Haven't taken training from RangeMaster, but have heard good things about them from people I trust.

The other school brought up in this thread, LFI, I recommend whole-heartedly. The range work in LFI-1 is solid stuff, while the classroom portions are awesome. If you want the complete big picture, go to LFI. If you only want pure shooting skills, nearly any reputable school will do and there are plenty of smaller schools around the country that do an excellent job at that.

To answer the exact question that started the thread, I'm not sure I could pick out one best class. Have taken several really excellent classes, and have never taken one from which I did not get some value. Probably the classes I took early on were "best" simply because they taught me most -- but then I had so much to learn!

But ... hmmm. If you ever have a chance to take a class from Jim Cirillo, do so. The man is a national treasure. Umpteen gunfights, survived them all (obviously) and prevailed. Tells fabulously funny stories, all of which have a point or six neatly hidden inside. Probably learned more about mindset from that old guy than from anyone else -- and his downed defender course teaches a necessary, little-considered skill set.


Kathy Jackson

August 19, 2006, 03:17 PM
1. Thunder Ranch

2. Rangemaster

3. Gunsite

4. Texas Pistol Academy

August 19, 2006, 04:44 PM
I had a great time and learned a lot at FAS in WA State. I plan to attend more classes there when we return to Pugetropolis.

tony pasley
August 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

August 19, 2006, 06:02 PM
I have gone through the SC CCW course. The NC and SC LE courses (armed security). Suarez Intl's CRG1. And, Trident Concept's CP1.

Of all of them, I look back on the TriCon course as the best and wouldn't hesitate to send a newer shooter to Jeff for some great training.

The CRG course was great as a first-step, for me, and I found Suarez to be an excellent public speaker with a good idea of what to do, and why.

The TriCon class, however, was all that and more. Maybe having gone through the Suarez course allowed me to better appreciate what I was going through at the CP1 course. Maybe it was the environment and/or the instructor.

Don't know how to put it, but I'll gladly spend more money with Jeff's team.

August 20, 2006, 11:52 PM
You should select training classes based on your particular situation and circumstance.

The training needs of a private citizen with a CCW permit are different from those of the police, which are different from the training issues of a police tactical team member or soldier.

For the private citizen:

Massad Ayoob of the Lethal Force Institute. His presentation on The Judicious Use of Deadly Force is excellent. Many, many schools can teach you how to shoot at a high level. Ayoob addresses the legal issues the best of anyone. www.ayoob.com

John Farnam of Defense Training International. Most of his training is "aimed" at the armed citizen. He discusses legal issues and tactics and has lots of interesting shooting drills designed to teach you how to multi-task in a confrontation. He teaches you how to issue verbal commands while moving laterally while engaging the target. Highly recommended. www.defense-training.com.

Louis Awerbuck of Yavapai Firearms Academy. His basic classes teach the basic skills you need to survive, and he also does a lot of work at engaging targets while moving laterally, and engaging targets at unusual angles. www.yfainc.com.

I have never (yet) trained with the following, but they have a good reputation:

David Blinder of Personal Defense Training, Inc. (in Atlanta)

Tom Givens of Rangemaster (in Memphis)

James Yeager of Tactical Response (Camden, Tn.)

For a CCW permit holder, you need a very good understanding of the laws IN YOUR STATE and the tactics appropriate to a private citizen or homeowner acting in self defense. LOTS of places can teach you to shoot -- you have somewhat fewer choices when it comes to getting appropriate training in the legal issues of the use of force.

August 21, 2006, 12:34 AM
Best was probably Sigarms Academy and then Suarez International. Suarez IS NOT for beginners IMO because it is more fast paced for those that have had previous training. Gabe's after action advice may be politically incorrect and you can choose how to handle yourself after a s/d shooting. His philosophy is one story end of story and your wounds/life is more important than a criminal bleeding out on your livingroom floor.

FLETC was best for free training and a local community college was almost as good since it was $100 for 18 hours taught by a local Sheriff Dept's SWAT instructor.

August 21, 2006, 01:00 AM
Gabe's after action advice may be politically incorrect and you can choose how to handle yourself after a s/d shooting. His philosophy is one story end of story and your wounds/life is more important than a criminal bleeding out on your livingroom floor.
Ahhh, yes, that is exactly what I am talking about.

"One story ... end of story." Because, of course, there will never be any witnesses to the shooting, or to your actions afterward, except yourself and people you control. Your neighbors will never see a thing, and there won't be any people anywhere nearby if you defend yourself in public. And of course, even your children know how to bat their pretty little eyes and lie convincingly for the cops for you.

"One story ... end of story." Because no one, not the doctors and certainly not the coroner, will ever figure out that you let an inexplicable lot of time lapse between when you shot the dude and when you finally got your family's stories all straight and called the ambulance. And because, you know, selling your soul comes cheap, and also because it's just so much fun to share a cell with Bubba ... for years.

Since saving my own life is what's important here, I want to save ALL of my life. I want to save the bits of my life that include waking up in the morning in my own home, and spending time with my children, and, well, you know -- being free.


August 21, 2006, 05:47 AM
PAX, Many advise us to politely ask for our lawyers presence before speaking to police after a shooting. Gabe's advise to have the story straight sounds like insurance from someone saying something that might make the police doubt your story thus causing you to have to defend yourself in court. Did he (Gabe) suggest lying or simply coordinating the facts so that everyone is on the same page?

As for the pinched breast, never allow someone to make you do something that you know will hurt you. Especially someone who has no breasts pocking out, no matter good they are with training and tactics.

Jeff22 hit the nail on the head.

You should select training classes based on your particular situation and circumstance.

I picked and chose the tactics that best suited my situation. Currently I am considering the fluid threat response that SweatnBullets offers. Since I am able to move well and still in decent condition physically at least for short periods, I should be able to run and gun. Others either older or otherwise handicapped may need a set of tactics tailored to them. Police, Military, etc have other needs.

I believe that still another way to go for learning to shoot, train properly, and select the tactics best suited for you, is to read, watch videos, and pick the brains of better shooters. Combined with shooting as many competitions as possible. I was not able to afford formal training early in my live both financially and time wise. This forced me to seek the alternatives listed above. Once I had the money and time I already did the things taught by most instructors both for training and tactically.

Example In one tactics video I learned how to corner properly, move while maintaining a shooting platform and do one armed reloads. I learned the importance of keeping your eyes on the threat during a reload etc.

In one video from a master competition shooter I learned proper grip, different stances to give you a better shooting platform, the importance of spending the extra millisecond acquiring a proper grip weld prior to drawing your pistol (turned out that the better grip weld on the draw alone made me a better competition shooter).

Yet another video taught proper mindset. With the testimonial of a state trooper who had been involved in a shootout. I will share it. State trooper finds himself behind in the reactionary curve. Bad guy is drawing pistol. State Trooper is falling back wards after having slipped in the soft sand on the road side. Bad guy completes draw, points pistol at troopers head. Trooper instead of panicking remembers thinking okay "I am about to be shot"." If I die I won't know it anyway". He then changed his fear to anger and began to draw his Beretta service pistol while thinking "If he is going to kill me I'm gonna take him with me". To shorten the story the bad guy pulled the trigger but had his safety on and before he could turn it off the trooper killed him and saved himself.

This story alone caused me to prepare myself mentally to control the things that I could and not worry but accept the possibility of death knowing that I wouldn't know I died and the best chance for survival in many cases is to remain calm and better suited to end the threat.

For the money I spent on the videos, books etc. I couldn't purchase a single formal course. One thing is for sure no single class could encompass all that I have learned. If you can afford formal training fine if not there is another way it just takes longer.

August 21, 2006, 05:12 PM
police reserve training so far.. as that is all i have gotten.. that and on the farm hunting/

August 21, 2006, 09:01 PM
Pax, trust me when I say that not having your story straight, if family witnessed the event, can be far more damaging than the shooting itself.

Even if family wasn't there, they can kill you on the stand as they ramble endlessly about how good a person you are. While I don't agree with a lot of what Gabe says, his suggesting that you get the 'story' straight is dead on.

I've heard the same basic thing in all of my training courses, including the state-required courses. Basically, keep you mouth shut. Don't "help" the investigating officer. Don't offer any more information than you have to. Be polite, but be very firm. Request your attorney to be present before any more questioning.

Remember, the cops on the scene are investigating a homocide, they are not your friends (not to say you should view them as enemies or evil). You will most likely feel the need to say way too much to try and bring them around to your side, to make them see what happened from your POV. This is bad. While you might have been entirely justified in what you did, let your legal counsel make the decision regarding what you say and how you say it. You CANNOT take back your words, and you'd better believe they are being recorded.

Shoot to stop the threat. Nobody can know how many rounds that will take, or how many of your rounds fired actually hit the antagonist. Shooting the bad guy "to the ground" is, imo, a simple way of getting the fighting mindset into your mind. It kinda makes you think about the seriousness of what you're training for. It also serves to break that "2+1" mindset that a lot of people have from the old days. "To the ground" might require one shot or ten, you just don't know and should be prepped for whatever comes.

Just my thoughts. Could be wrong.

August 21, 2006, 09:33 PM
(1) Frontsight Four Night Tactical Shotgun. Only two very advanced students and a great instructor named Mike Havas. We blew through the curriculum in no time. Mike did a great job filling in the rest of the course and tailoring the drills to the skill level of his students.

(2) Suarez Interactive Gunfighting (twice.) FOF is a must have in your training program

(3) Sightless in Tucson with 7677, Matt Temkin, and Brownie. Not "the most well run", but by far the best information and skills I have ever received

(4) Frontsight Four Night Defensive Handgun (four times). Tactics, tactics, and more tactics!

(5) Suarez Close Range Gunfighting. Just a solid course with great common sense.

August 29, 2006, 03:46 PM
The US Army MP School
Berlin Police PSD/SRT School
British MP/ Interpol Sky Marshall School
The US Army Advanced Marksmanship School

BUT, the best was the few days I spent in Panama of December 1989 and a couple of tense hours hung up in a bunker complex near Khafji in Feb 1991.

Nothing like the real deal to keep you focused. Some of that seems like 10 minutes ago.