View Full Version : Cheaper Instruction....

Deputy Dog
May 25, 2010, 10:18 AM
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?


May 25, 2010, 12:14 PM
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.

May 25, 2010, 01:15 PM
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.

May 25, 2010, 04:29 PM
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.

Deputy Dog
May 26, 2010, 08:24 AM
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.


May 26, 2010, 09:40 AM
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.

June 11, 2010, 12:32 PM
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.

T. O'Heir
June 12, 2010, 02:34 AM
"...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.

DT Guy
June 12, 2010, 06:14 AM
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.


June 12, 2010, 11:00 AM
i only pay extra if it comes with a free bowl of soup :D

June 12, 2010, 03:42 PM
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.

May God bless,

Glenn Dee
June 12, 2010, 06:59 PM
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.

Glenn D.

June 13, 2010, 12:39 AM
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.

June 13, 2010, 08:01 AM
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. :D

June 13, 2010, 08:04 AM
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.

Al Thompson
June 13, 2010, 11:18 AM
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! :cool: :D

Deputy Dog
June 13, 2010, 12:37 PM
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.


June 13, 2010, 02:53 PM
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.

June 13, 2010, 03:40 PM
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.

Shane Tuttle
June 13, 2010, 05:16 PM
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.

June 16, 2010, 11:57 AM
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.

June 16, 2010, 12:23 PM
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 .:rolleyes: 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.

June 18, 2010, 03:20 PM
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.

Glenn Dee
June 18, 2010, 08:07 PM
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?


June 18, 2010, 08:30 PM
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.

June 19, 2010, 08:13 AM
I don't agree with the idea that a American citizen cannot arm himself unless he attends a name brand combat class. No, but if you are going to carry seriously, I think it is prudent to gain all the experience and knowledge you can.

As I stated earlier, I learned a lot from hands-on with an instructor that I hadn't learned in years of reading and watching DVD's. Was I trained 'enough' to handle something if it came along before taking any classes? All I can say is 'maybe'.

Do I have better knowledge now? Yes, I do.

June 19, 2010, 03:30 PM
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.

This attitude is only shared by those who haven't taken classes from legitimate instructors. I'm sorry, but standing in a booth blasting away at a stationary target does nothing to improve your defensive skills.

Glenn Dee
June 19, 2010, 04:11 PM

Yeah... it does.

June 19, 2010, 05:36 PM
I'm sorry, but standing in a booth blasting away at a stationary target does nothing to improve your defensive skills. Yeah... it does.I'm with ranburr on this one.

It may help you shoot better, tighter groups. Which does absolutely nothing to the attacker that is upon you before you can even get your gun up and aimed (or even out of the holster for that matter).

Deputy Dog
June 19, 2010, 06:53 PM
I have watched people draw their guns out of the holster and muzzle flash themselves and others and shoot three - four rounds and not even hit an FBI Q-Target from 5' away because the gun wasnt lined up with their arm properly. They had stated "I just took the NRA Home safety course and that was more than they will ever need for instruction, it's not rocket science you know." I packed my gear up and left.


Shane Tuttle
June 19, 2010, 08:57 PM
I'm in agreement with ranburr. Shooting at a stationary target in an indoor firing lane doesn't compare to quality training by an instructor. Not even close to comparison.

June 20, 2010, 01:54 AM

Yeah... it does.

Please elaborate.

Glenn Dee
June 20, 2010, 09:33 AM
OK Please keep in mind that this is only my opinion...

Shooting live ammo at any target from your service, or personal protection gun will establish habits, and muscle memory.

The proper sight picture is a habit. Regular practice at any target will able the shooter a faster aqisition of the sight picture.

Presentation, and grip are habit, and promote muscle memory. In a self defense situation I believe that economy of movement, and an ingrained natural grip will serve the shooter well.

Under stress we tend to rely on our learned behaviour, and muscle memory. If things are happening very fast we can not afford to do a mental review.

I'm not suggesting that there is no need for formal training. In fact I truely believe anyone who carries a firearm on a regular basis would be a fool to not get some formal training. Problems I have with some formal training is too much information. To rigid a regimen. Instructors who cant see the forrest for the trees.

I am not an instructor. I am an instructee, with experience.

I believe that practice makes perfect.

I dont feel the need to pay someone to tell me that I'm hitting the bullseye wrong.

Glenn D.


June 20, 2010, 12:13 PM
As I said, I am not against training per se. I have signed up for a class, and plan on taking a Suarez class. I am doing it for two reasons. First, I think improving my self defense skills is a good idea. Second, I think it will be fun.

Not having taken any classes to this point, I do not believe I should not carry a gun. Nor do I think that I will not prevail,if called upon to defend myself or my family.

First, very few bad guys are trained operators. Second, the armed victim has the element of surprise, in that the bad guy is not expecting a fight. Third, I have watched a number of DVDs. Fourth, I have practiced shooting and moving. Fifth, I have shot handguns since I was a kid.

Sixth and most importantly, I have read about many plain ole citizens defending themselves without formal training. If you listen to the marketing, you would be led to believe that none of these people would have been successful, since they did not have high end training.

Again I am not saying that training is not valuable. Someone that has been trained definitely has more skills than someone that has not been. I just don't buy into the idea that everyone needs to go to a high end class, or they should not be armed.

June 20, 2010, 02:14 PM
I'm not suggesting that there is no need for formal training. In fact I truely believe anyone who carries a firearm on a regular basis would be a fool to not get some formal training.Sounds like you mean anyone except you :confused: :
Problems I have with some formal training is too much information. To rigid a regimen. Instructors who cant see the forrest for the trees...I dont feel the need to pay someone to tell me that I'm hitting the bullseye wrong.
and plan on taking a Suarez classPlan on having some of your sacred cows slaughtered ;)

June 20, 2010, 03:21 PM
Glenn Dee,

You are describing skills that will make you a first rate target shooter. Not much more than that.


Once you get into a class with Gabe, you are going to discover how little you really know.

June 20, 2010, 03:21 PM

When you get to take a class, if it’s a good one, you may be surprised? By the time I first attended Gunsite, I already had over a decade of conventional pistol and service rifle match shooting behind me, and had placed nationally in air pistol in '89. So, I figured I was well prepared to defend hearth and home. After the basic pistol class at Gunsite, I felt like I’d known next to nothing, previously. I had used how I imagined self-defense scenarios playing out to rationalize the adequacy of my preparation. In fact, I hadn't known even a minority percentage of what was important to dominate an armed confrontation of the self-defense kind. I also realized there was a lot more to learn. A one-week class isn’t enough to get it all, but it is sure enough to create a huge advantage over an untrained opponent.

The value of the training certainly wasn't just about the combat mode shooting mechanics. That may even be the least of it. It was the mindset lecture, which Cooper validated beyond the taped version with stories from his own experiences and those of his students, and more in the Q&A session afterward. It was the live fire simulators I couldn’t access any equivalent to on my own. It was simple things like how to go around corners or open a door that weren’t concrete to me before attending class and actually trying them in the Fun House. But more than that, it was the psychological advantage of getting individual critiquing from experienced instructors who had “seen the elephant” (a Gunsite instructor requirement) and have them express confidence that what I could demonstrate to them was ready for prime time. No imagination needed to fill in holes.

On the other hand, the bullseye background certainly eased my training. In my 250 class, I was the only student to clean the school target during final exam day. In both rifle classes I took, I won the shoot-offs at the end of class. That was the advantage of the service rifle match background. It made it easier for me, for example, to make standing snap shots on 100 yard poppers. That was psychological. A Highpower match doesn't involve snap shooting, but the popper just looked mammoth compared to the bullseye on an SR-1 target, so I couldn’t believe it wasn’t easy to hit, so it was.

I agree that range practice is valuable for neurological reasons. Anything you can do to grow brain connections that bypass conscious processing will speed things up in a pinch. Not even range time, but just dry fire practice can do a lot because you get better feedback about muzzle disturbance when it isn’t masked by recoil. Also, it mitigates association between dropping the hammer and muzzle blast and recoil, and that helps neutralize anticipating the recoil. The old bullseye shooter’s rule of thumb was to dry fire three rounds for every live round down range.

Gunsite promoted dry fire practice, too. They even teach safety measures for it. Their experience was you could typically go no more than two weeks without pressing a trigger before you started to lose your edge. Muscle memory has maintenance overhead that has to be met, as any competitive athlete can tell you.

When I took my NRA rifle instructor training, the councilor conducting it was Web Wright, who had a bronze star from combat in Vietnam and, at the time, still had a couple of world records standing in 300 meter International rifle. He said he’d been asked whether he found combat or match shooting stress more difficult to manage. He said, hands down, matches were tougher. In combat everything went into slow motion and in all the noise and confusion he went on auto-pilot. There wasn’t time to think, so he just did what needed to be done. In a match, though, there was all the time in the world to think about what could go wrong, and to let that affect your performance.

So, match shooting, and not just individual practice has training benefits. As Kraig said, it’s not an either/or choice. You can participate in all forms of training and practice and it can all benefit your shooting.

Glenn Dee
June 20, 2010, 03:36 PM

Nope I meant everyone. Including me. In my origonal post on this thread I mentioned that I have been trained by my employer. I recieved training at least twice a year, and sometimes as many as four times a year. Depending on the assignment.

I am not a huge fan of know all, done all, our way or the highway super schools. But thats just my personal prefference.

As far as becoming a first rate target shooter? why not? In a self defense situation.. The B/G is a target... no? ...

Maybe I should attend one of these courses. I might have a change of heart.

My opinions are based on my own experiences and those of the people I have worked with. Though few they are. It works for me.

Glenn D

June 20, 2010, 10:02 PM
One of the fellows at that first Gunsite pistol class I took, which was about half private and half public sector students, was a hostage rescue team member from a friendly nation. He had just come from a week of training with former West German Stasi, and was off for some kind of intensive training week with our Green Berets after the class. He said he trained 9 months a year then was on call for 3.

An apocryphal tale: When I studied Chinese martial arts with the late Dr. Fred Wu, he liked to give an opening lecture to students in which he described an island where scorpions and a certain species of snake and a certain species of bird lived. The snake knew to climb to the birds nest when it was away and would ambush and kill it when it returned. The bird knew to get behind the scorpion and bite off the sting to get a meal. But because the snake always took its prey head on, when confronted by the scorpion it was stung and died. So the snake defeats the bird who defeats the scorpion who defeats the snake. Which has the superior style?

One size never fits all. Exposure to different ideas and doctrine are how you find what fits you. Part of the role of instructors is to instill their system, which is impossible to do in an orderly and timely fashion if the class is full of obstructionists. So, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Embrace it. See what you can learn that way? But never hesitate to learn something different, regardless of how much brag the source does or doesn't put on it. You never know when or where you will encounter some little thing that makes a light go on.

June 20, 2010, 10:36 PM
[QUOTE]West German Stasi[/QUOTE

Stasi were East German.

Shane Tuttle
June 20, 2010, 10:40 PM
As far as becoming a first rate target shooter? why not? In a self defense situation.. The B/G is a target... no? ...

Yes.....a MOVING target that isn't going to just stand there 7 yards away and more than likely isn't shaped like the sihlouette you're used to shooting. On top of that, I've never seen a still piece of paper induce stress and variable parameters in preferred lighting.

Glenn Dee
June 21, 2010, 12:50 AM
All your points are true Tuttle. I must agree. I still say that shooting at stationary targets with your service/SD gun reinforces your skills. Training is good, realistic practice is good, shooting paper is good.

June 21, 2010, 03:15 AM
Well, I’ve been a nobody instructor for awhile and I like to consider myself as competent, but would never say that I could approach the level, or type of instruction you can get at a big-name school. I had a fondness for Gunsite because of Cooper. He was a great man in my book. Not just because of his level of experience and his way of saying things, but for his desire to teach what he had learned. That desire is what I believe made him a great teacher, imo. To be clear, I never took a course from him and met him only in passing. I didn’t have the money to go to Gunsite until his health was failing, and that took away a lot of the desire since it was him that I looked up to. Though I had respect for the man for many reasons, the main reason I looked up to him as an instructor was his desire to teach. This was evident to me when he personally and fully answered letters and questions from nobody instructors … that he knew he wouldn’t make a dime off of. As long as the big names have that desire in addition to their knowledge base, they would make a truly great instructor imo, and I'd bet the current owners of Gunsite are ... due to the place's history … but what you can learn from them is still entirely up to you.

The clear advantage of the big names is that you pretty much know they have a superior knowledge base from which to teach and great facilities for a wide range of simulated situations, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a great teacher. The nobodys are often an "unknown quantity" in that respect, and the standard NRA courses leave much to be desired in many areas, imo. The straight-NRA courses are geared toward safety and paper punching because that’s what they’re designed to be. The "Personal Protection" course is a PC kindergarten-level thing imo, but I understand the reasoning behind it being so. (and why I teach an addendum that I make sure the student knows is not sanctioned by NRA) They’re a good place to begin, inexpensive, and will easily put you in the top ten percent of the population … if you have an instructor with the desire to teach and has the sense to say "I don’t know" when he doesn’t, and you’re willing to learn from him.

One thing for sure … If you are convinced that only a big name will meet your needs, by all means ignore the smaller instructors and go to a big name because you are correct. No instructor can teach someone that doesn’t have confidence in them.

I’ve met guys that I think I could have taught a few things if they had been willing to listen. I’ve even told a couple of ‘em that I couldn’t teach them anything, unless they were willing to set aside a few ideas or "techniques" for awhile. (some have "learned wrong" or insist on trying to run before they can walk) I think those guys I dropped just decided that I couldn’t teach them because they had already advanced above my abilities due to DVDs, magazine articles, and such. Dunno, maybe they were right, but none were able to show it imo.

Lee Lapin
June 21, 2010, 08:31 AM
People discussing the relative value of training who have not yet taken a class from a nationally known professional instructor are like virgins talking about sex... :D


Glenn E. Meyer
June 21, 2010, 09:52 AM
Thanks for that insight, Lee ! :D

Anyway - there's more to using a gun than hitting the bullseye. It's been said repeatedly. Wonder why the Army, AF, etc. always returns to realistic simulation training after some initial dismal war fighting results?

June 21, 2010, 09:56 AM
good one LEE ! … can be taken a couple of ways there …:D

but nah, you’re still a virgin until you get in a real-life situation. Instructors are just sex-ed teachers. Gym coach vs. Dr. Ruth maybe. Won’t even get into what the training devices and practice are like ...:D

June 21, 2010, 10:06 AM

Right. Even as a kid I had some sort of mental block about transposing East and West with respect to Germany, and have always gotten corrected. It doesn't happen with any other geographical location. It seems I haven't outgrown that quirk. I never transpose the two anywhere else and am never surprised to hear it stated correctly. So I can't account for it?

What the hostage rescue team fellow said was that when the wall fell, it was found the Stasi had two kinds of member: the corrupt command structure and the operatives who were, by western standards, rather intense (I believe he used the word "crazy"). He said, as near as he could tell, the new government had dismissed the former and kept the latter. He described their original training including exercises western countries would not allow for safety reasons. I recall he described them doing serial diving rolls over barriers with a pistol in each hand, coming up out of the roll to shoot a target with each gun over the shoulders of the fellow who'd preceded him in the roll, and who was standing their waiting for him to do it. He said they had a lot of scars from training mishaps. He seemed pretty impressed with the results of their training if not enthusiastic about prescribing it for anybody.

This fellow, by the way, and to my surprise, only took second place in the shoot-off at the end of that class week, despite all that heavy training history. The winner was the fellow who eliminated me earlier. He was a California sheriff's department firearms instructor. I don't recall for which county, but it was apparently a large enough one to have him work full time at the position. He clearly practiced a lot. He was not in nearly as good physical shape as the HRT member and would have lost a rappelling contest with him in a heartbeat, but was older and probably a little calmer, which can pay dividends under match pressure.

One of the topics that has always interested me regarding firearms training, is personality type and how that influences the kind of training you respond to and can apply. Why it is, at one extreme, you can get a gunfight between two trained detectives and a drug dealer inside an elevator car in which all guns are emptied and nobody is hit except the detective who shot himself in the bicep while reloading (no, I can't figure out how to do that, either), but at the other extreme have Delf "Jelly" Bryce jump into a room where Jay Ray O'Donnell is in prone position across a bed with an innocent woman next to him as cover and a cocked 1911 already pointing at Bryce's midriff, yet Bryce draws and puts 5 .44 Specials into O'Donnell's head from the hip faster than O'Donnell can react to press the trigger? You couldn't write either case for a movie and have anyone believe it.

After J. Edgar Hoover acquired Bryce from the Oklahoma City PD, Bryce did some training work in addition to his work as an agent. I believe he introduced the FBI crouch position, but am prepared to be corrected on that point. But Bryce was never able to train other agents to do what he could do in a gunfight. The reason the FBI later went to two-hand hold training was the inability to get the one-hand instinct approach to hit consistently in actual fights. As Jack Weaver said, "a pretty quick hit is better than a lightning fast miss", so the compromise was made.

I have a suspicion that to be a Jelly Bryce or Bill Jordan or any other effective hip shot requires a personality that gets low numbers in a fear quotient test. I don't know what psychological conditioning the Stasi did, but undoubtedly they selected candidates and may have had a high elimination rate? But I'm meandering off into speculation. The bottom line is that something has to keep these folks from getting to the extreme fight or flight response state characterized by heart rates above the normal athletic range and by total loss of fine motor coordination.

I agree with Animal and Lee. When I took my first Gunsite class in '92, Cooper said he was, by then, getting a letter about twice a month that began with the words, "it works". He had over 5000 "ticket holders" (graduated students) by then, many police and military, so feedback from the field had become regular. Indeed, he and the other instructors made a point of asking us to provide detailed reports of any incident we became involved in, including those which did not come to actual gun play (the most common domestic type; situations resolved by attitude rather than combat) because that feedback helped provide improvements to the system. Statistically significant feedback is one big advantage an established school with a large student base has.

Not wanting to see the effectiveness record change is one reason Cooper was very careful about making changes to doctrine or equipment or anything else in the system. We I first met him he was wearing a molded plastic half-holster he said he'd been trying, and after about three years of satisfactory use he felt he was just about ready to give it the thumbs up. But not quite.

June 22, 2010, 12:10 AM

I only caught the East/West thing because I spent some time with them after the wall came. Their human intelligence files were pretty staggering. The sheer number of spies that they had at every level in the west would blow your mind. This includes massive numbers on essentially every U.S. and Nato military base in the west (including my own HQ). Most of these turncoats were not true believers, rather they were ordinary people who had family being threatened in the east. I never thought much of the Stasi for their skills or training (though they were at a higher level than the GRU/KGB). What the Stasi had going for them was the fact that they really had no rules to hold them back.

June 22, 2010, 12:39 AM
Nice thread ya got here :p

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?

I have not done a big name school, but my participation in a local gun club has taught me a lot from people who are very helpful. I can't say what kind of training I would receive at a school, but I have shot IPSC scenarios,large bore rifle, small bore rifle, and cowboy scenarios. I'm not saying that it's a substitute for a one of those fancy schools, but if I ever find myself in one: The learning curve will not be as steep.

June 22, 2010, 01:03 AM
First, very few bad guys are trained operators.

Train as if you intend to meet a professional, not an amateur. Hoping that you get the 'new' bad guy is foolishness.

June 22, 2010, 12:52 PM
The learning curve will not be as steep.

That is what most people think. Your basic firearm skills are probably not going to be an issue. But, you will be surprised at how little you know when you get into the more advanced training. This will be more so when you get into force on force training.

Old Grump
June 22, 2010, 02:38 PM
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 If the man in question is an instructor. There are people who can shoot and can't teach no matter who they learned from. Your choice, do you have confidence in his ability to convey information and he is knowledgeable or some gun range cowboy passing on his own quirks?

Deputy Dog
July 1, 2010, 01:07 PM
It has definately been interesting to read some of the replies here. I have seen alot of talented shooters in the travels and ranges I have been too. I have seen alot of great instructors that really dont practice what they preach, but found a way to portait like they did. If you go into a class thinking you are not going to learn anything, then you are in the wrong mindset to begin with. I have have taken some great classes from people who have been there and done that, and probably doing it tomorrow. I have taken classes from people who have taken instructor courses from those I have just mentioned. Some of the better instructors and courses were from the instructors who gave you the theories and multiple ways to do the particular task, and not just do as I say and its my way or the highway mantality I did not like nor was not impressed with. You can learn a little bit from everyone as long as you are willing to learn.


July 1, 2010, 06:36 PM
They go with the big name for the same reason people go to the big name colleges. I'd rather pay much less and get the same degree.

Glenn E. Meyer
July 1, 2010, 08:39 PM
Yes, but that analogy doesn't hold completely. Research has clearly shown that the big name, prestige school leads to better jobs.

We don't have any data that is systematic on gun trainers. Givens has a great record with his students. But there's no accrediation and outcome research across the gun trainer world.

July 2, 2010, 07:00 AM
You're quite right, a big name degree will get you the better job but has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you'll keep the job. Research has proved this. My point is that it doesn't matter where the education comes from as long as you are learning what needs to be learned. The big name training schools are probably phenomenal but I'm sure there's some lesser name schools that are probably quite good as well. It just comes down to how much money you want to spend.

Deputy Dog
July 2, 2010, 07:56 AM
Basic firearms skills will most likely help you in a SHTF moment as long as you saw the attack coming in advance and have the time to react. When I hear comments like, "I dont need an Instructor to tell me I'm missing the target" or something to that effect, it makes me cringe. Good Instructors dont just tell you that you missed, try again! A good instructor will guide you & and help give reasons why you are missing and the corrective actions to take. If you havent taken a basic safety class that involves proper grip, stance, sight alignment & sight picture, trigger finger placement and trigger press, breath control and you think that you dont need any instruction because your father's brother's cousin's former roommate taught you how to shoot, then why are you even reading the Training and Tactics section of the forum?

In the cases where the Law Abiding Citizens made it out of the confrontation alive and sometimes un-scaled, without any training was, how can I put it? Lucky comes to mind. I have seen students when shooting at a stationary target, with all the time in the world, have great shot placement. Some of the great shot placement is due to natural marksmanship, or good family or friend's guidence and or amatuer instruction. But like someone posted earlier, paper doesnt shoot back, and a static target is alot easier to hit than a moving one. Now add in having to draw your weapon from the concealed garment, establish the proper grip and present gun to threat safely without muzzle flashing or inadvertanly shooting themselves, get a front sight/muzzle on target and press the trigger in a matter of 3 seconds or less. Have seen some of those same people bring the gun up and present it to the target the way they were shown, and not hit the sid of the barn because the gun was crooked in their hand.

Most of the deadly force encounters are B&E style break-ins. What happens if you hear a knock at the door, when you go to answer it, it comes flying open at you and you are rushed by an unknown number of "crim of the crop citzens who are all trying to straighten their lives out" some carrying weapons and some arent? Does that day of plincking at the range help you with multiple threats and possible 360 degree attack? No, it doesnt!

Can the instructor who has been taught how to engage those same threats and or has been in that situation or simular scenrio give you the mind set or teach you how to prepare or how to respond for that situation? Absolutely!
A good instructor teaching Personal Protection or Law Enforcement Officers will make sure the student knows the basics and will refresh on them for a few minutes to make sure everyone is on the same page. Knowing the basics will definately help with some of the shooting. Since alot of Deadly Force Scenarios occur at such short range you will most likely have to resort to one handed shooting. If you do not practice one handed shooting and or support hand shooting, I highly recomend you start now especially if you plan on attending a Personal Protection course.


Deputy Dog
July 2, 2010, 09:02 AM
Lets not forget that some of this family member or friends instruction might not be the safe way or a preferred way. Then they turn around and teach those methods to the "student". And in some cases half of which have to be taught the proper basic fundamentals all over again. It is fustrating for an Instructor to have to do it, but a good instructor understands that, and hopefully has the patience and the ability to camly redirect the student to proper technique. Mind set and tactics arent for the most part instinctive, they have to be taught. Thats from what I have witnessed and collected over the last 20 years or so. The instructor will help you with proper grip, and draw and presentaion so you can make the first few shots count, because when the SHTF, thats all you are going to have. Some of your best instruction is from the "NO NAME" instructors. I have helped countless LEO's and Military members & civilians of all levels, improve their marksmanship and their tactical shooting and thought process. And I dont work for a big name school and all my students have been refferals.