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Old December 8, 2017, 09:38 AM   #1
LBussy
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Old Trainer - New Tips?

I am a 52 year old former military person. When in the military I was often called on to be a trainer and I felt I was a good one. Bear in mind this was when the M9 was brand new and most of the training I did (both giving an receiving) was with the M1911. Most people enjoy how I train, whether it be with weapons or with technology.

Recently I have begin to teach weapons again - a whole slew of people at work who have never fired a pistol before asked me to "show them a few things." For me this starts with safety, then familiarization, then a range session where they can try a few different types of handguns to see what they may like (assuming they have no prejudice entering the session.) This is an investment of several hours of my time, and I don't do it for the money. About all I ever ask for is that they pay for the ammo and range fees.

I don't think I'm being unsafe not having upgraded my own skills and training methods (safety has not changed), but I might be selling them short by not teaching the best/latest grip or stance for instance. I was wondering what some folks here think about how I could freshen my skills (and therefore freshen what I teach) without throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Keep in mind I'm talking the civilian equivalent of basic pistol marksmanship. I'm not in a position to teach defense or combat tactics - I'll leave that to the people who train and teach regularly.

I learn in a variety of ways - even a good book or video would be fine. I don't need to pay someone to watch me practice if it comes to that. What does the collective wisdom here think?
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Old December 8, 2017, 12:17 PM   #2
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Brother.. I am from the same era in time as you. Certainly things have changed but lets be honest, there are not that many ways to fight with a firearm and it sure aint rocket science. No matter what Kwan someone decides to adopt, what really matters in that they are proficient in its application and safe.

I still use the low ready stance
I still use a 3 point draw
I still grip the magwell of an AR
I don't square off but rather get small behind a rifle

Armed SD methodology seems to have ventured into the overly articulated seemingly robotic style which celebrates chamber checks, press checks, marketing mantras and one form of kabuki dance or another. I guess it can be made to work but I would not consider it measurably more effective than what you may have learned in the 80s.

If you instruct from a "this is one way" as opposed to this "is this only way" kind of mindset, I am sure that the students will certainly benefit from what you can share with them.

I say all this while assuming that these people are interested in actual self defense and not Gun Games. If they want to be a gun game GURU, that is an entirely different thing altogether.

Good luck Bro
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Old December 8, 2017, 02:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
Brother.. I am from the same era in time as you.
Ah, so your first weapon was forged in the Bronze Era too?

I know there's a lot of very active folks (a lot here too) that are older than me. I just wish I had taken care of myself. If I knew I would get this old ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
what really matters in that they are proficient in its application and safe.
True. What I want to avoid however is someone coming behind me and telling them they learned all wrong - and then they ignore part of the basic safety that I drilled into them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
If you instruct from a "this is one way" as opposed to this "is this only way" kind of mindset, I am sure that the students will certainly benefit from what you can share with them.
One may hope!

A gentleman I taught last week has gone on to purchase a nice P320 and sign up for additional classes at the range (I told him I was not interested in more advanced training and recommended the classes at the range if he wanted to keep going.) It's almost like seeing kids grow up and leave home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
I say all this while assuming that these people are interested in actual self defense and not Gun Games. If they want to be a gun game GURU, that is an entirely different thing altogether.
Man I tell you, I'd love to be one of those gurus myself. I see IPSC shooters go through their paces and think that's a pretty good way to train. I left S. America without any holes in myself, but I always felt I could be better. I suppose the key is EVERYONE could be better with more training. Maybe one of these days I'll visit the local IPSC folks and now worry about major scoring for a while. Then again maybe I should wait till I get a new press because those guys go through a LOT of ammo.

I have thought about taking a gun trainer's course just to get the latest but this is not really something I want as a job. I love to teach, but when your avocation becomes your vocation you get no vacation as Mike Rowe used to say.
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Old December 8, 2017, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
I know there's a lot of very active folks (a lot here too) that are older than me.
No kidding.

Last time I asked for advice on weapons techniques I was told to get a running start if possible and to shift my weight to my left foot as I threw my spear---left handed folk just do it the opposite...
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Old December 8, 2017, 03:29 PM   #5
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I look at it like this.. I would rather learn something from someone who has done it, has experience in it and has put skin in the game. I wouldn't worry too much about taking a "trainers" course if you already have a catalog of knowledge to draw upon. I think the term "trainer" has been used far too loosely over the past several decades and has now come to mean someone who has watched youtube and read some magazine articles.

If you personally want to learn new things.. take a reputable tactical class from a well know outfit.

I would rather learn from someone who has a realistic frame of reference regarding the material and not just some guy who was taught xyz from some other guy last week and now expects to train me. ...eh, I would pass on that.

If you want to share some elements of what you learned in the military as well as what you have learned over your lifetime... go for it. I wouldn't worry about trying to drag anything new and shiny into game at this point.

and yeah.... the bronze age sounds about right. I passed my first quals with a Smith66. I still have that rig but my sam browne belt is about 6 inches shrunk LOLOL
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Old December 9, 2017, 12:43 PM   #6
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The military does everything entirely differently from how any civilian instructor would. Handguns do not serve the same purpose in the military either. Mind you, not many ranges are as safe as a military range. Despite the stories all current and former military RSO's/small arms instructors can tell.
The military teaches differently too. A troopie is actually expected to know what he's doing and be doing it safely when the course is finished. Teach what you know how you know to teach it.
"...as I threw my spear..." Spears are not for throwing. They're for stabbing from a distance. Pilum are for throwing. Geezuz! snicker.
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Old December 9, 2017, 02:05 PM   #7
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I would stick with teaching the basic safety and marksmanship. The fundamentals of those don't change much. If they can place all of their rounds on a practically sized target within a reasonable amount of time without hurting themselves or others then you have done your job. Even professional trainers will have a wide variety of opinions on how to do things. Let them seek out their own professional instruction once they've got the basics down.
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Old December 9, 2017, 05:18 PM   #8
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No mantra stuff for me .I tell them to try at least two and pick the one that works best for speed and accuracy. For ME it was the straight arm system. Then one day things happened and I could no longer completely straighten or bend my right arm !!
Back to the drawing board ! Now I'm half way between the two systems ! And the best I can do for speed and accuracy and comfortable with it !
I once read a study of 6 Olympic shot gunners each with strange styles. Those styles were each developed due to physical problems. Many shooters picked and copied one of the styles Without knowing why they were developed !

Pick what works best for YOU !
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Old December 9, 2017, 05:53 PM   #9
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Thanks gents for your support and your ideas. I'll stick with what I know and am familiar with. If they don't like it they can have double their money back.

I have now converted three former non-gun owner to regular (safe) practitioners and gun owners.
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Old December 9, 2017, 09:37 PM   #10
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I agree with the idea of training with what works best for you. There are few bad methods, and no perfect ones. But choose based on valid ideas (not movie or internet nonsense!) and then stick with it. One of the worst ideas that crops up again and again is that of "rotating" guns, carrying varying guns depending on the day of the week or matching the suit color. (I call this the "if it's Tuesday, I must have a Glock" thinking.)

Advocates of this idea always inform critics, with a smug sneer, that THEY are so wise and smart that they would never make a mistake. (Makes a great motto for a tombstone, though.

Jim
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Old December 12, 2017, 10:33 AM   #11
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I guess I could be considered an old guy, taking my first formal instructors course 40 years ago (FBI LE Firearms Instructors Course) and many more since then.

Not everyone teaches like I do, some have other ideas. No matter how long we've been doing it, we can still always learn from others.

Not only from other instructors but we can learn from our students as well.

A critical point I learned along time ago that its not only about knowing what to teach, but knowing the students and how to get through to them.

Not only are instructors different, but so are the students.
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Old December 12, 2017, 01:34 PM   #12
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Apart from what I got during basic training in the 1970's, all of my firearms instruction came from my grandfather who had been an instructor at the Infantry School at Ft. Benning from the 1920's until the early part of World War II when he decided he wanted to be an officer. There didn't seem to be much difference. And they have been well practiced over the intervening four decades and have served me well the few times I have had to use them.

As with anything else, the techniques used in handling a firearm evolve and improve over time. But I do find myself wondering whether how much of an advantage I would gain by abandoning techniques I have practiced consistently for forty years that are now second-nature and attempting to substitute new techniques that will take years to become second-nature.
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Old December 14, 2017, 01:28 AM   #13
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Since all of the home made, make shift and store bought body armor used these days. Shoot for the face. Just my two cents.
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Old December 14, 2017, 02:55 AM   #14
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recommended books

three books you'd find useful and enjoy:

The Farnam Method of Defensive Handgunning by John. S. Farnam

Tactical Pistol Shooting by Erik Lawrence and Mike Pannone

Handgun Combatives by Dave Spaulding

(I've taken a bunch of classes from John Farnam in years past, and I took a class with Mike Pannone last summer. I've read a bunch of Dave Spaulding's magazine articles over the years but have never yet trained with him)
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Old December 14, 2017, 07:16 AM   #15
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"Trainers" must be constantly presenting "something new and better" to maintain their business. IMHO "new and different" does not equate to BETTER.
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Old December 14, 2017, 07:28 AM   #16
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OP , I was , am ..a lot like you and your experience. I love to learn new or ,old things taught a different way. Lots of people have come to me over the years to teach them gun skills. Mostly beginners. I have learned and trained so many different ways that I got to thinking , I need to go back to the basics. I decided to take an NRA pistol instructor certification course. It was the best thing I could have done. Learning to be a better teacher and remembering that not everyone is going to be a combative shooter. Going back to the basics and learning different ways of teaching has been an eye opener so to speak. Hope this make sense and helps. Good luck !
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Old December 14, 2017, 09:31 AM   #17
LBussy
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It's just old hat - to fall back on the military training. As some folks have said here, the military has not changed it's basic marksmanship a whole lot over the years so it must work. I manage people for a living so learning what makes people tick is part of my day to day grind - transferring that to how to teach them is effective for me.

I will take a look at a couple of those books. If nothing else I'll know what people are talking about it if asked.
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Old December 14, 2017, 04:49 PM   #18
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I am an NRA certified Basic Pistol Instructor and Range Safety Officer. I volunteer as an RSO at the club where I shoot, so I end up meeting a lot of new shooters.

When I work with beginning shooters, my focus is on safety and on the basic fundamentals of shooting. I don't discuss defensive skills or tactics. In fact, I don't allow anyone to do anything quickly until they have the basics down solidly. This does not happen on the first day.

My first goals with a new shooter are to teach them how to pick up a firearm and check that it is clear without touching the trigger in the process. This may be boring, but it is key for safety. "Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire" is the central point of the first lesson.

A while ago, I read an interesting article from an expert trainer who said "If you only had 30 minutes to instruct a total beginner, and he would need to defend his home based on your training, what would you teach him?" His point was that if you spend training time on things that don't meet this need, then you are making poor use of training time. This trainer has a valid point, but I disagree with it. If you spend the first hour on basics of defense, then your students will not have the skills to safely go to a range and train.

My focus is on making sure everyone I work with is safe on the range. We start with safety practices and marksmanship fundamentals. There are many other skills that a developing shooter will need, but they come after the basic fundamentals. Mastering more advanced skills will require significant training time, and that is just the way it is.

I wrote a couple of articles with guidance for people who want to mentor new shooters. These articles include a general lesson plan for new shooters and give a good overview of my philosophy on this subject. You will certainly find other qualified people with differing views on this subject, but I do have some experience in this area.

The articles are available on my blog.

Bringing New Shooters to the Range

Making a Lesson Plan for New Shooters
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Old December 15, 2017, 08:33 AM   #19
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Thanks @straightshooterjake

I always like learning how other instructors teach.
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