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Old March 20, 2019, 05:07 PM   #1
PhotonGuy
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Learn From The Best

From what I've been told, the vast majority of the time the firearms instruction and training that the average gun owner has, even the firearms instruction and training that the average police officer and soldier has is all too often inadequate. As such I've made it my goal to get the best and most training I can with firearms and to share what I've learned. I've been to a bunch of shooting schools and so far one of the best shooting schools I've been to is Front Sight which is located out in Pahrump in Nevada. When I had my first class at Front Sight that was when I realized there is so much I don't know, and I've been back there at least twenty times. The training there is really intense, you spend about eight hours a day on the ranges and you shoot hundreds of rounds every day and that is in addition to the classroom portion. While I don't agree with everything at Front Sight, in my opinion if you don't go there you're missing out. Their goal is to train students beyond the level of what is required for police officers and soldiers. I believe Front Sight is particularly good for the beginning firearms student.
Another shooting school I've been to was called Alias and was based in Virginia although they taught at all different locations throughout the country. Unfortunately I don't think Alias is in operation anymore which is too bad, from my experience they're another real top of the notch school.
Another good school I've heard of but have never been to is Gunsite in Arizona.
So, I think that if people are going to carry and use guns for self defense they need training from the very best. We need to stop having mediocre gun users if we want to fight for our cause of guns in the hands of good people being effective in stopping bad people. There has been some debate over this in this other thread I started about the New Zealand shooting. Aside from the gun control crowd, I think one of the biggest enemies of us gun rights advocates is ourselves when we fail to get the best training we can get.
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Old March 21, 2019, 10:37 AM   #2
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I'll 2nd the Front Sight recommendation...good training at a superb price, especially the 4-day Defensive Handgun Course...600 rounds in 4 days. It's good for experienced and beginner alike, and the instructors/range personnel are outstanding. I'm a retired military and airline pilot, very knowledgeable in training methods, course curricula development and student/instructor interface issues. Those guys and ladies out in the desert are first rate.

My wife and I have been out there 3x now, and have taken friends all 3 times. Gotta say: that's one desolate area...especially for those of us from east of the Mississippi. Rod
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Old March 21, 2019, 01:44 PM   #3
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"...a bunch of shooting schools..." And every one of 'em teaches something different, according to their own philosophy and State laws. Lot of 'em are owned by self-styled 'experts'. Some of who think being a military Supply Clerk qualifies 'em.
Biggest thing is that you are not going into combat. Whole you do need to be able to shoot well enough to hit what you're shooting at. Plus know when to shoot and, more importantly, when not to shoot, spending piles of money on civilian owned and operated training is not going to matter.
Police officers and soldiers have totally different firearms training requirements. Neither of 'em are involved, in the least, with requirements for a guy who is carrying a firearm for strictly concealed carry defensive purposes.
Most soldiers get little or no training with a hand gun either. A hand gun in the military is primarily a status symbol, but is never one's primary weapon. The average troopie may see a hand gun during Basic and never again. Unless his job in the Service requires him to carry one, while on duty and only whole on duty.
Most cops never fire their issue handgun except for their annual qualifying shoot. If their Department has such a thing. Failing to qualify doesn't mean they're fired or taken off duty. Lot of 'em know absolutely nothing about firearms either. Know a guy who was a cop in Toronto long ago, who with his partner got assigned to the "Bank Car". Only one with a pump shotgun. Neither of 'em knew how to load the thing.
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Old March 22, 2019, 12:29 AM   #4
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So, I think that if people are going to carry and use guns for self defense they need training from the very best.
JFKSWCS

Anything less...you're suspect, LOL.

While the courses you mentioned are good I think we would be overcomplicating things and feeding the anti gun agenda by stacking difficult/expensive/unnecessary requirements.
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Old March 22, 2019, 11:04 AM   #5
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It brings up the question of the random and chaotic distribution on the bell curve as it would apply here.

There are many great trainers and teachers out there, just as we have thousands of great surgeons. For every great surgeon there is a piercing specialist who missed the septum and lobotomized a customer.

We have clint smith and Ayoob and hundreds of others who populate the far right slope of that bell curve, and there are the gomer pyles who set up a berm in their back yard and take $100 to teach qualifications for CC permits.

It's not a good thing. Sure, you have only about thirty percent or so who are truly incompetent and the rest are good enough or excellent. the people who settle for gomer pyle or another of the 10% dimwits place their very lives at risk. I knew a guy once who was training who wasn't even capable of properly functioning at a public range. I don't want my wife, kids, or friends to train under this type.
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Old March 22, 2019, 05:56 PM   #6
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-and I've been back there [Front Sight] at least twenty times.
Yowser!
(Puts me to shame---but that's not very difficult).
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Old March 22, 2019, 09:42 PM   #7
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A neighbor of mine always go to Front Sight. I'd rather go there than Whittington University in Raton.
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Old March 23, 2019, 11:03 AM   #8
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gomer pyle or another of the 10% dimwits
Yep but this is 'Merica!!

In other words you are free to be an idiot and buyer beware. Like PT Barnum says, there is a sucker born every minute.

If you think Deputy Dawg and the Barney fife with their 200 rounds a year qualification course sportin the latest in tacti-fool is worth your dollar...spend it.
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Old March 24, 2019, 10:26 AM   #9
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it would be interesting to hear, from those who have been to several training classes, what the essential skills are that one should know and work on, for someone who is a concealed carry permit holder. not a cop, not a soldier, just a law abiding Joe.

it can't be that long a list.

i'm not going to storm and clear a room. i'm going the other direction if possible. that's a cop's job, he runs to the danger, i'm running away.

what do you have?
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Old March 24, 2019, 02:44 PM   #10
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You will certainly get differing courses from every trainer. some may even just give you textbook pages.

Policemen who train civilians may be the type who want them to stay out of the way and stand down or they may be the type who want activist civilians. private trainers may show up in full combat gear at the holiday in meeting room for the written portion, or it may be a guy who looks like grizzly adams, and they may bring $2,000 1911 pistols to the or they may bring snub revolvers. There are going to be the small town and rural areas and the dense jungle type trainers. the technical and true combat instructors and the one who will sit with you in or after the class and talk about real lifef concerns rather than how many taps it takes.

In my opinion a person who can read properly and will actually study it can learn ten times as much from a few books as that person could learn in a couple of six hour sessions. Quality books produced by quality instructors will provide accurate and clear information, and it's not going to be tossed on your plate just once and left behind. As you read you'll have footnotes and illustrations and an index to look at, you will do it at a suitable pace and you won't have to hold up your hand if the guy mumbles into the chalkboard a lot.

That, imo, is where everyone should get their essentials. There won't be any misunderstandings or forgetting things, nothing that happened while you weren't listening. Physical training for actual shooting and carry, well, there have to be dozens of particular skill sets that can be called 'essential' and many of them just won't apply at all. I've never been in a stadium or even crowded area. Don't need training for that. My daughter won't need to know how to drive with a gun but she might benefit from training that would simulate walking around a campus or mall, that sort of busy pedestrian situation.

The essentials are learning how to properly handle the gun, properly conceal and carry it, hands on training for essential accuracy skills, and other base things that everyone used to be taught by their grandfather. Then you start to specialize.
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Old March 24, 2019, 03:43 PM   #11
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as i replied recently to a Q on FB about how to get better for IDPA shooting, and after shooting IDPA for 5+ years myself, my essential list would be:

learn to shoot accurately. no point in missing. start slow, start near. as you get better, move back and go faster. at some point, you will learn your limits.

how to draw from a holster. draw from concealment. reload magazines efficiently.

shoot while moving, forward, backward, sideways. shoot from behind cover, both sides. shoot one handed, strong and weak.

those are largely in order of progression.

there are plenty of standard courses of fire you can run and keep track of your times/scores to track your progress.
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Old March 24, 2019, 05:34 PM   #12
PhotonGuy
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Police officers and soldiers have totally different firearms training requirements. Neither of 'em are involved, in the least, with requirements for a guy who is carrying a firearm for strictly concealed carry defensive purposes.
Sometimes they do. Plain clothes police officers usually carry concealed so they need to be able to handle a firearm when carrying concealed. Also, lots of police officers carry concealed while off duty.
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Old March 25, 2019, 01:13 AM   #13
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Got to disagree with much that T O'Heir stated. (It's a trend)
-LE and military training is often different than civilian training, but there is significant overlap. LE and civilian cues for impending trouble are similar, because it is about dealing with people. The basic skill sets of identifying threats, safely shooting, diagnosing malfunctions, moving, and communicating are all quite similar. Sure some skills are not likely to be used in a civilian context (multi-team building clearing, etc), but many fundamentals of both shooting and dealing with dangerous situations are common among civilian CCW, LE, and military.

Good training courses teach sound fundamentals, whether they be marksmanship, threat identification, grappling, medical skills, etc. Where they help advance their students is by providing a logical structure for thinking and learning and an outside perspective to fix mistakes and set proper training goals. One instructor (I think Paul Howe) said something to the effect of "There is no such thing as advanced shooting, only applying the fundamentals at an advanced level.". If a course helps that, then it's probably worth looking at.

...I'm a military member whose primary assigned firearm is a pistol. So, T, please stop making definitive assertions on topics you have only partial knowledge of.
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Old March 26, 2019, 02:50 PM   #14
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To the Op,

There are a TON of good instructors out there. And you can learn different things from each. The major BAD thing to look for is an unsafe shooting environment. I don't like to run-down instructors unless they are unsafe.

I look at it as a vacation when I take a shooting class. Try a few different classes and you'll be surprised at what you learned from each.

Look at it as an adventure!

JMHO,
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Old March 26, 2019, 03:48 PM   #15
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i wonder how many who have gone to one or more of these shooting schools have gone back to their home club/range and shared what they learned with the others who could not attend such classes?

"they showed me how to do X, Y, Z, and now i'm going to show you all"
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Old March 26, 2019, 08:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 1-DAB View Post
i wonder how many who have gone to one or more of these shooting schools have gone back to their home club/range and shared what they learned with the others who could not attend such classes?



"they showed me how to do X, Y, Z, and now i'm going to show you all"
I try to share with my circle of friends. That said I worry something gets lost in the translation. I'm aware that doing something for a few afternoons isn't the same as doing it for years. I think there's still value in sharing, however, but I don't do it for my whole club etc. Frankly not everyone is interested and again there's the translation. Part of the problem is also knowing how to do something and instructing others aren't always one in the same. I know a lot of naturally talented people that couldn't teach, and vice versa. Lastly there is liability in giving this type of instruction that neither I nor my club is insured to handle.

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Old March 27, 2019, 11:55 AM   #17
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we normally put on two "intro to IDPA" classes each year, spring and fall.

explain the game, all the rules, and how to safely handle a loaded pistol. we cover how to, and how not to draw from a holster, reloading (finger off the trigger). basic stuff.

i guess i just don't understand the worry about "liability" when showing someone how to do something safely. we watch you very closely, we start with unloaded guns until we're comfy with loading them and then shooting targets.
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Old March 27, 2019, 12:00 PM   #18
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Because the courses I take go beyond basic intros and while safety is always emphasized I can't control everyone. It wouldn't just be me one on one. If you don't see the potential liability in instructing a class of people in the use of firearms I'm not sure what to tell you. What you do is your call, I'm giving you my reasoning.

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Old March 28, 2019, 03:00 AM   #19
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So if you are a private citizen with a CCW permit and you want to increase your skills, then find an instructor whose main focus is on the armed private citizen like John Farnam or Massad Ayoob or Tom Givens or Dave Spaulding. Somebody who will talk about the legalities of the use of force as well as how to shoot. (I have taken a bunch of classes with Farnam and Ayoob over the years -- might get to train with Givens and Spaulding this summer)

Many instructors with a military background ONLY teach the shooting skills part. Which is fine. Just be aware of what your class is going to cover before you sign up and try to find training that fits your particular needs.

I have a personal preference for instructors who have written books or publish frequently in the magazines because then I have a way to evaluate what they're going to teach me should I choose to train with them.
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Old March 28, 2019, 03:13 PM   #20
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Jeff is right.. running a gun is only about 40% of it. Fighting with a gun is about much more than simply being good at running a gun. Being an expert at running a gun does not mean you know how to fight. Being an expert at running a gun does not usually make up for poor tactics, poor strategics, or poor judgement. On the other hand... good tactics, good strategics and good judgment can make up for less than stellar gun handling skills.

I tell people all the time.. go get good with your gun then go and learn to fight with it.
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Old March 28, 2019, 08:58 PM   #21
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Don't forget Haley Strategic. Travis Haley can walk the walk.
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Old March 29, 2019, 01:39 AM   #22
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And always remember, you do NOT have to spend thousands of dollars flying out to Gunsite in Arizona or Thunder Ranch in Washington State (although that would be really neat). In most places of the country you can find a competent instructor who does two day(or three) classes for $300 to $500 and 600 to a thousand rounds of ammo.

Most people aren't in a position to go to multiple classes in a year (although that would be really neat) but you can probably afford to go to one every other year or every third year or whatever.

Pick a class that is appropriate to the primary skill set that you are trying to develop. The armed private citizen would benefit from one kind of class, a police officer on patrol might benefit from a similar or slightly different class, and then a SWAT Team member or soldier would find a class with a different focus to be more applicable to their circumstance.

(I have always thought that there is room in the market for one day classes taught by competent instructors at a reasonable cost that focus on development of specific skills. National or regional traveling instructors usually have two or three or five day classes -- regional or local instructors might do shorter classes. A one day class would be easier for most people to afford and squeeze into their schedule)

There are so many people who would enjoy going to formal training if they'd only try it, but it's really hard to get people to take the first step. And, you have to make a proper choice of both based on your current abilities and what skills you're trying to develop.
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Old March 29, 2019, 10:35 AM   #23
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PhotonGuy,

How would you know who's best?

Upon what criteria are you relying to determine best?

What would you consider the most important self-defense training?
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Old April 4, 2019, 01:41 AM   #24
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And I partially agree with Briandg's observation above -- there are a LOT of good books available right now about every facet of the defensive use of the firearm and preparing yourself by reading before taking any formal training will probably mean you will absorb more.

Particularly if you are training with somebody who has written a book (or books) -- read all their stuff first to prepare yourself.
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Old April 4, 2019, 06:56 PM   #25
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Live training with immediate feedback is better than a book IMHO. It is not that you cannot learn concepts, drills and skills from a book but without and instructor watching you shoot and giving you feedback how do you know if you are doing it correctly.

I cannot say it enough times if I could go back and start all over again in my shooting lifetime I would have bought less guns and gotten more training in the early years. If I had taken one class from just about anyone for every 2 guns I bought back in the day I would be a better shooter today.

I have not taken as much training as I would like to but I have trained with a few people I would recommend.

Larry Vickers
Ken Hackathorn
John Murphy
Jerry Jones & Bruce Gray OpSpec Training

Looking to take a class with Bob Vogel later this year if my schedule allows.
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