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View Poll Results: Have you ever attended a training course and if so how often?
Never done formal training don't see the need. 10 13.33%
Never but would like to or plan on it in the near future. 10 13.33%
1 or 2 classes over my lifetime. 28 37.33%
1 or 2 classes a year. 6 8.00%
As often as I can more than 10 in my lifetime. 21 28.00%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 19, 2018, 07:49 AM   #1
WVsig
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Poll: Formal Training Classes How Many TFL Members Take Them?

So most of the time I just lurk in this area but lately a few topics have prompted me to post in here. I am a big fan of firearms training. I think that it is the best way to develop proper skills and to maintain them. I have taken a few courses over the years but not as many as I wish I had especially in the beginning of my shooting days. I always looks back and think I should have taken more classes and bought less guns and I would be a better shooter today.

I have taken marksmanship classes, defensive handgun classes, dynamic pistol courses etc.... I personally lean more towards defensive shooting not competition shooting.

So I ask the question do my fellow TFL members take formal classes. I am not talking about hunter safety or even concealed carry permit courses but course where you spend 1 or more days on the range shooting 300-500 rounds a day with an instructor or instructors working with you to improve your shooting.
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Old May 19, 2018, 08:36 AM   #2
Skippy
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I've been shooting semi-regularly for about 12 or so years but have only participated in formal, hands-on training for maybe the past few years, I'd say a total six or eight courses that average 4 to 6 hours each.

It was plain to see that prior to training I was mostly just punching holes in paper, burning up ammo and ingraining bad habits.

The biggest thing I picked up is the importance of practice between training sessions, especially the first week or two. Next is the value of a consistent dry fire plan and having specific goals every time I go out to practice.

I have friends who have accompanied me to formal training sessions, proclaimed how excellent and valuable it was, how much they learned in just a few hours, then six weeks later can't remember any of it because they haven't shot a round in six weeks.

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Old May 19, 2018, 09:52 AM   #3
TailGator
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I agree with the value, but a lot of people, myself included, haven't the time and/or the funds to take as many classes as they would like.
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Old May 19, 2018, 11:45 AM   #4
Skippy
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Originally Posted by TailGator View Post
I agree with the value, but a lot of people, myself included, haven't the time and/or the funds to take as many classes as they would like.
Agreed. I was, and still am, there. I have a self-imposed fixed allowance for guns, ammo, training, doodads and tactical geegaws.

A few years ago I did the math on how much I was spending a month on ammo. I'm fortunate to shoot free at a friend's range, so range fees would be a factor in the equation if it applied. I usually shoot once a week.

My first classes were $25/person but those rates have doubled in the past year. Nonetheless, I figured over time I was burning through ammo with no significant improvement.

Even at $50/per training class four times a year, for the cost of 10 boxes of otherwise unproductive ammo I improved 100%. I usually just shoot 50 handgun rounds a week rather than 100.

There's all kinds of training out there and the courses that last days are quite pricey, especially including travel, meals and lodging. Still, I bet there are qualified local instructors near most metro areas that offer 4-6 hours of training for less than a hundred bucks.

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Old May 19, 2018, 11:54 AM   #5
TXAZ
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I may or may not meet your criteria. I just completed a 2 day long range (1000-2000 yards) precision shooting class. Only went through about 80 rounds total of 6.5, 7mm and .50BMG, which was "enough", as you can see below:
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Old May 19, 2018, 04:54 PM   #6
Rangerrich99
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I only began taking actual defensive handgun and carbine classes about 3 or 4 years ago, so I'm still a bit of a new-comer to organized professional training. However, in that time I can categorically recommend training classes to everyone, based on my experiences. I have learned more in the last 3-4 years about shooting/handling firearms than I did in the entire previous 30+ years of trying to figure it out on my own.

Everything from the fundamentals of how to hold a gun, operating a gun, to tactics, weapon preferences, holster options, what to practice, how to practice, etc., and so forth has immeasurably increased my ability/skills to safely and efficiently handle a weapon in a critical situation, which I hopefully will never have to use. But the sheer comfort level and confidence I've gained has made all the time and money spent completely worth it.

Oh, and training classes are usually a lot of fun, which makes spending all that time and money seem less onerous.
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Old May 19, 2018, 04:57 PM   #7
johnwilliamson062
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There is a big gap between one or two in my lifetime and one or two in a year.

I have had the opportunity to casually shoot with some formal trainers, which is often more productive IMO.
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Old May 19, 2018, 05:00 PM   #8
WVsig
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Yeah I meant to put another 3-5 courses category in there but it won't let me edit it. I guess the intent is the same. I also I think if you have taken more than 2 you have a commitment to training or at least understand its value. Not everyone can get to a training course every year but I certainly try these day.
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Old May 19, 2018, 05:56 PM   #9
2damnold4this
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I've taken several courses but don't average one per year. Maybe one per year if you count three hour blocks of paid one on one time with an instructor. Time is a bigger issue than money. I do think I got good value for the money I have spent on training.





edit to add: Many years ago, volunteers with the Boy Scouts gave me some instruction on small bore rifle shooting that was very helpful and a few years afterwards, the great instructors on the Tennessee Army National Guard small bore rifle team I was on helped me quite a lot. I'm very thankful for those that volunteer their time to help young people learn to shoot safely.

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Old May 19, 2018, 08:41 PM   #10
Eazyeach
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I too have spent more on hardware (guns) than I have on software (training). But I finally had some formal training in April. FASTER training. It’s for school/church security, active shooter response. The actual FASTER training i signed up for is in August. The April session was a one day “primer”. 7 hours about 325 rounds. It was awesome. We worked on drawing, reloads,etc. practicing the Ohio peace officers qualification course. Learned a lot.

Before that I had only my ccw “training” and hunters education. Now I’m hooked. Can’t wait for August. Chris Cerino is the instructor for my 3 day FASTER training, so I’m really looking forward to it. I plan on at least 2 training sessions a year from now on. If I can stop giving my LGS all my spending money.
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Old May 19, 2018, 09:49 PM   #11
brennok
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So far I have only taken the required CCW class and I took an optional basic pistol class at the same time. I would love a basic plus class or some one on one, but I haven’t found much in my area. It seems to be lots of tactical training and mot much focusing on the fundamentals.
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Old May 19, 2018, 10:26 PM   #12
DPI7800
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I enjoy taking as many classes as possible as frequently as possible, thus far I’ve logged well over 200 hours of shotgun training, 250 hours of precision rifle training and well over the 250 mark on rifle/carbine training and god only knows how much handgun training and that is over a 16 year period.
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Old May 22, 2018, 01:55 PM   #13
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I just took my 21st course. About a half dozen of those were half day skill builders that I still found valuable. The day of force on force I've done (and hopefully another this year but my wife and I just had a baby) was literally a day I'll never forget, and the round count was low.

Before training I was a different shooter and a different person. It gave me a different mindset and also something to work towards personally. It's also a great way to get into a community of like minded people.

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Old May 22, 2018, 07:25 PM   #14
lockedcj7
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I try to take 1-2 classes per year. About half are instructor's courses and the other half are to build my own skills. I enjoy the classes and I always learn something.
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Old May 24, 2018, 09:25 PM   #15
1MoreFord
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I don't really fit this poll. I've taken 3 classes in my background. All were how to shoot gun games classes. While I got zero tactical info my shooting skills improved greatly.
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Old May 24, 2018, 09:46 PM   #16
5whiskey
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I also don't fit. I put over 10 in my lifetime, and that is at least semi-accurate. I am law enforcement, a firearms instructor, and have went to several formal classes in the military. None-the-less, my "formal" certificate-bearing classes probably number around 6 or 7. My informal classes (which did include an instructor or instructing, but weren't "formal" per se) plus my formal classes probably approach near 20. Yes, I'm aware basic PMI at boot camp doesn't really count. But I went to coaches course, the Acog Instructor class, and 2 or 3 other informal trainings in the Marine Corps. I have been to several formal courses, with certificates, in law enforcement... including instructors course. I have been to numerous informal courses in law enforcement and the National Guard (I get to shoot at Camp Butner's 1k yard range semi-frequently). I'd say my training is 60% rifle and 40% pistol.

None-the-less, I still don't feel like I've attended a ton of training. That being said, 90% of the time when I go to a public range I'm either the best shooter there or there is one guy that is about on par with me. Once in a while I'll go to the range and a hard-corp competition guy comes up to the line and it feels like night and day though. I always try to pick the brain of shooters that are obviously better than me. Why? I'm not special, but I have been doing this a long time and am pretty good at it. When someone is clearly much better than I am, I am impressed and I want to tell them that. And ask how the do it so I can get better (which works btw, had a guy help me improve speed shooting a fair bit last year with one simple trick)
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Old May 24, 2018, 09:50 PM   #17
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BTW, as an aside, I encourage EVERYONE who is going to carry a pistol CCW to do some professional force on force training with airsoft or sim rounds under a professional instructor with a good reputation. This will open your eyes a great deal. And the instructor shouldn't send you into shoot situations 9 out of 10 times. There should be at least an equal number of no-shoot situations to shoot situations in the training.

I know that funds are finite, and I am fortunate as I haven't had to come out of pocket on any of my training, but I assure you this is worth it.
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Old May 27, 2018, 08:58 AM   #18
Mike38
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A handful in my lifetime, otherwise self taught.

1. Long Range Rifle Class.
2. US Army Marksmanship Unit Pistol Class.
3. Appleseed (if that counts)
4. The required class for CCL (if that counts)
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Old May 28, 2018, 11:15 PM   #19
locnload
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I've been CCW for about 20 years and although now I make at least one a year, sometimes two, it has not always been that way. I have more time and "discretionary funds" to spend on training now, but please allow me to offer some advice to those that are still on a short leash when it comes to signing up for formal training.

1. Don't overlook local sources, they may not be nationally known, but local guys may have have a training method that is very effective for you. You don't have a lot of travel and lodging expense, and their classes may be reasonably priced. Ask around, you may be surprised whats available close to home.

2. Watch for some of the big names to come to a range near you. The first "big name" class I ever took was John Farnum, 7 miles from my rural home. Mas Ayoob has been in my area several times, as well as others. You just have to watch the schedules closely.

3. Diversify your training, different instructors, different topics. Vehicle combatives, active shooter, Urban Rifle. It may seem unrelated to what you expect as an armed civilian but its all good stuff to know and it keeps you relevant in things you may want to try, like "Three Gun", IDPA, or whatever you want to get involved in.

4. Have a "wish list", a training budget for both time and money, and be prepared to sign up when you see something, classes fill up fast so if its on your wish list and you can afford it, jump on it.

Good luck to all, hope you find some great training opportunities you can take advantage of.
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Old May 29, 2018, 12:16 AM   #20
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I take two eight hour courses per year and two four hour courses per year. Only an estimate but I'd say I have about 2000 hours of formal firearms shooting and employment of firearms training. That is a low ball number. It may seem like a lot but I have been employed working with firearms for 29 years.
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Old May 29, 2018, 09:31 AM   #21
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I am probably going to regret posting this, because my opinions are often pretty controversial, but what the hell I'm in a good mood today. The million dollar question I always have, what are you trying to get out of classes?

I've taken a lot of "tactical" pistol and carbine classes. Along with both open enrollment and private competition training classes.

Some observations
1. Tactical training classes aren't an go as often as you can type of class.
2. Most tactical training classes are nearly the same, sure there are some exceptions like Southnarc, but a vast majority of them are so similar that you can replace the instructor and not notice.
3. Most tactical trainers aren't that great of shooters, particularly with the pistol.
4. Instructors that regale you with war stories during any time other than meal breaks are bad instructors.
5. You have to put in the work, and the fundamentals matter.
6. You don't get faster unless you actually practice trying to get faster.
7. If you want to learn how to shoot, and I mean how to really shoot take classes from competition shooters.
8. At a certain point open enrollment classes are going to become little value to you. Private training from a high level shooter is often the only way to get the attention you need to get those little issues that take dedicated observation (often including video).
9. Don't grasp onto the gospel of any particular instructor.
10. Don't be afraid to experiment. The way I shoot today is different from the way I shot a year ago, and the way I shoot a year from now will be different from the way I shoot today. Your technique will evolve as your skill level evolves. It may not be huge changes, but they will be there. And sometimes these changes might involve changing equipment, but technique should drive the equipment.
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Old May 29, 2018, 03:25 PM   #22
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PPGMD - I hear what you are saying. Seems lots of vets (and often wannabe fakers) decided to start a training school. There is however good training out there if you know where to look and have access to it.

For me it is much more useful to learn good ways to avoid trouble and deal with trouble rather than shooting accurately and fast. Shooting accurately and fast is merely one way of dealing with a problem; however it really should never be the focus of a good defensive strategy.
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Old May 29, 2018, 05:42 PM   #23
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People on this board actually checked "don't see the need". Wow.
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Old May 29, 2018, 08:36 PM   #24
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PPGMD, I agree with your assessment of 'tactical' instructors.

However, I think this has to do with the fact that, if they aren't frauds, that their focus is more on offensive direct action - an application which is very narrow and a discipline which many folks convince themselves they need, even when they have absolutely no business doing so. And it's a shame. Some of these instructors lure people to their classes with inflated backgrounds or overly-padded resumes, yet they're ill-suited to instruct anything.

But, if an instructor isn't boasting a class that will increase your competitiveness, but rather calls the course 'tactical', then I think it might be foolish to hope to become more competitive from attending.
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Old May 29, 2018, 11:13 PM   #25
TunnelRat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL View Post
PPGMD - I hear what you are saying. Seems lots of vets (and often wannabe fakers) decided to start a training school. There is however good training out there if you know where to look and have access to it.

For me it is much more useful to learn good ways to avoid trouble and deal with trouble rather than shooting accurately and fast. Shooting accurately and fast is merely one way of dealing with a problem; however it really should never be the focus of a good defensive strategy.
I could take this same comment and say that instead of buying a firearm in the first place you're better off taking classes on deescalation, given the low probability of using a firearm defensively.

None of this has to be mutually exclusive. We are all limited in time and money, but thinking of ways to deescalate a situation doesn't mean you can't spend time building accuracy and shooting faster. True defensive courses should go into more than shoot eveything. All that said, in the unlikely and unfortunate event when deescalation fails and you do have to use your firearm being able to use it effectively is important. Just because I can use it effectively doesn't mean I go looking for trouble.

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