During our training events I ask why attendees have chosen to take a specific class. Sometimes I get really in-depth answers and other times I get the “I don’t know, because It seemed like a cool class” response. Both responses are fine, I often do things just for the sheer enjoyment, but it got me thinking about citizens who have had little or no experience in firearms and training.
What is it that pushes us to take training? Is it your current employment? are you in Law Enforcement and are looking to further your skills in order to better protect the citizens in your area of responsibility?
What about a local Reserve or National Guard member looking to improve in fundamental marksmanship areas prior to their next rifle or pistol qualification? Many of the people who fall into these and other categories have a general idea of what training they should take. How does a citizen who has never been exposed to any form of firearms manipulation begin to determine what the best training classes are, as well as being certain they aren't being ripped off by the latest in “Gun-Fu Masters”?
As a training company we focus on providing law abiding citizens the mental and physical tools needed to win the fight. We feel there are plenty quality training camps available to Law Enforcement and Military, many of those training camps are only available to LE/Mil. That being said, we often get asked -”what classes do you think are the most important for me to take?”. I think this question is asked more in seeking guidance as in- “hey, I’m new here, where should I start?”. Prior to answering someone with what I feel is the most important classes I will often reply with questions of my own.
I’ll ask clients to tell me more about why they are seeking firearms training i.e. hobby, just got into IDPA, had a recent interaction which caused them to fear for their own or their families safety? etc. I’m looking for a direction or focus that motivated them to seek out a new challenge.
Once we have identified the area(s) we can begin to carve out a training path. Often times this path will have branches, small detours, and reversals, nothing is written in stone.Training paths are more of a framework to help a newly motivated firearms enthusiast to visualize the fundamental precursor classes as well as to priorities more specific intermediate and advanced training that is complementary to the basics and to their previously identified needs.
As cool as it looks on YouTube to attend an advanced run and gun class there needs to be a certain level of self-imposed restraint and maturity on the part of the student, conversely there should be the same evaluation from the instructor. There are plenty of instructors who will cater to the all-mighty dollar and won't hesitate to put novice into a role which should be filled by someone with much more training and experience.
It doesn't benefit a novice shooter to show up to a high speed - low drag - run and gun class or any advanced tactics class when they haven’t gotten a grasp on the basics- the fundamentals. There is nothing wrong with high speed low drag classes although some seem to market to the unaware, trying to sell the idea of learning to be an “operator” in just 3- to 5 days at one of these basic-advanced introduction to Delta Force tactics 101 classes - you’ll know the school may be questionable if they a purporting to take people with little or no prior training and put them into a course offering training with buzzwords like “operator”, “tier 1”, “black-ops”. As well as some type of tacticool-Fu which even includes rappelling --upside down while engaging “tangos” -- I think I just digressed into a whole other topic.
Back to the point, the point is that instructors use their own training and experience in order to provide guidance and context to the student in order to better set the student up to be successful in training.
We as trainers talk about being aware- condition orange, yellow, passion fruit, etc, etc; we need to ensure we aren't just going through the moves, (tactical pause--had to just do a search and assess, you never know when someone is creeping up behind while you are focused on writing an article), we as instructors also need to remember the contextual reason which motivated the student to seek a higher level of training in order to increase their personal firearms and tactics skill sets. Often times the student isn't just seeking to increase firearms skills in order to be a better IDPA competitor but rather to build their warrior skills in order to protect their loved ones as well as themselves.
Mini rant- It angers me to no end when I see people apologize or down play why they want to learn a skill which can be used to protect themselves or others from bad people. I feel firearms competitive sports are great. But don’t be ashamed to want to learn to be more proficient with a firearm solely for self-defense reasons. Being a warrior isn't a bad thing, we should all aspire to have that inner warrior mentality as well as physical and manipulative skills to allow us to be formidable as individuals. Pardon me, but being a pussy seems to be the “In” thing these days. Everyone wants their feelings to be considered or to have fair and equal treatment. You know who doesn't care about those things? Bad people, they don’t care one bit if you are weak because you have some “condition”, to the bad person you are the perfect prey. I hate YouTube videos, but I love seeing the underdog, the guy minding his own business knock out some Ass-hat that assumed this person would be easy pickings. Average response time for Police is 3-5 minutes. Either be funny and keep them laughing until someone shows up to save your ass or be self-reliant.
Being self-reliant and willing to protect yourself and loved ones must be the new socially unacceptable thing to be these days. Smoking- unacceptable, cursing- unacceptable, defending yourself -unacceptable. I’ll tell ya, if you have friends who are pushing you to feel as if you're a bad person for wanting to take care of yourself or your loved ones - then they really aren't friends - they’re pacifist assholes. <End Rant>
So to bring this full circle, those who are seeking training should have an idea of what they are preparing for. Are you a complete beginner? Intermediate? Advance? Be honest when making a self-assessment, in the end you are only cheating yourself and your loved ones by fooling yourself into thinking your proficiency is far beyond your reality.
We were all new to something at some point. Just own it. People who are humble and honest about self-realization of their skills seem to be much more apt to address the root of their challenges rather than feeding their self-inflated egos. Also, just because you are a guy doesn't mean you are born with an inherent firearms handling skill set built into your DNA. Funny enough I have found that women more often than not make the best students when it comes to firearms training, they don’t have the ego, you know the one, “that guy” who seems to know everything about guns but yet he can’t actually do any of the things he is talking about.
Basic classes will prepare you to move into the intermediate classes, then moving on into areas of specialization which is specific to the students stated needs. then revisit those basics often, keep the basic fundamentals razor sharp. The basics aren't basic because they are unimportant, the basics are the fundamentals. If you feel the basics are something that can be skipped because they are below you, then the point is lost on you. The basics are the building blocks from which all other higher level training is based off. If you start off with garbage you will end with garbage.
Below is an example of a training path that best met a clients needs. After talking with the client and identifying the type of training that best suited their needs, we then prioritized those areas into a framework. This isn’t written in stone and it can be changed or augmented at any time. This is just a good way of identifying the requirements and setting up initial milestones in order to guide the client to their final goal which is to attend and successfully complete the listed training and to maintain competency as well as manipulative skills.
High level goal:
be proficient with a handgun and knife in order to protect my family and I while at home as well as in public.
Training outline to meet goal:
Lets hear what you guys have to say-
How do you address training on your own? Do you seek out training groups or companies?