The past 20 years has seen the American firearm training world flooded with new instructors offering training. What was a selection of a dozen or so training schools has grown to over a hundred choices. Each school offers their version of what they consider to be best. How does one choose?
Firstly, there is no one training source that works for all students. Not everyone is a fit person in the prime of his or her life. In fact, most persons have physical limitations that affect their ability to participate in much of the training out there. What works for a 25 year old person fresh out of the military does not work for a 45 year old office worker. What works for a 40 year old fitness buff does not work for a 65 year old person with bad knees. So you have to consider age and physical abilities.
Secondly, skill levels have to be considered. I frequently encounter students who believe they have better skills than they actually do. I once had an advanced rifle student who became so incensed when I pointed out he was jerking the trigger that he wrote a scathing review. Many people think they are better shooters than they actually are, and that includes me. There is no need to take an advanced training course if you have basic level skills that need to be learned and practiced. An honest appraisal of your skill level is important.
So, how to choose? Realize your needs and limitations. The cool factor of doing figure eight drills in the 110 degree desert sun in full kit for an hour may not be your current cup of tea. Only you can honestly determine what level of adversity you can sustain. I no longer offer my intermediate and advanced courses during the winter. Why? Because students tend to mentally shut down in the cold and wet conditions. I’m not preparing them for SEAL BUD/S. I’m training them to shoot and retain what I teach.
I recently had a thirtyish instructor in a law enforcement course advise me to reposition a thumb and stop slouching, and it improved my presentation. That advice made the class well worth attending. Personal attention involving the basics. That’s a requirement for any class you attend. You won’t get it in a cattle herd class.
So my advice is to look for a school that has a ratio of actual instructors to students of no more than 1:5. Not range assistants. Actual skilled, experienced instructors. Look for a school that offers basic level courses as well as intermediate or advanced courses. There is no shame in taking a basic level class. Again. Then you have the foundation that school wants for you to take the “high speed” classes. Most importantly, honestly evaluate your current skill level and have a humble attitude when taking courses wherever that may be.