Training Schools Run Down

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If you have a firearm, you need to train on it and with it, bottom line. A number of training options are out there in schools spread out across the country from the basic to advanced and extreme level.

Basic courses

Before you run you have to walk, and this means you need to get some basic classes under your belt, especially if you have no previous training. Through the NRA, you can find any number of firearms training opportunities from the basic to the intermediate levels. . You can go from novice 1 day NRA First Steps classes to NRA Basic Pistol classes to get the bare basics. Then you can progress to Personal Protection inside the Home, Personal Protection outside the Home and the new Defensive Pistol course. Each of these typically last 1-2 days, expend about 100-200 rounds each (sometimes more), and can usually be found within a one day drive of your home for under $200. For carbine users there is the Basic Rifle class but it should be remembered that this is very basic. The NRA offers Law Enforcement level classes but these are generally not offered to civilians in non-LE, non-armed security professions.

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Advanced courses

Once you have the basics down and are walking upright, now you can start running. There are a number of schools across the country that offers more high-speed classes for those shooters who have already passed through basic and intermediate level classes. These include such well-known academies as Thunder Ranch in Oregon, Gunsite in Arizona, and others. Many firearms manufacturers also offer high quality training to civilians such as the Sig Academy in New Hampshire and the Glock School in Georgia. However, these schools obviously cater to their factory's own firearm selection but this is not an issue if you already carry one of their guns.

The offerings from this level of school are multi-day classes and cost a significant investment in your skillset. For instance, Gunsite's Carbine course lasts 5 days, costs $1759, and you have to bring 1200-rounds of ammunition to burn through. What needs to be remembered is that these classes are world-renowned and are trusted by law enforcement agencies as well as advanced level armed civilians. Many of these schools offer programs on the GSA schedule to vouch for that fact.


Extreme courses

After the advance level classes have been exhausted and you still feel the need to go to the next level, there are a few top-level schools around the country that specialize in armed conflict training. Former US military special operations characters typically run these schools and the level of training offered is on par with first world military courses. In fact, most of these companies also operate private military contractors in places that end in 'Stan on both government and corporate contracts. In these, you can learn advanced driving techniques, pitting, evading, severe multi-threat engagement techniques and others. SCG International in Mississippi, the Gryphon Group in Florida, and Academi (formerly Xe, formerly Blackhawk) in North Carolina are examples of these schools. They are not cheap, running in the $1000-$2000 per week in addition to burning through a few thousand rounds of ammunition. However if you want to take your training to the next level and arent looking to join the military or professional law enforcement circles any time soon, these schools are your ultimate end point.

No matter what training you choose, it is imperative to get at least one or two certificates under your belt both for liability purposes ("What do you mean you don't have any training to carry that thing?") and for your own piece of mind. Remember, failure to train in training to fail.

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June 28, 2012  •  06:54 PM
I'm a proponent of training. It is irresponsible not to train on every single weapon you own. The sad thing is most believe or feel they are proficient enough and do not need training beyond a couple magazines at a static bullseye target at the indoor range every 6 months. Have I mentioned the word irresponsible yet? For most it's more about collecting or seeing who has the most firearms. When gun owners get a little extra money their first thought is of what firearm they can purchase when it should be how much ammunition will I need for the next class. It's a back-wards way of thinking for sure.

I am a former 11B and am fairly handy w/ a firearm but have started at the bottom w/ basic classes. Brushing up on the fundamentals is never a bad idea.

Classes alone are not enough however. I have been averaging 1 class a month but I still hit the range as much as possible between classes.

There's a saying, train until you can't get it wrong not until you get it right.
June 28, 2012  •  07:06 PM
Training is critical. But be damn careful where you go. some of these courses are taughyt by "wannabes" for wannabes.
July 3, 2012  •  10:15 AM
W/ what I see around the forum anything is probably better than nothing in most cases. But yes, there are some unsafe instructors out there.