Most reputable school in the U.S.?
I'm looking to get some of the best, most reputable training in pistol, shotgun, carbine, rifle in the country.
I would like to become an instructor for hire here in florida and my long term plans are to have my own outdoor gun range, with plans to eventually build this range into a similar facility to a Gunsite or Thunderranch...complete with playhouses, simulators, etc...I'm already in process of finding the land and investors.
This will be a long journey, but will be a journey of love;)
I was wondering about opinions though, from members of this board. If you were to get instruction, what kind of qualifications would you look for?
Previous experience with what school?
I graduated marksman first class from basic pistol at Gunsite back in the early nineties.
I've taken a few classes since then here and there locally here in florida, but so far have not found anything even close to the level of a Gunsite.
Now, I will get the NRA range safety cert, and maybe other NRA instructor certs, but I dont know that these hold the same level of prestige.
I'd mostly be looking for practical experience from the military or law enforcement communities. Everything else is just armchair commandoing.
You can't teach someone how to drive a car just because you read a book on it once. Without countless hours behind the wheel of a car, you're not competent enough to teach someone how to drive. It's that simple.
If you want to make money in the training realm, you need to follow the lead of the existing schools.
First off, the training is going to come second. Like it, or not, the training is going to be why they come there, but not where you are going to make your money back.
You need lodging, and food/drink, to turn the profit you are going to need to be able to pay the guys who are going to be conducting the training. You need to plan on having swag that they can only get from you to "prove" they were there to all their friends and cohorts. Stuff like that.
NRA certifications are nice, 10 years as a basic firerarms instructor is good also. BUT, if you want to capture the market, you need a handful of proven operators that can point to 12 years in "The Teams" and 8 to 10 years with "such & such" SWAT.
Your target SWAT / Special Teams / and Military units, if you are lucky enough to pull it off, aren't going to be coming to your school for basic firearms instruction. It doesn't matter if you have the best facilities on Earth, if half of your class is shaking their head and laughing at the instructor because he has never been in the field and can't speak from "experience" your chances of good reviews and repeat customers is going to be pretty low.
I been to Thunder Ranch & Valhalla. I would go back to Valhalla in a heartbeat. Thunder Ranch, not if I am paying for it....;)
There is also Frontsight and the Sig Academy.
However, dont think it is the end all/be all;)
I am an ex-cop and can tell you that most of the police officers I shot with were not very good.
After getting the firearms award at the academy (and having the range master there tell me I was the best handgunner he had seen in 25 yrs of instruction) I went to work for two separate departments over a 4 yr period before retiring.
I was the top gun at both departments, and one was over 150 officers strong. And yes, that includes the swat teams:rolleyes:
I dont have any experience in the military.
However, when I went to gunsite there was a SEAL team there training. They were pretty good, but not better than me or my buddy. And from what I understood these guys did a LOT of shooting.
Why isnt law enforcement or military an instant qualification of competence with a firearm?
Because they will never be able to compete with a hobbyist.
The hobbyist loves the sport (whether it be combat handgun, tactical carbine, etc.). He lives, breathes, and eats it and is happiest only when runnin' and gunnin'.
Sorry, but a couple of weeks of firearms training in boot camp or the academy will NEVER be able to compete. Yes, the SWAT and special teams in the military get much more training. But anyone can get this same level of training.
The other thing to consider is, at least back in the day, the military used to send it's elite troops, such as SEAL, Ranger, etc. to schools like Gunsite. They did this for a reason.
So yes, the hobbyist CAN get the same training as even the top tier military/law enforcement personnel.
Ya know, writing this post reminds me of when my buddy and I used to go to the local range down in south florida for the weekly 5 pin shoots and tactical handgun competitions. Long before I was even thinking about being a cop, we used to shoot with many local law enforcement guys including two guys from the swat team.
My buddy and I would win every single time and walk away with gift certificates to the range. Paid for our ammo every week:D
The tactical comps were similar to IPSC and IDPA.
I know there are great shooters in the military/law enforcement. However, I do think there are plenty of misconceptions out there.
But, you may be right. Most people may be more concerned with your past military/law enforcement experience as opposed to level of training and skill.
To be clear, this range I will be building will simply start out as a regular outdoor range.
As I build the business, I will look to expand. I'll start doing basic firearms instruction.
Then, I will look to build funhouses and simulators. This will be a few years into the project at least. Of course, I would make sure the instructors are equivalent to a Gunsite or Frontsight or whoever.
I'm hoping to have a 600 or even a 1000 yard rifle range. I have a good friend who competes in the long range stuff with lots of training, incredible talent, and the ability to verbalize proper technique very well.
Right now, I'm looking to expand on the training I already have.
I agree that having vending machines on site, a small shop with shooting essentials like eyes, ears and ammo, etc. is a great way to add income. These are all things we have planned.
I'm still researching insurance, berm design, EPA lead protocol, etc...Not to mention zoning for an outdoor shooting range and location/proximity to neighbors, etc...
Mostly this is a really good excuse for the wife for me to go attend some of our nations top small arms training facilities:D
thanks for all the advice.
What was it about Thunder Ranch you disliked?
What was it about Valhalla you liked?
You either post some proof of these shooting skills, skills that outclass an undisclosed SeAL TEAM, or you move on to other threads that don't involve outrageous claims.
I know a former SeAL - he was on Team 2, and Team 3. He is also one of the BEST SHOTS I have ever seen. He is double distinguished in Rifle and he is flat out one of the best shots with a handgun I have ever seen live!
I have been to Thunder Ranch and I have been to Valhalla - so I know the difference, plus I spend a lot of time around the guy and he isn't talk, this guy is hardcore.
You want to talk about being as good, or better, as an undisclosed SeAL Team, I want proof.....
There were plenty of Alpha Males at Thunder Ranch, that was never in question, but never was there any "connection" with any of them.
At Valhalla, I had one instructor, even though other people were going through the same training. I had an instructor that assessed my skills, worked with my skills, and spent his time with me.
I also spent time talking with, and drinking with later, Rob Pincus, who was the lead instructor and Director of Operations for Valhalla.
Valhalla had a State of the Art facility, and I had input on the training, along with what I wanted to work on with my specific weapon and skill set.
I never felt that I was one box in an assembly line, and that made a world of difference for me.
If my buddy and I would have shot side by side with that team, we would have held our own.
Now, there WAS a guy there who was better than me. But, he was a marine and he wasnt good because he was a marine, but because his father got him into shooting from a young age.
What is it about your SEAL team friend that makes him so "hardcore"? Do you think he is more hardcore than an hobbyist can be? How is he the best handgunner you have ever seen? Speed on target? What exactly?
Here is a bio about Rob Leatham, who used to be someone I would watch back in the day....
Notice he was never in the military or law enforcement. Perhaps he is not hardcore?
Is your SEAL team buddy better than Rob? Are you saying there is little chance of anyone being better than a SEAL?
Also, are all SEAL members created equally with regards to smallarms? Are some more passionate about it than others?
I also knew a former SEAL in college. At the time I was heavily into handguns and I remember many a conversation with him about shooting. It is funny because he had long hair and looked more like a surfer than a former SEAL. He also did little shooting before he was a SEAL and hadnt shot at all after leaving the military.
People tend to make these blanket statements and assumptions, but reality can be much different.
Now we can get into a discussion about competition and reality. We can discuss what makes a great handgunner. We can even attempt to come up with the perfect competition/simulator/training that most closely relates to the real world;)
proof? Well I have no idea how I can provide proof for an event that occurred nearly 20 years ago;)
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