Tag: Firearms Training

Member Post


I see a news report that the United States House has voted overwhelmingly (424-1) to pass a bill to block a Biden Administration interpretation of a provision in a 2022 law (Bipartisan Safer Communities Act) that removed federal funding for school programs that teach hunting, archery, and other firearms-related skills. While I disagree with the […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


“I think about it all the time,” Ford said of the shootings that plague his community. “That’s why I’m working with a concealed carry instructor and we’re going to go through the neighborhood and we’re going to encourage people to get their concealed carry license because it makes no sense for people not to have […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Banding Together, As Brothers

Gator Farms Tactical

Photo by Cory Board

Americans are constantly bombarded by the statistics “gun violence” here in our country, but what’s missing from the conversation is what those numbers really represent. The vast majority of deaths involving guns aren’t due to violent crime or school shootings or accidental discharges, the problem is suicide, and it’s a very big problem indeed.

Since 2008, the rate of gun suicides has risen 22 percent and is driving the increase in gun-related deaths. (Suicides make up almost two-thirds of all gun-related deaths.) Among children and teens in particular, the gun-suicide rate is up more than 76 percent. Although only a small percentage of suicide attempts are made with a firearm, more than half of all suicide deaths are carried out with one. The primary victims are older white men.

I’m No Annie Oakley!


Okay, I’ll admit it—at first glance, you might wonder why I’m writing about myself and guns. But we haven’t had a post from a woman in a while (where are you Barkha?) on using guns—if we women should be armed, why we would get training, and what are the benefits.

So here’s my experience; if anyone scares me with technical questions I can’t answer I’ll call out for @kevincreighton or @bossmongo to bail me out!

My consideration of having a gun began a couple years ago—my husband wanted to have one. But he only wanted to own a gun if I was trained to use it. (See how he tricked me?) I refused to even consider it for quite a while—guns had no appeal for me. Finally, I agreed to consider owning a gun. Coincidentally, we were having a south Florida meet-up that included—you’re right—Kevin Creighton. Kevin put no pressure on me at all but gave me reasons why I might want to consider being a gun owner. By the time we saw him at the next meet-up, we’d decided to make the move. (By the way, Kevin and Boss’ presence in no small way encouraged my husband to attend meet-ups.)

What to Look for in a Firearms Trainer


I constantly see signs by freeway exit ramps advertising concealed carry permit classes for ridiculously low prices. While I completely understand how money (or the lack thereof) can affect buying decisions, when you’re choosing a firearms instructor, you are choosing someone to teach you how to potentially save your life and the lives of those close to you. So, choosing the cheapest one available makes as much sense as choosing the cheapest skydiving instructor.

The minimum amount of training needed to teach concealed carry in many states is instructor certifications in NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home. This is the bare minimum, though, and a good instructor will have many, many more hours of classes beyond this. Aside from this minimum, what else should you look for in a good firearms trainer?

  1. Someone who lists their sources. I’ve taken classes from major training centers that never mention anyone other than the people associated with their school. They taught the Color Code without mentioning it was Col. Jeff Cooper who came up with that idea. They also taught the Weaver Stance without saying who invented it, giving their student the impression that everything we know about firearms training was their idea. The fact of the matter is everyone who trains people in the safe use of firearms owes a huge debt to those who have gone before us, and acknowledging that debt is a sign of a trainer who is interested in imparting knowledge, not creating followers.
  2. Someone who has multiple sources. The broader the trainer’s knowledge base, the more options they have to diagnose and correct a student’s issue with learning to shoot well. Also, trainers who have a wide variety of sources tend to come up with more innovative and effective training techniques because they are not hidebound to one way of thinking. Also, look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group, because that introduces an element of intellectual rigor and accountability into their teaching process.
  3. Someone with relevant training. I have nothing but the greatest respect for our military and law enforcement, but the jobs they perform are different than the job I have. The firearms training they receive, therefore, is to accomplish a different task than the task I need to accomplish. If the firearms instructor you’re considering has combat experience or is a seasoned police officer, that’s fine. Just make sure they also have training that augments what they’ve learned in the service and helps translate that service in a way that is useful to we armed citizens.
  4. Someone who competes on a regular basis. Nothing will show what is working and what needs improvement than shooting a practical pistol match. Even some of the most elite troops in the Army have learned that performing a simple task like hitting a target 10 yards away becomes a Herculean feat under the simulated stress of a timer and the gaze of your peers. Competing in a practical pistol match helps you apply what you learn in shooting class to a situation that more closely resembles the street because, as noted trainer Massad Ayoob once said, a shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight is most definitely a shooting match.
  5. Someone who encourages wider training. Simply put, any instructor who doesn’t encourage you to train with other trainers has his own best interests at heart, not yours. No one firearms instructor has this all figured out, and if your trainer is not comfortable with you learning from other instructors, he’s more worried about repeat business than the growth of his students.
  6. Someone who is also committed to learning. If the last class your instructor took was during the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), their techniques are probably not the ones you want to learn. An instructor who has recently taken classes from another instructor will have more current, effective teaching methods that use more modern theories of instructional learning and firearms technique.

Lastly, your instructor should focus on the teaching the students who are in his or her class, versus standing up in front of them and going through the motions. A firearms instructor who’s committed to excellence will also be committed to instilling that drive for excellence in his or her students, making them safer, more prepared gun owners.

Taking It Off the Streets


There’s been a tremendous increase in gun ownership in the past few years, but that gun-buying bubble will pop unless those new gun owners find something to do with their guns other than keeping them unloaded under their beds and hoping they will keep the bad guys away.

A gun is not a magical talisman of self-protection, and unless gun owners practice using their guns on a regular basis, especially under stressful conditions, their ability to use a gun effectively just won’t be there when they need it the most. More importantly, new gun owners need to have a gun near them if (God forbid) they need it to defend a life.

Quite honestly, the firearms training community is not doing a good job at teaching people how to carry a gun. When I went through my concealed carry class many years ago, my instructor said that only one in three people in his class would carry their gun on a regular basis, and now, after learning much more about the reality of firearms ownership in the United States, I’d say my instructor was overly optimistic.

Concealed Carry Dojos


Imagine how popular boxing would be if there was no such thing as shadow boxing, the heavy bag, or the speed bag. Instead, rather than have future boxers prepare outside the ring, boxing trainers would plop a pair of gloves onto anyone remotely interested in the sport and toss them into the ring for three rounds the first thing someone set foot in the gym.

Oh, and there’s no coaching from the outside the ropes either, because that’s a penalty for the boxer and coach if that happens. If our neophyte boxer is lucky, he/she will have a chance to watch a few other boxers go at it for a few rounds and figure out the rules of where to punch and what the pre- and post-match etiquette, and if they’re really lucky, they’ll have an experienced pugilist give them tips and pointers before their bout.

Other than that, it’s “Hey, welcome to boxing, kid, now go get into the ring!”

Buying a Gun Does Not Make You a “Responsible Gun Owner”…


…training, practice, and following the rules of gun safety make you a responsible gun owner.

Whether it was driven by a fear of a gun-grabbing Chief Executive or the fear of more crime in their communities, Americans bought guns in record numbers. As a result, 2016, like 2015 before it, was a banner year for gun sales in the United States.

As I’ve said before, buying a gun to protect yourself and your loved ones is one of the most grown-up decisions you can make your life because by buying a gun, learning how to use it, and keeping it handy, you are acknowledging that it is you yourself who will be the “first responder” to a crime, rather than a law enforcement officer.

Choosing Your First Firearms Training Class


nra-basic-pistol-safety-class-1If you’re one of the millions of people who recently purchased a firearm for the first time, congratulations and welcome to the ranks of American gun owners. Like the majority of modern gun owners, you probably bought a gun because you were concerned about self-defense or want to enjoy the shooting sports in some way. Buying a firearm for self-protection is one of the most adult things you can do, because it means you’ve realized that law enforcement personnel are not “first responders,” they’re actually second responders. The first responder to a crime scene is, and always will be, the victim of the crime itself.

If you are the victim of a violent crime, you will not receive a flash of inspiration from on high about the best way to use your gun to prevent injury or death. In order to save your life and possibly the lives of others around you, you’ll have to rely on your instincts and the training you’ve already received.

Think back to when you learned to drive a car: I grew up in Alberta, Canada, and I learned to drive a car during some rather horrible weather conditions. Black ice, zero-visibility snowstorms, howling winds … you name it, I had to deal with it during my first year of driving. Every minute we spend behind the wheel is somehow different, and every minute we are learning how to respond to the rapidly-changing world around us. This process of learning makes us safer, more-experienced drivers, and the more experience we have safely shooting our guns makes safer, more experienced gun owners.

Top Ten Signs You’ve Chosen a Bad CCW Instructor


‘From the home office in Paulden, Arizona, the Top Ten Signs You’ve Chosen a Bad CCW Instructor…

  • He starts off his safety speech by saying “Accidental discharges are something you need to get used to.”
  • He shows off his challenge coin from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
  • He spends more time complimenting your choice of camo gear than he does correcting your shooting stance.
  • He demonstrates techniques he learned from playing Call of Duty.
  • His class coursework on aiming your gun properly refers to “site picture”.
  • He’s wearing a drop leg holster. On his arm.
  • He’s proud of the fact he’s teaching like they did in the ’50s. The 1850s.
  • His talk on the legalities of carrying a firearm is “Shoot first, ask questions later” and nothing more.
  • He says he can’t pick up yours or anyone else’s guns because his felony conviction is still on appeal.

And the #1 sign you’ve chosen a bad CCW instructor…

Skill Drills For New Pistol Owners


shutterstock_89863252“You are what you practice.” — Ken Hackathorn

The gun business is booming. There were enough guns sold on Black Friday last year to equip the United States Marines (and a couple of extra Army divisions). However, there’s an annoying tendency within the firearms business community to view the sale of a firearm as the be-all, end-all of gun ownership, without helping the customer learn how to use their gun. The fact is, aside from collectors, very few people buy a gun just for the sake of owning one; rather, they buy with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose, according to a 2014 survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is target shooting and self-defense.

Today’s new target shooters tend to live in cities instead of in the country, so their access to large pistol bays or open land where shooting is permitted is limited at best. However, today’s urban gun owners can take advantage of the fast-growing phenomenon of the luxury gun range, or “guntry club,” shooting in a comfortable, well-lit indoor range, or shoot pistols from a bench at a public outdoor range.

Defending Against an Active Shooter


On his podcast last week, Michael Bane talked about altering our practice to accommodate the new reality of Islamic terrorism. In essence, we should prepare ourselves to deal with some of the same kind of things that Israel has been dealing with since about 1947 or so (Thankfully without the hordes of invading T-62′s for now, at least.).

Since at least the early ’70s, the paradigm in the United States for armed personal defense has been defending against street crime: Muggers and rapists were our greatest worry, not a re-creation of Charlie Hebdo on American soil. Sadly, those days are in the past. We’re no longer worried about the bad guy coming within bad-breath distance to do us harm, now we also need to worry about attackers with rifles whose intentions aren’t to rob us, but to kill us in the name of their god. Because there is nothing that an active shooter with a rifle wants from you besides your death, the distance of a potential deadly encounter is significantly increased, which affects how we practice and train with our defensive pistol.

Member Post


Kevin Creighton writes an outstanding series of articles on the Main Feed emphasizing firearms, concealed carry, training, and preparedness.  I started shooting sporting clays competitively in 2007 and after several months of frustration retained a coach and have been sold on professional training ever since. Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.