Owning a firearm is more than just physically having a weapon at your disposal. In order to safely use a firearm that you own, it’s in your best interest to find an instructor or take classes at a training academy. This may sound easy enough, but some academies or instructors that exist are more likely to either hurt you or get you in trouble with the law than educate you and keep you safe. Therefore, you must find the right sort of training for you (for example, hunting versus home defense) and do your research before committing to any classes or training sessions. Here are some of the things you should be looking for when searching for a firearm instructor or training academy.
Anyone can take one or two classes and claim that they can teach others about firearm safety and usage. These are the types of people you want to avoid wholeheartedly, as you’re more likely to get hurt under this sort of instruction. Qualified instructors have more certifications than just being an NRA Basic Pistol Instructor and will continuously be trying to better themselves by taking more than one or two classes. A good instructor will actively be trying to continue their education.
Be wary of someone who is ex-military or an ex-military trainer, since military training is vastly different than civilian training. Using offensive military tactics as a civilian can get you in big trouble with the law, if not killed outright.
Testimonials and Reviews
Like with any service, it’s important to check past customers’ experiences before committing to anything. You’re likely to find these on their website, Facebook page, Google, or Yelp. Some even offer to connect you with former students to speak with regarding their firearm classes. Facebook business pages have reviews on by default, so if you see an academy’s Facebook page with the reviews turned off, consider that a red flag and steer clear.
There’s a difference between theoretical and practical knowledge, and that’s crucial when it comes to handling a weapon. Has this instructor been teaching for years, or a few months? How often are the classes offered? Likewise, what real-world experiences does this instructor have? Do they practice what they preach? Are they teaching defensive tactics as opposed to offensive tactics? Knowing these things will help determine whether or not your instructor knows what they’re doing, and whether or not what you’re taught will endanger you or save you.