One of the first things you should do if you are a new handgun
owner is to take a formal class. Not a lesson from your uncle, even though you
love and respect him. Instead, seek out a class taught by an instructor who not
only teaches regularly but attends classes from other reputable instructors.
Carrying a handgun every day requires not just the proficiency to
pull the trigger and hit a target, but to think holistically about how to
survive a violent attack. Sure, these classes are not cheap, and you may have
to travel a few hours to find one. However, there are great defensive-handgun classes for everyday concealed carriers that will not break the bank and will
open your eyes to the reality of gun-fighting.
If I have convinced you that signing up for a class is the right
thing to do great. But it can still be overwhelming to find a reputable
instructor in your area who offers a course that suits your skill level and
time-frame. It can also be intimidating trying to figure out what to bring and
what to expect. Below are some tips on how you can find an instructor, as well
as a list of things you can do to prepare for the upcoming class. After all,
you want to get the most out of your investment.
You are not going to find a firearms instructor in the yellow
pages if anyone even uses the book anymore. Social media sites like Facebook
and Instagram can help, but it may be tough to know which instructors are
reputable and which are not. Instead of price, look for things such as how
often the instructor is teaching. Better instructors are typically teaching
more often and instructing more students. Find out when the instructor last
attended a training class for personal development.
Preparing for the Class-
Call or email the instructor before the class and ask your
questions. Instructors would rather answer some questions beforehand than have
students show up unprepared. If the class listing does not have a gear list or
if there are questions, make sure to ask. Things like, how many magazines do
you need, what type of holster to use, how many rounds to bring, is lunch
provided or available are all important questions to ask.
If there are prerequisites make sure you meet them. Some
instructors will even send videos of the fundamentals the student should master
beforehand. It is important to read or watch whatever material the instructor
sends out. If you are wondering if your gear will meet the requirements reach
out to the instructor and ask.
What to Bring-
Do not go out and buy something specifically for the class if you
are unsure about what to buy. An example would be a class gear list that
requires a holster. If you are unsure about what type of holster or what makes
a good holster, first do some research. Second, ask the instructor. Sometimes
folks will buy things in a rush and end up regret their purchase because they did
not consult someone with a bit more knowledge.
Make sure your body is prepared. Get rest, eat breakfast, and
bring snacks and water. Being hungry and dehydrated can not only cause you to
be uncomfortable but could create a medical condition if you are going to be
training with any level of intensity. Make sure to check the weather forecast.
Prepare for rain, heat, or cold by dressing appropriately or bringing the right
During the Class-
Pay attention and ask questions. If you do not understand
something the instructor is saying, ask questions. You are paying money; you should
not leave with questions or confusion about topics covered.
Bring a notebook to take notes. You are likely not going to be
able to memorize everything the instructor says. There may be some key
principles that you can refer to next time you are at the range. By taking
notes, you can reference those things that helped you in the class.
Be open to learning something new, after all, isn’t that why you
are taking the class? If you have taken some training in the past, and you are
learning a new technique, try it out. It may or may not be best for you, and
there are different ways of doing things. But make sure you do not close
yourself off to getting better because you are stuck to the old way of doing
Finally, have fun. Talk to the other students in the class and
learn from each other. These people may be future range buddies and friends.
Furthermore, you are going to enjoy your class more, perform better, and
probably retain more information if you are enjoying yourself.
Now get out there and find a class that challenges you to be