Firearms Training: Do You Really Need It?
I’m a huge proponent of taking a class to get into firearms and shooting sports. The benefits are enormous for both new and seasoned shooters. You’ll undoubtedly learn something in a quality course regardless of your experience.
Let’s face it, your first time going to a gun range can be daunting. Minding all the new rules, regulations, and safety precautions can be overwhelming. Signing up for a firearm training class with a reputable instructor can greatly ease that anxiety. Any instructor worth hiring will begin with an overview of range safety and check-in procedures followed by basic firearms safety instructions. This will make you more comfortable with the environment and the tools you are about to employ.
It can get frustrating to learn the basics if you don’t have quality instruction, and a good instructor will show you all the ins and outs that will help rapidly improve your shot grouping. They’ll be able to help you through various stances and exercises to discover which method works best for you and teach you about trigger squeeze, aiming points, and breathing which will all affect the accuracy of your shooting adventure.
Even some of the best shooters in the world still work with coaches to help refine their skills. I will occasionally take a class from a qualified instructor and undoubtedly learn something. It could be something as simple as a grip adjustment or a trigger squeeze technique, but I rarely come away without learning something that helps improve my shot groups and confidence with my firearm.
Some experienced shooters will not necessarily hire an instructor but rather join a gun club and attend meetings and events. This meets the intent, as you’ll now have access to plenty of people offering a plethora of information. Some will be valid, some will not, but it depends on your shooting style and goal. It will also usually allow you to try out different firearms and accessories. One thing I’ve learned about gun people, they love to share. Stories. Information. Experiences. They are almost always very willing and excited to welcome others into their world.
Finding a Coach
Finding an instructor is simple: ask the range or store staff. They usually have a list of people that offer instruction and courses and can help you find one that fits your needs. Look for instructors with certifications from the NRA or another reputable organization that shows the instructor has some credentialed experience. These organizations usually provide an introductory course for instructors to get certified and provide them with course criteria for elementary classes.
For experienced shooters looking for a personal coach, attend some events focused on the shooting style you’re interested in and talk to other shooters. Some of these other shooters have amazing coaching abilities or have already hired one in the past and can point you in the direction of a good coach.
Too Skilled For Coaching
I have a good friend who shoots competitively and has developed his skills to the point that he regularly receives sponsorships from major companies. How did he get to that point? He takes courses and hires coaches. He records all his matches and reviews them with his coach to find areas that could use improvement. Anything to give him a competitive advantage. This is a shooter at the top of his game, yet he still seeks coaching and takes the initiative to improve. So, if you think you’re too good for that, bluntly….you are wrong!
One thing about getting into firearms, you can always get better. So, don’t be afraid to take a course, sign up for a club, or even talk to people at events. It will make you a better shot, increase your confidence, make you safer, and make the whole experience even more enjoyable. Yes, you’re bound to encounter a few know-it-alls that think their way is the best, but you’ll probably find something they have to offer that you can use. Maybe it’s a handling technique, a shooting drill, or a cool new accessory you’ll try before adding it to your arsenal. You’ll get something from it.
MEET THE AUTHOR
With over two decades of experience in both civilian and military marksmanship programs, Teeps has developed a profound passion for shooting. Not only does he find great joy in introducing newcomers to the sport, but also continually seeks to expand his repertoire in the pursuit of shooting excellence.