Just a general note to NRA Training Counselors . . . . If you teach a PPITH Instructor Course . . . and a PPOTH Instructor course . . . on consecutive weekends . . . it will kick your butt!! That said . . . let’s get to it!
One of my trainers on this NRA Trainer journey is Darin Van Van Ryswyk of “C.W.R. Firearms Training” of Ames, Iowa. He is one of the best trainers I have ever taken a course from. He is nice enough to ask me to assist with some of his courses when he needs an extra hand and such was the case this past weekend when he was conducting a “NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home” Instructor Course. Honestly, the advantage of “assisting” is that the majority of the load is NOT on you and . . . you get to work with other instructors and learn from them as you help teach the course. If you are an instructor reading this – that interaction, that drawing and learning from other instructors is the greatest advantage of team teaching. I enjoy it and I learn each and every time I do it.
The NRA PPOTH course is taught at two certification levels – Basic and Advanced. The difference – an additional 5 hours of range time for the Advanced certification. Honestly, given the subject matter – protecting your life outside the home – I only offer the Advanced level to students. And, that is what this instructor level course was.
Since all the instructors were current, the BIT – Basic Instructor Training – was not part of this course. It was conducted over two long and busy days!
Friday – Day One:
Friday began at 9 AM with general introductions and a broad brush review of the course and what would happen over the next two days. The major parts of the PPOTH course covers:
- Strategies for Personal Safety Outside the Home
- Carrying a Concealed Handgun and Presenting the Handgun From Concealment
- Developing Basic Defensive Shooting Skills
- Developing Concealed Carry Shooting Skills for Use Outside the Home
- Special Defensive Shooting Techniques
- Concealed Carry, Self-Defense (Note, this can ONLY BE TAUGHT by a certified LEO or Attorney familiar with the individual state’s laws)
To say there is a lot of “beef” is this course is an understatement. And, as I have said before, while many folks like to hammer on the NRA – they offer tremendous courses to teach the BASICS. And their “Basics of Personal Protection Outside the Home” is no exception.
The process of teaching NRA instructors – who have already taken the PPOTH course – revolves around developing their ability to teach the content contained in all of the major parts listed above. This is done by having them each individual sections through presentations, power points and demonstrations. Then, when each segment is done, they are fully critiqued by the Training Counselors presenting the training (in this case Darin and me) and by the other instructor candidates taking the course as well.
Honestly, there are just no shortcuts to this process. The T/Cs need to insure the candidates have a solid grasp of the information and possess the skills to teach it. And, the candidates need to know the information cold – and be able to teach it. It’s that simple. And, that difficult.
The day ended it the indoor range beneath the Ikes chapterhouse in Ames for low-light training. Part of the reality of being an instructor is realizing that you – too – can well and truly screw up a drill. As I did during the low light “demo”.
Load 2 mags – 6 rounds each. With lights out, use your flashlight to find the threat, engage with 2 rounds, repeat until both mags are empty. Each engagement is done on command .
“Clear?” “Yes sir!”
“Lights out . . . FIRE” I flash the threat – BANG,BANG!
FIRE! Flash the threat – BANG,BANG!
FIRE! Flash the threat – BANG,BANG! Slide lock . . . flashlight off . . . . reach for the spare mage in my left rear pocked . . . insert and flash the threat . . . CLICK! (crap!!) . . . slap,rack . . . Flash the threat . . . CLICK!! . . . cccrrrraaaaapppppp . . . .
And Darin stops my demo. Heavy sigh. Problem?? Cranial Rectal Insertion – CRT! I had placed my loaded mags in my left FRONT pocket rather than my EVERY FRICKING OTHER DAY OF THE WEEK left rear pocked. Heavy Sigh. I got my crap straight and finished the drill.
Moral? You will screw the pooch in front of your students. Fess up. Clear the issue. Repeat the demo properly. Happens to everyone – the real lesson is in your response as an instructor, in how you clear it and then doing a proper demo. And, it keeps you humble – get a big head and the “universe will kick you in the ass”. Just sayin’ . . .
Day two is all range work.
There are approximately 36 different drills used to teach new shooters different techniques for PPOTH. Instructors need to be intimately familiar with each of the and with how to teach them. Darin has access to a unique teaching tool . . . . live bodies. For the weekend there were two young ladies who were seniors at ISU. Each had a defensive weapon and carry permit. They got a days’ worth of free training on the range and our candidates got to instruct fairly new shooters rather than each other – it’s a great training tool!
Drills included general marksmanship, shooting from around cover, around corners, support hand only, dominant hand only, up close and personal and at distance. Below is an 8-minute video showing various drills and what they looked like.
For the candidates – it’s always cool to watch the improvement and the “command” of the drills from the first to the last. By the end of an 8 to 9 hour range day, the improvement is stark. For the young women being instructed – the same can be said. By the end of the day their stance was aggressive, their draws confident and clean and their hits were much more than “combat effective”.
It was a great two days for me personally. I enjoy working with Darin. I enjoy teaching new shooters and new instructors. And, the weather held giving us a cool day but a dry range.
So there you have it – yet another instructor course done . . . thanks Darin for the invitation to give you a hand. And for the candidates – good job, honestly – good job. As for the two young women – you did great! Thanks for giving us a hand and keep practicing your skill set, it may well protect your life some day!