Friday, January 20, 2012

So – do I need some kind of training to carry a gun??

As one of our great American sages once said: “it depends on what the meaning of “training” is.

There are as many different kinds of shooting courses and there are instructors. I especially like the fierce looking guys with the “lion cut”, bald and dark wrap-around shooting glasses. I know some of those guys, and they are really good guys, but it is becoming so cliché I just can’t deal with it any more. Now I’m going bald, but it will be a few years. I spent enough time in the military that I simply can’t handle a “lion cut”. But I do love to teach shooting. So let’s detail some of the courses that are out there.

At the very lowest level, there is a simple ‘Firearms Safety” course. This is typically a 4-hour course used to meet the minimum requirements for a Concealed Carry Permit. They are usually about half firearm safety, introduction to handguns and a primer on basic shooting stance, grip and target acquisition. No shots are typically fired. The other half covers your local, state and federal firearm laws. People usually take these because they “want their permit”. I’ve taught a course like this for probably a couple hundred students over the past year. The course ends with the caution that the class in no way prepares them to actually use a firearm for personal defense and that they need to seek out additional training. I teach the 4-hour course simply because there is a demand for it.

Next up the ladder are the NRA courses, most of which we teach. They include Home Fire Arm Safety, Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home, Personal Protection Outside the Home and a number of courses for children under the “Eddie the Eagle” moniker. Your advantage in taking these classes is that the instructors have actually received instruction from an NRA accredited Training Counselor certified in each of these areas. As a student, this gives you some assurance the trainer didn’t just print up a bunch of business cards and set up shop. Also, their training material that is provided to the student is very good and can certainly provide solid refresher info on down the line.
All of them do a solid job of presenting the basics – safety, parts of the firearm, proper use and everything from an firing your first shot to a very complete and complex set of shooting drills.

Like many training companies, we have decided to offer two courses of our own design. They fit between the NRA Basic Pistol and a Tactical Shooting course such as Front Site. Courses like Front Site assure you they are for new shooters, yet the level of intensity is significantly higher than many new shooters care to step into. To fill this gap, we have created a “Defensive Pistol I” and a “Defensive Pistol II” course. DPI provides a short recap of firearms in general and firearm safety. We then move on to dry-fire training, from the compressed high-ready, to extension, target acquisition, target engagement and a return to a compressed hi-ready. Mixed in here is also speed reloads, tactical reloads and the basic mechanics of clearing malfunctions. Next the same dry-fire drills are repeated but a holster draw is integrated. There is no use of a concealment garment in DPI. The range work follows, with the same drills repeated in a live-fire environment beginning from the compressed high-ready and then moving to a holster draw. At the end of this course, the new shooter has a solid set of drills to practice, a good level of familiarity with “life on the range” and something to practice when they go to the range on their own.

Defensive Pistol II begins where DPI ended; expanding on the drills, working on malfunctions and integrating concealed carry. It is 20% Classroom and 80% range work.
And that is where we stop. There are excellent course available to take the shooter to a more tactical level. However, there are NOT many that prepare them for it – we view that as our purpose.

So, circling all the way back to the initial question, do I need some kind of training to carry a gun, the answer is obviously “Yes!”. This is the path e.IA.f.t. offers, we provide you the knowledge to safely and effectively carry your handgun. There are literally dozen of other training companies that offer their own blend of course work. Check us all out, determine where you are in your skill level and then take a class that will bump you up a level. Take something each and every year to make you a better shooter. And, along the way . . . .
Enjoy the journey.                                                      

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