The NRA PPOTH course, as I have stated in earlier AARs, is the NRA’s introduction to a concealed carry. To date – it is the most advanced shooting course they offer (in my opinion). The course I conducted over the weekend of May 2,3 is the last of the sequence I began in March beginning with PPITH – Instructor, PPOTH and finally the PPOTH – Instructor. All three, taken together, provide a solid foundation for instructor candidate of the foundations that must be – first – FULLY UNDERSTOOD – and then taught to those folks coming to an NRA instructor for course work designed to have them begin learning the skill set to defend themselves, their families and those in their charge both inside and outside the home.
For the PPOTH – Instructor course in particular, I spend a fair amount of time on instructor mindset. When a student comes to an instructor – they expect to learn the skillset as advertised – in this case those skills required that are foundational to protecting themselves while walking through everyday life. This includes everything from ways to carry their defensive firearm, to levels of awareness, types and uses of cover and concealment, how to avoid possible conflicts and, how to draw and use their defensive firearm in the protection of themselves, their families and those in their charge.
It is a very busy course, especially the “Advanced” version. That is the only version I teach. Frankly, the basic one is too “basic” when it comes to range work. The “Advanced” course provides a much better foundation as a starting point for students to build their defensive skill sets. For Instructor Candidates – it’s even busier. And, there is absolutely no guarantee a candidate will become an instructor. If you are reading this post with the idea of becoming a PPOTH Instructor – some thoughts before you find a course to enroll in . . .
Be a “shooter”. This means so much more than simply having your carry permit and hitting the range. From the NRA’s POV, you must be a BP Instructor, you must be a PPITH Instructor and you must have successfully completed the PPOTH course itself. This is no small feat – but also no guarantee that you are a “shooter” either. I expect every instructor to shoot multiple student drills throughout a course to provide first – a proper example early on in their course and, to build confidence in the instructor. There’s always a bit of “can you really shoot?” questioning of instructors at the beginning of range work by some of the students. This gets that out of the way as well as keeping an instructor on their toes. Be a shooter . . .
Know your firearm. Coming to any of these instructor courses is NOT the time to learn your firearm. It should be second nature. Clearing malfunctions should simply be “automatic”, being fast – accurate – and safe should be second nature, it should be an extension of your body and not something you are just beginning to carry.
You should shoot your carry piece. That’s the whole idea of this course work – to teach your students how to defend themselves, their family or those in your charge with the firearm you carry every day. As instructors – teach the course with your carry gun. Oh – and please don’t say something like “well, I’m just starting to carry – I haven’t decided on a carry gun yet.” If you don’t carry . . . how the heck can you evern begin to believe you can teach the dozens of little lifestyle changes your students will have to come to grips with as they begin to carry a defensive handgun??? Take another year, carry 24/7 (yes – that means having your firearm readily available in the middle of the night), travel with it, wear it everywhere you can legally each and every day, send a couple thousand rounds down range during that year . . . . then come back to the instructor course and learn how to teach the skills you now use on a daily basis.
Be aware of the magnitude of what you are going to be teaching. Folks are going to come to you to learn how to defend their life – the lives of their family – and the lives of anyone else in their charge. Take a deep breath and ponder that responsibility . . . they deserve the very best you have to offer.
This particular course had the opportunity to “fall off the rails” on me. There were three folks that were scheduled to finish out this last course in the sequence. Unfortunately one of them got yanked because of a work project. If this happens, you have two options as an instructor – pull the plug on the course – or find a solid solution. The solution I used was to pull in an earlier student of mine from other NRA courses and my own coursework to “flesh out” the classroom and the range work. We have a small (narrow) range here and with this type of work where you are just beginning to teach folks to draw – fewer shooters on the line are better. With a two lane rotation, it worked well to have the “guest” take up one lane and then have the candidates rotate between drills to run the range and the drill. You would think with fewer shooters it would go faster – it doesn’t. There are nearly 2 dozen drills to go through, learn, perfect and teach. No matter how you slice it between the “Basic” requirements and the “Advanced” requirements that’s a lot of range time . . . ya just have to deal with it.
So, with this approach in place, we moved the course work that began with the “presentation” of the firearm through all the range drills on day one – again because of weather. Spring – Iowa – and Murphy can really work you over on schedule. The second day was then the candidates conducting the remaining lecture. The disadvantage for candidates with a small class is that they spend much more time presenting the material. And that’s also the advantage – they spend much more time presenting the material.
This course was unique because it ended up women only – Lori and Bobbi. The final result – two brand-new instructors with a passion to teaching women in their communities the skills they need to defend themselves, their families and anyone else in their charge. They worked hard, shot well, had great command of the range and the range drills and did a great job presenting the course.
Good job ladies!