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How to Select a Firearms Instructor

Firearms Legal

disassembled handgun

     One of the things we strongly recommend at Firearms Legal is for people to receive firearms training. Tactical combat shooting is not something that is intuitive but is rather a taught skill.

     With that in mind, how should you select a firearms instructor? Should you just sign up at your local range? Should you ask a family member or friend who likes guns to teach you? How do you know what makes one instructor better than another?


Here are a few tips on finding a good instructor:


1. Pick an instructor who meets your shooting needs – There are different types of shooting. Defensive shooting is different than competitive shooting which is different than hunting, etc. Find an instructor that teachings the type of shooting you want to learn.


2. Choose an instructor that has real world experience with that type of shooting – If I am wanting to learn to shoot competitively I’m going to select an instructor who is a competitive shooting champion. If I am wanting to learn how to defend myself against an attacker I’m going to choose an instructor who has actually seen combat, used a firearm on duty, or who has actually shot someone. There are a lot of “flat range commandos” out there who act as though they have done more than they actually have. Try to find someone with shooting experience in the real world.


3. Give preference to those with military or law enforcement training – Now, this is not a hard and fast rule. There are some really really talented shooting instructors who only have training in the civilian world. There are also great civilian instructors who have learned directly from military guys. However, as a general rule, it is usually better to select someone who has actually had to carry a firearm on duty or on deployment. Make sure that they actually were in a role where they received extensive training in firearms use. Many military occupations and even some law enforcement occupations are not gun related so when someone says they have a  “military background” you might want to make sure they have the pertinent experience you are looking for.


4. Avoid showy, flashy, arrogant, and overly complicated instructors – There are a lot of guys out there teaching techniques that look really slick and “tacti-cool.” However, how well will they work in the real world? Shootings in the real world are scary, difficult, messy, and dangerous. Choose an instructor who makes things simple, effective, and fundamental. Also, avoid arrogant instructors. Those who have actually had to shoot someone in combat have a humble sobriety about them. People who only ever shoot paper have a tendency to think killing someone is more glorious than it actually is.


5. Use an instructor who gives you good reasons for why they use particular techniques – A good instructor will give you alternate methods and techniques of doing something but then tell you why they recommend their technique. The instructor should let you know the “why” behind what they are teaching you.


6. Ask those who know a lot about firearms who they recommend – Talk to local police, military, or shooting experts in your area to ask which instructors and schools they recommend and why. It’s always better to get the advice of a few people before selecting an instructor.

Now, there are some exceptions to these rules above. Some arrogant instructors are really good teachers. Some people who have never been in combat have still learned how real life shootings work. But we hope these general rules give you some guidance in seeking firearms instruction.