Over the past several months, I’ve engaged many training industry professionals in a dialogue to move towards a clearer understanding, both for us and our students, of exactly what a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor is or how they conduct themselves. These conversations have taken place on the phone, via email, on a few ranges, in a at least a few bars, at a meeting held at SHOT Show and, most recently, during a presentation I gave on “Instructor Development & Professionalism” at The Rangemaster Tactical Conference in Memphis, TN. There were 40-50 people at the presentation and almost all of them were instructors. Some of their names you would recognize and I consider mentors and trailblazers, others have not had their 100th student yet and I might not even recognize if I see them next week.
During that presentation, we engaged in a bit of a discussion about the concept of “professionalism” and I proposed seven tenets that are the result of the last several months of interaction. By no means are these tenets my own creation, hatched in a dark study and delivered down from a pedestal. These are the ideals I strive for, certainly not ones I claim to have always met. They have grown from three bullet points that started in an email thread between myself, Grant Cunningham and Omari Broussard, two very different firearms instructors who are equally excellent and passionately interested in progress and professional development.
Those bullet points were re-written, shared, discussed, changed, added to, taken away from and reviewed by too many other contributors to list here. The list includes names like Robbie Barkman, John Farnam and Marty Hayes, guys who have been involved in the industry since its earliest days and guys like Chris Collins, who have only recently become recognized names amongst the firearms community. All of those contributors and contributions evolved the idea of a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor’s Code into the list of tenets that I presented last week and that are included at the end of this article.