Private instruction?

Private instruction?

This is a discussion on Private instruction? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I had my first firearms familiarization course two weeks ago that included an hour of range time. I had never shot with a handgun before ...

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Thread: Private instruction?

  1. #1
    Member Array bameroni's Avatar
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    Private instruction?

    I had my first firearms familiarization course two weeks ago that included an hour of range time. I had never shot with a handgun before that time (I used a fairly large Beretta 9mm) and the instructor thought I shot OK with pretty good aim. It had quite a kick and the gun felt big for my hands. The instructor was great and it was a fun and informative class. I learned to load a 17 rd magazine which was not as simple as one might think.

    My goal is to be able to acquire my first handgun, a CCW, and I have been advised to rent several types of handguns at the range to see what I am comfortable with. I wanted to get advice from this forum if they think that instead of starting my trial shooting by myself I instead go for some private instruction at the range - it's $50 per hour and they provide range time and a rental gun, I just pay for 100-200 rounds of ammo? I feel like I need to learn a little more about hands on with these firearms - not just shooting, but basic handling, effective concealing, counseling on what types of guns might be appropriate for my needs, maintaining the guns, etc.

    Do you think this l might be wise for me since I have such limited experience and do not know anyone with enough experience with firearms who I can consult? How many lessons might I need to take to effectively carry on by myself?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    I highly recommend that, at least to get you off the ground.

    It's easy to learn the right way, and it's very difficult to break bad habits. Get off on the right foot ! Just find a good instructor for shooting assistance.

    Here on DC we can counsel all of your other needs :)

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ditto +!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    I highly recommend that, at least to get you off the ground.

    It's easy to learn the right way, and it's very difficult to break bad habits. Get off on the right foot ! Just find a good instructor for shooting assistance.

    Here on DC we can counsel all of your other needs :)
    Ditto that, but you'll want to get school or instructor references such as his experience and whether or not he's at least NRA certified. A lot of guys are NRA and have military or law enforcement to bolster that. But there are a lot of wannabe mall ninjas out there so you'll want the best you can find. If he's well known in the local shooting community, that's a start. I also HIGHLY recommend that you join IDPA (http://www.idpa.com) and actually attend the matches and participate! They're a wonderful group of folks from all walks of life and many are NRA certified.

    The best advice of course is to attend a school that will bump you up to near pro levels. Like Gun-Site or Thunder Ranch or even Blackwater Worldwide up near you in Moyock NC. I'm taking a basic pistol course up there next spring. Not cheap but how much is your life worth? You get on the program with any of these schools and really absorb the training and then practice it in IDPA and you could approach serious SERIOUS skill set levels.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array McPatrickClan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bameroni View Post
    My goal is to be able to acquire my first handgun, a CCW, and I have been advised to rent several types of handguns at the range to see what I am comfortable with. I wanted to get advice from this forum if they think that instead of starting my trial shooting by myself I instead go for some private instruction at the range - it's $50 per hour and they provide range time and a rental gun, I just pay for 100-200 rounds of ammo?
    110%- YES. I was in just your position less than a year ago. I found a guy locally (in Ft. Worth, Texas) who is former military, instructs federal agents, etc. I called him up & judged him to be a polite, professional person who is a good listener (a must) and had the heart of a teacher not a dominating know-it-all.

    He was fantastic on the instruction. I can now say that there is no question in my mind- the lessons were worth every penny. He charged me about the same rate you quoted and we met three times for about 75 minutes each time. By the time I was finished, I knew what a good stance for marksmanship looked like, I had a grip that was sound, I stayed on my front sight & I could put five holes in center mass at about seven yards. Now, that's not much compared to the guys who are really skilled on these boards but that still puts me in the top 10% of all dads in America for safe, smart marksmanship skills to protect my family with.

    I am a huge fan of spending money on lessons before gear. You will love it. You will be able to pinpoint exactly where you made a mistake when you do and it will boost your confidence quite a bit. It makes you excited to shoot and once you master marksmanship to about 25 yards, you can move on to the stuff they tell me is really fun: tactical training.

    Have fun shooting- you will love it- it's a lifelong skill & sport!

  5. #5
    Member Array rhyfl's Avatar
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    I also would recommend USPSA as well as IDPA. Either of these organizations have local clubs with matches monthly. I introduced my 3 sons (15/13/12) into the use of pistols through our club last year. At first it can be a bit intimidating, but just go to observe at first.

    The folks are great and you can learn an awful lot. By talking to the club members you can probably find some very good local private instructors, which I would strongly recommend.

    By the way - my first introduction to pistol shooting was also with the 92 Barretta, which was my first handgun I purchased in college. There are a lot of other guns out there which you may find easier to shoot and more "user friendly". For example Smith&Wesson M&P's or a Glock.

    Good luck!
    No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

    Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Talking Actually....

    Quote Originally Posted by rhyfl View Post
    I also would recommend USPSA as well as IDPA. Either of these organizations have local clubs with matches monthly.
    IMHO, if an experienced shooter wants to engage in IPSC or USPSA to gain some valuable trigger time, then as long as he doesn't violate critical tactical doctrine, no problem. But you've got to know that IDPA was created to address the insufficiencies and inadequacy of USPSA/IPSC matches.

    Those organizations are chock full of the $3000 "race gun" with mounted optics and outlandish holster rigs and innumerable outwardly canted magazine holders making one appear to be something like a Porcupine with but a single line of spines around his body and about as unobtrusive. This is because IPSC shooters go thru so many rounds in a single string that it might be used as an IDPA qualifier. All of these are specifically forbidden in IDPA. IDPA is limited to a max expenditure of 18 rounds.

    I know so many IPSC shooters who are superb shots ... as long as they can use an optic. Show them iron sights and they're almost literally lost.

    Certainly not something remotely concealable. AFTER IDPA was formed (or maybe just prior seeing disaster looming) USPSA inserted a category that mandated stock guns. Too late. Too many weird habits have been inculcated into the IPSC mentality that drive IDPA folks nuts.

    The art of "gaming the course" where a course of fire is shown in a walk thru and the IPSC folks automatically begin to pantomime their actions from the beep. Simulating their draws and cover angles. It's similar to what parachutists do before they jump in formation, known as "dirt diving." This practice is strictly and specifically forbidden in IDPA because on the street you won't have time to know in advance how you'll handle a given situation.

    There is other miniscule stuff but the primary thing to remember is that USPSA is a game designed to BE a game. They've petitioned the US Olympic Committee to make it a part of the Olympics and to prove their sincerity they altered their targets by taking the "head" off the board so it no longer resembles a human being.

    While it's not perfect IDPA is as close to training for self defense most folks will ever be able to approach aside from military duty or attending one of the premier shooting schools like GUN SITE, THUNDER RANCH or BLACKWATER.

    For example when I teach a novice to handle a gun for their concealed permit I advocate that they pick a specific and comfortable mode of carry and then stick to that only for a long time, perhaps years. This is to give your muscles a chance to build "memory" by repeating the draw sequence and other actions many times (like the tactical reload).

    Experienced shooters can transition between IWB/OWB strong side or cross draw as easy as breathing. Most can also transition between either a rifle or a shotgun and a handgun as easily. Each of those weapons has individual and different actions needed to load and employ them tactically. Mind you anybody can learn these easily. But to master them takes years.

    SO if you're just learning then learn to protect yourself and how to handle tactical problem solving in IDPA. LATER you can enjoy IPSC/USPSA as a sport. But don't do them at the same time, since blending the doctrine is confusing and employing that fused doctrine in a real situation and it might prove lethal. To you. But still, this is only MHO. My .02. Feel free to ignore.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  7. #7
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    Open up a new forum thread in Member Meeting Place and ask if any forum members living close to you in GA will shoot with you and let you try out a few of their handguns.
    If you pay for the ammo I'm certain that some member will jump at the chance to give you some trigger time with their firearms.

    It's worth giving it a try.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    Here's some sage advice. You can join either IDPA or IPSC to learn safe gun handling under some duress. just understand that both are games, nothing more.

    The best pure shooters around all come out of IPSC, hands down. Yes, they throw tactical rules to the wind, but there are many more Masters in IPSC out there that can shoot very well with iron sights, well enough to embarass 99.9% of the IDPA shooters at the range.

    I am not by any means defending IPSC, because I stopped shooting with that bunch back in 2002 because of the crybaby factor. That, and I realized that the "M" card I earned way back when wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. IDPA started out well intended, but as it happened with IPSC, the gamers started creeping in. Now folks are starting to shoot 1911s in 9mm to gain an advantage. But please don't mistake my meaning, both sports will teach you how to shoot a handgun faster and more accurately than you ever have before.

    just remember that they are games, and nothing you would ever bet your life on. If you want to learn how to fight with a gun, you need to seek professional instruction from folks who have actually thrown lead and had it thrown back at them. That is my advice to you.....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Exclamation Great Idea! +1

    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Open up a new forum thread in Member Meeting Place and ask if any forum members living close to you in GA will shoot with you and let you try out a few of their handguns.
    If you pay for the ammo I'm certain that some member will jump at the chance to give you some trigger time with their firearms.

    It's worth giving it a try.
    That's a GREAT idea! I met with forum member ROCNERD & his lady the year before last IIRC and he gave me trigger time on his Sig P229 SAS. The results of that foray are in my gallery here. I was able to try his gun in two calibers by swapping the barrels (357 Sig & 40) which was quite a treat for me.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Wink What you say is true ....

    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    IDPA started out well intended, but as it happened with IPSC, the gamers started creeping in. Now folks are starting to shoot 1911s in 9mm to gain an advantage. But please don't mistake my meaning, both sports will teach you how to shoot a handgun faster and more accurately than you ever have before.

    just remember that they are games, and nothing you would ever bet your life on. If you want to learn how to fight with a gun, you need to seek professional instruction from folks who have actually thrown lead and had it thrown back at them. That is my advice to you.....
    What you say is true, yet I find that IDPA has some more resistance to the gamers, although that may be on a club by club basis. Also remember that VERY few ordinary folks are going to shell out the $$$ or the time to go and train with the super stars at Thunder Ranch or Gun Site. Life comes first and that's family and work and etc. But most rudimentary shooters can find a weekend and drop $30 to shoot with a club. If I had to choose, I'd say that IDPA comes closer in the SPIRIT of self defense than IPSC/USPSA.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bameroni View Post
    Do you think this l might be wise for me since I have such limited experience and do not know anyone with enough experience with firearms who I can consult? How many lessons might I need to take to effectively carry on by myself?
    I do not think you could possibly do anything wiser. As far as number of lessons that would be up to you how good is your teacher how good are you what level of proficiency is going to be adequate for you. Shooting is a life time process.
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    I've been an NRA Instructor for 20 years. In all that time, the people who come to me for instruction mostly want the paperwork completed along with the state mandated class. Sometimes they want to sharpen their shooting skills and more than a few times I teach couples who've made the decision to move from SHEEP status to SHEEPDOG status. When this is the case 9 out of 10 times this is what I see:

    The wife hangs on every word, takes studious notes and asks frequent questions. She is the sponge for information that I wish my high school students were when we discuss American government. OTOH, the hubby is listening with one ear and half asleep. Why? Simple. 99% of all guys are convinced that the mere status of being male qualifies them as experts in three subjects. Care to guess? If you said cars, women and guns you'd be spot on.

    Result? We get out to the range. I bring each one to the firing line, separately and run through the firing procedures just as we've already practiced, dry fire, with no ammo in the room. And you know what? Hubby looks like Barney Fife with similar accuracy on the paper. But the wife, she's Annie Oakley with nice tight groups centered. Hubby gets defensive and says the the sun is in my eyes. Nice trick on an indoor range. I usually take him aside and quickly tell him what he should have learned before and when he listens this time, his groups get much better. But you know the wife is going to be smug for a very long time. It usually takes just one trip to the range and that is mostly for me to verify that the lessons took hold. Because I refuse to let anybody that I trained to be out on the street with a loaded gun unless I can feel that they're as competent as I can make them.

    Once in a great while along comes a person who really wants to take it to the next level. I had one of those a couple of years ago. I'm standing next to a guy and his buddy at a gun show and he's pretty obviously a novice. I try to use these opportunities to offer sound advice and then I hand out my business cards. That's my only advertising. So I do that this time and they guy wants to go for it. REALLY GO FOR IT.

    So I take him thru a basic simple progression just like always as he masters a step, we move on to the next level. Starting with a 22 I move him up steadily to a 9mm then 38sp then 40 and 45. He's got to show me dedication and progression just like my high school students. Each time, we have class time then take a trip to the range. Now I only charge him for the FIRST lesson and stipulate that he pick up range fees, ammo and lunch. That's all. But I make it clear that I'll accept tips, whatever he thinks my instruction is worth. The very first time, we take his Ford Sport-Trac to the range. All well and good. The next time, he says to me:

    "The truck is in the shop. Mind if we take the FERRARI?" "S-s-sure!" I stammer.

    Thereafter he is tipping me $100 per session. I won't say how many sessions we go. But his business (legal, too; owns his own group of businesses that sell huge health insurance plans for corporations or something) suddenly kicks into high gear again and he asks me to go to a gun show with him. As a final tip, he buys me a S&W M642 38sp. He pays, I fill out the Form 4473. It's my gun.

    I still have it and will always treasure that gun. I took him from the level of novice to what is very good and he was appreciative of that which he knew to be valid instruction. Folks like that are rare.

    He could have easily afforded instruction that makes my knowledge base look sick.... He could have gone to Thunder Ranch or Black Water. He chose my skills not so much for the actual experience but rather for my teaching skills. I am an award winning teacher at the senior high level, so my pedagogy is very good. Let's put it this way, when it comes to teaching skills I'm at the top of my game.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  13. #13
    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    By all means pay for a few lessons. But, be sure that your not paying fifty dollars an hour for information that you could have learned by getting a book from the library, or asking a question on this forum.

    I'm not saying that you can learn everything there is to learn from the library. I'm just saying that somebody could milk you of your money, teaching you things that you could have very easily learned elsewhere.

    Assuming that you can't afford to hire your own former delta force/private investigator/ninja, full time; I would make sure the class focused on the basics. Mostly operation of the weapon. Including;

    1. Safety
    2. Nomenclature
    3. Function
    4. Assembly and Dissassembly
    5. Load and unload
    6. Marksmanship
    7. Reloads
    8. Malfunction drills

    This is not an exclusive list, it just gives you an idea of basic skills. I know that your basic CCW class covers laws, but aside form that, you can learn all of that stuff on your own time for a lot less money. And their are several books on mindset, tactics and topics such as these.

    Do I think that you HAVE to take lessons to be "high speed low drag" with a weapon? No. But it would help a lot.

  14. #14
    Member Array Slabsides45's Avatar
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    Definitely get the classes!

    Great advice given so far. Check around with multiple folks in your area, and get references before you commit. Some guys talk a good game, and that's as good as they get. I'd rather have someone lacking in certain social skills, but able to teach me the necessary functions, than someone to tell me I'm really getting good when I look like an albatross doing the breaststroke on my draw technique! You ought to be able to find a list of folks (at least names) from an online search and then do your due diligence. If you can't, then get the opinion of the guys who are nationally recognized-just call them and ask who is decent in your area. Unless you're a total jerkbait, or you're close enough that you should be using them anyhow, most would likely share their thoughts on who they respect in your area, if they know.

    The other part is, don't think that private lessons will take the place of mental functions on your part, and practice, practice, practice. Tom Givens teaches in his classes that research indicates that when it comes to reacting properly in a life threatening situation, the thing that matters is when the LAST time was that you practiced, not how often you practice. So if you practice once a week at the range, you might not react as well as if you'd been doing dry fire exercises every other day at home.... Food for thought from a guy who knows his bidness!

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSoldier View Post
    so my pedagogy is very good.
    Had to look it up. Seems that is who they want teaching at Thunder Ranch etc. Might be a fun career move.
    Abort the Obamanation not the Constitution

    Those who would, deny, require permit, license, certification, or authorization for me to bear arms are as vile, dangerous & evil as those who would molest, abuse, assault, rape or murder my family

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