Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of taking Massad Ayoob’s Lethal Force Institute course (LFI-1) in Live Oak, FL. For those who are interested in the class, I thought I’d post a brief review in an effort to assist others who may be considering enrolling.
First a little about us. We’ve both owned handguns for several years and are casual shooters, but neither of us has ever had any sort of formal pistol training other than the one day course required to get our Florida concealed carry permit. We both carry regularly, which is to say almost all the time except when circumstances prohibit it. We began talking about getting some additional training back in the summer and once she discovered Ayoob’s course and figured out who he was, my wife was adamant that if we were going to take a class, this was the one. Who was I to argue?
We thought the class itself was excellent. Admittedly this is the only firearm class we’ve ever taken so our frame of reference is limited in that regard, but we’re both instructors in other arenas so we are familiar with what makes a good class in general. Massad himself did the vast majority of the instruction, via both live lecture and videotape. He covered everything from legal definitions and appropriate use of deadly force, to how to interact with bystanders and police in the aftermath of a self defense shooting. He also brought in representatives from local Law Enforcement to discuss what we could expect from them if we ever were involved in a shooting, as well as the psychological aftermath we could expect from ourselves and how to deal with that. We were given every opportunity to ask questions and participate in discussions, and I took roughly 26 pages of notes during the entire course. At the end of the class we all took a written exam on the material covered.
On the range our instruction began with basic marksmanship including stance, grip, sight picture, trigger control and reloading. These things were all practiced individually and then they were compiled into more complex skills including a drill that required us to shoot with our eyes closed. In addition to some standard stances we also covered some crouching and kneeling positions. At the end of the class we were required to shoot a standard course of fire for qualification and score. Lastly we all participated in and observed a Tueller Drill where each member of the class sprinted 21 feet as fast as they could and all our times were recorded. This became part of our class notes.
Overall we thought the class was very well done and we learned a lot. In fact we’ve both made the observation that everyone who carries a firearm for self defense really ought to take this course (or it’s equivalent). The information covered was extremely valuable and the staff was very professional. In addition to the course material itself we gained some valuable contacts and friends. We’re already making plans to get out and practice the skills we learned and we're looking to take LFI-II next year as well.