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Thread: Do you know quality training?

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    That's all fine and dandy, but I do lean strongly towards standing by my speculation that if you're getting half of your classes for free due to these AAR's, you have unreasonably high expectations. Still an observation worth what you paid for it. I only made the observation in the first place because you represented yourself as open to input. I saw the part of your response to someone else where you speculated that the rest of us are just content with mediocrity. Yep, or you're not content with reality. Could be either, right?

    It kind of sounds to me like you've come to a place where you have a vision of what training ought to be like, objectively speaking, and you recognize that it's not available as such out there. So the obvious move is to start offering training, and raise the standard of professionalism out there.

    Well now if we want to be serious and not just put quotes around everything.

    I whole heartedly think a great deal of guys are never measured against others from a standardized perspective. So there acceptance of mediocrity is absolutely true.

    Eta: if we want to be realistic. Just carrying a gun increases your chances of survival. Hell....20 mins of mild cardiovascular activity increases your survivability by a bunch. However given you are a member of a gun forum, you are probably looking for more than the raisen bran answer.
    Last edited by KEW8338; 03-14-2021 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by revchuck38 View Post
    @rob_s - Admin stuff is important. When you get to the range, the targets should be set up, the trainer should have any paperwork you need to fill out ready and waiting for you, the safety/first aid brief should be clear and succinct, assignments for medic/driver/whatever should be made, and any range-specific details should be brought out. The trainer should have an outline of what the class will cover broken down by subject or time. S/he should have a plan on what to do if dangerous weather appears and have that training in his/her hip pocket, ditto if the class ends up being all good, attentive shooters and gets done with the planned training early. Pre-class communication (emails and such) should be answered promptly and professionally.

    This ain't rocket surgery, it's a minimum level of professionalism. We pay these folks $100-300/day and a full line will have 8-12 shooters, so it's not like they're doing it for charity.
    Gabe White has this down to an art form! A most excellent instructor, and course!

  3. #63
    In keeping with the above post, I think looking for an instructor who actually demos his shooting drills is important too.


    If an instructor can't get himself out of Sharpshooter in IDPA for instance, he really doesn't have any business seeking out students to impart shooting skills to IMO. "Instructors" of a caliber like that should be focusing on being students and building their own skill not claiming expertise.


    On the other end of the spectrum, you have guys like Gabe White and Scott Jedlinski who demo their drills and standards to show you what is actually possible with proper mechanics and dedicated training. Their willingness to demonstrate skill, speed, and mechanics to their students helps inspire improved performance by continuously showing it to be real world attainable to real people.

  4. #64
    Unreconstructed Moylan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTacTravis View Post
    In keeping with the above post, I think looking for an instructor who actually demos his shooting drills is important too.


    If an instructor can't get himself out of Sharpshooter in IDPA for instance, he really doesn't have any business seeking out students to impart shooting skills to IMO. "Instructors" of a caliber like that should be focusing on being students and building their own skill not claiming expertise.
    I'm not so sure about this. First, I actually think IDPA sharpshooter would be a great goal for our front line instructors to hold themselves to. How many concealed carry instructors out there can shoot at an IDPA sharpshooter level? I wouldn't have a guess based on any kind of evidence, but I suspect it's a pretty low percentage. I think I've read that there's a rough correlation between IDPA sharpshooter and USPSA C class. I would think that would be a high enough level of proficiency to allow the instructor to actually demonstrate basic shooting skills reasonably well, and probably pass along a reasonable grasp of the fundamentals to beginner students.

    Once an instructor wants to start teaching any higher level "defensive handgun" classes, then I would agree that he should face higher expectations of training background and such. But what is the level of pure shooting skill that's required in realistic defensive shooting situations? Surely, we don't need .18 splits or sub-second draws. Someone who can draw and make down zero hits at 7 yards in 1.5-2.0, with splits at something like .3, is probably in pretty good shape. And I don't know how to correlate isolated skills like that with a ranking, but I would imagine that kind of skill level would likely translate to somewhere around sharpshooter. My point is: how good do you really have to be at pure shooting skills to be an effective defensive handgun instructor. And I'm not sure the answer is USPSA M or higher (or whatever). I actually feel like IDPA marksman isn't a bad standard.

    Now, a well-trained person who is going to spring for a two-day Gabe White class, or a Mike Pannone class, or whatever, is the sort of person who is looking for instructors who meet much higher standards than the minimum. And it's a treat that there are so many amazingly excellent instructors out there who can take those higher-performing students on and continue to teach and mentor them. But when someone is just starting out in training and taking a first defensive pistol class, I think a pretty lowish level instructor can be just what the doctor ordered. I'd say absence of derp is much more important than presence of a high level of pure shooting skill.

    In short, my inclination is to strongly encourage serious guys who are decent shooters and intelligent and capable as instructors to get on out there and start teaching, because far too many of the front line instructors are just a mess.
    O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    I'm not so sure about this...
    Someone who can draw and make down zero hits at 7 yards in 1.5-2.0, with splits at something like .3, is probably in pretty good shape. And I don't know how to correlate isolated skills like that with a ranking, but I would imagine that kind of skill level would likely translate to somewhere around sharpshooter.
    That's a good initial early goal for a beginner student. For an instructor? That's a pretty low bar. For reference, I'd owned a pistol for all of 4 months before I could do that cold at least 9 of 10 times. I know because it was a one of my early range range training sessions when I'd owned a holster for less than a month (par set at 1.5 missed once for a 1.64). I'd fired less than 1k lifetime rounds and went to the range once per week. I'd have been pretty sad to pay someone for instruction to find I was outshooting them as a such a raw new shooter.

    At the time I considered it "good progress" for my length of time shooting but certainly not "excellent" even for a beginner, not remarkable for anyone really trying, and certainly not ready to take money from people to teach them shooting.

    Since reading P/F I've seen several brand new shooters come on the board with targets better than I could have put down indicating they were developing faster than me despite being even newer than I was (I don't mean just new members here I mean brand new to shooting period.)

    A basic bar for a paid instructor is "Hey, I'm good enough to be doing this for money." And "if you give me money I can help make you good too." If first year students can routinely run circles around an instructor you'd have to wonder who should be paying who for the class then. An instructor's credibility rests at least partly on the skills they have developed in themselves. Poor shooting skills = poor credibility for the instructor IMO.

    I'm assuming that even at a basic level of instruction someone should have been shooting for at least 2-3 years before deciding to take money to teach others. And if you haven't put in the time over that 2-3 years to develop past Sharpshooter, that's fine, but you certainly wouldn't be devoted or skilled enough to start taking on students. There's almost a Catch 22. If someone hasn't put in the practice to get better than such a minimal standard, what kind of standard are they going to hold their instruction to?


    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    My point is: how good do you really have to be at pure shooting skills to be an effective defensive handgun instructor. And I'm not sure the answer is USPSA M or higher (or whatever). I actually feel like IDPA marksman isn't a bad standard.
    IDPA marksman is either some VERY fumbly times, tons of aiming time, or a LOT of bad hits. Again, this is someone who is a new learner not an experienced instructor. This level of shooter should be paying a qualified instructor to help them on their hits or practicing on their own, not putting their skills out for hire.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    I'd say absence of derp is much more important than presence of a high level of pure shooting skill.
    I'd say being an IDPA Marksman and putting oneself out there as an instructor to hire is a sure sign of the presence of derp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    In short, my inclination is to strongly encourage serious guys who are decent shooters and intelligent and capable as instructors to get on out there and start teaching, because far too many of the front line instructors are just a mess.
    I agree. But if you can't make it out of Sharpshooter in 2-3 years, let alone Marksman, you don't qualify as a "serious guy" or "decent shooter" with respect to taking a seat at the instructors table. Giving a buddy a couple of tips, maybe. But taking money from strangers to teach them?

  6. #66
    Unreconstructed Moylan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoTacTravis View Post
    That's a good initial early goal for a beginner student. For an instructor? That's a pretty low bar.
    I won't do a long reply because I'm pushing the thread drift here already. But three quick responses. First, late in my post I made a misstatement about "marksman" where I mean to continue saying "sharpshooter."

    Second, asking front line instructors to shoot at a sharpshooter level really isn't a low bar: I suspect that the majority of basic level instructors couldn't shoot at a sharpshooter level. Like I said originally, I don't actually have good evidence to support this, it's just a guess based on my own limited experience and such.

    Third, you are not the norm, and holding yourself up as an example is consequently misleading. PF has nothing to do with the realities of gun culture out there, in my experience. People don't buy guns and then push themselves to learn to shoot well. People buy guns and plink if indeed they ever bother to go to the range at all. When they go for their basic firearms training, they don't need an instructor who can teach them to shoot rapid double taps. They need an instructor who can teach them how to safely draw, safely holster, safely handle the gun, safely load and unload, etc. They are not shooters and aren't going to become shooters. They're the average gun owner. And if a serious minded person who can shoot at sharpshooter level and is not a moron decides to get certified to teach them basic pistol classes, I'm a big fan. I think it might help you to see where I'm coming from if you head out to an NRA basic pistol class, or pick a random local concealed carry class. Watch the level of the gun handling among the students during the live fire portion. Watch how they don't know how to hold the thing, don't know how to load it, don't know how all the buttons and stuff work, can't hit the target at 7 yards...someone teaching the average gun owner needs more patience and a fanatical devotion to safety on the firing line than he needs prodigious skill at arms.

    OK, that got long after all. Sorry.
    O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.

  7. #67
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    training

    I've probably taken nearly a hundred classes over the last 40 years.

    John Farnam, Massad Ayoob, Jerry Lane, Mike Pannone, Scott Jedlinski, Tom Givens, Chuck Haggard, Max Joseph, Manny Kapelsohn, Lou Ann Hamblin, Jerry Barnhart, Mike Seeklander, Pat MacNamara, Ernest Langdon, and Pat Rogers and Louis Awerbuck (RIP). And training from staff instructors from the NRA and the FBI and Smith & Wesson Academy and Sig Academy and Glock and Midwest Training Group and Vortex Edge and Spartan Tactical Training Group and the Team One Network.

    I've had almost no bad experiences. A few times there were instructors who were a little cranky or disconnected (probably due to traveling and being jet lagged) and three different times I signed up classes that were cancelled due to low enrollment (which happens) and I never received a notification. Twice I was able to chase down the instructor before the class and find out what happened and get a refund. In one case I had taken vacation to attend a three day carbine class -- fortunately I was able to pull two of my leave days and go back to work.

    One of my criteria has always been that I prefer to train with instructors who have published, either books or magazine articles, and I can read what they have written and decide if that's somebody I want to train with or not. I have rarely been disappointed.
    Last edited by Jeff22; 03-17-2021 at 04:05 PM.

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff22 View Post

    I've had almost no bad experiences. A few times there were instructors who were a little cranky or disconnected (probably due to traveling and being jet lagged) and three different times I signed up classes that were cancelled due to low enrollment (which happens) and I never received a notification. Twice I was able to chase down the instructor before the class and find out what happened and get a refund. In one case I had taken vacation to attend a three day carbine class -- fortunately I was able to pull two of my leave days and go back to work.

    One of my criteria has always been that I prefer to train with instructors who have published, either books or magazine articles, and I can read what they have written and decide if that's somebody I want to train with or not. I have rarely been disappointed.
    To me, that is completely unacceptable and the sign of an amateur. To cancel, and not notify.

    I understand filling courses and being forced to cancel. It should be on the instructor to say "X number of days out we will make the call". This gives students the ability to plan and adapt.

    I'm sure it will get ridiculed by the academics of the group, and I know it sounds gay as hell. But "keep your men informed " is somewhat of a good leadership (que dirty word), or even just good dude, attribute

  9. #69
    Anyone has something they can teach and impart on others.

    That doesn't mean they should be an instructor.

    Using something like a C class, classification as the benchmark is way beneath the threshold in my opinion.

    You can achieve C class without putting in much work or training. As you progress, you need to refine what you are doing. Which means you've likely taken an analytical approach to training and performance....

    I look specifically for guys who have a background in USPSA or 3 gun as instructors. Because it's easy to vet and understand what their level is. From a mechanical/technical standpoint.

    If I'm being taught something, not just shooting, I look at those who have done it. There is a huge amount of people out there selling things they have never done. They may be trained in it. But they aren't experienced in it.

  10. #70
    "Quality" training is a broad topic. Arguably one could make an analogy between good training and good art. If either invoke or inspire a lot of introspection and contemplation then it may very well have been effective even if all you learned was what you DON'T want to do.

    Some things that to me subjectively speak to a "quality" course.

    Time management: Does the instructor start when they say they will and end when they say they will? Does the course have a logical beginning, middle, and end that's repeatable every single time? I say the same things, in the same way, every single weekend and allot myself a plus or minus time window of 10 minutes for an 11 hour day of ECQC on Saturday. I generally don't have to check my watch either because my internal clock and sense of time is synchronized to the consistency of my presentation. One thing I've noticed about combat sports guys who try and crossover into weekend short-course combatives instruction is that generally they are inconsistent and manage time poorly. They teach like they are in a fixed site BJJ gym with a recurring, homogenous group. How often has someone seen a BJJ instructor look over their shoulder at the clock and say something like "Okay guys we'll pick this back up on Thursday"? That doesn't translate well to open enrollment short course formats. I learned this lesson as a police academy instructor from 1992-2012.

    Following that same line of thought, people in high risk professions generally who have to attend mandatory training, have a much lower level of interest and engagement than those who are enthusiasts who are giving up their own time and money freely. I was having a conversation with Greg Thompson of SOCP fame, who has had the mat room contract for a SMU since 1998. It was super interesting listening to his frustration with training soldiers who SHOULD be interested in topics directly related to their survivability and well being and then relate that back to my very own feelings about police academy and in service instruction.

    Driving one's presentation with brevity. Generally speaking motor skill and tactics instruction is best learned experientially, by repetition, with a minimal amount of pedagogy. It's not about more words, but the right words. The more an instructor is talking the less the students are doing. I think if the instructor is speaking less and you are doing more, that's probably a good sign of high quality.

    Engagement. Does the instructor engage with EVERY single person in the class? Quite often instructors tend to favor and spend time with more talented and gregarious students over shyer/meeker ones. Or perhaps the opposite where talented or competent performers are pretty much left to drill on their own while weaker students are addressed. EVERY single person must be connected with for the same relative amount of personal time. I wrote previously about my attempts at doing this with the "name game".

    That's just a couple off the top of my head. We can certainly debate the merit, or lack of a particular instructor's content or curriculum, but I think a "quality" course should always have some of the things I've mentioned above.
    Last edited by SouthNarc; 03-18-2021 at 06:03 AM.

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