Lessons Learned: Vet Your Instructors!

I want to share a not so positive experience and the lesson I have gained from it.

I recently had an opportunity to travel out of state to take a firearms class from a nationally known firearm instructor. I have been very fortunate in the past to be able to train at different schools with some fantastic teachers. I have been wanting to take a class from this instructor and when an opportunity presented itself, I jumped. It ended up being quite an investment in time and money. But, I thought it was going to be worth it.

I have decided on not naming the instructor based on the fact that I believe my issues are based more on my opinion of proper technique and teaching style and this person has a large following. So, clearly they must fit the bill for some and it is not my intent to bash anyone. Plus, my goal of this writing is something else.

If you are looking to take a class or some form of training, I would like to stress the need to properly vet the instructor or organization you are about to attend. I understand this is a no brainer. And, I thought I had given enough attention. But, in the end, I did not.

Quite some time ago, I came across this organization on social media and originally thought the style of teaching ideal. I watched and read all of the videos and reviews I could find. Plain language was used by an normal looking person that sorta walked and talked like me. They quoted all the credentials and experience needed. Plus, they had a really clean marketing campaign and appeared to be what I wanted. When the course description was announced, it was perfect.

Unfortunately, it ended up not being the case. Upon looking back, it was clearly my fault for not paying more attention. I missed or ignored cues that should have told me this class did not have the elements I wanted and went in a very different direction than I expected. For me, it ended up being a waste of time, money and energy.

I see it as this. Training is required and I recommend it to everyone for everything from skiing, cooking to shooting. If you are looking for a CPL certificate, basic firearm safety course or advanced tactics instruction, look hard at what schools are available and ask questions. A professional organization will provide clear, timely information on every aspect of what they provide. If you can, contact prior students and look at all reviews. If you find vague or unclear information, descriptions or less than a professional response, take it into account. It might be time to look elsewhere.

There is a great teacher out there for almost anything. If you are about to invest in training, spend the time to find the right person teaching the right class that fits your needs. It will be worth it.