Training Reviews

or, how to find out how bad a shooter you really are.

Since I've owned my rifles and a couple of handguns for a couple of years, and had shot quite a bit, I figured I was doing pretty good. Of course, a couple of IPSC sessions and a trip to an NRA High Power match showed me how much I sucked. It then became time to asses how I was going to become a more proficient shooter. In short it came to going back to school. Gun school.

I tend to like to research the crap out of some stuff, especially when it's going to involve me spending more than $50 on it. So I started at the various web boards around the net looking for as much info as I could find on different schools to go to and their offerings. To my suprise (I'm in Kali, remember?) there were quite a few, including a couple of local ones. The course content is sometimes difficult to determine without meeting someone who's actually atended a class at a particular school. Also, some schools have big "name" instructors, some have nice locales, some are dedicated to IPSC, some to police and military.

Sometime around the middle of 2001 I found out that FrontSight was offering a free, one day class on shooting Submachine guns., class 3 fun? How can you go wrong? So one of my friends and I who were going to be in Vegas signed up for the free SMG class. As promised it's free and you do have fun. You can read my full review of it here.

In addition to learning about SMG's I decided that I should take a class or two that I could learn more about one of my weapons with. Frontsight, while a good deal, was in Vegas, and I was in Kali still. I ended up contacting a local training group, The HALO Group, based right down the road from me. How convenient for me. I contacted them to find out what I could set up with them, when, how much, etc. They needed a minimum number of students per class, so I put a thread on regarding going to class and which folks would prefer. It ended up with the 1-day pistol class first. That worked out to be more popular than I expected, with 17 students attending, and a few others who signed up too late. Check that review out here.

After the success of the pistol class, I organized a rifle class at HALO again. This one had six students, and in spite of being smaller, was an even better training opportunity for those who came. Since it was smaller, we were able to cover quite a bit of material and practice many things that probably wouldn't have been covered and tried in a larger class. That review is here.

So now I've gone to two schools, and plan on going back to both and hopefully to others as well in the future. I've included some tidbits here that I feel may (or may not, for you) be helpful to potential students.

Although one school may like one position, gun, caliber, or methond, the only true correct style is the one that works best for you personally. Of course, that doesn't mean go in with your position and demand that they make it work with their cirriculum, instead, you should go and try out what they have to say and see if it works better for you.

One school recommends dry practice, with range time reserved for evaluation of your practice. Another recommended that you shoot as much and as often as you can, and dry practice when you can't. Personally, I enjoy some feedback on my practice, so I prefer to go shooting and see how I'm doing, and dry practice a couple of times a week at home.

When going over the equipment list that schools will give you, read, understand, and bring all that stuff...and some sunblock.

If at all possible, find a local training group and see if they have membership or discounts on purchasing a lot of training. that way you can get more in cheaper usually. Oh, and make sure you go to the training, too.

You should be training to improve yourself, not to beat someone else's amazing speed or accuracy.

There's no substitute for a WORKING gun.

Training for being a better shooter should include training to be in better shape. Obviously, this is outside of most gun schools scope, but should be something you personally work on.

Test out as much of your gear (firearm, mags, particular ammo, slings, lights, sites, etc) as you can before going to school. Obviously, some of this can be done at home, but a lot of it can't. The only way you are going to really find out what works is to try it. Of course, standing on the firing line trying to find a working magazine is a royal PITA.

Well, hope any of my readers will go out and get training on their own and report back how it went. If you have reviews of classes that you've been to that you would like posted here I would be happy to help you out.

And I still suck, I just suck less now.
Last modified: July 04 2002. Copyright 2001-2009 Acme Arms. All rights reserved.