I was talking with someone a few days ago, and we got on the topic of firearms. I mentioned to him that I'm an instructor, and he asked, "What's that?" I briefly paused, as I was puzzled by his question, then answered, "A firearms instructor." He asked, "Yeah, but what do you do?" Even more puzzled, I answered, "I teach people how to properly and safely handle and use firearms?" He didn't see why anyone would need a certified instructor to teach these things. He grew up around firearms, in a state that allows permitless carry, so this type of knowledge was normally just passed down from generation to generation.
I explained the many reasons why formal firearms instruction by a certified instructor is beneficial, such as proper basic safe handling, proper basic shooting fundamentals, accuracy skills, intermediate and advanced defensive skills, advanced CCW skills, mental mindset, regular live-fire practice of essential defensive skills that you normally are not allowed to practice at public ranges, required training for some permits and licenses, and on and on. I also remarked that in parts of the country where firearms are common in the home, and firearms knowledge is just passed down, a lot of times you have a long line of incorrect training being passed down because no one ever got any formal, proper training. Then of course there are the people who DIDN'T learn about firearms in the home, and desire instruction. Who do they go to? To their friends? The internet? He seemed to still not be convinced that firearms instructors are needed.
I can understand that some people may not be willing to pay money for instruction that they think they already learned from their family or friends, but to not be able to see ANY use for certified instructors for anyone, seems rather naive to me. And quite often the reality is that they don't know what they don't know. I've seen students attend a CCW class only because their permit issuing agency requires them to do so. They come into class thinking that they already know everything they need to know to carry a gun, and that they're just going to put in the hours and sit through the class like they're in traffic school. They quickly realize that they're in for much more than they expected, and are quite overwhelmed by the amount of new knowledge and training they're getting.
I've helped teach lots of beginners with firearms. I like that these people acknowledge their lack of knowledge on the subject (they know what they don't know), and seek assistance in learning from a proven knowledgeable source. Then there are the people who learned about firearms in their home, and fortunately received good instruction there (they know what they need to know). But the people who are dangerous with firearms are the ones who think they know it all but have never received quality instruction (they don't know what they don't know), and the ones who actually did get quality instruction but choose to ignore some of the important safety lessons that they were taught (they know but choose to be negligent). I just hope that someone somehow can get through to these people before they hurt someone.
God bless and be safe,
Founder and Chief Instructor
Shield Personal Safety Training
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About the Author:
Instructor Armand is the founder and chief instructor of Shield Personal Safety Training. He's a USCCA Certified Firearms Instructor, Utah Certified Concealed Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Officer, Refuse To Be A Victim® Certified Instructor, CA DOJ FSC Certified Instructor, CA DOJ Certified Fingerprint Roller, hunter, and CCW permit holder.
"Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight" -- Psalm 144:1
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace" -- Luke 11:21
"he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." -- Luke 22:36