Big name shooting schools -- worth it?


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wgp
March 11, 2010, 10:52 PM
Anyone here attended one of the "brand name" shooting schools, like LFI, Gunsite, Thunder Ranch etc.? I am taking local classes when available but am curious about these schools. Big investment in time and money, and I wonder whether anyone here has attended one of these and could comment on whether you thought it was worth it for the "average" shooter/concealed carry permit holder?

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earlthegoat2
March 11, 2010, 10:54 PM
Here is my take on it.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=4118640&postcount=11

Buck Snort
March 11, 2010, 11:59 PM
Shortly after moving to Modesto in 1987 there was a story in the Bee about an old woman (in her late seventies or early eighties) who shot and held an intruder until the police arrived. Several years later there was another story about a woman who shot and killed an abusive husband who'd just been released from prison and was determined to kill her. She turned the tables and killed him with a single shot to the neck. There was no mention of either woman getting any training but both obviously had the will to stop a criminal attack and did so competently. Does formal training help? I'm sure it does. Is it absolutely necessary? Patently not. Yeah, I'd like to do it but quite frankly I'm just not motivated to spend a big chunk of my income and vacation time for training that in all likelihood I'll never have to use. Will some guy cancel my ticket someday because I was not well trained? Its possible but the chances are extremely slim. You pays yer money and you takes your chances in this life. I'll pass.

9mmepiphany
March 12, 2010, 02:58 AM
most people learn to shoot and try to improve by reading watching videos or other shooters. if they shoot enough they will reach a plateau in their shooting. at that point they usually go one of two routes, they either buy a "better gun" or get training. buying a better gun is a perfect example of a hardware solution to a software problem.

those who pursue training often find that they've developed certain habits over their years of shooting which are very hard to change...sometimes they decide they don't want to "fix what isn't broken", and that's were they stay.

the best time to get training is when you first start shooting so that you don't develop those bad habits you'll have to change later. this should start with safety and basic gun handling, progress to a good shooting school/class and then to tactics instruction. what it really comes down to is how proficient you'd like to be if you should have to use your gun to protect yourself or your family.

the advantage of a "big name" shooting school/instructor is that it is likely that they teach the most proven and up to date skills. shooting well is a constantly evolving skill set, techniques that don't work are quickly discarded...respected schools have a vested interest in keeping up to date.

i've received instruction by several "name" instructors and i thought it was money well spent. i not only shoot better, but i have a better understanding of how to train to shoot better YMMV

mcdonl
March 12, 2010, 07:36 AM
9mmepiphany said: the advantage of a "big name" shooting school/instructor is that it is likely that they teach the most proven and up to date skills. shooting well is a constantly evolving skill set, techniques that don't work are quickly discarded...respected schools have a vested interest in keeping up to date.

I agree with this, but if you can get these same skills in a local school than the big name school doesn't get you much more. And, if the distance and cost is prohibitive then what good is it?

Al Thompson
March 12, 2010, 09:37 AM
Well, if you can't budget for the school, then you can't. I had the opportunity to go to a name school (Shootrite in Alabama) and learned bunches. Well worth the money and time.

if you can get these same skills in a local school

True, but how do you know your getting the same thing? A Mercedes and a Yugo both provide transportation and have four rubber wheels, but if you've never seen or driven a Mercedes, how do you know if it's worth it?

I've passed up local big name training as I didn't need or want the skills in that course. We do have some local trainers that may be a better bang for the buck. Now that I have a frame of reference, I'll take a class and know if I want to do anymore training with them.

DKeener
March 12, 2010, 09:44 AM
Lots of people can drive. Some think they can drive really well. None reach the ability of a professional race driver without training and practice.

Big name shooting schools don't necessarily teach you how to shoot. They take you out of your "comfort zone" and have you do things you couldn't, or wouldn't do on your home range. The Terminator at Thunder Ranch is an eye opening experience. They also teach tactics, legalities, and practical skills while increasing your confidence level. Not to mention the lifetime braggin' rights.

I'd much rather spend a week's vacation at a Big Name shooting school than a week ar Disneyland. Cheaper and more fun too.

Fred Fuller
March 12, 2010, 10:05 AM
I can definitely say that they are worth it to us- my wife and I have been to several sessions with nationally known instructors.

But why go to the school, when the instructor comes to a range near you? A lot of world class instructors take their shows on the road, and that can save you money in travel expenses. There's a partial list at
http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=4964136&postcount=2 ...

fwiw,

lpl

wgp
March 12, 2010, 10:37 AM
I'm enjoying the responses. I have taken several classes (handgun, carbine and shotgun) with a local LEO who teaches in different cities around my area. I like his classes, I certainly have learned things from him. Since I have not been in classes by other instructors I can't really determine the quality of what I'm getting. That's the reason for my original question.

mcdonl
March 12, 2010, 10:45 AM
True, but how do you know your getting the same thing? A Mercedes and a Yugo both provide transportation and have four rubber wheels, but if you've never seen or driven a Mercedes, how do you know if it's worth it?

Al, it is like anything else, buyer beware. Do you research. If you are Joe Public, and you get the notion you want to take a SD class and just call the local gun club then your at risk as you mentioned.

As far as your car analogy it is a little apples to oranges don't you think?

If I develop a list of quality indicators of a good SD class, shop around and find a local class with all of the attributes I am looking for there is nothing wrong with that.

Sure, taking a class with the local LEO may not be able to give me the same bragging rights as a class with Mr. Ayoob, or the instructor may not have the stories to tell but if I did my homework I do not need to take a class from Mas as long as I know I am getting the same material and concepts. No offense Massad, as I have indicated in the past I am a big fan of your books.

Come on here, take advice from the ones who know... on this matter, I read and buy the books that LPL suggest, because I trust his judgment. I talk with members at the clubs, I read the latest publications. I feel completely comfortable taking a class with a local instructor.

Just my opinion. My opinion.

Prion
March 12, 2010, 10:45 AM
I'm just not motivated to spend a big chunk of my income and vacation time

There is nothing I'd rather do with my income vacation time!!!

LubeckTech
March 12, 2010, 11:13 AM
The quality of the training is the most important fact how much it costs is less important. If you can afford the time and money for a big name trainer or school it is money well spent BUT IMHO it is better find a less expensive local trainer that you can afford than not to get training because you can't afford the one you want. The majority of "famous" quality trainers do travel and one of them will generably be within a reasonable drive from most of us every year or two - the trick is knowing when and where. If you know a friendly LEO as they will very often know about local training opportunities and the quality there of. Also get involved with IDPA matches - I think anyone who carries should shoot at least one per year. They are not a substitute for good training but if you help with the matches and talk to the people there you can pickup a lot of good information about local training opportinities.

CZ223
March 12, 2010, 02:54 PM
I would definitely go to a big name school without hesitation. If for no other reason than to be able to judge the quality of the local offerings.

9mmepiphany
March 12, 2010, 08:54 PM
part of what you get from going to a big name school is knowing how to judge you local instructors and which questions to ask. the ones that coming immediately are:

1. where do you rank trigger control in importance in accuracy?
2. do you teach a stance that controls recoil?
3. do you teach a grip where you lock your thumbs down or point them forward?

the answers to these question will tell you if the instructor even understands shooting, the most important thing is if they can teach or just show you what they do...they are very different things

oldfool
March 12, 2010, 09:26 PM
nope

Legionnaire
March 12, 2010, 10:21 PM
LFI, InSights, Storm Mountain. Learned something helpful each time.

KBintheSLC
March 12, 2010, 10:38 PM
I went to Front Sight last year, and I have to say that it is overpriced for what you get. I drove for 8 hours, shelled out $1000, paid for a hotel for 4 nights, and drove for another 8 hours to get home. All of this to be instructed at a 4:1 student/instructor ratio. That is $250/day of training, plus gas and hotel.

For $150/day I can hire an excellent, experienced local instructor to give me private (1:1) lessons in the comfort of the local desert. I only have to drive for an hour each way, I get to sleep at home, and the desert offers more dynamic training capabilities than the basic pistol range I trained on at FS. Its a no-brainer to me.

Yes, professional training is essential, but you don't have to go to "Harvard" to get a "degree".

BullfrogKen
March 12, 2010, 10:56 PM
I've taken classes from different places that come to my local club.

And I've met a good bit of the "big name" instructors working the NTI over the past 10 years.



Yes, it's worth it to take a class from someone like a John Farnam or a Tom Givens. Those guys in particular will travel to hold a class if they get about 10 people committed to take it.


Going to a "resort", if you will, is worth it to people who think it is worth it.


I choose to invest in myself, and probably have spent as much on myself for training as I have in guns. I look at it as an investment. So yes, I'm worth it.

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 12:58 AM
I went to Front Sight last year, and I have to say that it is overpriced for what you get. I drove for 8 hours, shelled out $1000, paid for a hotel for 4 nights, and drove for another 8 hours to get home. All of this to be instructed at a 4:1 student/instructor ratio. That is $250/day of training, plus gas and hotel.

i didn't know anyone paid full price for Front Sight's classes, i thought their big draw was that you could attend with a coupon for $100

having said that, paying $200-$250/day is normal for just about any kind of professional training...think seminars and professional workshops. also a 4:1 student to instructor ratio is pretty good. i won't teach 1:1 for $150, even in these tough times, i'm charging $50/hour

Jenrick
March 13, 2010, 01:10 AM
If you've got the money and the time I think you'd learn a lot. I personally have had good luck with attending on site schools with instructors from the big schools as well. As noted however a lot of times depending on what you want to learn a local instructor could fit the bill quiet nicely. A lot of times local instructors have attended the big name schools and can share a lot of their material and teachings with you, for a lot cheaper. Is taking a class from an adjunct instructor at Mid-South different then going up there to train? Heck yes, the facilities are a lot nicer at Mid-South. Are you still getting the same knowledge, drills, etc? Largely, and your doing it for about $2K less. Mid-South is Disneyland for shooters, don't get me wrong. It is also about as expensive a trip.

As noted any where you think about going to train, call them up and ask what they teach. If you think weaver is dead like the dinosaurs, there are certain big name schools even that you won't like.

-Jenrick

Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 01:18 AM
i think those schools would be fun (especially thunder ranch with the fake little town you get to run through shootin at stuff lol). kinda like a disney land for gun nuts :)

however, do i think they're necessary for civilians? nope.

i certainly don't think it's bad to learn new training and techniques, but 99.9999...% of civilians will never have to fire a shot to save their life, and if they do, they're are generally robbed at point blank range anyway. (practicing quickly drawing and firing from a holster accurately and fast until it is intuitive is very important, which you can do on your own).

as a civilian, i would take some training classes if i had money to burn on fees and ammo, just for the fun of it.

however, i would definitely take courses from one of the serious schools if i were a LE officer though.

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 01:32 AM
F.M.J.

You do realize that professional shooting instruction is not all about fake-little-town, Disneyland fun shoots, right?


i certainly don't think it's bad to learn new training and techniques, but 99.9999...% of civilians will never have to fire a shot to save their life, and if they do, they're are generally robbed at point blank range anyway.

Of all the handgun instruction and training I took, 95% of it was done at 7 yards or less. It is entirely relevant and focused on performing your best at those point blank shooting scenarios like you mentioned.


Unless we're playing a game of Nazi's and Jews, it's not easy to shoot someone at point blank range.


I don't particularly care if you're persuaded to take professional instruction or if you're not. But for the benefit of others reading this I am going to counter that misconception about what a shooting class and professional instruction is all about.


Those who take their first class nearly always come away commenting that they found out just how much they didn't know. And they also often say that they didn't even know that they didn't even know. <<<--- Read that twice; it wasn't a typo.

JoeSlomo
March 13, 2010, 01:45 AM
Price is always an individual concern.


Most of the "Big name" schools have excellent facilities, and good instructors.


Unless you are a complete novice, you will never learn a HUGE amount from ANY instructor, however, you WILL learn something that makes you go "That's smart, I will incorporate that....".

9mmepiphany
March 13, 2010, 02:04 AM
And they also often say that they didn't even know that they didn't even know. <<<--- Read that twice; it wasn't a typo.

this i definitely worth a 2nd read, just finding out what you didn't know is worth the price. as i referred to earlier, sometimes it's knowing the right questions to ask.

i'll offer an example, i knew i couldn't shoot very fast without giving up accuracy. i knew i could pull the trigger faster, but that usually resulted in a jerked trigger. i found out that it isn't about pulling the trigger faster, it's about pulling the trigger as soon as you can acquire the sights. the trick to shooting faster is not wasting time between shots...how fast you might ask, how about 4-5 shots per sec while maintaining accuracy

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 02:08 AM
Unless you are a complete novice, you will never learn a HUGE amount from ANY instructor, however, you WILL learn something that makes you go "That's smart, I will incorporate that....".


Really? How many classes have you taken?



I was certainly not a novice shooter when I took my first professional shooting class. I had spent 4 years in the Marines as an infantryman. I was a machingunner, and I couldn't guess how many rounds I had fired in those 4 years. Certainly over 100,000.

And I'll tell you I learned a huge amount of things I didn't even know I was ignorant of when I began training as a private citizen.

Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 02:52 AM
F.M.J.

You do realize that professional shooting instruction is not all about fake-little-town, Disneyland fun shoots, right?



re-read my entire post plz.

stickhauler
March 13, 2010, 02:55 AM
Amen Ken! I've heard the claims from many here in Ohio that they "didn't learn a thing" from the training required to get a concealed carry license, I went in thinking I had a pretty decent base knowledge. I'd been in the military in the 101st Airborne, shot a lot there on ranges and when deployed to Nam. I had a instructor from our local sheriff's department as an instructor, and I had no idea what I didn't know coming in. I've taken advanced classes under this same guy, and learned even more.

I'd love to have the time and cash to go to one of the big name advanced training sites.

Sadly, too many people who have never fired a shot in anger assume they have the skills to effectively defend themselves in any given situation, and believe a advanced course is a waste of time. Either they'll never need the skill set in their life, or that additional training is a game. The day you believe you "know it all", sit down and die, because then you become a danger to yourself and everyone around you. It's always possible to learn new skills, it simply takes an open mind and an ego check.

Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 03:00 AM
it simply takes an open mind and an ego check

i certainly would love to take training classes, learning new techniuqes is always welcome, as i mentioned in my previous post. i would assume most people think along these same lines.

cost, however, is the prohibitive factor for most people. the cost of the school, and the ammo needed is quite a financial burden for a lot of folks. i think it has more to do with that, than with ego, my friend.

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 03:08 AM
FMJ, I try to read a post I'm responding to directly several times before I post a response that challenges it. Which part of what you said do you feel I misunderstood?


It's always possible to learn new skills, it simply takes an open mind and an ego check.


And that response entirely sums up the answer to the question posed in this thread. Enter the class with a good attitude and without your ego in the gear bag, and you'll learn a whole lot.


Where are you in Ohio? I know people who have traveled from Central Pennsylvania out to TDI (http://www.tdiohio.com/) to take classes; some are repeat customers. And if you have a range nearby where you can organize a class, John Farnam will travel to you. In fact, a good many of the instructors, like Tom Givens at Rangemaster or the Insights Training crew will travel to your range to instruct. They come out to my club to teach often.

As a side bonus, if you arrange the class and manage they manage to fill it with a given number of students (usually around 10), your tuition is often entirely waived. Some take the class for free, others will share that discount with their friends and every gets to take the class at a reduced rate. Classes are much more enjoyable when you take it with good friends.

JoeSlomo
March 13, 2010, 03:23 AM
Really? How many classes have you taken?

Enough to understand that the key to success is mastery of the fundamentals.

There isn't any "secret" technique to any form of shooting, just the sound application of fundamentals, and different approaches to those fundamentals.
Different instructors know different techniques of applying and enhancing the application of fundamentals, but there isn't a lot of "groundbreaking" things to be found that has not been done already.


I stand by my opinion that the "big schools" have good instructors and excellent facilities, however, unless one is a novice, there will be no major points of learning, simply smaller points and approaches to both training and shooting.

stickhauler
March 13, 2010, 03:35 AM
And clearly you took my meaning wrong, I said as well I'd love to have the time and cash to attend a big name school. I don't recall calling anyone out here as a guilty party, but I'm sure you know people who, based on training they got in the service, or "been shooting since my daddy took me out as a kid" assume they have the skill set to deal with a self defense shooting situation with no training at all other than their "life experience." If you don't know people like that, thank God you live in a sheltered world, because I see them all the time around here. They'd sooner spend a couple hundred bucks for the newest "tacticool" toy for their AR than spend a nickle to hone their skills.

I hunted a lot of years, saw kids come up who went through, granted not professional instructors, but hands-on training before they even hit the woods, and were prepared when it came time to take a shot at a big buck. I also saw kids who were taught by arrogant parents, who were convinced they knew everything about a firearm, who were scary as all hell in the woods, and when it came time to take a shot, they froze solid. I equate a self defense shooting situation in a similar manner, it's not whether you're an excellent shot, it's more your ability to react to the situation at hand. If you train to the point where that reaction is automatic, you have a chance to come out alive. If not, well, you went into a situation ill prepared, and paid the price.

I see too many people who seemingly believe buying the coolest gun, shooting it a few times a year at best, prepares them to save their life if it comes to it. Maybe they'll get lucky, I pray they do. But, it takes a special something to take the shot when you need to, even with an animal you're hunting. It's way different to take a shot at a human, ask anyone who has ever fired a shot in anger if you haven't been placed in a combat situation. And those instances are generally not the same as a self defense situation, you aren't usually in a face-to-face encounter in combat like a normal self defense deal is.

I had a dear friend who was a cop here in town, a lady who decided at age 35 to become a cop. God bless her, she made it through the training, and was a damned good cop. Went through advanced weapons classes on a regular basis, and felt she was ready to do the job. Went on a domestic violence call one day, and had a kid draw down on here with a SKS. She forgot everything about reacting, and reverted to having human feelings for the criminal, and tried to talk him down. She even laid down her service firearm to disarm the situation. And the little bastard shot her right above her vest, though with a rifle, I doubt that made much difference.

She lived in a wheel chair for about 4 years, paralyzed from the neck down, and passed away a few years ago. There is no training that prepares you for a shooting incident where you make a choice to defuse a situation, that training is supposed to teach you to react to a threat.

stickhauler
March 13, 2010, 03:46 AM
West Union is doable from here, I live in Dayton. I'll have to see if we can't get a group together at the gun club I shoot at, if not, travel to there isn't too much of an issue from here if I can arrange a weekend class. Thanks for the head's up!

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 04:09 AM
Enough to understand that the key to success is mastery of the fundamentals.

There isn't any "secret" technique to any form of shooting, just the sound application of fundamentals, and different approaches to those fundamentals.


Well on that point you and I are in full agreement.


You made too much of a blanket statement to allow me to let it go unchallenged, though. There is a big difference between a shooting novice and a training novice.

The practitioner who has already begun walking the path to become well-trained won't be learning through drinking those huge gulps of information at the firehose anymore. By the time he's had a few classes under his belt, he's begun the move from unconscious incompetence to varying levels of competence. He'll even begin to realize and become aware of the things he doesn't know - conscious incompetence.

But there's a big difference between someone who knows the mechanics of how to shoot well from someone who knows how to wage a good fight with a gun.


You seem to know the difference. Sometimes it's hard to remember back to the time where I was in my life before I started my journey down the training path. The chasm from zero to one is at lot wider than from one to two.

For those who understand economics, I'll put it in these terms - the marginal benefit (the chance you'll learn something vital or entirely new) after many classes becomes less and less. But the value is in the refresher. Even highly-compensated, veteran major league sports players go to training camps, and pay very well for personal coaches.



Back to wgp's original questions.

I have taken several classes (handgun, carbine and shotgun) with a local LEO who teaches in different cities around my area. I like his classes, I certainly have learned things from him. Since I have not been in classes by other instructors I can't really determine the quality of what I'm getting. That's the reason for my original question.


I don't know who you're taking your classes from, but I see a few red flags there that stand out to me, the biggest one being a cop teaching your classes.

I'm not suggesting a cop can't be a good teacher. 9 agencies arrange with me to use my club to conduct their quals and training. 7 are local townships, 1 is a federal agency, and the other is a state-wide agency.

The concerns I have with police officers training civilians are -


the mission is entirely different, so I'm concerned about what you're getting for your legal justification briefing;
police agencies are accustomed to teaching a very narrow range of the shooting public - meaning they aren't teaching the elderly, the infirm or people who might have some other sort of physical impairments;
they are accustomed teaching on a very narrow range of shooting platforms - ie their agency uses Glocks, so they have very little experience teaching 1911's and Hi-Powers, or even revolvers for that matter these days;
police officers and policing agencies are dinosaurs when it comes to finding out what advances in training is occurring and, more specifically, adopting it in their cirriculums. Until a methodology or new approach becomes adopted by one of the accrediting agencies, it isn't learned and disseminated to the departments. And that process takes along time to work through their bureaucracy. Training advances almost always originate in the private sector first.




This statement -

Since I have not been in classes by other instructors I can't really determine the quality of what I'm getting. That's the reason for my original question

As much as you like your Officer friend, I'd challenge you to branch out. It DOESN'T have to be a resort-based school, like Thunder Ranch or Gunsite. Some folks have to go someplace away from home because they may not have a facility nearby that can host an intinerant trainer. Even in those instances I'd encourage the student to go visit the websites of trainers like Tom Givens, John Farnam, Insight's training, etc to see if they are visiting a town near you. It might save you the cost of air fare.


John Farnam pioneered the concept of the intinerant trainer, and his instruction is as good as anyone in the resort-based schools. The real value in going to the resort-based schools is reputation and the history of the institutonal knowledge the schools like Gunsite have retained over the years. It's like going to Mecca for the Muslim, or Jerusalem for the Jew and the Christian. You'll be going to where the modern technique of gunfighting originated, and that does have a value all it's own.


Unless you can appreciate that value, it won't be nearly as worth it for you as it is to someone who can.

JoeSlomo
March 13, 2010, 04:59 AM
The practitioner who has already begun walking the path to become well-trained won't be learning through drinking those huge gulps of information at the firehose anymore.


That's pretty much the same thought I was under the impression I conveyed with my post. Perhaps I am mistaken.

shockwave
March 13, 2010, 09:35 AM
I haven't gone to a shooting school yet, just IPDA and IPSC experience. For regular "real-world" practice, those programs are good training and everyone who carries a handgun should give those programs a shot just for fun.

But I have gone to martial arts seminars and what I can say is that when you leave your home and dedicate several days to combat training, your mindset changes in a big way. There's no substitute for it. You are there to be a student and have nothing else to do except learn and train. It allows a kind of focus you can't get otherwise. There are no downsides to obtaining expert instruction.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 13, 2010, 10:06 AM
Unless you are a complete novice, you will never learn a HUGE amount from ANY instructor, however, you WILL learn something that makes you go "That's smart, I will incorporate that....".

You know, I will disagree with that. By the time I took Primary Pistol at Tac-Pro Shooting Center, I had already been to several formal classes at various other places - and these were good classes where I learned a lot; but I saw a tremendous improvement in my shooting in just three days and I was not a bad shooter by any means.

i certainly don't think it's bad to learn new training and techniques, but 99.9999...% of civilians will never have to fire a shot to save their life, and if they do, they're are generally robbed at point blank range anyway. (practicing quickly drawing and firing from a holster accurately and fast until it is intuitive is very important, which you can do on your own)

Again, I disagree. First of all, you are conflating two different skills - fighting and shooting. The two can be related; but they aren't necessarily the same thing. This is also something important to understand when choosing a school. Being able to shoot well and handle a weapon proficiently is only a tiny slice of the skills needed to fight with a weapon - and there are many instructors and schools that focus only on this aspect of training.

However, fighting with a firearm is a whole different ballgame. You need to already have a solid grasp on the basics or while you are going "Breathe, relax, aim, front sight, squeeze slowly to the rear" you are going to find that your target has disappeared and you aren't quite sure where it is.

ETA: To emphasize the shooting vs. fighting difference, let me tell an anecdote about my Force-on-Force Class at Tac-Pro. In order to even be in the class, everybody there had already had multiple, pistol classes representing lots of good instruction and rounds downrange. Many of the participants were regular competition shooters, I know we had at least one IPSC Grandmaster and two Masters there. So everybody there could not only run a pistol, they could run it well, for multiple shot strings, while moving. Several of them could do it so naturally that it came as easy as breathing. During one scenario, I watched participant after participant armed with a Glock simunitions pistol on a flat square range get "killed" by a guy wielding nothing but a yellow wiffle-ball bat. This is where the important differences come in between instruction on defensive use/fighting with a firearm and shooting.

Certainly people survive deadly confrontations without that training; but I don't think you'll find many of them going "I sure am glad I didn't waste any money on training!" after the fact.

moxie
March 13, 2010, 11:23 AM
Ditto. Tac-Pro is a first class operation.

gym
March 13, 2010, 02:57 PM
I guess it's worth it if that's what your into. Guys who are into racing cars go to schools like Bonderaurndt, Skip Barber, and Lime rock, it comes down to how into anything you want to get. I have a friend who was head driving instructor for Porsche, we both had Porsches, at the time. I wasn't as into it as he was. Same with anything. Most folks don't have the time, money or inclination, unless they are professionals or planning on being such to go that far into anything. I guess you can look at anything that way. At different times in one’s life different things take precedence. I don’t shoot enough anymore for those skills to be useful to me. I don’t practice enough either. Once at a younger age I did for 4 decades, but in your 60’s you aren’t going to benefit as much as when you were in your 20's, 30’s or 40’s. And what are you preparing for, Deployment, Ranger school, Special forces? Otherwise it's just a hobby like anything else, a hobby that could get you killed like flying, or scuba, racing cars, etc,or many others, but a hobby.

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 03:52 PM
And what are you preparing for, Deployment, Ranger school, Special forces? Otherwise it's just a hobby like anything else, a hobby that could get you killed like flying, or scuba, racing cars, etc,or many others, but a hobby.

Just a hobby, is it?


Because I don't carry a gun out of a duty requirement doesn't mean I should view it without the seriousness and sobriety that comes with it.


Choosing to carry a gun throughout my day suggests if I need to use it to protect myself or someone I love, I will. It is not a magic talisman used to ward off evil merely by presenting it as one would a crucifix to Dracula.


I enjoy the training. I enjoy the people and the community. I take pleasure in the study.

But suggesting I look at it as a hobby makes light of the decision and the consequences of using it.

gym
March 13, 2010, 03:57 PM
Driving is a task, racing is a hobby, what don't you understand?

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 04:01 PM
Apparently not very much.

jl1966
March 13, 2010, 05:19 PM
As to the question posed by the O.P., if I may. I would think it would depend on previous training. I had shot and been around guns all my life, killed a lot of game. Always figured I was plenty talented to defend myself. Then I shot an IDPA match, whoa, I was not near as good as I thought. So much I did not know. I decided along with some of my shooting buddies who were more experienced than I, to get some profesional training. Pat Goodale, owner and instructor athttp://www.pgpft.com, came highly recommended. I attended his handgun one class several years ago, we all agreed we recieved a wealth of knowledge for a small price. Check him out. I recently saw an ad for a fellow shooter who is offering self defense shooting classes at a local range. This guy is a better shooter than me, as far as scores at the local IDPA match goes anyway. I have heard him completely reject revolvers as a self defense gun. He has a lot of B.S. about him. I think he is ex-miltary, so I guess that is his credentials, I dont know. i would not doubt that I could learn something from him, but I would not pay for it. Try to find someone within traveling distance of you who has real credentials, and does this kind of thing for a living, not Joe Schmoe, who thinks he is a hot shot because he was in the army for a few years. Look for someone low key, not a blowhard trying to appear capable. If you talk to them, and they spend more time telling you what they think, than asking what you want to know, look elsewhere.

GEM
March 13, 2010, 05:29 PM
As someone who has crossed the 60's line, I would disagree that we can't benefit much from training. :banghead:

Also, Ken understands quite a bit and I was quite happy to engage in a high end training venue with him.

I shoot quite a bit better because I've had professional training - starting in my elderly 40's and continuing to my ancient 60's. While some aspects are enjoyable, I didn't do this just as a hobbyist. Perhaps, old guys do with skeet or Harleys - but not the training schools that teach the use of the gun in potentially lethal situations.

shockwave
March 13, 2010, 05:49 PM
For some people, I suppose shooting could be a hobby. For me, firearms training is part of the overall package of study that defines my martial arts system. My only interest in guns is in learning to use them as weapons.

U.S.SFC_RET
March 13, 2010, 06:18 PM
Not one bit. Not worth my price not my time.

leadcounsel
March 13, 2010, 06:26 PM
I went to Gryphon Group in Florida and it was awesome. Not strictly a shooting school. They also have defensive driving.

Claude Clay
March 13, 2010, 06:34 PM
Driving is a task, racing is a hobby, what don't you understand?

self-defense is a way of living, target shooting is a hobby, what don't you understand?

Full Metal Jacket
March 13, 2010, 07:23 PM
self-defense is a way of living, target shooting is a hobby, what don't you understand?


looks to me like gym's post is pretty self explanatory.....and well put.

taliv
March 13, 2010, 07:50 PM
looks to me like gym's post is pretty self explanatory.....and well put.

it explained his mindset. not much else, unless i missed something.


To the OP,
if you want to learn to shoot, compete
if you want to learn to fight, take classes

The big name classes I've been to have been well worth the money. The local classes have been hit and miss. Some OK, some not. Some are definitely better than others.

While I'm definitely not opposed to taking local classes, the way I see it is the big name classes are often a better value because in either case, you spend more in ammo than the tuition.

remember, practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent. at least expose yourself to a well-respected way of shooting before spending a lot of money practicing

also, having taken a particular big-name class several years in a row, I can attest to learning MUCH more the 2nd time I went over the exact same material. So I disagree with those who think you can't learn much in one class. Sometimes the light bulb doesn't come on the first time you try something

mcdonl
March 13, 2010, 07:56 PM
Well, I have read the thread and I guess it is like everything else gun related. To some of us, it is a fun hobby. I like to be safe and proficient, and to shoot. Shooting guns is fun.

To some people, it is a way of life.

Also, economics cannot be ignored. Some of you can afford to actually travel to take self defense classes. Some of us cannot.

OP, of course it is worth it. It is not the only way to learn to be safe and proficient but it is a good way none-the-less.

Bix
March 13, 2010, 09:49 PM
I'm enjoying the responses. I have taken several classes (handgun, carbine and shotgun) with a local LEO who teaches in different cities around my area. I like his classes, I certainly have learned things from him. Since I have not been in classes by other instructors I can't really determine the quality of what I'm getting. That's the reason for my original question.

The only real way you'll be able to evaluate the that training is by developing a frame of reference from other instructors. Hitting a 'name' school will give you something of an 'industry standard' for that frame of reference. But, you could also acquire it by training with a lot of different folks. I try to do both. :)

One thing to keep in mind is that, like all of us, trainers have areas of strength and areas of weakness. I try to keep this in mind when allocating my training dollars. If I wanted to work on my split times and target transitions, I might go see one guy, if I wanted to work on contact-distance gunfighting issues, I might go see somebody else. With the 'name' trainers, you can, to a degree, research these strengths and weakness and try to pick an instructor/class that aligns with whatever you want to be learning about.

gym
March 13, 2010, 10:56 PM
I never said that you can't benifit from training. I said it's more of a hobby to me, one of a few things I enjoy. I don't make it my life's work to train to be an elite gunman, or a professional race car driver, or a UFC fighter. To me you devote most of your time to a multiple of things, usually Family, business, and whatever time left to your interests. Once you go into anything that is obssesive it is usually short lived and takes up way too much of your time and money, unless you have some goal in mind that rewards your efforts. Racing cars is a million dollar hobby, only serious money can allow anyone to do it full time, or training with the best shooters or pilots, and offshore racers . It's great if you have the freedom and the means to persue your interests. But few do. It's a lifestyle like a pro athlete. Guns are a part of my life not my entire life. As mentioned these skills erode over time and must be practiced every day to be at the top of the pile. Not many folks have the means or inclanation to do that, not that there is anything wrong with those that do, it's your life you make your own choices.

Buck Snort
March 13, 2010, 10:58 PM
"I can definitely say that they are worth it to us- my wife and I have been to several sessions with nationally known instructors."

Are they worth if because they told you so?

Buck Snort
March 13, 2010, 10:59 PM
I'm just not motivated to spend a big chunk of my income and vacation time

There is nothing I'd rather do with my income vacation time!!!


Oh my!!

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 11:08 PM
Hmmm...


Interesting direction this conversation is going.



wgp -

You'll have to make up your own mind of whether enrolling yourself in a professionally taught course is worth it to you. Contemplate for yourself what your goals are, and what you'd like to achieve.


And then ask yourself this -
Of all the folks who have responded to say they don't think it's worth it, or have said they think that it is, which of us took training and which of us didn't?
Who is in a better position to comment on the value of training, those who have taken some or those who haven't?



I feel confident you'll arrive at the best decision for you and your goals. But I'm done debating this on the internet.

230therapy
March 13, 2010, 11:33 PM
The first course I attended resulted in the doubling of my speed and halving my group size at speed. I attend a BASIC self-defense course annually. I learn more watching the instructor teach (and the students' reactions and performance to the correction) than from the actual shooting. While it does serve as a tune-up, I'm going to learn one or two little tips (and to have fun).

I highly recommend a mix of professional training. The key for the individual is to choose the correct training for the "mission". If your mission is self-defense against criminals, then 80% of your training may be more appropriate with combatives, force on force and short range handgun skills (retention, close shooting, operation, etc). Offering a mix of training offered from LFI (legal stuff), general self-defense handgun (such as Gunsite 200), combatives, dedicated force on force and SouthNarc's ECQC course.

Most people completely neglect the 0-5 foot range. They have NO idea how difficult and dangerous this situation is to the handgun shooter.

Heck, most guys I've seen on range days don't even know how to operate their handgun properly: they don't reload properly, get confused with jams and fumble around with their draws.

I fully agree that the Little Old Lady is the most dangerous human. I don't know what it is, but they account for many criminals annually.

Fred Fuller
March 14, 2010, 09:34 AM
Are they worth if because they told you so?

Buck Snort,

I can say they are worth it because both of us are objectivly qualified by education and life experiences to make that judgement.

My wife is a retired university professor, a PhD in criminology who got her start in that business as a 'juvie jailer' turning keys in cell doors and working with juvenile delinquents. Early along she learned the value of applied physical skills in dealing with violent interpersonal contacts with confirmed criminals (even teenaged ones). People died on the job where she worked, staff members who were killed by violent youthful offenders. Her early training helped her survive to go on to graduate school and then to higher education, but she's still a turnkey at heart. She knows that someone somewhere might try to kill her. And she knows how to deal with that.

I spent a career (I'm retired, too) as a civilian employee of the US Army, and the major part of that career at Ft. Bragg, NC. I worked in the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, where the Army trains and educates its Special Forces soldiers.

You might note in passing that people don't just slap on a green beanie and proclaim themselves Special Forces soldiers. There's a hint there...

Now despite all the Hollywood fluff, Special Forces soldiers are in essence just glorified schoolteachers. True, they might commute to work via parachute, but much of what they actually do is teaching, plain and simple. While I was there, the first thing a new arrival at USAJFKSWCS did was go to ITC- the Instructor Training Course. In other words, they taught you how to teach.

In the years I spent at JFK, I saw a lot of teaching and training take place. And I saw a lot of good instructors at work, the old retired SFers that instructed a lot of the classes, the 'new guys' coming through Robin Sage where they had to 'train' their mock guerrillas in the Carolina woods, you name it. I had a lot of exposure to a lot of training, both good and not so good, and I can tell the difference.

We've had classes with Louis Awerbuck, Tom Givens, Southnarc, John Farnam and others. Without fail they are excellent at what they do.

And what is it that they do?

They care about their students, number one. They want to impart the maximum material possible in the few hours available, and they want their students to be able to perform the skills they are taught on demand, on the street, under pressure. They want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose. And they make a career out of seeing to it there are better chances of that happening.

Number two, they TEACH, but they also LEARN. They teach novices, they teach cops, they teach soldiers, they teach other professionals. And they show everyone who shows up something new, something worth learning. Louis Awerbuck says the state of the art is a moving target. People learn new stuff every day. People who teach hundreds or thousands of students in a year, who see millions of rounds go downrange out of a variety of firearms outfitted with a variety of gear, have a chance to aggregate a lot of experiences, see a lot of changes, find out what works well and what doesn't work so well. And they teach based on that as well as what's been tried and true in the past.

And lastly, they are flat out good at what they do. I have never seen people better at watching what a shooter is doing, evaluating a problem, and offering several workable solutions all in a matter of seconds. It's amazing to see people like that at work, it's humbling to know that level of skill is present.

You know the best students I have ever seen, in any kind of class? Experienced Special Forces soldiers, that's who. Despite all they know, despite all the training they have had, despite all the experiences they've lived through, they are always looking for more. They always want one more edge, one more skill, one more bit of knowledge.

fwiw,

lpl

27hand
March 14, 2010, 11:13 AM
Lee, Great post.

Quick answer to the OP and reiterated by those who actually have taken the time to train is yes, training at a big name school is worth it.
Longer rant on the subject.
I have found in my circles that if a man has a gun and has the ability to press the trigger and get a reasonable hit, his ego will prevent him from taking a training class.
The few posters who have chimed in with the statement "they don't know what they don't know" realize this is so completely true, it isn't even funny.

I don't have the gift of gab and am not educated enough to present myself as many in this thread have, but those who have responded AFTER training
know what they are talking about.

Those who say it's not necessary because they can hit what they are aiming at, in my opinion, do not.

I cannot afford to travel to a big name school, but the people who teach at these schools will come to you. I personally think the repetition factor of 5 days is better than a 3 day class but a local 3 day class does present the basics with reasonable time to learn specific skill sets and gives you time to digest and practice what is presented.

Chances are very good that if confronted with a threat at 1 yard, the gun won't even come into play. Distance is your friend but you have to be trained enough to either get distance (to use a gun)or deal with a face to face close quarters encounter.

Shooting from retention, hand to hand,making a grab for any weapon you are faced with. All these possibilities will boil down to YOU defaulting to your level of training.
Something that was presented to me in a carbine class.
" It will happen when you least expect it"
"It will be over in seconds"
"IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, YOU WON'T DO IT".

How does anyone know what the trainer's quals are before signing up? Hit or miss? Research the trainer? Get input from his prior students? This is kind of tough. I called and questioned the organization that sponsored my first training class. The guy is a Lawyer, answered my questions and also provided some legal information regarding local laws and using deadly force.

A $400 + class with a day off work and 600 to 700 rounds of ammo is a bite for me. All told, I could buy some ammo and/or a new pistol for that money and have something tangible.

Instead of that, I took away some knowledge and ability to react to a threat long after all the ammo is gone and realized I didn't have a clue beforehand.

GEM
March 14, 2010, 01:36 PM
Also being an educator, I can tell if a class is well prepared. My experience with Insights, KRTraining, OPS (Andy and Steve), Givens at Rangemaster, Claude Werner, LFI, the NTI crowd, the various courses at the Polite Society is that you really do learn skills, cognitive ablities and mindset. The FOF components and stress reduction are very, very worthwhile.

I agree about men who think that they are instinctive gun fighter/warriors as they probably think they are great lovers, drivers and minstrels.

One point I'd like to make is that in the debate about carry - one thing that is brought up is the fear that some untrained doofus will shoot an innocent during an intensive incident. I've had folks say - I'd trust you to carry but not Macho Man over there. Why, they know I took the time to train.

In two rampage incidents, the Good Samaritan citizen came to a bad end. That was the Tacoma Mall and Tyler court hourse. While they were brave and may have saved folks, their outcome was suboptimal because of mistakes that competent training may have avoided. In other rampages, like the Colorado Church - the trained person (Assam) did reasonably well. If you are going to chortle about sheeple and being a sheepdog - don't you think you have some responsibility to be competent?

Aquila
March 14, 2010, 02:55 PM
Yes, they are worth it. However, you may have persons in your immediate area who have gone to several schools and may be teaching in your area or be willing to show you what they have gleaned.

You usually have to bring experience to the table at some of the renowned schools so get your basics local and carry on from there. Don't forget IDPA; many guys there may very well be "playing" but they do have experience worthy of merit. Join and participate. Then seek the tutelage of the ex-Army Delta, Navy DevGroup guys. It's what we all want. ;)

Aquila
March 14, 2010, 03:00 PM
"Are they worth if because they told you so?

Buck Snort,

...

I spent a career (I'm retired, too) as a civilian employee of the US Army, and the major part of that career at Ft. Bragg, NC. I worked in the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, where the Army trains and educates its Special Forces soldiers.

You might note in passing that people don't just slap on a green beanie and proclaim themselves Special Forces soldiers. There's a hint there...

Now despite all the Hollywood fluff, Special Forces soldiers are in essence just glorified schoolteachers. True, they might commute to work via parachute, but much of what they actually do is teaching, plain and simple. While I was there, the first thing a new arrival at USAJFKSWCS did was go to ITC- the Instructor Training Course. In other words, they taught you how to teach.

In the years I spent at JFK, I saw a lot of teaching and training take place. And I saw a lot of good instructors at work, the old retired SFers that instructed a lot of the classes, the 'new guys' coming through Robin Sage where they had to 'train' their mock guerrillas in the Carolina woods, you name it. I had a lot of exposure to a lot of training, both good and not so good, and I can tell the difference.

We've had classes with Louis Awerbuck, Tom Givens, Southnarc, John Farnam and others. Without fail they are excellent at what they do.

And what is it that they do?

They care about their students, number one. They want to impart the maximum material possible in the few hours available, and they want their students to be able to perform the skills they are taught on demand, on the street, under pressure. They want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose. And they make a career out of seeing to it there are better chances of that happening.

Number two, they TEACH, but they also LEARN. They teach novices, they teach cops, they teach soldiers, they teach other professionals. And they show everyone who shows up something new, something worth learning. Louis Awerbuck says the state of the art is a moving target. People learn new stuff every day. People who teach hundreds or thousands of students in a year, who see millions of rounds go downrange out of a variety of firearms outfitted with a variety of gear, have a chance to aggregate a lot of experiences, see a lot of changes, find out what works well and what doesn't work so well. And they teach based on that as well as what's been tried and true in the past.

And lastly, they are flat out good at what they do. I have never seen people better at watching what a shooter is doing, evaluating a problem, and offering several workable solutions all in a matter of seconds. It's amazing to see people like that at work, it's humbling to know that level of skill is present.

You know the best students I have ever seen, in any kind of class? Experienced Special Forces soldiers, that's who. Despite all they know, despite all the training they have had, despite all the experiences they've lived through, they are always looking for more. They always want one more edge, one more skill, one more bit of knowledge.

fwiw,

lpl "
I'm reading the superb book CHOSEN SOLDIER: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior by Dick Couch. Excellent coincidence.

mcdonl
March 14, 2010, 03:36 PM
You might note in passing that people don't just slap on a green beanie and proclaim themselves Special Forces soldiers. There's a hint there...

Dammit Lee... there go my retirement plans :)

jscott
March 14, 2010, 03:58 PM
There are several reasons to obtain advanced training, but you should also understand that "advanced training" is not necessarily synonymous with "big name school."

It is posssible to obtain valid education and find ways to advance your skills through books, videos, and chats with your more experienced friends. I will not discount that at all and many of you know that my own book is receiving it's finishing touches right now.

Some of the first things that I find in my students, many of whom are experienced in law enforcement and military (including special forces) is that #1 they are not as good as they think they are #2 if they are humble about it they will learn more #3 they believe without exception that the money was well spent.

In addition to enhancing your skills, which you will if you find the right big name or small name school, you should also be concerned with two other major facets of information that you will glean. That is (hopefully) a greater in depth knowledge of the mindset that is a prerequisite to suriving a gunfight both mentally and physically, and the second is the legal preparation and knowledge that is critical should you ever be faced with a deadly force incident. Many "uneducated" shooters are great shooters, but proficiency with a firearm is but a small piece of the overall puzzle. The firearm is a tool like any other. The mind must be educated. You wouldn't just buy some tools and call yourself a general contractor would you? Even if you know how to use the power tools you must still be up to speed on planning, zoning laws, legal issues, how to deal with others, etc.

Remember, your goal is to surviving physically, mentally, and legally. Range time and friends can generally only help with the first skillset, and that is not enough. If you think you have the second one in the bag simply because you can sit back and say, "Yea, I am aware of my surroundings and I could handle shooting a bad guy," you are probably ill equipped in this area. Finally, if you think you know what you can and can't do legally because you read the latest magazine article or somehow mystically have an insight as to what the law really states, you are more than likely setting yourself up for failure.

Finally, if for no other reason you should get the training as one more way to cover your backside should you be forced to act in a life threatening situation. I have testified in such cases enough times to know that you will be asked, probed, and prodded about your abilities, experience, knowledge, etc. You will find it to be money well spent when you can answer that you have some form of professional training and knowledge beyond the latest Guns & Ammo. No matter how good you really are you will easily be painted as a novice looking for an opportunity to wave a gun around if you do not have the credentials to back your actions up. At least show that your skillset, mindset, and legal thinking was based on sound principles of a qualified instructor. It may not sound like much to you now but it may very well later.

Notice that nowhere did I say that this training has to be through a big name school. It may very well be, and there are some good ones out there, but it doesn't have to be. I have on at least three separate occasions turned down instructor positions with the federal government and two of the top name schools in the country. Why? I have no desire to be a full-time instructor and by not being affiliated with a particular school I am free to teach what works the best. I am a full time military officer and that is my primary responsibility. Therefore, when I provide instruction to you, you do not end up with a fancy gold foil certificate with "insert name TOP GUN SHOOTING SCHOOL" on it. That does not reflect the quality of your instruction.

That being said, you should seek out training and educate yourself on the instructor's credentials. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to call yourself an instructor. So be diligent, seek out the instructor who has the basis to call themselves an instructor, learn all you can about them, and ultimately you will have done yourelf a huge favor.

You'll probably even learn something.

SWDoc
March 14, 2010, 04:06 PM
Several good points have been made.

It IS possible to get good trainers to come to or near you. I agree John and Vicki Farnam are very good, and will travel. This week they are in Victoria, TX (30 miles from me). This is a town of 50,000 +/-, so not a really big place. Over the years , I have taken several courses from them. Did a 1 day urban rifle course 2 days ago. They also did the instructor course (wed/thurs) and a basic and an advanced defensive pistol course (yesterday and today). They can do the same for you, if you have the numbers to fill the courses and a decent range.

Had Michael Janich 2 years ago (2 day Martial Blade Concepts course), and Brian Hoffner from Houston comes down a couple of times a year. Rifle/Pistol/shotgun/edged weapons. Magpul comes within 2 hours from time to time. Thunder Ranch is coming back to Texas sometime in 2010, I heard.

The point here is that you can likely get some diverse and high quality training without traveling much (if at all) if you are willing to find some people who want the training and make it happen. We do this without the benefit of a gun club, in our case.

I strongly agree that taking from a number of trainers is huge. The additional trigger time is always good, and there are real differences in not only basic techniques, but mindset. Exposure to a variety of styles lets you (after a few courses) intelligently develop a blend that fits your needs and abilities/limitations. For instance, I coordinated Mike Janich's trip to Victoria to start filling a gap in my abilities when at contact weapon range, and found 12 other guys who would go along for the ride. Very affordable.

Point was made about 5 day courses as opposed to 2 or 3 day courses. The good thing about the 5 day is the immersion. The bad thing is that depending on the curriculum and your physical condition, you might be a little less of a firebreather on day five of a course that is physically demanding or that has really long hours. A full day of training followed by low light takes it out of me. YMMV. Of course, we do low light at night. No enclosed shoot house for daytime training like at the big facillities. Subtract points from the local option.

Lee's point about the instructor being a student. If he's not, his material risks being dated. Ditto his take on the technologies. Again, taking Farnam as an example, I have seen him change his mind on lasers, pistol retention/low ready, and rifle low ready (to name 3 things) in the past 2 years. I was talking to Dianne Nicholl (Ms. F's co-author on her books), and they are STILL making changes to the rifle/shotgun edition. Have been trying to get it out for 18 months but the material keeps changing! This is a function of his traveling, learning, and fine tuning. I would be sure a local LEO was staying current and how he was doing it (reading as opposed to attending courses, interacting w/ national/international trainers etc.)

Someone pointed out the benefit of retaking even basic courses. I can't speak for others, but in my case, I have found these skills to be perishable, so I agree. In '08 and early '09 I was training hard in pistol. Lots of hours of certificated courses and shot around 8500 rounds in classes and training. Late 09/early '10 did not train much in pistol. Definitely lost a few steps.

IDPA/IPSC, I don't personally compete, but some of my friends do, and it seems to have improved their speed a lot. They also say the time stress helps. We started shooting at about the same time, and they are now much faster and more accurate than me. FWIW, they no longer pay for large classes, but locate trainers who have a niche specialty they need (point shooting, etc) and get 1 on 1 training for a day then go home and practice.

Short answer to the OP: I think it is worth it. But if you cannot afford it, make them come to you. It can be done. And train w/ as many different top notch trainers, preferably those whose curriculum directly addresses your goals.

Steve

shockwave
March 14, 2010, 04:32 PM
Someone pointed out the benefit of retaking even basic courses.

A fundamental truth of martial arts is that the masters are faithful to the basics and spend much, if not most, of their time perfecting the basics. They review the basics constantly, and when trouble arises in performance, the first place they look is the basics. Footwork, stance, balance, attention - these are the essentials and a good school will hammer these home. Paradoxically, the better you get at martial disciplines, the more you need to return to the fundamentals.

Experienced students will tell you that any return to basic principles is time well spent. Advanced tactics and skills build on top of a firm foundation, they do not replace it.

Jenrick
March 15, 2010, 05:17 AM
From a whole bunch of different folks: "High speed is nothing more then executing the basics on demand under pressure correctly every time."

Also taking a "basic class" with your support hand as your primary hand (ie. righty shooting left handed all week) is a trip. You will learn a lot, and it's fun to see things backwards for a while.

-Jenrick

GEM
March 15, 2010, 11:41 AM
The legal defense point is a good one. One has to tell a story to the jury of why you acted. Having training that points to competency and reason leading to your actions would aid in that. The legal literature has defense attorneys saying that in a self-defense situation, they like their clients to have such training.

There is some evidence that training might set a higher standard or be a negative is you go killer-commando or present yourself before as being trained as a 'killer'. But quality schools teach variants of de-escalation, ADEE from Skip at the NTI, Ayoob's legal perspective, etc.

Good FOF also has a dealing with the law component after a fight. Given some FOF is intense dealing with the law while freaked is good training to have.

Granted this is expensive but excellent local schools can do it. Pratically, $400 for a weekend.

9mmepiphany
March 15, 2010, 04:47 PM
Experienced students will tell you that any return to basic principles is time well spent. Advanced tactics and skills build on top of a firm foundation, they do not replace it.
this is a huge point that is often missed by folks looking for the newest "tactical" method.

you need a solid foundation of shooting ability before you can get the most out of more advanced instruction

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