How much training do you have?


January 18, 2012, 10:32 AM
I'll admit that I really have no formal firearms training. I grew up shooting guns, took the hunters safety course, and shot some guns in Scouts. I really just enjoy informal target shooting and plinking. I've been considering getting some formal traning from an NRA certified instructor, just to help broaden my knowledge base. It got me wondering, how many others have some form of training, be it military experience, or from an instructor.

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Standing Wolf
January 18, 2012, 10:47 AM
Speaking strictly as an NRA-certified instructor: I've never taken a class I sincerely wanted to take, ("I already know all that stuff, et cetera,") but I've also never taken a class I wasn't glad I took. Let me add, please, formal competitive shooting is equally helpful, and I'm sure it doesn't matter whether you shoot bullseye, olympic, IDPA, IPSC, or any other discipline. There's a reason so many of us get hooked on this, that, or a dozen other kinds of shooting: you've got to work at it to shoot well.

Best of success to you, eh?

January 18, 2012, 10:52 AM
Some training. I've taken the Wisconsin hunter's safety course which included shooting clays and a .22 rifle. I also attended an intro to trap shooting.

As far as informal training, I've spent countless hours watching videos and reading about proper stance, firearm fitting, etc.

January 18, 2012, 12:15 PM
I do dry fire practice daily, and train with Modern American Warrior (my fathers training school) out of The Woodlands, TX once or twice a year.

January 18, 2012, 12:30 PM
I do daily dryfire practice, and have done three training classes, one of which was the CCW, the second one was all about gun handling under bad circumstances and the third was a 250 round drills only course.
And of course I have a basic set of literature and a .22 conversion kit, which has enabled me to narrow my shooting to one handgun, finally.

So I clicked moderate training.

Oh yeah, and the Air Force, Navy and NG might have trained me a little bit. Not a lot though.

January 18, 2012, 12:56 PM
If Ed McGivern or Bill Jordan were still alive, I might take classes from them....

otherwise, no. I'm decidedly "anti-tactical". :D

Elm Creek Smith
January 18, 2012, 01:05 PM
I was a small arms and tank weapons instructor in the Army about a hundred years ago. I trained with some AMU guys back in my Bianchi Cup - Europe days. I took the CHL class two license renewals ago and took the CLEET Armed Security Officer course more recently. My agency requires qualification with any handgun you carry every six months. My boss has me scheduled for a patrol rifle class with my personal Ruger Mini-14.

I'd train more, but my wife has this weird idea that I should spend time with her when we aren't working.


January 18, 2012, 01:06 PM
I had the same training I had for a drivers license---you had to learn how to drive as best as you could because they had no drivers training in school. An older friend let me drive his car & that is how I learned how to drive. Then you had to convince some cop that you could drive & he gave you your license.
With a gun I was on my own---started at 13 & went from there.
Had 8 hours of baloney in a CCW class--waste of time--state money maker.

January 18, 2012, 01:09 PM
Since I live in NH, I've taken several courses at Sig. Great facility, awesome instruction, and great loaner equipment. I'm about to sign up for another one...

January 18, 2012, 01:10 PM
I answered "Some Training."

I've been in the USAF for 11 years, and have trained repeatedly on M9 pistol and M16 rifle. I've actually carried the M16 in Iraq, though I never had to use it. I have also taken NRA Basic Pistol, Ohio CCW, Utah CCW, and SC CCW. I regularly do dry fire practice in my home, and enjoy shooting recreationally, though I only get to practice on the 'square range.' In short, I consider myself well versed in the basics.

I will need quite a bit more training, including dynamic drills & FOF, and posibly some IDPA type competition experience, before I will consider myself "Moderately Trained."


January 18, 2012, 01:56 PM
I too answered "Some Training."

Over the years I've taken several defensive handgun classes, defensive folding knife, kubotan, couple of long range rifle classes, classes required for CCW in a couple of states, etc. So "some training" under my belt. But I don't formally train on a regular basis, which would be my threshold for moderate training, and I'm a long way from having to train/qualify regularly in any capacity.

January 18, 2012, 02:11 PM
Three CCW courses, NRA/Winchester pistol program (distinguished expert) for basic accuracy, and I feel qualified enough to START real training. Waiting for warmer weather to coincide with schedules. The trainers are less than eager to teach in the cold. I have had quite a few years of martial training, Pistols are new. I posted some training, but feel that that is a generous assessment.

Odd Job
January 18, 2012, 02:58 PM
To me, formal training means you get a certificate or equivalent documentation of the type of training and trainer. Or maybe a change in rank or status that is accepted in the industry as being dependant on having been successfully trained in a certain activity.

So with that in mind, I can only answer "some."

Intermediate handgun course
Tactical Pistol Course One
Basic Rifle Training Course
Intermediate rifle course
Tactical Shotgun course
Intermediate rimfire handgun and rifle

All those were done in South Africa some years ago, and that kind of shooting isn't what I can do here in the UK, so most of that is "perished"

January 18, 2012, 03:09 PM
Some training. A hunter's safety course, Air Force basic training, and more in-depth training just before a deployment to Iraq. No civilian-specific training so far, and likely not at all. LEO-specific training is anticipated in the near future.

January 18, 2012, 03:16 PM
I picked moderate, but after writing this I realize I should have picked "ongoing" or whatever. I don't train all time perse, but I do train for and will participate in some competitions this summer. Good question really.

I HAD a lot of training in urban fighting, SDM and sniper schools, also was an SDM instructor, so I'm better than the average bear with a fighting rifle. So-so with pistols. I don't really train to fight anymore, I mostly target shoot and run some drills, but my fighting days are over. I suppose there are always new skills to learn, but there are also new skills to forget, so I guess I'm just hanging onto what I've got and that's probably more than enough for anything I could get into.

I'd still go to those civilian training schools if I could, if they were cheap enough and I could guarantee I'd learn enough to be worthwhile. Who wouldn't?

I also heard it from AMU that they have been approached to teach 3gun techniques to infantrymen. Yep, it is happening. The army is finally admitting that competitive shooting has something to add, particularly the action shooting as it applies to infantry skills and urban warfare. Took long enough.

In SDM school, we stressed the NM shoot in the beginning. CMP match with irons and a sling, but using an M4 instead. This made it a lot easier to teach long range shooting as it applies to an SDM. If you want good training with respect to long range shooting, sniping, etc., then I highly recommend these kinds of shoots. Highly.

For handgunning, I saw it on one of the shooting shows on Wednesdays on the Outdoor Channel, that IPSC and/or IDPA is becoming a training tool for defensive pistol. The action pistol shoots stem from training to begin with, but came full circle.

All of these competitive shoots evolved in one way or another from some kind of military or police type training. They evolved into a sport, became divorced from the original application as they became popular, but have indeed come full circle in that they are again being turned to as the ideal place to witness, practice with and compete against some of the best. It is where to hone up on skills, learn new or improved skills, and of course, work on the fundamentals --or maybe really learn them the first time.

So if you want state of the art run and gun training, 3gun or one of the action pistol or rifle sports will give you that. All dependent on the caliber of people you are around of course. NM shooting will make you a better long range shooter in general, and helps to master fundamentals, which are critical here. Then highpower shooting with optics. So on and so on.

And all of the above is better than any training you will get in the military with respect to shooting. Go master those competitions, and you'll be a better shooter than most people in general, and most all soldiers save some special ones. Seriously. The military teaches you how to use the weapon as a tool in a fight, the tactical stuff, but they value little the concept of marksmanship in general.

Bottom line: in my opinion, you can get better marksmanship and action training by competing in various matches, have more fun, and it will cost less. And if it works for the army (finally) then it should work for you. Worth a shot, worst thing that can happen is you'll get a little more experience and might learn something. Good luck to all that do!

Friendly, Don't Fire!
January 18, 2012, 03:22 PM
At 12 years old, I took small arms training courses through the NRA at the local YMCA Range. I shot smallbore (22 rimfire) and worked my way up to Sharpshooter. I was in several matches and ended up quitting the match shooting when I was tied with another shooter for the trophy and that shooter was in his range, I was a visitor. The way I looked at it, they manipulated the scores in his favor (his father, his buddies, his friends scoring).

I went home empty-handed.

January 18, 2012, 03:35 PM
Not to be a blowhard, but I just naturally shoot well, Same with any eye hand required task. I don't get there as much as I like. But when my back was really impossible to travel, years went by, I still shot the same after a few mags. The important thing is situational awareness. If you aren't at one with your surroundings, it won't matter as you won't see it coming. The gun is just part of it. One must learn to be an observer and scan an area and remember what you saw.I am sure a couple of combat courses would not hurt, but like I said I shot well no matter what the gap is, not championship good, but I hit bullseyes at 25 yards with my 26. I shoot fast also, I double tap my 45's, and hadn't had a govt in 15 yrs, it was like it never left. I really don't have the time money or inclanation to go for a lesson that I already know. It's a shame that it got so expensive for retired guys to shoot like we did when the money was pouring in. I dry fire and mentally prepare myself and family, it works for me. In NY they gave you permit and that was that, broke your chops for a year to get it and once you had it, see ya. I trained at the FBI combat range upstate, and NYPD, shot against all of them at one time or another,shot birds, clay, but I been doing this for almost 40 years. I can't go running through some obsticle course anymore, but if I draw my weapon whatever I aim at is history, that's what counts. Also can still play xbox with the youngsters, and not get my butt kicked, try that just to see if you can operate 10 controls at once.

January 18, 2012, 03:49 PM
Was an LEO for 26 years and some of that time was firearms instr.

Took FBI course at Peekskill FBI academy [ was founded 1930's ].

I still shoot with pistol team,and do instructing for Niagara Youth Cadets as well as friends.

I try to do 'real' training at least twice a year,meaning only live and fast stuff.

January 18, 2012, 03:52 PM
It's always fun to think of yourself as better than most people. When it comes to shooting or driving, most Americans have no idea how really bad they are and how badly they need training. It's called "illusory superiority" if you're interested.

I taught a tactical pistol class and ran a local IDPA matches for about 7 years. It was always funny to watch the untrained "naturally good" shooters in action!

According to a study published in a Swedish Psychology journal (Acta Psychologica) a whopping 93% of Americans consider themselves above average drivers. The sample consisted of students, and while the study was conducted in multiple countries, it because obvious that Americans saw themselves as even better drivers than their Swedish counterparts. The Swedish came in at a much lower 69%.

The problem with rating ourselves is that since few of us our trained expert drivers (e.g. rac-ecar drivers) , it is hard to measure our real ability compared to everyone else. This is known as “illusory superiority” in the social-psychology world.

captain awesome
January 18, 2012, 03:58 PM
I answered some but am trying to figure out the difference between "moderate" and "some"

January 18, 2012, 04:04 PM
Picked moderate. The Marine Corps provided me with lots of training as a machinegunner and then a primary marksmanship instructor. Since then I've attended various pistol, rifle and shotgun courses locally. They are both fun and educational.

January 18, 2012, 04:04 PM
I have no formal training, besides my CPL class. I usually watch videos, fry fire with what I learned, then try it out at the range. I plan on taking a few classes eventually, but for right now I teach myself everything.

January 18, 2012, 04:20 PM
There is a problem with your question in that your "formal" training can mean different things to different people.

There is basic firearm safety that most of us got from out brothers/dads/granddads etc, and almost everyone has had hunters ed, no?. It is just as valuable as the training on how to control the trigger on a heavy machine gun so you can get off one or 2 round bursts without switching (if possible) to single fire, and hitting a man sized target at 1000m with that one or 2 rounds...

Then there is military training. Basic, advanced, competitive. Police training, firearms instructor training..and on and on

I have a lot of training behind me...I'm retired...but what difference does it make? You train for the position, the compitition, for hunting, etc. If you are never going to do those things, how is any of it better (or worse) than that initial safety training you got as a kid?

"Training" is blown way out of proportion. Training is good for some specific skill, but if you do not need that skill....

Chuck R.
January 18, 2012, 05:12 PM
I’ve had some formal training some good, some not so good. I still try to get in a class now and then.

Distant Past:
Basic Training, Army
Military Police AIT
Reserve Police Officer

Recent (within last 4 years)
Basic Combat Pistol I
Low Light tactics
Basic Combat Shotgun
Basic Tactical Rifle/Carbine
Advanced Pistol
Advanced Combat Rifle/Carbine

Competed in: NRA Small Bore, CAS, IDPA, Trap, Skeet, BPCRS.

I actually think classes/training is pretty fun, maybe because since I retired I miss doing “Army Stuff”.

I taught a tactical pistol class and ran a local IDPA matches for about 7 years. It was always funny to watch the untrained "naturally good" shooters in action!

Agreed, I was a certified IDPA RO, and was amazed at how "good" shooters performed once the buzzer sounded.


Mauser lover
January 18, 2012, 05:14 PM
I put that I have no formal training. The only thing that could have been formal training is when I took a hunter safety education class, and we were supposed to go shoot something. Unfortunately the class was in town, so we "got" to go into a gymnasium and "shoot" some snap caps.

January 18, 2012, 05:21 PM
I said moderate training because I don't have the time or money to train nearly as much as I would like to. I have been in the army, served in the combat zone, become an NRA certified instructor, and a state certified permit instructor. None of these things really means that I have had thorough training. The army gave me a VERY hasty course on CQB and less marksmanship training than I already had. The NRA certification made me aware of some politically correct verbage they prefer and some very course and rule specific material, but didn't demand anything from me that wasn't the very minimum of skill.

I would love to one day be able to make it to the Thunder ranch basic pistol, carbine, and shotgun courses. Better yet, I wish someone would start a similar institution in my home state, where I could aspire to one day help instruct. Perhaps at that point, I won't feel like I have anything but the bare minimum training requirement.

January 18, 2012, 06:40 PM
Absolutely no formal training ... and I haven't needed to take a CHP Permit Class since Virginia became a Shall Issue state in '95(?) because of the VA CWPs that I had been issued in prior decades.

January 18, 2012, 06:45 PM
Again a person with great eye hand coordination, requires less constant training in any field that one who has poor genetic qualities. The gent who spoke to automobiles, and driving. I can get in any vechicle and drive it better than most, even if I never drove it before. 1 ferrari, over 2 dozen exotic cars, capable of speeds in excess of 160-190, No accidents in 40 years, no tickets. And I just started to slow down at 63. Only because my body and senses told me my reflexes were not as they were 20 years ago. It's just the way we are made, Many things I am not good at. But things that require eye hand, fast tick reflexes, quick reasoning and logic, I seem to thrive on. That is one of the reasons we do certain things in life. You seldom find peple who suck at something, making it a large part of their life. "unless they just aren't capable of realizing that they are not good at it". I think that all of the training in the world may only improve my skill set 10%, like cars, you pay an extra 50 grand for the extra second that your car will do the quarter mile in, same with audio equiptment and most things. We can all get better, but how good at everything do you aspire to be?
I feel comfort in the fact that I am likelly to be faster and more accurate than most people I will ever have to have an incident with. The difference in maximising that to the extreme is not worth my time any more, as my age is factoring in now, and I don't have the enthusiam to go half way around the country spending money that can be used elseware to benefit a small amount.
By all means younger men who have a competitive interest should persue it if they are of the mind to. There is also the commercial aspect to all this. I have been in ranges and watched so called instructors teach old or female clients how to shoot, and was taken back, by how little some of them really know.Lots of people are looking for a teacher now, and there are a lot of so called teachers who have been shooting a couple years full of misinformation and total crap. The problem with anything that gets popular is everyone wants in. If i have some extra cash I might take a trip to one of those iconic places just to see what I am missing, but in this economy, not now.

January 18, 2012, 08:52 PM
Shot comp pistol before Mil training,shot comp skeet/pistol and rifle while in. Army pistol
team for a while, learned ole style PPC from a number of LEO friends. Still shoot as much as possible and when someone can sneak me into any siminar!Still avid hunter.

January 18, 2012, 08:55 PM
How much training do you have?Same answer as when someone asks, "How many guns do you have?"

More than I need, but less than I want.

January 18, 2012, 09:16 PM
Training to do what exactly?

January 19, 2012, 03:46 AM
Grew up with a firearms instructor in the family.
Majored law Enforcement in college.
Basic and AIT in Military. MP
Now i think they have smokeless powder. :)

Police Academy
Federal Academy Basic firearms
Hunter safety
CCW classes four different states

dagger dog
January 19, 2012, 06:57 AM
Had my first BB gun at 7 unsupervised ,first 22 rifle 10,started small game hunting without supervision when 12, with shotgun, 22 rimfire rifle and pistol ,center fire hand gun and rifle at 18.

Home schooled by my father and uncle.Voted none.

Sav .250
January 19, 2012, 07:21 AM
" Uncle Sam" gave me all the training I`ll ever need . :)

January 19, 2012, 07:41 AM
I really haven't had any formal training. Hunters safety and the mandated CCW class. Neither of which gave me much information that I did't already know.
I have been fortunate enough to get some informal training from some very good sources.
One of dad's hunting buddies was a champion skeet shooter, you shoot a few rounds with somebody like that you learn.
I can also tell you learning to clean game from a veterinairian makes biology class a breeze too.

January 19, 2012, 07:57 AM
Most of my training has come from top shooters...
My dad coached me to a state skeet title.
Various IDPA shooters have been invaluable.
There are some good basic training videos on youtube that I've benefited from.

Gunsmithing might also be considered as firearm training.

Hk Dan
January 19, 2012, 08:16 AM
I've trained with Atoob, Pincus, and Suarez. Upwards of 500 hours or so thus far. DO IT. I've taken Pincus' class 4 times and get something out of it every time. I'll be taking it again this spring. Ayoob? I'd sell a gun to take MAG20 (if you're going to carry). Suarez--his guys are professionals and don't bandy words.

January 19, 2012, 08:24 AM
I think it's fair to say there's a difference between training and practice.

If a person spends two hours a day, five days a week shooting live rounds with no guidance, and their stance, sight alignment and administrative handling of the weapon are poor, that's practice - not training, and very bad practice, at that. Probably nonproductive at best, and counterproductive at worst, since again without guidance, bad habits can become cemented.

I've taken really good classes in Pennsylvania and Vermont, and a bit of private instruction out in Nevada. All great experiences, but I definitely want to make sure I take Ayoob's MAG40 - I've heard it's incredible.
Later this year, I'm planning on taking Cope Reynolds' 3-day Defensive Handgun class - he's in New Mexico.

January 19, 2012, 08:28 AM
I started reading the Rifleman NRA mag about four position shooting and using a military style sling back in the 50s. The U S Army training dident show anything new to me. In the 60s went to a NRA training course after which I ordered material about shooting from the NRA. NRA has some good videos about handgun, shotgun , and rifle shooting.

January 19, 2012, 09:42 AM
I've been fortunate enough to get quite a lot of training on the government's dime. Although for every hour of fun there's a week of suck.

USMC boot camp - they really dumb things down, but they do actually teach good things there. Basics for sure though.

USMC infantry school - Not as advanced as you might think. Mostly weapon familiarization (M16A4/M240B/M249) and a little bit of square bay and unknown distance out to 500m

I then became a Recon Marine, but there's no weapon firing at the Basic recon Course. I did get to make bombs though : )

Various unit-run weapons training to include;
- SAW, M240, M2HB, MK19, AT-4, M9A1, M4A1, M14, M203, M40a3/a5, and M110 at some point or another.

- Lots of 50m and in square bay with the M4A1 and M9A1

- Foreign Weapons instructor course (G3A3,AK47,FAL,SVD,PKM,RPD,Tabuk,)

- Accuracy 1st Long range shooting course instructed by Todd Hodnett (awesome!)

- CQB training inside various shoot-houses using M4A1 and flashbangs

- Various team (6 man) and platoon assault ranges.

All of this, and I still wish we could do stuff half as advanced as any 3-gun course or IPSC event!

The funny thing about military training is that if you do not have an interest in firearms outside of the military then you'll know only what the military tells you. I try to get out and shoot clays every weekend that I can on base too.

I intend to get into some action-oriented shooting sports when I get out and get my life back.

January 19, 2012, 09:48 AM
Always start with common sense and work up. Too many hunters just want to shoot something, no matter if it's just a sign.

January 19, 2012, 10:55 AM
I'm not sure how to vote on this. I have finnish armed forces training, 13 years background in military Krav Maga including the use of and defense against firearms, edged and blunt weapons, 25 years of hunting including big and dangerous game and an extensive background in shooting sports. I've also been in real-life armed SD situations so I have some experience how well I can keep my cool under extreme stress. That may be a bit more than moderate training but I definitely don't spend all my spare time at the range, gym or dojo, only enough to feel comfortable handling any situation I might get into.

I'd value most the confidence and situational awareness you'll get from training.

January 19, 2012, 11:39 AM
Honest to goodness formal training?

Not much. I took a hunters safety course and my concealed weapons permit class - both 8hrs each. No live fire in the hunters course and 50 rounds in the CWP course (only to qualify though - no instruction on technique).

I am scheduled to take a 2 hr class with a local USPSA GM next month though.

I've always tried to keep my shooting hobby relatively relaxed though. For competition I try to do well, but in general when I go to the range I do so to have fun. Paramilitary "exercises" and such aren't fun for me, so I don't play that way. To each his own though.

January 19, 2012, 01:53 PM
I had some very good training by NRA instructors and an uncle when I was a youth. Really covered the basics of safety and marksmanship (and fun). The Army introduced me to shooting en masse, which has proved invaluable at public ranges as I am aware of what's going on around me. I've had a little more NRA training as an adult and did the CPL class.

Sauer Grapes
January 19, 2012, 06:30 PM
Ah, none. I've been shooting since I was 7 yrs old. My father taught me to shoot and handle firearms. He was on the rifle team while in the Navy and a UDT instructor.

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