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Attending your first firearms training class? Here's some reading to help you prepare!

TSiWRX

Custom
Hello fellow shooters!

In another thread on this forum (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/critical-defense-or-federal-hst.91/page-3#post-6515), I noted to a fellow member (@David N. , this one's for you, bruddah!) that I'd start a thread abut items to bring and also other considerations for beginners to live-fire firearms training classes. So, here it is - and while I am opening the thread, I'd love for all of you to contribute to it - to either call me out on anything I've posted and/or to add to the knowledge pool with your own contributions below. :)

I'm a regular-guy law-abiding citizen - a nerdy academic scientist, a family-man in his mid-40s. I'm a relatively new shooter - I started shooting in November, 2010, at the ripe age of 36...prior to that, I literally picked up my last gun in late-2003 or early '04 as a part of the usual "fun range day" with friends. So far, I have a few hundred hours of paid professional training with various local schools/instructors and also with nationally known SMEs. I've trained with household names and with "no names." I was in your shoes, not long ago - and this is why I want so badly to help. :cool:

Without any further ado:

This is a great time to get in training. It's essentially a buyer's market. Shop around. Be sure you vet your instructor/school, so that you'll not only have tons of fun and learn a boatload, but also to stay safe. While the vast majority of classes/schools are run by individuals who truly want to help others and who actually have sufficient background to do so, there are some real fly-by-night individuals/outfits whose teachings are not only inconsistent with modern methodology, but can be outright dangerous. Overall, if you're not sure, just come to the Forums and ask: there will be those of us who are experienced enough (or who know someone who is sufficiently experienced) to tell you whether that's just some really high-end ass-kickery, or if it's total bullshit and should be avoided at all cost.

But once you've vetted the school and registered for a class, what's next?

As the first time student, you're undoubtedly going to be a bit anxious about what's going to go down in the classroom and on the range at your first-ever firearms training class. Whether you've been shooting for a while or are completely new to the hobby/sport, my hope is that with the following write-up, I can help settle your nerves a bit by letting you know what to expect.

Aside from being SAFE and having at least functional marksmanship capabilities, static, basically, at the intro. level, it's not expected that a student knows anything else at all: the basics of the draw and presentation, the basics of manipulations (stoppage reduction) and shooting positions (from static stance to the basic movements and utilization of cover) are what's usually the sole focus of these types of classes all the way up until you actually enroll in more specialized "tactics" courses.

If you feel really anxious, get your hands on the Magpul The Art of the Dynamic Handgun DVD set. Practice the manipulations dry, at home, using a cleared gun. While you're viewing, remember that's a "marketed" setting, and that in-reality, they are compressing what's usually found in a beginning-level course with an intermediate/advanced level course into one presentation. At the beginner's level, you'll find that it is rare for dynamic movement/positions or single-handed manipulations to even be introduced, and this is usually due to concerns of students' experience level as well as line safety. Remember, this is a contrived setting: they're trying to cover a lot of material at once. Don't worry about these more advanced skills just yet.

Also, by yourself, you can work on the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship prior to attending even an entry-level class. No, you don't need to drill single holes or even cloverleaves at 7 yards, but being better than minute-of-man will help you not only feel more secure about your personal abilities as well as will prevent you from being "that guy/that girl" in the class that's either holding everyone up because of a lack of fundamentals or being taken aside to receive extra remedial instruction (which can sometimes so embarrass a student that he/she then gets even more flustered).

<continued below>
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Continued from above.....


Let's start with "essential" gear -

Go in with good eye and hearing protection, and appropriate clothing. If nothing else with "stuff," this will literally make or break your day.

PPE - or Personal Protective Equipment - is not only essential to prevent injury, but will also help you learn better: i.e. when you're not worried about spent cases getting inside your glasses or optical distortions from el-cheapo safety glasses, you'll be able to focus more of your energy and attention on what's actually being taught. For those using prescription eyewear, consider side-shields (https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...VKx6tBh09lA3gEAQYASABEgJwY_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds) or "OTG" (Over The Glasses) safety glasses (https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...VKx6tBh09lA3gEAQYBiABEgKOOfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds) to supplement your prescription eyewear - and know that if you are going to continue down the path with more classes in the future, investing in purpose-made prescription eyepro will be worth every penny (particularly as it will cut down on optical distortion). Those who elect to wear contacts should bring a large bottle of saline flush fir emergency treatment as well as your necessary hygiene and replacement supplies. [Note that the links I gave above and will continue to give are all just examples. Because of price fluctuations and the impermanence of URLs, I'm purposefully not suggesting that these are the best deals, by far, nor are exactly what you should purchase.]

At this stage in the game, you won't need electronic hearing protection, but if you invest even just a small sum in a reasonably decent pair, you'll find both class instruction and your own range practice enjoyment to be greatly enhanced. The two most commonly seen entry-class over-the-head electronic hearing muffs are arguably the Howard Leight Impact Sport (https://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leigh...jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==) and the Peltor Tactical 100 (https://www.amazon.com/Peltor-Tacti...rds=peltor+tactical+100&qid=1579915613&sr=8-1). Both are available on Amazon (see links) for around $50, but on-sale, they should come in at $45 or less. Pair them with Noisefighters SightLine gel earcups (https://noisefighters.com/), and you'll have a set of very, very functional over-the-head electronic muffs that can literally take you as far as you want them to go (you'll see more budget-conscious folks running the Tac 100s with gel cups with even their $1K ballistic helmets at more advanced classes, no joke). If you don't want to make the jump, yet, don't worry, even a pair of foam earplugs will work just as well (if not better than) over-the-ear protection: take an empty small Altoids tin or one of those travel tubes of Tylenol/Advil with you to serve as an on-the-go container for the plugs, and you'll be all-set.

Sturdy footwear (waterproof and/or insulated, depending on the weather) with enclosed toes and heels are a must: many ranges are covered in rough ground material such as gravel or even ash cinders, and pock-marked turf (from classes before yours even just the days prior) can all lead to abrasions and turned ankles, so good footwear is a must. And don't forget socks.

A ballcap or other billed head-covering (even a visor), to reduce the likelihood of spent-casing entry into your eyecup area is also recommended.

Aside from this, dress for the weather. While folks tend to know how to dress for the warmer three seasons, winter seems to baffle particularly the first-time student, and to be honest, I'm not sure why. Here's perhaps one of this industry's most recognizable personalities and an excellent trainer, Steve "The Yeti" Fisher, giving a cold-weather run-down for perspective students, as-interviewed by the good guys at Practically Tactical, after an unseasonably cold and wet class up here in NE-Ohio:


I've literally been in classes with guys who did not dress enough for the weather - and just as Fisher noted at the beginning of the video, it's about getting your best value out of what you've paid for the class. If you're miserable, you're not going to be learning. And no, you don't have to have the latest tech-textiles by the trendiest outfitters - you can simply have a good traditional base-layer combined with a traditional wool fisherman's sweater, and be completely fine, like me:

close range.jpg


^ Or wear your heaviest work Carhartts, like my good buddy in the background of this pic - the tall dude in the black cap with clear eyepro, brown, hoddie and Khaki pants. :)

For warmer weather (or otherwise) when the sun's blaring overnight, you've gotta have sunscreen. Don't be that macho guy who gets burnt to a crisp and again can't concentrate - remember, it's about getting your money's worth for what you'd paid for the class.

Towards this end, some Band-Aids and sports-tape (the latter to tape up raw areas on your hands/fingers) and appropriate meds (again, sunblock!), more water than you'd dream you'd need for your time on the range as well as any snack/meal needs, and you'll be well-supported. Aside from any prescription medicine you may be on (inform the instructional staff if you have outstanding medical conditions, including any prescriptions that may cause irregular bleeding/blood clotting), Advil/Tylenol is never a bad idea: shooting will have you using muscles you've never realized you had, dosing yourself prior to the start of class and then at appropriate intervals can delay the onset of fatigue - remember, it's about maximizing your learning dollars.

A trauma kit or "blow-out" or "bleed" kit would be great to have on-person, but at the beginner level, it will neither be expected nor required. If you do choose to carry one on-person, be sure that it carries authentic, proven gear (please consider reading this post of mine: https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/first-aid-kit.196/#post-2730), and that if you do choose to take action during a medical emergency, that you heed by the creed of "FIRST DO NO HARM." If you don't know how to use one or another piece of gear that you have, that's OK, you can always offer it to those who do - towards this, the instructional cadre should have made all students aware of the emergency medical plans at some point at the beginning of each training day.

Bring personal hygiene products such as toilet-paper if-necessary, and especially for female students, be sure to ask about the restroom/lavatory situation. Some ranges/facilities have air-conditioned restrooms, while others consist of outhouses or Port-A-Potties, and yet others you'll be making do literally in the wild. For the latter, a She-Wee or GoGirl type of device can really be a morale booster for biological female shooters.

<continued below>
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Continued from above....



"Life-support" taken care of, it's time to take a look at gear:

Bring gear that you're familiar with and that you know meets the class requirements.

Vetting gear is one of the best parts of attending training classes, but trust me, you do -NOT- want to do so in your first class. Bring gear you know that works and how to work, and even then, be ready and willing to make adjustments, if-necessary, based on the input of your instructional staff.

Before you go, you should know that some schools/instructors have specific holster restrictions (i.e. "no Serpas" is a common theme you will hear) or maybe looser "how you carry" (i.e. "OWB strong side" only) requirements - if you usually carry IWB, AIWB, SOB (small of back), crossdraw, or in a shoulder holster, you'll DEFINITELY want to check with the instructional staff, as these methods of carry may be restricted (you may be required to first demonstrate your proficiency in their use) or outright disallowed, particularly at beginner-level classes.

Make sure you have good magazine carriers. You'll want at least two spare mags (in addition to the one you're running in your gun) on your person and readily accessible for double-stackers. For single-stackers, double that figure to four. Typically, I recommend coming to class with no less than five (5) double-stacker mags (again, for single-stackers or for those who face either hardware [such as if you're using a compact or sub-compact gun] or legal restrictions on capacity, I'd double this number) - this will not only cover you in case of malfunction/breakage, but will also allow you at least some amount of time in between drills/evolutions to stuff mags.

Add in a spare gun (and its supporting gear, if there's any changes between it and your primary gun), and you'll be good-to-go.

You really should not need cleaning materials unless you're looking at a multi-day class or if you are using a more maintenance-intensive weapon. Modern defensive/duty-grade semiautomatic handguns can literally chew through hundreds if not thousands of rounds between cleanings and maintain absolute reliability. Similarly, if you've brought a spare gun, you can also skip bringing a tool-kit unless you are at a multi-day class, as you typically will *not* have time to truly repair/service the weapon between drills.

Hardware covered, let's go to mindset -

Perspective students should carefully read the course requirements to get an idea of what will happen, as well as try to find AARs (for new students, this translates to [A]fter [A]ction [R]eports ;)) of the class in order to find out what kind of preparation - including gear - is required or recommended. and to find out what the overall gist of the class progression will be: i.e. what a class day, for that specific class, is like.

Aside form that, it's all about the will to learn -

First, remember humility: none of us know it all, and that includes the instructional cadre. We're all captives of our own experiences, and this applies to even the most experienced among us. If you find that something taught in class does not jibe with something you've read or have seen or was espoused by one SME or another, you should not be afraid to bring this up with the instructional staff. However, you should remember that you've ostensibly paid them for their knowledge...entertain just trying it their way, if only for this class? ;) Similarly, realize that others have paid for this same privilege, so if you want to debate a particular technique or methodology in-depth, try to save it until the lunch/dinner break, after class, or to even contact the instructor on another day (the instructional staff should provide you with their contact information, during the pre-class brief or during the post-class AAR/critique).

Don't worry about others' abilities or performance. Because of how perishable the skill-set is as well as the desire of some students to start-in with another school/trainer, you'll often find experienced shooters of all different levels of proficiency even in a "beginner" level class. Once you've gone through your first class, I'm almost positive that you'll feel like you're on information-overload: many of us repeat classes for that reason as well, twice or even more, so that we can truly learn the skills taught.
:)


And remember, just because someone is an LEO or active/former-Military doesen't necessarily mean that they are any more proficient than you are. A hobbyist implies, by definition, someone who does something for the love of it - and that love can really drive one to become exceedingly competent.
:)
The vast majority of time, you'll find that the professionals who come to civilian open-enrollment classes aren't there to brag: rather, they are the "quiet professionals" who really want to excel at their chosen craft, and have come to these classes to receive more help than they can get through their usual training regimen, and that they may even be paying out-of-pocket: that they are there, humbly, just as you are, to be pushed to their failure points and to learn from them.

That said, you will also find that in most cases, LEO/Mil classes are separated from civilian classes.



-----



I'll end this incredibly long and poorly written post here. :oops:😅

But I promise to return to this thread when I get a chance to organize my thoughts some more. I'm actually preparing right now to head to my first handgun class of the 2020 calendar year tomorrow, so, hopefully, getting out on the range again in a class atmosphere will knock something loose in the pea that I call a brain, and I'll be able to post some good follow-up.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Thanks for the kind words of encouragement, everyone! :)

I hope y'all will get good value out of this thread. :)


--------


Continuing on - I'd like to offer up a couple of more advanced considerations, to those who elect to continue down the path of being "a student of the gun."

This certainly does not apply to first-time students and may not even be appropriate for students taking their second or third classes: rather, it's things to think about as you continue walking the path and start to take classes that are more demanding.....


"Playing it real."

Each of those instances where you screwed up during a drill or evolution teaches you something, and if you're going to be carrying that smaller gun when you're out-and-about in real-life, you should consider running it and play it as it lies.

Buying a dedicated full-size range/training pistol that's otherwise just a scale-up of your daily carry isn't a bad thing. For one, with the larger gun typically being easier to both manipulate and shoot, this alone will allow you to focus more on the materials taught in class rather than worry about either fatigue or marksmanship. What's more, if your smaller carry gun and your larger training gun both share the same support gear, the use of the larger gun will still feed into skills development/maintenance with the smaller one.

However, no matter how similar the guns are, that scaling will amp up the difficulty level when you're using the smaller gun, no matter what. Just like the use of a concealment holster - or one with active retention - will also increase the difficulty factor versus an open-top OWB holster.

Trust me, I know. The change between my full-sized 4.5-inch XDm9 and my carry 3.8 Compact was enough that, when I saw the differences in performance on timed metrics and scored standards - despite having listened to my friends and "trained on the same platform" - I went out and bought myself another copy of the 3.8 Compact, modified it to be the exact same as my carry, and even bought a second, again identical, IWB holster specifically to train with. I did this because those objective metrics and standards showed me that "almost the same" (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/critical-defense-or-federal-hst.91/page-3#post-6385) is patently -NOT- "the same."

The clothes I train in? they're simply more worn-out copies of my daily dress: shirt, pants, belt, shoes - everything. There is really no better place to vet your gear. I once saw a line-mate repeatedly index his cell-phone for emergency reloads: there's nothing more embarrassing than trying to shove a phone into the magwell of your gun. I launched one of my defensive folders about 20 ft. back of the line because its pocket clip snagged the tail of my shirt as I drew: it didn't slow me down any, but that would mean that I'd have lost that tool, in real-life. So guess what? my knife no longer resides there, and I also practice from-concealment with my cell-phone in its holder, clipped to my belt in the same manner as I do every day because it causes my shirt to pull differently throughout my draw-stroke, and also because I don't want to end-up trying to jam my iPhone into my magwell, when I'm taking cover behind the hot-dog cart as a bad-actor goes about his business.

This is the kind of stuff that you can learn only if you train towards your reality.

Anyone who shoots enough from concealment will tell you that crap just happens when you're shooting truly from the concealed.

This doesn't mean that you're wearing a "Concealment Vest" to do IDPA/IPSC - rather, it means that you're doing it with your usual street clothing, using your usual carry gun, using your usual carry gear. Getting a handful of shirt on the reload or even during the draw. Stuffing a bit of shirt into the gun during the reload. Things like that - they happen. The goal for you in these classes - if you're running concealment gear - is to "shoot as long as you can still do it safely." If this means that you're shooting from inside your shirt (see why I take my old shirts and make them my training set?), so be it.

Yes, it would be awful to shoot your other hand or launch a round into the 7-11's beverage coolers when you're actually out in the real-world, while having to defend yourself against a lethal attack and your shirt fouled-up your draw. But to have shot yourself or launch a round up-range during practice/training? That's just plain not cool.

Play it as it lies, but only shoot as long as you can still do it safely.
:)


Even really experienced shooters may elect to not run their concealment setup - to, rather, run an "open" range/training setup - for really intense classes. This is a valid consideration and concession for experienced shooters just as it is for the new shooter. Concealment gear and everyday street clothes really do introduce a high level of complexity to the mix, and it can take your mind off the materials taught and/or potentially cause safety concerns. So, strive towards your reality, but don't be ashamed to take a step back so that you actually learn, as well as keep you and your line-mates safe.

Just yesterday, I took a faster-paced, enrollment-capped class:


It was chilly enough that we all wore various cold-weather setups - temps topped out at 40 deg. F., and the day never saw any real breaks in the clouds. Eventually, as the afternoon wore on, we saw a decent cold shower and even some frozen dribbles/flakes.

In a class of experienced shooters, we all elected to go from OWB setups instead of concealment.

Why?

Because the purpose of the class was not drawing from concealment - rather, it was to understand throttle control on the trigger.

"Game gear" is great for winning games.

It'd be pretty hilarious to show up on a Formula 1 grid with a daily driver on which you'd maybe modified the suspension bit or reflashed the ECU for a bit more boost.
:lol:
I know, that's a bit of a stretch, but it's really the same idea - it's much better to get a feel for what you can do with the gun/gear that you wear every day. This way, you get to press your real-world failure-points, and you get to see just how far you can take things.

"Training gear" is great for helping the shooter stay on-task and be extra safe. No, it may not be completely realistic as shooting your everyday concealment setup, but it is *TRAINING*/practice after all - and the student should understand that concessions made towards SAFETY and to also perhaps improve the learning curve or simply to facilitate information processing and assimilation should not be set aside simply in the search for "realism."

For my local schools, I'm now safe enough and proficient enough that I feel comfortable showing up with my carry setup (a "range/training-only" exact mechanical copy of my everyday gun and carry gear). My older T-shirts and jeans get tossed into a pile as "training clothes," so I'll also have that consistency. I feel that this is important so that I can truly press my failure threshold. Shooting from my OWB Raven Phantom, with my base-layer and even my wool sweater tucked-in (like in the thread above), I'm never going to snag a handful of shirt on my draw - but that's definitely not the case, at times, when I'm in my un-tucked Ts.

Yet, I still will show up to my first classes with any instructor or school in the usual OWB "class" setup. Why? It's partially because I feel that I should give respect to the instructor, since he/she may not know my skill-level, and I should thus be treated no differently than any other student on the line that day - but also, even more specifically, if I take a more advanced class where I'm trying to more absorb the taught skills/material: I then know that I won't need to fight with my gear and I know that there's an extra margin of safety there, too.

I'm definitely among those who will encourage all legal concealed-carry licensees to train with their true everyday setup. I've seen myself fail, not so long ago, when I used more dedicated "class" gear/gun and then transitioned to my EDC gear/gun.

However, I also feel it is important for any and all newer shooters to realize that there is an increased level of danger when training with street clothing, gear, and with just smaller, harder-to-manipulate "carry" guns. Do not overlook safety when in search for consistency/realism in training.
:cool:
 

David N.

Professional
Founding Member
^ Continued from above....



"Life-support" taken care of, it's time to take a look at gear:

Bring gear that you're familiar with and that you know meets the class requirements.

Vetting gear is one of the best parts of attending training classes, but trust me, you do -NOT- want to do so in your first class. Bring gear you know that works and how to work, and even then, be ready and willing to make adjustments, if-necessary, based on the input of your instructional staff.

Before you go, you should know that some schools/instructors have specific holster restrictions (i.e. "no Serpas" is a common theme you will hear) or maybe looser "how you carry" (i.e. "OWB strong side" only) requirements - if you usually carry IWB, AIWB, SOB (small of back), crossdraw, or in a shoulder holster, you'll DEFINITELY want to check with the instructional staff, as these methods of carry may be restricted (you may be required to first demonstrate your proficiency in their use) or outright disallowed, particularly at beginner-level classes.

Make sure you have good magazine carriers. You'll want at least two spare mags (in addition to the one you're running in your gun) on your person and readily accessible for double-stackers. For single-stackers, double that figure to four. Typically, I recommend coming to class with no less than five (5) double-stacker mags (again, for single-stackers or for those who face either hardware [such as if you're using a compact or sub-compact gun] or legal restrictions on capacity, I'd double this number) - this will not only cover you in case of malfunction/breakage, but will also allow you at least some amount of time in between drills/evolutions to stuff mags.

Add in a spare gun (and its supporting gear, if there's any changes between it and your primary gun), and you'll be good-to-go.

You really should not need cleaning materials unless you're looking at a multi-day class or if you are using a more maintenance-intensive weapon. Modern defensive/duty-grade semiautomatic handguns can literally chew through hundreds if not thousands of rounds between cleanings and maintain absolute reliability. Similarly, if you've brought a spare gun, you can also skip bringing a tool-kit unless you are at a multi-day class, as you typically will *not* have time to truly repair/service the weapon between drills.

Hardware covered, let's go to mindset -

Perspective students should carefully read the course requirements to get an idea of what will happen, as well as try to find AARs (for new students, this translates to [A]fter [A]ction [R]eports ;)) of the class in order to find out what kind of preparation - including gear - is required or recommended. and to find out what the overall gist of the class progression will be: i.e. what a class day, for that specific class, is like.

Aside form that, it's all about the will to learn -

First, remember humility: none of us know it all, and that includes the instructional cadre. We're all captives of our own experiences, and this applies to even the most experienced among us. If you find that something taught in class does not jibe with something you've read or have seen or was espoused by one SME or another, you should not be afraid to bring this up with the instructional staff. However, you should remember that you've ostensibly paid them for their knowledge...entertain just trying it their way, if only for this class? ;) Similarly, realize that others have paid for this same privilege, so if you want to debate a particular technique or methodology in-depth, try to save it until the lunch/dinner break, after class, or to even contact the instructor on another day (the instructional staff should provide you with their contact information, during the pre-class brief or during the post-class AAR/critique).

Don't worry about others' abilities or performance. Because of how perishable the skill-set is as well as the desire of some students to start-in with another school/trainer, you'll often find experienced shooters of all different levels of proficiency even in a "beginner" level class. Once you've gone through your first class, I'm almost positive that you'll feel like you're on information-overload: many of us repeat classes for that reason as well, twice or even more, so that we can truly learn the skills taught.
:)


And remember, just because someone is an LEO or active/former-Military doesen't necessarily mean that they are any more proficient than you are. A hobbyist implies, by definition, someone who does something for the love of it - and that love can really drive one to become exceedingly competent.
:)
The vast majority of time, you'll find that the professionals who come to civilian open-enrollment classes aren't there to brag: rather, they are the "quiet professionals" who really want to excel at their chosen craft, and have come to these classes to receive more help than they can get through their usual training regimen, and that they may even be paying out-of-pocket: that they are there, humbly, just as you are, to be pushed to their failure points and to learn from them.

That said, you will also find that in most cases, LEO/Mil classes are separated from civilian classes.



-----



I'll end this incredibly long and poorly written post here. :oops:😅

But I promise to return to this thread when I get a chance to organize my thoughts some more. I'm actually preparing right now to head to my first handgun class of the 2020 calendar year tomorrow, so, hopefully, getting out on the range again in a class atmosphere will knock something loose in the pea that I call a brain, and I'll be able to post some good follow-up.
Wow, that's a lot of good information! Yeah, I have some anxiety not knowing what to expect. I am going into this with an open mind and open ears. Thanks for looking out.
 
Last edited:

TSiWRX

Custom
^ You're most welcome - I'm always glad to help fellow students. :)

Looking over your past posts, I think you'll be just fine.

You'd alluded to military service in the past (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/cold-survival-layering-tips.305/#post-4430 and https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/negligent-discharge.194/#post-2204), so I think you'll be just fine taking line orders. :) I find that folks with either Military or LE background - or those who have participated in organized sports - to take easier to this aspect of modern "training classes." The vast majority of instructors understand where the law-abiding citizen who is seeking this kind of training is coming from, and a lot of them have adult-teaching experience, too. I've yet to have the ill fortune of taking a class from the pretend-tough, and you can rest assured that while they are unfortunately out there, they are among the few.

In terms of support equipment for the range, your posts about your range load-out (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/gear-taken-to-the-range.344/#post-4845) and your range-bag (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/compact-range-bag.250/#post-4785) makes me feel pretty comfortable about you having the necessary PPE and other gear to make the day go smooth. If it's warm out when you take your class (and it is outdoors), be sure to take along more water than you think you can possibly drink - alternatively, if it's cold, taking along a warm lunch (even if it's just soup or stew in a thermos) will help you recharge for the afternoon's drills.

You're a frequent sight at the range, it seems (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum...ange-and-how-many-rounds.155/page-2#post-2042), and it also reads that you're a conscientious shooter while there (https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/are-you-flinching.168/page-2#post-5523) so I doubt that you'll have much to worry about where it comes to both basic marksmanship skills and safety. This will allow you to focus on the materials presented. I honestly think that this is probably an ideal time for you to be taking such classes.

In terms of the gun, just be sure that it is well and appropriately lubed, and you'll be fine. The typical 500 to 600 round day that most beginner-level classes seem to shoot for (no pun intended!) can be easily handled by modern duty/defensive grade pistols without the need to clean or otherwise maintain. If you guys clear the guns out at lunch, adding a drop of lube to the barrel hood and another at the muzzle where the barrel meets the slide (you'll see wear on the barrel in this area) will likely help settle your mind about this, but it's really not required.

If you have a spare gun, great - if not, see if you can borrow one from a friend or family member: just remember to also get a holster and mag-holder from them, if they have that to loan, too.

https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/show-off-your-every-day-carry.177/#post-2495

^ Your belt should work just fine, but you may want to look into an inexpensive (read: good quality, not "cheap") strong-side OWB holster to make your life easier and/or to potentially satisfy class requirements. I believe Blade-Tech's "Total Eclipse" injection molded OWB has a fitment for your weapon, and so does Comp-Tac, with their "International" model (similar construct), at the ~$50 to $70 range, respectively.

While an IWB holster is far from unworkable, it will make re-holstering a bit more difficult. Similarly, a hybrid holster can also present its own issues during this type of classwork.

As a side-note, you may want to try out an extended range-day a few weeks before the class, if-possible. Try to get in at least 50% of the round-count that's posted to be expected for the class, if not the full estimate, for at least one practice session. While your diligent range practice should have you completely fine in terms of marksmanship and safety, higher round-counts can bring about other considerations that can potentially affect your ability to learn. Physical and mental fatigue from the higher round counts is a real thing, it's like a muscle that's never really been flexed before. ;) Also, issues you may run into with the ergonomics of the weapon at higher round counts - like the trigger guard rubbing your middle finger or the magazine base-plate pinching the heel of your hand - can cause some rather distracting discomforts that, if you can find and address now, will make your day much happier and more productive.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Now way am I a professor - I'm not even a substitute teacher! ;)

Like I said before, the "pool" that I call my knowledge and know-how is both shallow and narrow, and the reason why I am here (as any other online Forum community) is mainly in the hopes that I'll learn something (both the "Sling School" and "Strayer's 40K 'Blue Flame'" thread are excellent examples of where I've taken-from more than I've given).

That said, there are the rare spots in this little pond where you'll sink-in right up to your knees or so - and those are the areas where I have been lucky enough to have truly been taught something good by someone great...and I hope to pass-on that knowledge to as many others as I can.

Well, that, and whatever I've hard-won through either sweat, blood, or just plain wallet-rending spendings! :ROFLMAO: :LOL:
 

djthumper

Custom
Founding Member
Awesome write up! In the hardware as to check what to bring for a holster, if it is a basic course for a first time class, most of the time there is no holster required. Also if the instructor will have a firearm available for you to use. A lot of times when I teach a Basic Pistol Course we have some pistol available for those new shooters that haven't bought a gun yet or youth shooters.

These are few things I thought of off of the top of my head since I just assisted with a Basic Pistol course with Scouts and some new adult shooters.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Thank you for your contribution!!!!! :)

Those are indeed great points - some novice/beginner classes will not work out of a holster at all. A step at a time. :)

And I *love* those novice/beginner classes where the instructional cadre comes out with "a box of guns" for new shooters to try. That's the only way to go: to properly get one's own paws on each firearm, while under the careful eyes of those who are experienced enough to offer live coaching and feedback.
 

djthumper

Custom
Founding Member
Thank you! It was a very interesting read as was the one that Mike posted.

As I remember things from my classes that I attend and teach I will try to contribute more to it, Too bad you couldn't add interesting contribution to the OP pointing to interesting contributions to the thread.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ That's a great idea, actually!

The system here does allow edits, but there's a problem specifically in relation to my original series of posts above - I was getting hard-up against the allowed text character limit, and that was actually why I posted my original as a series of posts, rather than just one.

If I had more foresight, I'd have configured the first post as an overview and just not gone into details. Still, I'll see what I can imagine up in the next couple of days, as that's a *really* great idea you proposed. Again, thank you! :)
 

David N.

Professional
Founding Member
I'm bummed. My first firearms class was cancelled due to restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Rescheduled for a later date, TBD.

I think I'll use this time to practice reload drills.
 
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