- that's a great question, and I will also echo @Old_Me
's reply, for a great place to start.
Other than that, a lot of it these days is still word-of-mouth. For as much as the industry has grown in the last decade, it's still small enough that it is very, very helpful for anyone who is interested in starting on the path to actually speak with someone else who is also on the path.
The danger here is that we're all limited by what we know (and conversely, don't). That bastardized "you don't know what you don't know" really is true, here.
And because of the nature of firearms training, this means that our ignorance may actually prove truly dangerous, in a death-or-grave-bodily-injury kind of way.
I started a thread a while ago about prepping for your very first training class - https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum...s-heres-some-reading-to-help-you-prepare.433/
- and in that thread, I touched on the importance of vetting where one's instruction is going to be coming from, which I'll quote here:
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.
Usually, starting off with the NRA, USCCA, NSSF, etc. instructors/programs will give you your first exposure to other like-minded folks. As the late Pat Rogers advised, let this become your tribe. For some of these folks, these classes are where they'll stop, for others, this is where they start, and for yet others, it may be somewhere they're returning to - often sitting in-support of a loved one who is just starting down the path themselves. This is where you'll start to network, and usually, in any one community, there will be a few "training heavies," and they'll be the folks who'll guide your next steps, with referrals typically to more specialized local/regional instructional cadres and schools. Other in-person resources include the entity that issues your concealed-carry permit/license and your local gun-shop or shooting-range are also places to
A similar path can play out online as well, with some communities having even regional sub-Forums that are devoted to both helping students find training as well as allowing schools/instructors to advertise. M4Carbine.net, Lightfighter, and the Primary & Secondary Forums are among some of the best places to scout for such, and despite their often intimidating nature, once folks know that you really are looking to learn, you'll be met with open arms. Locally/regionally, I would advise you to look at your state/regional concealed-carry, open-carry, as well as general shooting-community Forums, where similar sub-Forums will often reside.
If you're willing to share at least the general geographic region where you reside, I am sure that someone here will be able to give you at least a couple of leads.
In terms of training.....
I won't lie. I'm a range-rat. Folks who know me know that I love to attend classes. I'm what they call a "lifelong learner," in just about everything that I do. 😅
So with that as the background, one would imagine that I would think that everyone who has a gun should be trained, right?
Well, that's the thing - no, I don't.
First, take a look at the defensive shootings -successful or not- in either open mass-media or via specialized-interest sources (be it print, such as what's compiled in the USCCA's bi-monthly glossy, or online, via Stephen P. Wenger's "Defensive Use of Firearms" daily digest email blasts). How many of those involve individuals who are in any way "trained?" Empirical data would suggest that Clint Smith is very correct in his belief that more often than not, mediocre shooting wins the day.
The other reason is more philosophical. I truly at my core believe that self-defense is a God-given right that's afforded to every living being. Armed self-defense is, in my view, no different than the claws or teeth of a tiger. In this way, I also believe that a firearm is the best equalizer where there exists tremendous disparities-of-force. As-such, for every frail, elderly citizen and every innocent pre-teen who successfully defends themselves against evil with the use of a firearm, I find my faith reaffirmed.
It wasn't long ago that I was adamant in that I *_WANT_* everyone who has a gun to be trained - and it actually took another 2A'er's challenge for me to start to see this in a different light.
Let's just say that while I would certainly encourage everyone who has a gun to seek training, I'm no longer militant about it.
To go back to that Clintism that I started to quote above, his full sentiment was that we should all train towards magnificence, so that we can fall to mediocre. And yes, this is among my core beliefs, too (witness: https://www.xdtalk.com/threads/why-competition-and-bullseye-shooting-will-kill-you.266656/
, and https://www.xdtalk.com/threads/to-aim-or-protect-yourself.272719/
) - because we never know if our mediocrity will actually win the day, that day, or if we'll be called upon to give our 110% (https://www.xdtalk.com/threads/white-settlement-tx-church-shooting.448017/
So, I don't completely agree with Sheriff Wilson, but I'm not that far off from where he stands, either.