Firearms training and education are among the most needed and least likely part of a preppers knowledge base to be obtained. In many cases, firearms training and instruction consists of little more than military basic training, law enforcement POST training and annual qualifications, concealed permit training, hunter education classes and or basic NRA classes. These by themselves without continuing practice or education are not as beneficial as needed. In fact, it would shock most of you to learn that the average LE officer in the United States regularly fails at least one qualifier in a year, and must take a remake/ practice and pass later.
The largest reason for basic and advanced courses in firearms use and handling is quite simple. If you choose to own a firearm for defense, hunting or otherwise, it is essential to understand something extremely important, a firearm is a tool. It is not a TOY, decoration or accessory. IT IS A PURPOSE BUILT TOOL, it replaces the spear, bow and arrow and long sword. It allows you to defend yourself as a disabled individual (*myself) or as an elderly human or a child. There have been over a dozen nationwide reported defensive uses of firearms ranging from disabled through youth as young as 11 using AR15s, handguns and more since January of this year alone! This is why training is essential. Even if your training is just going to the range once or twice a month and becoming familiar with the firearms as well as the safety precautions involved with the use of firearms, you have taken a greater step than many that carry firearms for a living.
The reasons I do not believe that Basic or POST training is good for more than introductory shooters is simply because I have seen why and how changes are implemented AFTER Basic training and after POST training for LE. Sadly, I have even seen SWAT/SRT (*not all) teams that honestly I would not want to be armed around myself and or my children.
Training must be intensive, ongoing and regular for it to have benefit for individuals.
What I am going to list for you are training centers and instructors with whom I have either had direct interaction with or with whom I have dealt on a professional and or with students of theirs. This means that there will likely be educators in this industry I do not mention, it does not by default make them better or worse, I will be giving my educated, practiced opinion with regards to firearms training and education. What I say will cause consternation among some, and may gain agreement by others. It is essential to understand that my “philosophy” regarding firearms is based on over 35 years of handling, with over 15 years of advanced training and instruction as well as use.
I will not directly put down any specific educators in this industry UNLESS and only UNLESS they have a proven record of mishandling firearms in an unsafe manner, inappropriate contact with students or worse, dangerous approaches that have caused their removal from licensing agencies and or shooting ranges. I will also NOT be endorsing nor have I ever endorsed the currently popular time-share “diamond level” approach taken by some, I have had direct interaction with students of this approach, and honestly they are more interested in selling more time-shares than training consistently and regularly on one’s own, which can be of greater benefit in the end than a “diamond membership”.
One final disclaimer, at no point, should what I recommend be seen as a reflection of the sites owner or patrons, this is a list based solely on my direct/ professional experience with and or interaction with individuals owning and or running these locations. I AM NOT RECEIVING ANY COMPENSATION FROM NOR HAVE I RECEIVED COMPENSATION FROM THE INSTRUCTORS AND SCHOOLS BEING MENTIONED.
A list of instructors and schools I highly recommend taking classes with sooner, rather than later! In NO particular order, I am simply drawing from a list of schools and individuals whom I have gained a respect for or worked with directly. Ohio Prepper is not included on this list, though if you know him, I am certain he would be pleased to work with you or guide you to individuals in your area!
- Rob Pincus – Integrity, Consistency, Efficiency training or I.C.E. Training, he is also the developer of the Combat Focus® training system. He is a regular guy who will work with you to ensure you gain the knowledge needed to stay safe if you are military or LE he has programs that directly correlate to those fields and programs for civilians as well.
- Massad Ayoob Group, Massad Ayoob is an amazing legalities instructor and pretty darn good with firearms as well. I can honestly say I have only physically seen one person beat this man shooting, (and that was a good unnamed friend of mine with whom I have had the pleasure of shooting for almost a decade now) He is the author of several MUST have books for legalities and lethal force use, I suggest checking his site out as well. I am a graduate of his very first MAG40 class in Arizona back in 2011 and enjoyed every second.
- The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Marty Hays– this school has been one of many I have desired to attend over the years, sadly it keeps getting put off. However, I will make it out to a class or two eventually! The range he maintains and uses has a 360-degree shoot house and extremely dedicated well trained and experienced instructors!
- Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction, Marchelle Tigner-Washington based in Atlanta, Georgia this young lady is newer to the scene, but has proven to be quite professional and maintains a solid working relationship with many outstanding instructors and individuals within the community. I hope to have her work with my daughter soon!
- Nolatac Firearms Training, Brannon LeBouf of Arabi, Louisiana has a full indoor and outdoor range facility and offers a wide range of classes based on a solid background and the simple line, “you are the ONLY person responsible for your safety.” (Emphasis mine)
- Thunder Ranch, Clint Smith an amazing individual who has long been on my list of MUST have schools, his school moved from Texas to Oregon in 2004, and is still a highly sought after, solid instructional facility!
- Gunsite Academy (American Pistol Institute) was founded by the immortal Jeff Cooper and carries on his hard-nosed, but well-taught legacy today! A definitely highly suggested firearms educational facility!
I am certain you have noticed a trend towards Southern, Western and North-Western training facilities, while I have no doubts that good educational opportunities exist on the East Coast or even in the Mid-West thanks to silly laws, I personally stopped traveling very far East of the Mississippi after 2001. I mean let’s be honest if my legally packed firearms and I were diverted to any number of East Coast airports I would be arrested for simply owning them. You will never convince me that these laws are moral or even legal in any way, remember, no law is morally right that strips an individual of their NATURAL RIGHTS.
Not to mention the absolutely ridiculous carry laws in many states that direction as well. Arizona passed “Constitutional Carry” and while the overall benefit has been great for myself, it has severely limited my ability to travel “legally” forcing me to “Illegally, though absolutely MORALLY correct” acquire and or carry means of protection when coerced or forced into visiting these locations. As a result, I have simply chosen NOT to travel into any “enemy” held land unless absolutely necessary to do so. This is why since 2001 I can not recommend any legitimate firearms instructors on the East coast.
I would suggest if you live in one of the Eastern seaboard states and wish to gain education and knowledge, contact the above-mentioned at least 3 or so and ask them for suggestions! They have a far greater knowledge and ability to link you than I will. Additionally, there is Ohio Prepper who is himself an instructor with certifications from the NRA.
Understand I believe firmly in safety, especially with beginning level shooters and individuals who are out of practice. Unlike riding a bicycle, a firearm requires constant, regular training and repetition to ensure both safe and beneficial education and growth. Without these things, you are guaranteed to fail eventually. As an aside, anyone who claims to be the worlds “best” at anything in this arena, is an automatic avoid, this is an impossible thing to measure. I have shot with extraordinarily talented individuals on multiple continents and in several countries. I trained with many and have learned quite a bit, regardless, I would NEVER say I am the best.
Train smart, do NOT be stingy on training and always train SAFELY!
For more information ask!
Free the mind and the body will follow!