TIP OF THE MONTH: HOW TO CHOOSE AN INSTRUCTOR
Here are a few tips that may help you out.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN YOUR TRAINING?
Simply, what type of training are you trying to find? Target shooting, self-defense, competitive shooting of some type, firearms safety and education? Once you nail down what type of training and education you are looking for, then ask yourself what encompasses this type of training. For example, if I am looking for firearms training for self-defense, I need to consider subject matter such as firearms safety, fundamentals of shooting, holster work, use of force, scenario-based training, avoidance training, de-escalation techniques, situation awareness training and much more. Can the instructor/organization deliver all these aspects of education and training? They should be well-rounded and versed in all the aspects of the subject matter they advertise and offer.
WHAT IS THEIR BACKGROUND?
Research the background of your instructor and the training organization they represent to see if they meet your needs for what you want out of your training and education. An instructor doesn’t have to be former military or law enforcement, but if you are looking for self-defense, tactical, use of force or similar subject matter then that expertise would definitely be a plus. For example, I would not go to an Olympic shooting coach for advice on the use of force, but I may see them about some trigger work.
Here are some of things you want to know:
· Where did they receive their training?
· How long they have been teaching?
· What is their level of experience with the subject matter they are teaching?
· If they are teaching components of competitive shooting, what do they compete in? Where do they rank? How long have they competed?
You will also want to know if your instructor and their organization is well-versed in these aspects of training:
· Lesson plan writing
· Delivery skills
· Classroom management
· Range set up/ management
· Safety plans
· Equipment needs
· Continued education
WHAT IS THEIR USE OF FORCE EXPERIENCE, CERTIFICATIONS, INSTRUCTOR LEVEL CREDENTIALS?
WHERE DO THEIR LESSON PLANS COME FROM?
Lesson plans should be defensible in court. There should be a structure in how it is written and a review process for all of the lesson plans in the program. Not just time-based, but information-based. There should be reference material showing where the instructor or organization gleaned all of this subject matter. If they developed something on their own, what was the process and how did they come up with the result?
A lesson plan is a legal document that will be summoned to court if that situation arises. It will be scrutinized, analyzed, torn apart in every detail in the court room. How do I know this? Because I have been a professional witness, my lesson plans have been on trial so to speak, and I have seen how attorneys on both sides try to discredit a witness, instructor and organization. It ain’t pretty!
The bottom line is can the instructor articulate the WHY on the stand?
DEVELOP A TRAINING PLAN
Obviously, you cannot get everything you need from one course or even one organization and you shouldn’t try to. We encourage our students to seek out other reputable instructors and organization and get their aspect of things. This makes a person well-rounded.
Start planning to achieve your goals. Begin by writing down what the end game looks like. What are you trying to achieve? Do some research to see what is involved. Then research the people delivering your instruction. Book a class to get you started down the path. As a student, always bring an open mind with you to class. Take notes, draw diagrams, ask questions and be a good student. I have been doing this for over 25 years and I am still the guy in every training class with a note pad and pen, taking notes the entire time.
COST OF TRAINING
The cost of training can vary greatly between instructors and organizations. You just need to determine if the value of what you are getting exceeds what you are willing to pay. The average cost of a DE CCDW course in Kent and Sussex County is about $150.00. Some more and some less. Almost everyone offers the occasional discount and that’s great. Consider what value you will you get from their knowledge of the subject.
Quality instruction is worth the expense. Experienced and reputable instructors and organizations spend years developing their skills, writing and reviewing lesson plans and programs, coaching, and teaching all types of students, and polishing all the skillsets to offer you an outstanding level of training.
The intent of this writing was not to discredit any instructor or organization. I am glad we have a diverse list of training organizations and instructors available in this area. Several of them regularly attend Delaware Tactical courses and I am honored to have them.