Among the online firearms instructor’s discussions and groups, there are some common questions. How do instructors get people to attend more classes after CCW? If they are just starting, what order do you recommend they take classes? If their state doesn’t mandate training, how do you get people to take gun training?
Well, I don’t think my answer is THEE answer nor do I think my perspective from New Mexico will work all over the country. I have already realized, from dealing with Gary at US Gun Class, that ideas that work in the mid-west do not always work here in the southwest. US Gun Class has AWESOME customer service, by the way. So take this as just one instructor’s advice to both instructors and people wanting to learn guns.
I have read in those discussions online that some instructors look at classes like levels. Here is an example of classes instructors recommend and the order they may recommend you attend them;
1. NRA Refuse to be a Victim
2. NRA Basic Gun Safety
3. NRA Basic Pistol / USCCA Basic Handgun
4. Concealed Carry
5. Personal Protection in the Home \ outside the Home / USCCA Home Defense
6. NRA Defensive Pistol / USCCA Defensive Shooting Fundamentals (DSF)
NRA or USCCA, chose your flavor, but the bottom line is a recommended list is not uncommon in the firearms training industry. Our customers ask for guidance so we provide the best we can based on our experience, training, certifications and so forth.
Sure, we can get into the perfect world and why those lessons should be taught in THAT order, and there is a WHOLE lot of data to support that. But, what does the customer want to learn? THAT is the question I tend to ask. For USCCA classes, some instructors look at the DSF like they are advanced classes and some do not. If you are an experienced shooter, you will get a lot out of the DSF course. If you are a complete novice and you WANT to learn to DEFEND YOURSELF, the USCCA Defensive Shooting Fundamentals course is for YOU! For instructors, that is what I recommend to anyone who asks. I have taught DSF to students … who had to borrow a holster and magazine pouches and buy more ammo in one sale then they have bought their whole life…. to… one of my go-to NRA/ USCCA instructors who has been teaching for our local range for decades and has been teaching with me for 3 years! Both of these students got a WHOLE lot out of this training! DSF is for both the novice and the experienced!!
I can say the same for almost all of the courses. Novice, expert, veteran, law enforcement, security guard, teenager, and someone who has lived through 8 decades… they all have one thing in common. If they are talking to me, they want to learn.
Most recently, I had a student ask me about delaying his Concealed Carry training since they have NEVER picked up a gun in their life! Now, following the list above, I would say…”Delay your CCW training until you complete the other 3 classes, (costing you an additional $170+) and I only offer them one time per month…. So you will wait 3 months and attend 3 other classes before you attend the CCW course.” I won’t do that to them at all. I will chat with them and find out what they really want. In this case, I convinced him to take the class and rent a gun from me since he does not own a gun. He learned this class is designed for Concealed Carry, and NOT for making him an expert or marksman. I have done this numerous times before and it works out well. Most of those novice students will also try to take a Basic Handgun / Pistol course within a few months if funds allow. By the way, this particular student signed up for a follow on Basic Handgun Shooting course!
That is the foundation of what I recommend to my students. “What do you want to learn? What is your goal? Personal protection, crime prevention, ect”
Do you want to know the firearm really well (basic handgun course)?
Do you want to defend yourself well (defensive shooting course)?
Do you want to learn crime prevention and techniques to avoid bad situations (refuse to be a victim)?
Do you want your Conceal Carry License, learn to conflict avoidance, conflict resolution, and federal and state laws concerning firearms and conceal carry (conceal carry course)?
Do you want to defend yourself at home (personal protection in the home / home defense)?
I don’t recommend “Attend classes in this order!” I recommend courses based on what people want to learn. This approach as worked for me and it seems to work for people who attend my courses.
Maybe that is just a New Mexico cultural thing, but I try my best to address the concerns of someone wanting to learn. As I continue my education as an instructor and counselor, I may make adjustments to my advice, but there it is for now.