Interested in getting a firearm for sport, hunting, or self-defense? Then it’s important that your first learn how to load, shoot, unload, and store guns safely.
Don’t buy a gun until you’ve already taken a basic gun training class. You won’t know what to do with it, and you might break quite a few rules without realizing it.
Gun training courses will teach you far more than you would’ve thought. And the most important thing is common sense. In just a few short hours in a class, you’ll build life-long habits that will keep you, and those around, safe.
But if you are new to guns, how do you go about choosing a gun training instructor? Keep reading for eight important tips before booking your class.
1. Evaluate Your Experience Level
When learning to shoot guns and selecting a training course, you first need to evaluate your own experience level. Did you grow up shooting guns with your dad or uncles? Or are you brand new to the sport?
If you are brand new, you’re going to need to start with basic safety courses and hands-on training. This will show you how to actually use a firearm because it’s far more than just pulling a trigger.
If you already have experience, you may be able to skip over the basic classes and instead choose an intermediate course to sharpen your skills.
2. What Are Your Goals for a Gun Training Class?
Next, consider your goals. Why do you want to learn how to shoot?
Do you plan to go hunting? Or are you just looking for a new hobby and just want to shoot targets. Maybe you want one for personal defense.
Whatever your main reason, it will determine what type of course and instructor you choose. For personal defense, you’ll want training on how to use handguns.
If you plan to try hunting or sport shooting, you might want to choose a class that focuses on rifle shooting.
If you plan to get your license to carry, you’ll need specific, certified training in our to get your license. You can check out the LTC course guide here.
3. Online or In-Person?
There are many options for training classes that take place online. These courses can help you learn the basics of safety, mechanics, and best practices.
But online, it’s all theory. They are great for those who already have experience shooting and are looking to expand their knowledge.
For beginners, it’s best to attend an in-person class if possible. You’ll learn a lot more about the basic functionality of a gun, how to hold it, how to store it, and so on. Plus, an in-person course might mean you actually get to shoot downrange.
4. Is There Hands-On Training?
Not all instruction courses offer hands-on training. But actually using a firearm is critical to the learning process.
Try choosing a course that includes range time so that you get to fire a gun under the supervision of an expert. They’ll very quickly guide you into best practices when it comes to holding a gun, aiming, firing, and unloading. These are things that are hard to pick up on a video.
5. Are Guns and Ammo Provided?
If the class includes range time, find out if guns and ammo are provided or if you need to bring your own. It’s nice when they are provided so you can learn to shoot before buying your own gun.
But if you already have a gun, ask if you can bring it. If you are going to learn how to shoot under supervision, you might as well learn how to shoot your gun, rather than someone else’s.
6. Check Reviews
Always check reviews for any instructor, shooting range, or gun shop that is offering courses. You’ll learn a lot about the professionalism of the instructors, the content of the course, and the level of instruction.
A good instructor will never make you feel dumb for being inexperienced. You want to ensure you choose an instructor who has patience, sympathy, and the skills necessary to work with people of all abilities.
7. Does the Class Get You Discounts?
If the class is offered by a shooting range or gun shop, ask if you’ll get any other discounts by attending the course. Some places will give you a discount on a monthly membership after attending, or they may give you a coupon to use in the store.
Or if other classes are offered, you may receive a discount on taking future classes.
8. Qualifications of the Instructor
It helps to learn from someone who knows what they are doing, especially when it comes to something as serious as using guns. The instructor should include their credentials on the website or brochure about the course.
Oftentimes, instructors are former members of the military. Bonus points if you choose an instructor who was in the Navy Seals. Or you may find instructors who have worked in law enforcement.
You can be sure that these individuals have the ability to teach you how to use a gun.
There are other organizations that can certify instructors. This often includes the NRA, or National Rifle Association, which is one of the oldest firearm organizations in the country.
Showing Up to the Class Prepared
Once you’ve made the right choice and schedule a gun training class, it’s time to get prepared. You’re going to learn a lot. But the better prepared you are, the more you’ll soak up.
Bring paper and a pencil to take notes during the class. Bring your own water and snacks, since a class can often be four hours or more.
And most importantly, bring your questions. One of the biggest benefits of an in-person class is the ability to ask questions. You can even prepare some in advance.
Becoming a Safer, Better Shooter
Taking a gun training class is one of the smartest things you can do. Not only will it make you a safer shooter, but it will also make you a better shooter.
Plus, they are super affordable and are offered every week at many places. If you’re looking to hunt, shoot targets or protect your home, find the course that’s right for you and sign up today. The world is going to be a little safer if you do.
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