A student seeking a firearms instructor will evaluate the quality of training offered. You are making an investment and your life may someday depend on this training and the ideas your new instructor may have. Modern handgun skills have not changed much in the past as far as standards of safe gun handling and the fine points of good marksmanship and shooting skills. There are leaders in the firearms industry who set the standards of exceptional training, such as Massad Ayoob and many others. Some people are fortunate to have trained with these individuals and share their knowledge throughout the country. Learn where your instructor received training and make sure that you’re getting quality and correct information. Think about the difference between the pro athlete and the coach. The pro might or might not make a good coach. The coach played that sport, maybe not at a pro-level, but can bring others to that level.
Picking Firearms Instructors-
Most good instructors have trained with a variety of mentors that discuss different styles and methodologies. Keep in mind that military and law enforcement personnel may have received exceptional firearms training, but that does not mean that he or she is a firearms instructor. Further, instructors that do not have experience teaching civilians may have mindset and tactics that are very different from the training you want.
If your instructor has only recently become an instructor, or maybe even a gun owner, he or she may not be a good resource. Look for diversity of training and additional classes being offered before deciding to take a class or lesson. A person may be certified to teach a License to Carry or CCW permit course, but he or she may not be a firearms instructor that can teach safe gun handling and points of marksmanship. One teaches you how to shoot; one teaches the law for a permit or license.
Some credentials that show your instructor can shoot is always helpful. Instructors that do not encourage you to seek additional training either have large egos or they are overconfident about their curriculum or worry that you will give your training dollars to someone else.
A reputable instructor is not always the teacher but enjoys being a student. He or she will attend continuing education sessions and training to constantly advance and/or reinforce their skills. Be sure your instructor is industry-connected. The firearms industry is very competitive, but also very interconnected. Good instructors collaborate and participate in the greater firearms community. See if your instructor has ever taught at a Women on Target event with the NRA or other similar large events.
As you look at your instructor’s bio and resume, you want to see some of these top instructors and others: Kathy Jackson (Cornered Cat), Karl Rehn (KR Training), Massad Ayoob and Gail Pippen, Tom and Lynn Givens (Rangemaster), Marty and Gila Hayes, Rob Pincus, Robert Vogel, Ben Stoeger, Rob Leatham, Ken Hackathorn, Larry Vickers, Paul Howe, Clint Smith (Thunder Ranch), Jerry and Kay Miculek, John and Vicki Farnam, Jim Higginbotham, and those who have trained with them.