Raising Standards in Firearms Training

*Disclaimer: This post is not written to offend any persons or entities in the firearms and tactics industry (especially located in Bulgaria). It is mean to serve as an educational tool to help Instructors train their students to perform above a predefined standard.

With that being said… This is for my fellow firearms instructors, coaches, trainers, chiefs, or whichever title you choose to fancy yourself as. Here are 3 tips from someone who cares.

1: Understand the Purpose of Firearms Training

I spend most of my ‘free’ time thinking about the best tools and methods that are necessary for raising the standards of firearms training in Bulgaria. There are a small amount of Instructors and Companies that operate in the region and an even smaller amount of which the instructors have good experience and skills in what they are teaching. Which brings us to understanding that training with firearms is not meant to serve as a “cool” photo opportunity for the student. You need to understand that above all else, these weapons are just that. Weapons. Their purpose, to kill. Simple as that. So, to those instructors who value photo opportunities and good humor on the range, step it the fuck up. 

2. Purpose Based Training (Not just running through drills)

There is nothing more detrimental to a students ability to learn and retain the knowledge (while developing proficiency) than an instructor or training program that is ONLY focused on the outcome. What I mean by this is having a set schedule of drills for the student to perform, over a course of 1, 3, 5 or however many days. I can’t even put a number on how many time I’ve witnessed instructors move from drill-to-drill without: 1.) Explaining the “how, and why” behind the drill. 2.) allowing the student to develop proficiency within that training drill before moving onto the next. Personally, I consistently  implement PURPOSE BASED TRAINING into every single course that we teach. What is Purpose Based Training? Exactly what it sounds like! The student books a course to serve to improve skills that apply to him or her professionally. Every student’s requirements, skills-sets, and learning speed is different. Take that into account and focus on what it is the student is there to learn and how it applies to his or her profession. Every single course or day should be manually tailored to meet the students capabilities and attempt to push them to their next level. The picture below is what I use as a method of teaching, which has worked every single time.

  • 1. Establish a baseline of the students skills.
  • 2. Push the student to their limit.
  • 3. Bring it back down and revisit foundations (if necessary).
  • 4. Push the student to an even higher limit…. the process continues until the student has met the desired level of proficiency for that particular drill.

*Note: Up and Down arrows which represent the complexity direction of a drill. Drill complexity can be added by utilizing various stressors such as cognitive association techniques as well as increased heart rate and inhalation/expiration rate.

3. Progress, Not Perfection!!!

The cold hard reality is that you are not going to make your student an EXPERT or OPERATOR in a 1, 3, 5, 10 or 21 day course. If you that is the tactic you are using to market your services, you need to take a step back and reassess your skills, and abilities as well as knowledge. Expertise is developed throughout a lifetime of learning. To give your student the false hope of becoming John Wick is the wrong way to go about business. One thing I ALWAYS start my courses off with is disclaimer to my students: Train WITHIN your personality! What does this mean? It means don’t come to my course and try to be the next James Bond or Jason Bourne… You’re going to burn yourself out OVERTHINKING and self-criticization.  Leave the critique to the instructor. Focus on performing to your personality or OPTEMPO. Every student should leave the course feeling a sense of improvement in proficiency and understanding that these skills must be constantly refreshed to maintain and improve that level of proficiency.

 

In Conclusion,

Whether you are training civilians, police, military or private contractors – always have in mind that the drills you use for the advanced police officers MAY NOT directly correlate to Military or PMC’s. Always adjust to the students performance level and make corrections as needed to motivate AND improve the students level of firearms proficiency. More times than none, you, as an instructor, will be just as exhausted from a day of teaching at the range, as the student is. If that’s not the case… chances are you are not physically and mentally pushing the student to their peak performance levels.

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