Military and Police

Firearms Training Should Include Shooting a Real Firearm!

I have to say I am just a bit astounded and disappointed. I just discovered someone I thought was a reputable, stand- up instructor of firearms is actually teaching concealed firearm-carry license classes where the students do not even shoot real firearms as part of the “firearms” training class.

Now, I am all for teaching as many law-abiding citizens as we can to properly and safely carry firearms for self-defense. I do not believe that getting a license should be required to do so; it’s a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. But I’m also a responsible adult and if I were new to firearms I would want to get trained and become educated on the firearms basics. Part of that would of course include shooting an actual firearm.

Having taught firearms to law enforcement officers for more than 25 years and also citizens for a good portion of that (and still teaching them both), I know that you cannot teach someone how to shoot a firearm without shooting a firearm. Sure you can teach the laws, the fundamentals, how to do just about everything without shooting a firearm, but you can’t teach someone how to shoot a firearm without shooting a firearm! There is a huge difference between shooting a real firearm and, say, something like a plastic pellet or BB-type pistol…and a real handgun that goes bang.

Part of proper training with a firearm includes learning how the firearm functions when you shoot it and becoming comfortable with the noise and action of a real handgun. The noise, the recoil, the grip and more are all different with real firearms. You must shoot a real firearm to experience that and become comfortable enough to carry one for self-defense. And malfunction training requires a real firearm.

Also, I have enough experience training people in firearms to know that you cannot teach a large group of people a basic firearms class in just a few hours. The Basic Handgun class I teach takes at least 8 hours for a large class, and that includes a couple hours on the actual firearms range shooting actual firearms.

I guess this bothers me so much because I realize that the people taking these classes at gun shows and from others where you do not shoot a real firearm are being done a huge disservice, and it’s more about the money than proper training. Just remember, you usually get what you pay for: $20 for few hours course versus an all-day training session on a real range with real firearms is no comparison.

Don’t let the first time you actually shoot a real firearm be when you need it most, to defend your life or the life of another. Get training with real firearms and learn the right way.

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Chris Wagoner

Chris Wagoner is a U.S. Army Veteran and has been in law enforcement the last 35+ years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction, and is in charge of a large Police Academy in North Florida. In his spare time Chris is a freelance writer and posts his articles on "Down Range with Chris Wagoner".

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