About Me

I hold multiple NRA Instructor credentials, as well as SabreRed Pepper Spray. I have my own training company in Northern Virginia, www.FemaleandArmed.com and am focusing primarily on teaching women, especially those who are new to shooting.

I am also the author of 4 books, available on Amazon, and at many major outlets. I am a contributing writer for Combat Handgun Magazine and Women and Guns Magazine.

Thank you for following along with me as this journey continues.

Safe Shooting!


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Thoughts, comments and insights for women who shoot and the men who love us!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finding the right Instructor

It doesn't matter if it your first class or an advanced class, the right instructor can be the difference between a great experience and a frustrating one.

You have identified a couple classes or instructors that look interesting, but how do you know you have found “the one”? Talk to him or her. If they are not willing to spend a few minutes answering questions, move on to the next instructor on your list. If you have to leave a message, or send an email, give them at least 24 hours to get back to you. Most of us have day jobs, and we teach shooting because it is our passion. We love it! But, that means it can take us a day to get back to you. Once you get in contact, what questions should you ask? Following are some suggestions that should help you get a sense of the instructor and their personality so you can judge if you would be comfortable with them.
·         Are you a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor?
·         Are you following a NRA approved curriculum?
·         How many students are in an average class?
·         Is there range time included in this class?
·         What is the ratio of instructors to students on the range? (If it is less than one instructor for every two or three students consider going to the next instructor on your list.)
·         Do I have to have my own pistol or will you have guns I can shoot?
·         Are you the one who will be teaching my class, and if not, what can you tell me about the instructor I will have?
·         How long have you been teaching?
·         What kind of shooting do you do?  (The answer you are looking for here can vary depending on the type of shooting you want to do. If you are learning for defense, you want someone who practices defensive shooting techniques. If you are interested in competing, you might want someone who competes.)
·         What is the number one priority for this class? (SAFETY!)
·         Where will the class be held?
·         What range do you use?
·         Does the range have eye and ear protection I can borrow?
·         Are there any additional costs above the tuition? (This may include having to provide your own ammunition or targets, or pay a range fee.)
·         If you have any physical limitations or restrictions you may ask if they have experience with your particular needs.
These should give you a sense of the instructor, and how you will respond to him or her. Ask any other questions you may have, such as; “How do you handle nervous students?” Are you comfortable with the person you spoke with, their answers, and attitude? The introduction to shooting can be a little scary and you want someone to lead you through the first shots that you feel comfortable with and trust. If you are not satisfied, keep looking! I promise there is an instructor out there for you. The adage “You have to kiss a lot of toads to find a Prince” applies to finding the perfect instructor. We all have different needs, and there is at least one perfect toad, or instructor, out there for you. Your first class can set the tone for the rest of your shooting experience. If you leave with a huge grin thinking, “That was AWESOME!” your instructors job was done well and you will want to come back and do it again! If not, returning to the range can be a little intimidating and might not be a high priority.

Good luck and keep training!

Safe Shooting!

14 comments:

  1. Excellent!! Lots of people have no idea what to look for, I was in that group when I first started looking. I googled, found one and signed ip. Didn't ask a question. I got lucky, but luck is not the best way to select an Instrcutor:)

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    1. I did the same thing, but I've since worked with enough students who have had bad experiences that I thought it was time to share some suggestions on finding a good one. There are lots of great instructors out there, but, like everything else, there are some who are not as...um...professional.

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  2. Gracie at packingpretty.com did another article on this very subject: http://packingpretty.com/2012/02/24/finding-the-right-firearms-instructor/

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    1. Thanks, it was a good post, lots of common territory

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  3. Great article!! What should we expect to pay for instruction?

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    1. That will depend on the course and the geographic area. Sorry, but I've paid from $60 an hour for a private lesson to $325 for an instructor course. I spent $400 to attend a two day course with a visiting instructor. Some of it is drien by the local market and availability of instruction.

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    2. Good to know, I just paid 80 an hour and thought it was kinda high since my daughter was with me as well and it cost us 160! I was a bit shocked to say the least. But it's important. The 'guy at the range' just doesn't have the time to spend with you, even tho he says he will!

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    3. Wow, that does seem kind of high, especially doubled. Depends where you are, that may be the going rate. Bottom line, quality training is crucial.

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    4. I'm going to keep looking for an instructor. Besides the price he just wasn't a perfect fit. Now armed with these fabulous questions finding that instructor will be much easier!

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    5. Good Luck! If you want to, you can email me at Lynne@Innovative Defensive Solutions.com and tell me your geographic area and I can see if we can come up with some suggestions for you.

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  4. Lynne F, you have hit this right on the head! I've taught and help teach both NRA and other (US Navy SAMI) courses for some thirty-plus years. I agree, students need to ask questions and if the person you are asking doesn't have the time, or isn't going to set up a time in the next couple of days to talk with you, then find someone else. And you're last comment (physical limitations) is of the greatest importance--people with all kinds of limitations can and do shoot quite well; I know, I'm one of them.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words and for all you do!

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  5. Practice makes perfect. Having an instructor is a plus.

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    1. RS. I partially agree with you. Practice makes Habit, which is why we should practice right. A good instructor can help you learn the right way to practice.

      Thanks for commenting

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