I’m sure it was unforeseen, but in eliminating the First Steps program, which was an approximately 4 hour introduction to shooting, covering the fundamentals of safety, stance, handling and some time on the range, many instructors have given up teaching. The First Steps has been superseded by Basic Pistol, which was available previously, but not as common. It is offered in a Blended Learning format which requires a student to complete an on line portion, then work with an instructor to review the material and complete the range portion. For many instructors the new format just wasn’t cost effective to continue teaching. For me personally, I taught in small groups, one to four students, and I can’t afford to do that for Basic Pistol. I do not have the statistics on participation rates but I hope it is working out.
I’ve talked to many instructors who have simply given up their businesses. It isn’t cheap, we have business licenses, insurance, overhead costs. If you can’t afford to do that on a large scale, it can be tough to break even. Some have switched to coaching one on one, but that is very time consuming and you have to do a lot of it to cover the cost of instructor insurance.
I still encourage every new shooter to take a basic level course, and then more advanced training as the budget allows. No matter what kind of shooting you are interested in, there is training available. Nothing beats working with a live instructor who can see what you are doing and offer corrections.