So you have your CCW, and are considering, taking a firearms training class.
There are a few things to consider, and certain preparations, will allow you to get the most for your training dollar.
Understand the difference between an average CCW and an intermediate or advanced training course. Most Concealed Carry classes, are very basic, and most are classroom based, covering the basics of handguns, and safety, fundamentals of shooting, maybe a review of the laws, with some actual shooting. Intermediate and advanced classes will have little if any classroom, and they are ranged based to the practical side of shooting.
In many areas, you sign up and take a CCW course with little or no equipment, the instructors usually have loaner guns, and whatever else is needed to get you started, and most are comparable to taking a test drive at a local car dealership.
Now if all you have is training from a CCW class, and perhaps a few trips to the local range, where you have to stand stock still, and not shoot more than one round a second, you will be woefully unprepared for an “Advanced” class, especially from some of the big name trainers, you’ll be in over your head and you’ll spend most of your time trying to catch up, rather than actually learn anything from the Instructor.
Start by looking for Instructors that offer some of the NRA Personal Protection classes, and do some research here, find a good instructor, do not just sign up, call them ask questions, ask for referrals, check with friends or coworkers if they have recommendations, if your original CCW instructor does not off advance classes, perhaps he knows someone who offers more advanced training. You can also find classes offered by NRA at www.nrainstructors.org
Now that you have decided to take a class, take a look at your gear, if you have signed up for a class, the trainer will very likely have sent you an equipment list, pay attention to it. For most classes you will need a handgun at least 3 magazines (more is better), a holster and a certain amount of ammunition.
A decent, and proper holster for the class, if the list says strong side holster, do not show up with your shoulder rig. You will want a holster that stays open when you draw, and stays on your belt when you draw. While you are at it, take a good look at your belt, and yes bring a belt, which also means you need pants with belt loops. You will find hanging a cheap soft paddle holster to your sweat pants a huge hassle once class starts. You’ll also need hearing and eye protection, and something to carry it all in, besides a plastic bag from a big box store. There may be other items on the list, and if you are not sure, ask. Also important to ask if there will be things like water or lunch provided, or if you also need to bring those, you do not want to fall out half way through the class, due to not eating.
Be sensible in your dress, wear shoes or boots, not flip-flops, where a shirt that buttons up, as there will be hot brass flying around, and it is hot, you may also want a hat, and stashing a rain jacket is not a bad idea.
On ammunition, take some of it you are planning on using in class and shoot it before class, also get good ammo, not the cheapest stuff you can find, last year so a very nice 1911 get blown up to poor quality reloads, and had two students who had purchased remanufactured ammo that would not cycle in their guns, and it is ok to bring more ammo that the instructor told you too, but not less than he told you too.
Also be friendly and open to your fellow students, there may be new friendships in the making, and be open to actually listening to your instructor, you are after all paying them to teach you, why not get something from it? Most instructors are patient, and will go over a technique several times, but if you keep blowing them off, they will move on to a student that wants help, also keep in mind you are one student in the class, and the other students also paid for instruction, so you needn’t cop an attitude that the instructor didn’t spend the whole day with you, if you want private training then be willing to pay more.
*The 6 P’s are proper preparation, prevents piss poor performance