What Should I Look for When Choosing an Instructor?

Photo Credit: USCCA

In this post, I’ll be covering some key points that you should look for when choosing an instructor, whether it’s for a firearms or a martial arts class.

Below is a list of some key characteristics of a proper instructor:

  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Knowledgeable
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Self-starter
  • Self-motivated
  • Ability to explain information
  • Offers the class(es) that you’d like to take
  • Licensed with an accredited association (ex: NRA or USCCA)
  • Good reputation
  • Proper credentials: Teaching experience? Military, LEO and/or security background (not required but it does help)? Firearms and/or martial arts training? Competition experience (although, not required but it does help)?

The most important one, though, is students. Without students, nothing else really matters. I will add this: even though an instructor may have positive reviews online, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a worthwhile instructor. For example, one of my competitors has taught several hundred students in their CPL/CCW class over the years; however, quite a few of those students have had to take a basic handgun course at Total Firearms (few of them were with me) because, for example, they “didn’t know how to even load a magazine.” Instructors that will simply take the student’s money for a guaranteed pass as long as the student takes the class (this is what we call a “certificate mill”…many of which will even cut corners), is not only doing their students a disservice but are also doing their community a disservice. Unlike other “instructors”, we’re not just going to take your money in exchange for a certificate. USCCA and NRA certified instructor Ryan McGhan of Charlotte, MI says it best: “We are not an assembly line that goes through the motions just to take your money in exchange for a certificate, this is our passion. Our goal is to educate those that need to be educated, to instruct those that need instructing and to ensure that every student feels safe with their firearm before they leave our class.” This is why I require those that go through a certificate mill for their training to either take a New Shooter course or re-take their CPL class with me prior to either reserving range time or sign up for other advanced firearm training classes.

Click here to learn more tips on what to look for in an instructor.

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