by Linda M. Gilbertson
I got a call today from a gal who told me she wanted to learn to shoot her pistol. She had taken a basic pistol class from another instructor and had received her Arizona Concealed Weapons Permit. She told me however, that she knew nothing about shooting her pistol. When I inquired as to how she shot in her class, she said the students shot air pistols, not firearms. I thought to myself, “Well, that was the wrong training.”
There are a lot of instructors that will gladly take your money and (sometimes) even give you the basics. However, what you need to look for are those instructors that give you more. Women are shoppers and as such we compare, size up and try to get as much “bang for our buck” as possible. That includes not only quantity of information but quality of information. When you walk out of a class you should say, “Wow, it was worth every penny.” If you don’t say that, then you’re off to spend more money on additional training to fill in those gaps you missed.
Finding a qualified instructor who fills your head with the right stuff and more, should be your goal. Here are a few suggestions.
- Check out credentials. Just because they say they’re former or current police or military, does not mean they know how to teach you about firearms. Many police offi cers don’t spend enough time on the range and many military personnel haven’t touched a firearm since basic training. Even those who claim to be “weekend warriors” may not be qualified to provide you with the information you need to save your life or the life of someone else. Check on the instructor’s education, personal experiences and ambitions. Make sure that your instructor is personable and has the ability to communicate. If there is a website, check it out and read evaluations by other students.
- If the lead instructor uses assistants, what are their qualifications? Do they really know what is being taught, or are they telling you something different? You have a right to deal with people who are following the master lesson plan. You paid to learn from the lead instructor, rather than someone who may not be as well qualified.
- What’s included in the price of the class? Written material is TheAmericanWomanShooter.com I 5 well and good, but if you don’t back up the info with tactile experience, there is little connection between knowledge and application. Having lecture, visual and tactile experience in the class, will go a lot further in cementing the learning. If you don’t own a firearm, selecting an instructor who provides this tool as a part of the class, is a big winner. Why invest a lot of money in purchasing a firearm prior to class to find out later, that it was the wrong choice for you. If the instructor does not provide the firearms, at least having some available to rent is better than not having any.
- How large is the class and will you receive personal attention? The bigger the class, the less time spent with you. Some instructors are more concerned with quantity of class turn-out, than the quality of instruction that he/she is providing. A smaller class size will allow better interaction. You’ll have an opportunity to get to know and interact with the other students and with the instructor. This could lead to great friendships and shooting partners.
- After the class benefits. Will the instructor be available to help you with a firearm purchase or some practice to hone the basics? Will the instructor be available to answer questions and steer you in the right direction? Does the instructor offer other courses to help you perfect your shooting ability and advance toward other shooting opportunities? Selecting an instructor and instruction program should provide you with a feeling that you are cared about and encouraged to excel. If once you leave the class, you never see or hear from the instructor again, you’re just another student having completed another class.
- Location. Comfort is important to women and having a bathroom with running water and flush toilets is part of that comfort. A climate controlled classroom with adequate lighting, tables and comfortable chairs, and a DVD and monitor will make learning more enjoyable. A shooting range, whether indoors or outdoors, with adequate space and ventilation for accomplishing basic or advanced instruction is a must. Now days it is relatively easy to become an instructor. By taking an instructor’s course you get the credentials you need to start your own business. Look deeper than this. A good instructor will help you become a safe shooter and build your competence and confidence with your firearm. A good instructor will be available to help you down the road toward proficiency. A good instructor has the background and credentials, but also the ability to empower you. Think twice before you decide on which class to attend and which instructor to employ. DON’T GET THE WRONG TRAINING.
Linda is a former law enforcement officer with several agencies. She can be heard with her husband Seth Nadel on “the gun locker with Seth and Linda”, weekly on kvslradio.Com . Check out ladiesdayllc.Com  for information on Linda and her women-only pistol and rifle classes Linda M. Gilbertson LADIES DAY LLC Visit www.ladiesdayllc.com or call me at 928-521-4821.