We all do it when we are shopping online; set a budget, check out the reviews, make sure it has all the
features we want and make the purchase. But is this the same rubric we should use when choosing a
firearms instructor? Well, it’s a decent start, but there are a few more things you should consider before
potentially putting your life on the line.
On May 3 rd, 2017 a firearms instructor in Livonia, Michigan discharged a 9mm round from his pistol
during a class he was teaching. The round penetrated through a nearby door, struck a student in the leg
standing on the other side, exited, then struck the students other leg. The instructor claims he didn’t
know the firearm was loaded, causing the accidental discharge.
Wow! Where do I begin… First off you must violate 2 safety rules in order to have an “accidental
discharge.” HE VIOLATED 3!! Not knowing the status of his weapon, placing his finger on the trigger and
indexing it, and pointing the firearm in an unsafe direction. And somehow “the firearm accidentally
went off.” Do you believe this?
My point is any “expert” can get his NRA basic pistol certification (by the way I know some 5-year-olds
that could pass that), take an NRA instructors course, and be off in your local range conducting classes.
He could have a great price point, some good reviews, and list out a course description of his class.
Everything checked off our list right? WRONG! This is exactly how a student in Michigan ended up with
two 9mm slug holes in his legs.
When you are searching for a class to take, whether it is a basic skill class, CCW, or an advanced CQB
carbine course, it is imperative that you vet your instructor of the course and all others whom may be
helping assist the course thoroughly. The following list is a few of the items that should be considered
before making your choice.
Look at the instructor’s rap sheet of qualifications. If you see only 2 or 3 classes like Basic Pistol,
and Home Firearms Safety that’s a red flag. Good instructors are always learning, and always
trying to improve themselves. The more qualifications the instructor has the better!
2. TEACHING EXPERIENCE
How long has this person been teaching? 6 months? A year or two? A lot of instructors don’t
publicize this information. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The more actual experience the instructor has,
both professionally i.e. military/LEO, and academically the better.
3. TEACHING STYLE
Here is an easy one to overlook. Let’s look back at high school. What’s one of the things you
remember the most about classes back then…BORING! Exactly, and how much memory
retention do you have if you are sitting for 8 hours listening to Ben Stein drone on and on about
some topic while a PowerPoint presentation projects on the wall? Not too much. Look at what
people say about the instructor, he should be courteous, professional, and informative; but at
the same time presenting course material in a way that is engaging and interesting to the
Ok, the instructor looks good huh? What about the additional personnel assisting with class or
range? Do they have any qualifications? How about experience? All the same applies here too.
5. FIRST AID
Having someone on staff who knows first aid, and has an appropriate first aid kit is a definite!
We are not talking about someone has an ouch pouch for bee stings and cuts. Any instructor
worth his salt should have a medical kit specifically stocked to deal with massive trauma like
close-range bullet wounds AND should be trained to know how to use those items properly if
they are needed.
One of the best ways to evaluate an instructor is to check out an instructor’s reviews to see
what other students liked or disliked about classes that they have attended. Facebook and
Google reviews are likely to have reviews available on their main page if the reviews have been
disabled or there are no reviews written, you might want to avoid that course.
Thoroughly examining your course and instructors is the best way to get the training you need, in the
safest setting possible. Always do your research!