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Posted: 8/10/2009 5:35:59 PM EDT
Over the past 8 or 9 months I have witnessed a strange occurrence in the firearms world. Sales of firearms, accessories and ammunition have gone through the roof at record levels and while things are beginning to calm down, sales are still quite high. Counties across my state as well as the rest of the country are reporting record numbers in applications for permits to carry concealed/possess pistols. At the same time, firearm enthusiasts seem to be training less and less as the year goes on. I remember having to reserve a spot in a class I was interested in well before the deadline if I wanted a spot. Now when I show up for a training course or other shooting event, I see small groups of guys, maybe 50% of the usual number of attendees. These people also seem to be the same group of faces, people who tend to be serious trainers. While it’s always good to see the same group of guys and be able to train with a high level of dedication with them, it leaves me wondering why the numbers fell off so fast. I know all my fellow shooters have quite the impressive arsenal more often than not. We also tend to be ammo whores whenever the situation presents itself.

I realize that the vast majority of new shooters pulled in by the unfortunate political climate may not be aware of the benefits of training, they may see a trip to the range as “training”, or perhaps the simple purchase of a firearm is more than enough to round out their defensive abilities. These people aren’t here on Arfcom so I guess I can only ask for a discussion from you guys, what’s your feeling on this? Has your training frequency dropped off? Increased? Stopped altogether? What factors weigh on your situation, whether increased or decreased? Why do you train/not train? What is your proficiency level? I tend to pull my knowledge from those that surround me whenever I can. I recently heard someone say “two ears, one mouth”, that works for me.

I guess I’ll start. I have been actively seeking training at any opportunity for a little over two years now. Before then, I was your average shooter who enjoyed range trips, and of course the collecting and customizing of weaponry. I remember my first exposure to structured training being the greatest single learning/self improvement session I had ever had. Dare I say that I had never excelled at anything in life like I did at shooting? It also forced me to realize what I had to gain and what short comings I had as an armed individual. The scariest things about it was all the times I had carried a concealed weapon previously, not knowing how woefully unprepared I was. Since then I have increased my skills to an acceptable level. Not the level of a professional or even a great shooter, but a level that would allow me to function in a dangerous situation with a fairly high level of confidence, the ability to react in an educated way instead of winging it and slinging bullets in a panic. That last part may happen anyways, no one knows for sure until it happens. I find that I still train with the frequency I started with, at least once a month, maybe once every other during the winter. Neither ammo availability nor the cost of training has been a problem for me, yet. I think the major factor that limits the amount of time I am able to spend increasing my skill sets has to be my work schedule. I’d love to hear what’s making you guys tick, maybe some input from trainers as well. shoot safe!
Link Posted: 8/11/2009 12:45:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2009 2:13:11 PM EDT
I live 1.5-2 hrs from my range so I mostly end up doing dry-fire training at home.

When I do go to the range, it turns into an all-day deal.  Lately I've been taking new shooters more often than not and spend 99% of the time working with them.

Mike
Link Posted: 8/11/2009 4:56:42 PM EDT
Work Schedule is my biggest conflict
Link Posted: 8/12/2009 12:57:18 AM EDT
My ankle, too much metal and too many screws in it right now.
Link Posted: 8/12/2009 11:45:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Jonny_Flashbang:
My ankle, too much metal and too many screws in it right now.


Ouch! Hope you heal quickly Bro!
Link Posted: 8/13/2009 4:45:18 AM EDT
Actually, I'm just a pathetic training junkie.  I bitch about my work schedule while I have 30 days off to "move" and am driving to another Course today.

Disregard my stupidity.
Link Posted: 8/13/2009 8:43:53 AM EDT
For me, pissing off the guy that runs the nearest training outfit by pointing out that one would need 20 target stands for 20 students
Link Posted: 8/14/2009 8:07:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/16/2009 8:21:07 PM EDT
I’ve seen a decline in some of the classes that we offer or host.  The one day classes are much easier to fill than 2 day classes.  Around here ammo has been scarce until about a month ago when things started picking up some.  I have an ammo stash that allowed me to shoot & train during the O-Panic but a lot of people are on the just in time system for ammo.

On top of that a lot of folks have been buying up gear that they think might get banned in the near future.  But what I don’t get is that a lot of them are also buying things that won’t be banned.  I can fully understand AR lowers & mags >10rnds, but AR uppers & SxS shotguns?

I’ve also noticed that it’s harder to fill classes that involve work.  Force on Force classes like SouthNarc’s ECQC or AMIS are nail biters for us & we usually don’t know until the deadline for him to buy his ticket to come out.  

Training, for me, is a priority.  If I’m taking or teaching a class the only way to get me out of it is some sort of major emergency.  On the other hand, there are a lot of people who won’t put forth a little bit of effort to plan & budget for training & will come up with any excuse to not train.  Good, bad or indifferent, that’s just the way it is.  

I’ve gone so far as to set up an account at my bank just for training money.  I set aside a portion every time I get paid, tax returns, etc. & when a class comes up I can quickly figure out where I stand.  I also plan far enough ahead that I can take vacation time if I need to for travel or work the schedule so I don’t have to work on a Sat.  

It is nice to train with the same group of dedicated guys & (very few) girls, but it seems to me that the people who need it the most are the least likely to actually put forth the effort.
Link Posted: 8/16/2009 8:42:05 PM EDT
Will be attending Ken Hackathorn 2-day pistol in Sept. -
Link Posted: 8/20/2009 7:27:56 PM EDT
I work full-time and go to school part-time.  My budget is somewhat limited.  The biggest limiting factor is that there isn't a lot of 'real' training to be had around here.  The only option is driving several hours to a class which increases the cost greatly (gas, food, hotel, time off work) not to mention putting me in a bind as far as keeping up with schoolwork.

Even bringing in instructors is difficult here.  When you find instructors willing to travel for a small group of students it's damn near impossible to find a range that's willing to let you use their facilities.  (If you don't believe me, read the Charleston area pistol class thread in the SC HTF.)  

My goal last year was to attend 2 classes; simple, right?  I attended zero.  This year I got lucky: I've done one, I'll do another one next month and hopefully a third if I can find a range.
Link Posted: 8/25/2009 8:44:29 AM EDT
I think alot of it has to do with the economy AND the surge in gun buying. The economy makes people really think about every expense....training is discretionary spending for most people and it isn't cheap. Yes, I know it REALLY is cheap- education cost vs. cost of ignorance etcc...but it's still a good chunk of change to spend.

Here's a sample-

Course Fee for 2-3 day UR class- $500
Hotel-two nights- Motel 6- $125
Meals-$100 (three meals a day x 3 or more days-travel days etc..You can probably spend less but if I'm in the fresh air, working etc...I want to eat well, not truckstop burritos.)
Ammo- 500 Rds. .223- $175
Gas for Car- Figure two hours of travel time each way, plus driving to and from class- $50

That's $950 and doesn't include any new gear (isn't there always SOMETHING you want to try out?) etc.....Training, even at a "local course" isn't cheap.....There are alot of guys with a "gun budget"- typically among your more serious you're talking 2-3K a year. When they run out to buy a new AR and a shit ton of mags and maybe a new pistola "cause it's going to be banned" they just ate a years worth of "gun budget"- they're done for a year. This is going to be a problem for our manufacturers in the next 3-4 years- everybody shot their wad this last year.....going to be a long time before people buy them in any real numbers etc.....

That's my take......

Here's another factor to consider-look at all the guys offering training these days. There are DOZENS of mid to high quality trainers right now. That was not really the case until very recently in my opinion. So...you have x number of guys that will "pay to play" and suddenly you have twice as many places to go play......the numbers at any one class are halved.....
Link Posted: 8/26/2009 11:21:23 AM EDT
the army has allowed no time for me to go to training in the civilian sector. i have the money, ammo, and desire/ need/ want to go, deployment is comming up too but i will be back in courses when i return and i can't wait. i go to the range as much as i can but that is all i can for the time being.
Link Posted: 8/26/2009 12:01:48 PM EDT
Family schedule comes first.
Link Posted: 8/26/2009 12:35:17 PM EDT
Time and $$.   Mostly $$$  as I could get the time off from work.
Link Posted: 9/5/2009 7:52:17 AM EDT
Ammo cost, easy access to a range that dosent have a 1 round every 2 second rule
Link Posted: 9/6/2009 8:11:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2009 8:12:02 AM EDT by D_CRISIS]
conflicts with work, lack of expendable income, lack of expendable ammo

now that I have the CMMG .22 conversion kit for my ARs I'm going to try to do some sort of training...just won't be the best
Link Posted: 9/7/2009 10:06:54 AM EDT
Did 2 carbine courses at gunsite in the late 80's early 90's. Girl freind near dumped me when she found out how much that cost me coming from FL.

Now I have property and practice some CQB drills and mag changes, cover drills etc.

I think people watching to much t.v. and sort contribute as they think if they train like this it is to militia like (boy that sounds stupid)..

How ever would like to do another course. Is gunsite still up and running??
Link Posted: 10/1/2009 8:45:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2009 8:57:12 PM EDT by Manny2_0]
In my case it was the political climate that prevented me from attending a vickers class that was only about 100 miles away.....
I hate it, and know that I will not get another chance like this one.... very light on the wallet considering travel expenses

However, I had to put more money than I wanted to towards rifles and really set me back this year, aside from the fact that it was a slow yr for me and the cost of ammo

I sold my bushy and a sig plus ammo to get a pof 308, so that was a hit,
plus I decided that I wanted a 6.8 LMT mrp which tightened the belt

add to that 500rds of premium ammo for both weapon well over 1k

I don't even have optics for them yet or training ammo.....
I figure an acog for the p308 and an aimpoint for the 6.8, most likely used, much less a light and no extra mags
and I want to get a tax stamp for the mrp, so I have ALOT on my plate right now

maybe by late 2010, I can get a class....         I figure I shoot half of it with the 308, I've seen lake city for about 60cents a rd and the other half with the 6.8

Had I not gotten these weapons I could have easily attended the vickers class, but I figured I had to upgrade my rifles in case of Obama following a democratic bann

I know I don't have much compared to alot of the members here, but nobody I know has as much stuff as me.... Which sadly prevented me from trying to upgrade and better my weapons..... I am 32 and spent way to much money chasing girls, as that is what people around here waste their money on


In the mean time I do lots of dry fire with crimson trace, which helps out enormously
Link Posted: 11/28/2009 12:42:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/28/2009 12:43:56 PM EDT by billclo]
I have not been to a training course in a number of years. With me, it's lack of opportunity (have to help take care of a toddler while the wife is working and when she's home it's supposed to be family time), then a scarcity of training courses near me. I cannot take an entire weekend, travel several hours each way and expect to not have the wife really pissed at me when I get back.

Simply getting to the range once a month for 2-3 hours is a accomplishment, once a week would be like Manna from Heaven.

She isn't really onboard with the necessity of training, let alone the expense ($250-400 for tuition, $250-1000 for ammo, plus travel costs).

One day LOCAL courses with a reasonable round count would be a God-send, but I haven't seen any around here.

Link Posted: 12/1/2009 4:36:13 PM EDT
range access
Link Posted: 12/3/2009 4:30:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2009 4:30:51 AM EDT by 30calslut]
i live in the northeast and so the biggest issue is range access (many ranges are privately owned, public ranges tend to be crowded on the weekends).

the other thing is the more training i receive, the less of it i can practice live.  this has a lot to do with "flat range" administrative safety rules (which are there for a good reason due to the sheer number of folks new to shooting who are in attendance).

in most ranges, you're not going to be able to practice (live) the more difficult "real 360 degree world" type of drills like static turns and shooting on the move.

stuff that requires team work (cqb, IAD's, downrange stuff) ... forget about it.  that type of stuff would given a RSO a heart attack even on a police range up here.

so i have to content myself with practicing dry fire in my garage (better than nothing).  

i have daydreamed about getting a little plot of land somewhere out of the way just to practice what i've learned.  
Link Posted: 12/3/2009 10:38:01 AM EDT
Ammunition.  I have enough, I just don't want to shoot 1/4 of my stash in 3 days.
Link Posted: 12/6/2009 4:02:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/6/2009 4:05:11 AM EDT by STR8SHTR]
I realize that the vast majority of new shooters pulled in by the unfortunate political climate may not be aware of the benefits of training, they may see a trip to the range as “training”, or perhaps the simple purchase of a firearm is more than enough to round out their defensive abilities. These people aren’t here on Arfcom so I guess I can only ask for a discussion from you guys, what’s your feeling on this?

Yes , there are a ton of people on this board who would benefit from formal training.

Has your training frequency dropped off? Increased? Stopped altogether? What factors weigh on your situation, whether increased or decreased?
It seems like my training tempo picks up a little every year as I try to continue to learn something new and hone my current skills

Why do you train/not train?
I train constantly becuase of my ocupation and my current assignment at work

What is your proficiency level?
I would say extremly proficient

Link Posted: 12/6/2009 5:25:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PATRIOT-IA:
Ammunition.  I have enough, I just don't want to shoot 1/4 of my stash in 3 days.


I see your point, however...

Once you take a training course, you will actually shootless  ammo at each range session thereafter.
Every time you head out to the range, you will know proper techniques and drills. Thus, your range sessions will have a specific focus, so you'll shoot less to achieve the desired results.

Don't think of training as an expense, see it as an investment.


Link Posted: 12/6/2009 9:21:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/6/2009 12:36:04 PM EDT by PATRIOT-IA]
Mo, good advice.  Let me clarify my answer.
From 1995 to 2009 between military/leo/and paying for my own training I have attended 16 classes/schools involving firearms instruction.  I am the constant student to some, the "merit badge hunter" to others.  I try to go to at least one class a year and justify it as my "man vacation" away from the women folk.  I have had basic rifle and pistol six times in one form or another.  Its hard for me to lose another 1,000 - 2,000 rounds of ammo for training I have recieved several times.  I would rather lose it on a skill set I do not yet possess.  Unfortunately, however I realize why they do it, you can not take many tactical courses until you have that instructors basic rifle and or handgun.  I would love to lose 2,000 rounds to a Tactical Response HRCC course but I do not want to lose another 1500 rounds for his rifle class to get there.  The search continues...
Link Posted: 12/6/2009 10:47:30 AM EDT
Money.
Link Posted: 12/18/2009 7:38:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/18/2009 7:41:40 AM EDT by sleepdr]
My work schedule is not terribly training-cooperative.  I've managed to get about 3 courses in the last year - M4/urban carbine, and a couple handgun classes.  This has been my most training-intensive year to date.

Ammo availability has been a nuisance, but I'm usually able to source sufficient amounts to make it through at sometimes higher cost.

I'm lousy at golf, so consider my training classes to be my trip to a country club.  2 of my 3 courses this year have been in weather that sends golfers inside.  Sleet, snow, high winds, mud, etc.
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 12:09:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2010 12:10:34 AM EDT by Jonny_Flashbang]
Originally Posted By notarpole:
Originally Posted By Jonny_Flashbang:
My ankle, too much metal and too many screws in it right now.


Ouch! Hope you heal quickly Bro!


Just had my second surgery on the old ankle tuesday.  Had the hardware & screws removed so I should be back to the range in no time.  

I'm very lucky, my job allows all the free ammo and training I can stand.
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 3:02:39 AM EDT
At my office, I have become "That Guy."  While all the other officers go out an enjoy time with their families on weekends or go to movies, etc.  I go to the range, without a doubt I shoot more than anyone in my 3500 man regiment, and potentially the entire 24,000 man Marine division.  This leads to things like when we discussed the book "On Killing" a few weeks ago, when the Col was referring to the 2 percent of natural born killers almost every one the officers in the room looked at me.  I don't think its that I enjoy the killing, it doesn't bother me I just see it as my job.  But I think it gets back to I know how hard it is to do real world and I know how perishable shooting skills really are so I am out there ever week drilling and sending rounds down range.  But as my fellow field grades keep saying, when you get more serious with your girl friend she will put an end to all that shooting.
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 10:09:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2010 10:12:32 PM EDT by Yammymonkey]
Unless she's already like you, or you make her that way.

Worked for me.
Link Posted: 1/9/2010 6:45:19 AM EDT
Originally Posted By R0N:
At my office, I have become "That Guy."  While all the other officers go out an enjoy time with their families on weekends or go to movies, etc.  I go to the range, without a doubt I shoot more than anyone in my 3500 man regiment, and potentially the entire 24,000 man Marine division.  This leads to things like when we discussed the book "On Killing" a few weeks ago, when the Col was referring to the 2 percent of natural born killers almost every one the officers in the room looked at me.  I don't think its that I enjoy the killing, it doesn't bother me I just see it as my job.  But I think it gets back to I know how hard it is to do real world and I know how perishable shooting skills really are so I am out there ever week drilling and sending rounds down range. But as my fellow field grades keep saying, when you get more serious with your girl friend she will put an end to all that shooting.



I disagree with your fellow field grades.

I was married and I made it clear to my wife that firearms (and all that they entail) and motorcycles were part of the "package" that came with being with me.

Link Posted: 1/9/2010 2:32:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mo4040:
Originally Posted By R0N:
At my office, I have become "That Guy."  While all the other officers go out an enjoy time with their families on weekends or go to movies, etc.  I go to the range, without a doubt I shoot more than anyone in my 3500 man regiment, and potentially the entire 24,000 man Marine division.  This leads to things like when we discussed the book "On Killing" a few weeks ago, when the Col was referring to the 2 percent of natural born killers almost every one the officers in the room looked at me.  I don't think its that I enjoy the killing, it doesn't bother me I just see it as my job.  But I think it gets back to I know how hard it is to do real world and I know how perishable shooting skills really are so I am out there ever week drilling and sending rounds down range. But as my fellow field grades keep saying, when you get more serious with your girl friend she will put an end to all that shooting.



I disagree with your fellow field grades.

I was married and I made it clear to my wife that firearms (and all that they entail) and motorcycles were part of the "package" that came with being with me.



She is a Marine Major, great gal but not much into shooting.   You would be surprised how many Marines aren't really into shooting.  

I did introduce her to aimpoints a while back and she was amazed at how easy it was to use a carbine with one on it.
Link Posted: 1/12/2010 9:41:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2010 9:44:05 AM EDT by LaRue556]
Money....

I can't afford the gas to drive out to the place, where I pay the guy more money to teach me how to shoot the ammo that costs money too.

I also can't afford to buy the required equipment to take his class.

I can afford two mags worth in case I need them for something.
Link Posted: 1/19/2010 5:39:19 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Jonny_Flashbang:
My ankle, too much metal and too many screws in it right now.


Same story with my right elbow at the moment, and of course, I shoot right handed. I just went shooting today with a friend of mine who wanted to get out and shoot a little with his duty weapons. We had a good time, burned up some ammo, but can't do anything real serious as we don't have the room to set up barricades and do running drills of any kind. Hopefully we're moving to a new piece of property with a nice huge berm at the end, and lots of room both (width and depth - I think the new place goes out to about 200 yards, maybe a little more) instead of the small cramped property with berms we're currently using.
Link Posted: 1/21/2010 2:43:30 PM EDT
for me I have to drive 5  hours one way for a well known quallity trainer that puts on classes.  Approx $150 in gas.  since it is a 5 hour drive add motel expense to that.  2 nights at a cheap place $150.  to replace 1000 rds of my 5.56 cost about $350.  2 days of instruction $350.  to get my wife's blessing for being gone for 2 nights (I have  FOUR kids under age 11)  damn near impossible now.  damn near  $1000.  

I haven't taken a private class in almost two years.  honestly the biggest thing is now with the four kids it is hard to get away for 2-3 days.  If I brought the wife along she would still be alone with the 4 kids but now in a strange place.  that isn't cool.
Link Posted: 1/23/2010 8:08:47 PM EDT
Time and money. I was all set to hit a good one last spring, but I could barely scratch together enough ammo (literally), then got a bit price and job nervous.
Link Posted: 1/26/2010 8:50:21 PM EDT
Time and Money but mostly time.  My wife is already complaining to me with my weekly indoor IDPA and once a month outdoor IDPA and from time to time multi gun tournament (once in 3 months).  And the only reason my wife allows me for an advanced carbine class this year is that i promised that i will not renew my range membership and because there's a training in my place and i do not need to travel.



Then most training places requires and force you to take intro courses to get their advanced courses even though you have taken courses in other trainers.  For example there is an advanced Tactical Handgun training in US training Center (blackhawk).  But it requires me to take their expensive tactical handgun 1 course, or be LEO or be at least SS in IDPA.  Right now i'm only MM and you probably know that qualifier class in IDPA is few and far in between.



Plus the economy is down so to a lot of people firearms training is not a priority.
Link Posted: 2/13/2010 9:05:58 AM EDT
I just attended a carbine training and scheduled again next week.  What i have realized is that a lot of training companies are openning up as well.  Before i need to travel now there are number of good schools offering trainings here in hotlanta so i do not have to travel.



Also not all of those new weapons owners will go thru training right away.  There are some that will but, a lot would be sleepers for while.  Others like me stay in IDPA competition for a while then starts seeking trainings.  I have 2 buddies that i manage to bring in the shooting sports last year, i've been inviting them to train but they do not have confidence to train yet.  They want to stay in IDPA for a while, master their trigger, their safety, their reloads, their stance so when they pay serious money for the training they will get the most out of it.  I'm not saying it is the right attitude for the training but just want to share 2 newbies point of view with regards to trainings.



Link Posted: 2/16/2010 7:45:17 PM EDT
Not good enough to train?  That begs the question who needs it more?
Link Posted: 2/17/2010 1:36:56 PM EDT
That is actually a common reason why many (men) do not go to training classes.

Men think they were born with the inante ability to drive, shoot, and fornicate.

Once a guy figures out he cannot shoot (and actually thinks about getting some training), he worries
about not being "that guy" (the moronic, unsafe, Gomer) in the course/class and thus feels the need
to "get his skills up" before taking said training.

It's like someone saying "I want to start working out at the gym, but I need to lose some weight first..."
Link Posted: 2/22/2010 7:22:03 AM EDT
If I have the money I dont have the time !
Link Posted: 2/26/2010 2:57:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By R0N:
At my office, I have become "That Guy."  While all the other officers go out an enjoy time with their families on weekends or go to movies, etc.  I go to the range, without a doubt I shoot more than anyone in my 3500 man regiment, and potentially the entire 24,000 man Marine division.  This leads to things like when we discussed the book "On Killing" a few weeks ago, when the Col was referring to the 2 percent of natural born killers almost every one the officers in the room looked at me.  I don't think its that I enjoy the killing, it doesn't bother me I just see it as my job.  But I think it gets back to I know how hard it is to do real world and I know how perishable shooting skills really are so I am out there ever week drilling and sending rounds down range.  But as my fellow field grades keep saying, when you get more serious with your girl friend she will put an end to all that shooting.


I wish there was a program to give the lower enlisted an oportunity to shoot more in their free time. Sure in the grunts we get a decent amount of range time but not nearly as much as I would like, especially focusing on the basics/not just check in the box bullshit. There are a lot of obstacles to these guys when it comes to shooting, most notably owning a firearm if you live in the barracks. Maybe open a pistol range (they aren't in very high demand and can support cqb type shooting) to rifles on the weekend and have rifles (m16a4/m4) to shoot along with ammunition to purchase at a resonable cost. I'm sure someone qualified could be found to supervise.....FAPed guys that have been to coaches coarse maybe?
Link Posted: 3/9/2010 6:10:24 AM EDT
I haven't been to a class since 2008.

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