This is a guest post by Larry Vickers, host of TacTV.
In addition to my hosting duties on Sportsman Channel, (TacTV and in the past Tactical Impact and Tactical Arms) I also stay extremely busy traveling the country providing training classes in a variety of firearms from handguns to carbines and machine guns. I also provide specialized classes in home defense, CQB for military and LE students, and 1911 specific courses. I have done this for several years now and anticipate doing it into the future as time allows.
Sometimes I get so absorbed into my teaching I forget to relay to the students how important quality firearms instruction is; I certainly would not be where I am today without the instruction I had from instructors such as Ken Hackathorn and Rob Leatham, just to name a couple. But it goes much farther than that. If you trust your life, or the lives of your loved ones, to your skill with a firearm you have a moral obligation to seek out competent instruction; it truly could mean the difference between life and death. To borrow a line from a friend of mine, if you would seek instruction before parachuting or scuba diving, both life threatening activities, then you have no excuse to not seek the same level of instruction with a firearm. It is, after all, a piece of life saving equipment.
So now that I have hopefully convinced you to come to a training class (if not mine then another quality instructor) here are a few tips to get you started:
1) Do your research: Hit the gun magazines or internet forums like M4carbine.net and seek out information on training classes in your area. I like M4Carbine.net as they have an extensive training section with members providing input. You can learn a lot by browsing and even asking a few good questions.
2) Buy quality: After doing your research, buy the quality equipment to get you through your first or even your tenth class. For example: a Glock 17 or 19 with good sights, good electronic ear protection, good eye protection like Rudy Project or Oakley, a quality holster and mag pouch. Remember the rule – buy cheap, buy twice.
3) Get basic level instruction: Go to a beginner level class. Learn how to field strip, clean and lubricate your pistol or carbine. Learn how to load your magazines and look for potential problem areas with your gear. When you are starting out no class is too basic. This is why I started my Regional Endorsed Instructor program. They are students of mine who have attended a half dozen or more of my classes and instructors I list as being qualified to teach the Vickers Shooting Method (VSM program- basic level only pistol and carbine classes ). Student feedback has been excellent. I teach basic level classes personally, but only a couple times a year. This allows students to get exposed to my teachings at a beginner level and sets them up for future classes with me or gives them confidence to handle a weapon properly. The program is a little over a year old and it has been a big success.
4) Bring an open mind and a good attitude: Students who show up with the proper mindset get a lot more out of the class than ones who already think they know the subject matter. Safe gun handling and a good attitude will get you a long way and are the corner stones of becoming a better shooter.
I hope this helps and gets you thinking seriously about attending a class. For information about my training classes or my VSM REI program visit my website at www.vickerstactial.com Be safe and keep shooting.
Vickers Tactical Inc.