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10 Tips For Hiring A Firearms Instructor

What should you look for when hiring a Firearms Instructor?

With the popularity of firearms in today's culture brings an influx of instructors looking to profit financially from the sales of full classrooms of eager student's looking to gain their state concealed carry permit and those looking to improve their shooting skills on the range. 

While this is not entirely a bad thing, this increase in potential customers has also drawn a plethora of unqualified and sometimes dangerous individuals looking to manipulate unknowing students with untruthful resumes, fake certifications and unsafe practices while on the range. Here at Investigate NC, we've taken the time to identify key things every firearms instructor should have before you consider hiring them to teach your next class. Read below for your 10 Tips For Hiring a Firearms Instructor:

Firearms Instructor

1) Safety

This must always be the first item on the list for obvious reasons. It doesn’t matter if the training is in the classroom or on the range, each student must be taught in a safe environment to include safe teaching principals, strategies, and rules. Is live ammunition allowed in the class? Do they have rubber training guns to use in demonstrations? Are the use of eye and ear protections enforced? All the preceding ideas plus many more are essential to running a safe and effective classroom and training on the range. Please see the below new article on what can happen when all safety protocols are not followed:

 

https://www.foxnews.com/us/police-firearms-instructor-shoots-himself-in-hand-during-lesson

2) Qualifications

You want to unsure your firearms instructor has the skills and qualifications to train you properly. He should have no problem providing copies of his training, certifications, and resume. In fact, most of the top firearms instructors in the country provide this on their website so you don’t even have to ask. As you review their resume, be sure to notice if their experience has been gained from the military or law enforcement. Observe if they received training from national organization such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) or US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). An instructor who has only taken one class in basic pistol and had no other credentials is something you should not ignore.

3) Cost

Everyone loves a good deal but when it comes to firearms training, choosing the cheapest instructor isn’t always the best idea. Firearms instructors face many expenses such as insurance premiums, classroom and range rental fees, national organization membership fees, re-certifications fees, State license costs, ammunition, range supplies and many, many more things. This makes it impossible for the top instructors to offer the lowest rates. Often the “cheap” instructors have cut corners to keep their budgets low such has not having insurance or not renewing their state license. Do your homework, ask the right questions and be willing to pay a reasonable amount for quality training.

4) Professional Trade Organization Memberships

Professional Trade Organizations are not required by state boards to be a firearms instructor but membership to these organizations shows the firearms Instructor has a passion for his trade and is willing to go the extra mile to excel at their profession. Most offer training workshops, continuing education classes and access to industry leaders that can provide training and advice on training. These memberships often weed out scammers who pretend to be qualified firearms instructors.

 

5) Insurance

Having Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance is a must for a firearms instructor. This policy should have a 1 million dollar ($1,000,000) per occurrence payout with at least a 2 million dollar ($2,000,000) aggregate policy limit. If something goes wrong in a firearms environment, there is a great potential for serious injury up to and including death. The instructor should be able to provide an official Certificate if Insurance (COI) which will be sent to you directly from their insurance company. This ensure the coverage is up to date and authentic.

 

6) Experience

Knowledge alone does not make an instructor great. Experience also plays an important factor in that instructor’s ability to transfer that instructors knowledge to his/her students. Carefully review that instructors resume looking for real world experience where his/her knowledge was used to exercise their craft. This experience can take shape in many forms. Forms such as time in the military, employment in law enforcement, competition shooting events and security details. Does your instructor actually carry a firearm in their day-to-day life? Are they proficient in the use of that firearms? Do they practice effective concealed carry techniques? Do they represent the firearms industry with pride and honor? Whichever means their experience comes in, the firearms instructor you choose is held to a higher standard that the average citizen and should be a role model for all the students they teach.

7) First Aid, CPR, AED Certification & Supplies

How can you claim to be a qualified, safe, firearms instructor if you don’t have First Aid, CPR & AED training? First let me say this; if you walk into a firearms training class and the instructor does not have a basic first aid kit… LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! This may seem harsh, but the reality is we are dealing with real firearms which have the potential to kill and/or cause serious bodily injury. Firearms instructors have a duty and obligation to be trained and certified in First Aid, CPR & AED. This certification should come from a nationally recognized organization such as The American Heart Association (AHA) or OSHA. The instructor should be able to show a card confirming his certification is current. The instructor at a minimum should have a basic first aid kit to treat common range injuries such as slide bite, insect bites, minor cuts, burns from projected brass and an advanced trauma kit containing a tourniquet, Israeli bandage and chest seal patches.

8) Preparedness & Professionalism

Your firearms instructor should be prepared for the class they are conducting and have a professional presentation in every way. This includes how they look. Is their clothing neat, clean, and ironed? Do they speak clearly and answer questions with patience and concern for the student? Are they prepared for class? Does their audio/visual system work properly? Do they have props and demonstrations in the class? Is their equipment clean and in good working order? Do they give timely breaks and re-start the class in an efficient manner? Firearms is a very serious endeavor, and the instructor must be prepared for class and conduct him/herself in a professional manner if they expect the students to follow suite.

 

9) The Law

The most important topic of any firearms class is THE LEGAL BLOCK of instruction a.k.a The Law! You can have the fanciest, most customized gun in the world and be the most proficient shooter; but if you don’t understand the law, you could find yourself in jail for the rest of your life. Firearms instructors must take a great amount of time teaching the state mandated legal block of instruction in a detailed and easy to understand way while still fulfilling all the content mandated by the state. By the time the student leaves, they should have a basic understanding of when deadly force is justified, rules when carrying concealed, laws when traveling to other states and much, much, more!

 

10) De-escalation Techniques

It’s important to realize a very important firearms principal. Just because your licensed to carry a firearm does NOT mean that every encounter is a deadly force situation which justifies the use of a firearm! Because of this, it is important to have non-lethal tools and techniques to handle various situations. One of those tools is the use of situational awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation techniques. Knowing how to talk your way out of a situation is paramount in your ability to defuse a potentially dangerous situation. Having the ability to bring calm to the table can result in peaceful resolution and avoidance of police involvement, court proceeding and expensive attorney’s fees.

 

Another tool which should always be in your tool bag is non-lethal tools such as pepper spray and hand-to-hand combat skills. It is also work noting that fight or flight options can also be used. Basically, it’s always ok to just turn around and walk or run away. The inclusion of the above is vital as the firearms instructor teaches firearms classes and techniques at the range. Remember, just because you have a firearm does not mean you have to use it. The use of a firearm should ALWAYS be the last resort when all other option have failed and your life is in jeopardy.

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