The most important thing I can tell you is set aside as much money as you can afford for a training budget and seek as much training as you can get from qualified instructors with proven programs.
Being both an NRA and USCCA instructor that’s the two I can recommend without qualification but there are others out there.
Beware, though “tacticool” and “street warrior” mentality has become epidemic and there’s a whole lot of folks out there peddling pure BS.
No private trainer is going to make you into an invicible Navy Seal or Army Ranger no matter how good a line of BS they are peddling.
We have a whole lot of hard evidence and stat’s that show us what kinds of self defense scenarios are common and those are the one’s to train for.
My training priorities are simple.
Spend 70% of your time on the most common.
Spend 20% of your time on the less common.
No more than 5-10% of your time on the least common.
We’re not cops, we’re not vigilantes, the odds of you ever being in a deadly force encounter to start with are pretty slim considering our ever falling violent crime rates.
The most common such encounters you are likely to face are a home invasion, a parking lot robbery, a car jacking, or being an innocent bystander when you are in a business that is targeted for an armed robbery.
Learn good situational awareness, learn what to look out for, how to always keep a plan in your head leaving yourself as many options as possible and don’t do stupid things.
Lean conflict avoidance and deescalation techniques.
Avoid escalating conflicts such as road rage incidents. Does it really matter if you had the right of way and some jerk cut you off if you end up with a bullet in your head or your family gets shot up because you gave someone the finger and honked at them for cutting you off? Your’e just as dead and so are they whether you are right or wrong.
One of the best aspects of Joining the USCCA is the constant stream of good quality training materials that are made available to us for free. Make use of them, study them, and if you can get out and take the USCCA classes. No matter how much or little experience you have they will benefit you.
Another outstanding resource I can highly recommend is The Active Self Protection Network on Youtube.
Every day John will put up at least one new self defense scenario that has taken place, he breaks them down and evaluates what was done right or wrong or what could have been done better even if it wasn’t wrong.
He pulls these videos from all over the world and does an excellent job of giving you an accurate and unbiased breakdown of what went on.
You can join for like 4.00/mo and it’s absolutely worth the money.
Even if you don’t post actively/regularly here this forum is a very good source of information as well. We won’t all always agree but even when we don’t we have valuable discussions.