At the Firearm Shop

I was in a Firearm Shop/Store a day ago. Within one hour I saw and heard three different people buying a handgun. Each said the firearm was their first and asked the sales person if they new of a range that had someone to teach them to shoot the firearm. The sales person told them of one within 30 miles of the store that had a trainer.
My thoughts in this matter were, get safety training in all aspects of using a firearm first before going to a range.
I was hoping the trainer at this range would have a place set aside to do such training before putting a loaded firearm into these folks hands.
I’m sorry to say I know this range these sales people are saying to go to and it’s not top notch on it’s safety procedures and the RSO/TRAINER is not always there.
Every time my wife and I were at this outdoor range, which is once a month, we never saw an RSO anywhere.
We’ve asked the owner a few times about this and were told multiple excuses why their RSO/Trainer wasn’t there that day.
Wish I could talk to these sales people and give them some polite advice on how to guide new firearm owners into correct training procedures. I know it’s none of my business to intercede in others business.
It really worries me though. Only my thoughts on what I saw and heard.

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Do you think you had the option ( in today’s world ), outside the establishment to approach these fine young patrons and offer some advice.
Like “hi, I’m ( state your name ), I heard you inside. I’m ex military, law enforcement, Delta Force, C.I.A., ( I was never here ), but I’ll be at the range on Saturday at high noon. You’re welcome to join me “

Or is today’s environment too phucked up?

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Good point @William377 .
That was always my concern. I also find out that gun stores don’t differ from grocery store. You come, you pay, you take stuff.home.
The problem is that all of us know how to eat the bread, but almost nobody knows how to handle firearm. And unfortunately there is no help from clerks.
I know there are exceptions…but not enough.
I hope, one day, firearm education becomes a part of school program, but right now the responsibility should be taken by stores.

The ideal situation would be if each store gets firearm instructor who can give short (30 min) presentation to every new gun owner.
Would it be hard? Not at all. I believe there’s a one employee who is smart enough and willing to be a firearm instructor.

… I know… For some of you I’m dreaming of UTOPIA… but don’t we want to live in perfect World?

:wink:

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You are a USCCA Certified Instructor. I don’t think you would be out of line to say something like:

“I’m not trying to drum up business, but I am a USCCA Certified Instructor and either I could help you (possibly for a fee) or give you some other ideas of how and where to get beginner firearm safety and competency training/lessons”

Edit: I like @Jerzees idea, maybe you could talk to the store owner about doing a group class once a month?

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Spot on. The best advice I received was from a single owner/operator gun shop, more like a hole in the wall than anything else, but reputable. The owner was an ex LEO and military vet. I was completely clueless about anything and asked him what firearm he recommended I start out on. His advice was to get training and try out many different types to find a firearm which I could handle. I thanked him and took his advice.

I have now been in training for over two months, one-on-one with a private instructor in Florida. I have yet to purchase a firearm (will be doing so within the next one to two months). I have been through the CWL course and handgun 101 course and tried many different firearms. I have purchased a SIRT to practice in-between training sessions, which has helped me improve and work on the fundamentals.

This is some of the best money I ever invested. Education is everything, in particular when you have the opportunity to train with top-drawer instructors (NRA and USCCA members) who demand safety and fundamentals and do not let you advance to the next level until you are ready.

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This is sound advice. If I was an instructor, I would definitely encourage training, maybe have a business card made up with a teaser offer (____% discount on ____ course (or first training session), ready to hand out to someone if you came across a situation like this.

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I have proposed something similar several times before. Even pushed it up the chain with @moderators . But never heard anything back.

My idea was for an organization like the USCCA to partner with local gun stores to point firearm purchasers, especially new ones, towards a cheap or preferably free introductory class taught by a certified instructor.

These classes could be offered once a month or even once a week or more in busier areas. The students get access to the info they need to start their safe firearm handling and self defense journey. If the instructors do a good job they will get access to more students with many of them likely being interested in taking more advanced hands on courses in the future. The store owners will get thankful customers who instead of sticking their guns in a drawer will actually use them and likely be back for more ammo and eventually a new gun or 10;) And the USCCA or whatever group or partnership of groups that promotes this program to store owners gets their message out to more potential future members. It’s a win win for everyone.

Instead of store owners just asking if you want a box of ammo with your new pistol they can ask if you want some training with it as well. It just needs some national level coordination to get some instructors available to offer these classes regularly in as many places as possible so firearm purchasers can be told when the next class is when they are making their purchase. Then it needs some grass roots door knocking to get store owners and employees on board.

I’d be happy to do the door knocking around here. May have to try my own local pilot program since USCCA seems uninterested. Though this type of thing seems to fall right into their mission.

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I love the idea of USCCA being instructing firearm basics.

I don’t know why they don’t do it, especially when there are a lot of other free classes offered.
I’ve been attending “legal” classes, “medical” classes, “home safety” classes - all sponsored by USCCA… but never found any firearm classes. :zipper_mouth_face:

Perhaps if we start pushing USCCA in that direction, somebody will eventually find out those classes are really needed.

I don’t know who is the best person to bring this into USCCA’s bosses’ attention… definitely not @moderators … this group never answers our questions.

@Tim_D_USCCA ? @KevinM ?

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In CA, the Benevolent State took care of that by requiring a Handgun Safety Certificate before buying. You could have one by taking a written test which most LGS give for a small fee.

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I took that test before buying my first firearm back when I lived in CA. It passed on some very basic info but think I would have learned a lot more with some hands on pointers from a qualified instructor. That would also put the instructor in a position to see if there were any points I might have needed some extra emphasis on learning.

For instance when my neighbor bought his first firearm he just could not keep his finger off the trigger despite the fact that I had gone over the 4 rules with him several times before he bought it. But I saw that habit the second he brought the gun over for me to throw some night sights on it for him. Online classes can be useful but a live instructor can catch and correct bad habits before they become engrained into muscle memory.

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Definitely!
While I passed, the LGS guy who gave me the test still kindly went over my mistakes. But nothing beats hands on training.

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I’m actually seriously considering the if you want something done right you have to do it yourself approach at the moment. Then maybe the USCCA can jump on the bandwagon after it gets rolling.

I’m seriously considering starting a non profit and trying this on a local level. I actually have a fair amount of past experience with non profit work and training and coordinating volunteers. But I’m more of a big picture person and really need a details oriented business/money manager to partner with, an experienced instructor to help develop an effective and fun curriculum and maybe some fund raiser support as well to make sure there is enough momentum to get this thing off the ground.

Anyone interested in giving this a try with me?

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The USCCA has quite a few partner ranges as in ranges that choose to officially partner with USCCA

When you search in person training on the USCCA website, you can find a lot.

This is absolutely a thing.

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You may consider pointing potentially interested stores/ranges to here

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/partner/become-an-official-uscca-partner/

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I think the missing piece at the moment is getting gun store employees to make that effort to connect as many purchasers as possible with proper instruction.

I have never seen it done in a shop even with purchasers who have clearly never touched a firearm before.

If the employees knew there were regularly scheduled classes they could send their customers to and were provided with handout materials for those classes then maybe they would pass them on with every purchase. And if the classes were cheap or free and offered at convenient times then maybe more of those new buyers would actually go. It just takes some better networking so everyone doesn’t have to spend time looking for that info on their own.

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I’m not in that business aspect there but, I don’t see free being a thing, and am unsure on cheap.

The free or real cheap thing, even when stuff like that is offered, ends up wasting instructor/professional’s time because people tend to not show up when they have little or nothing to lose by just not going (money/skin in the game).

And it takes money, and a certain minimum number of students, to become profitable (range for taking up space, instructor for their travel and time and expenses), so, it’s kind of going to cost money.

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I understand that aspect of it. There would need to be some experimentation on the structure.

My thinking is if there was a free or very cheap class offered once a month or once a week and it was actively advertised to every gun purchaser in town then it should get some decent turnout. Even if only a small percentage of the basic safety course takers decided to take more advanced training it could end up bringing a significant number of paying customers to the instructor offering the cheap or free initial training.

If there was a next step live fire class offered at an affordable price as well it could get even more people down that path. It would just take some instructors and maybe ranges willing to volunteer some time in the name of firearm safety but I think it could pay off for them as well with increased clientele.

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True. Also, anyone in the “advice” business can also recite from experience that people often become experts in the area in which they seek advice. In the end, that “free” or cheap session ends up being an argument or someone looking for validation of what they already firmly know to be true in spite of evidence to the contrary.

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That is why I think getting really good instructors who are used to dealing with varied clientele would be key. But for every know it all there I suspect there would likely be many more I don’t know anything people showing up at these classes willing to learn.

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Have you considered becoming a USCCA certified instructor?

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