How long has it been since you've had formal training?

Following the earlier question, “How long has it been since you’ve been to the range?” I’m curious how many subject themselves to formal training?

Training as in instructed by someone with a higher skill set to learn or improve upon proficiencies related to firearms and/or self defense. Classes, one-on-one?

The pandemic threw us all a big curve but here we are now. What’re your goals, where are your weaknesses? How regularly do you practice what you were taught in training?


If this counts I was just Taser trained and certified, OC spray certified for job purposes and I have been going to the range about every 3 weeks.


I’m involved in formal training every week. At least one Instructor is always with a higher skill level and I’m learning from him.
Dry fire practice is a must. Usually I practice drills done during the training session. I’m trying to keep it consistently 10 minutes every day.


I’ve been working with some tactical guy, my Krav instructor and his buddies, the last few weeks have been focused on “Working in a team atmosphere”. Team entries and retreats, silent conversations, separation from the team, don’t cross the muzzle… type of stuff.


I practice alot…my formal training occurred in Afghanistan…two tours.Wish to this day that that I didn’t have utilize that training almost everyday I was there.It does stick with you…my awareness is off the chart.I trust noone on the street or on the road.I won’t be taken by surprise easily.


I have to admit, I’ve only had one formal training since the pandemic, a one-on-one class to hone my accuracy skills.

I’m hoping to average a couple classes a year to cover shotgun and rifle handling and advanced SD pistol training.


Formal training in person? About 6 weeks.

Myself at the range, an hour.

Online video education, a day

Non entry level, in depth and higher speed training, been a couple years.

But this is what known drills and standards with set targets and shot timers are for, in part, checking your competency retention to an extent


Hi Skippy,

I’m a female, living in Central California. I just got some great formal training from Dave Wasson at 831Shooter (website). I haven’t got formal training since my 1st CCW test.

I had to get some formal training to pass my 2nd CCW renewal range test.
My first gun that I got for my 1st CCW was a S&W Ladysmith Revolver. I did not have any assistance in obtaining my first gun. I bought a S&W M&P Shield for my 2nd CCW renewal and I’m so happy I did. I passed the 2nd CCW REnewal with flying colors.




Its been more than a decade, probably closer to 15yrs.

Now that ive joined a range, im going to take some clases for the fun of it…

Next one, defensive shotgun, go over spread and so on. I know enough but it will be fun to hear from others… Always something new to learn.


Will be looking for more formal training soon.
Unfortunately out here all of the range is at outdoor ranges and the current highs are up in the 100 to 155 range. Will need some cooler weather :frowning:

1 Like

I was going to do some USCCA range training.I completed all the online things…think I’m going to hold off.Im becoming exasperated by some of the things the trainers post.Think I’ll stick with military type training I’m used to.I really hope most of you never see combat in any form.Until you have…you just don’t know or understand.


What in particular are you exasperated by?


I let this go.I now realize that i apparently have a (type)…enough said.


For the sake of this thread, what is the definition of ‘formal training’?

If it means having to ‘officially’ pay someone else? And attend their ‘official’ class? There are many, numerous ‘qualified trainer’s’ in real life and on YouTube. There are many who are not?

What qualifies? To be considered ‘formal training’? There are many self imposed gun guru’s who call themselves ‘experts.’
Some are quite famous, some, unknown by the masses. So is being a famously known firearms trainer the qualifier?

Because if it is, then millions of people never will get or have any kind of ‘formal training.’ The largest percentage of the CCW majority, are never going to spend the quite expensive fee’s to go to and attend a Gunsite or Thunder Ranch and learn under the tutelage of a Bob Staley or Clint Smith. If they live out of state from these various famous locations, you’re not just talking fee’s to attend, but travel, food & accommodations, adequate gear and clothing for the class and so on.

I always like to say the phrase, “there’s no such thing as an ‘expert.’ Why?

  1. A true expert, will never claim or call themselves an ‘expert.’

  2. Line 10 experts against a wall and ask them their expertise on any type of advanced firearms training? You will most likely get 10 completely different answers.

As CCW individuals; each of us alone, are our on trainer’s and experts. There is nothing anywhere, officially or set in stone, that says, you cannot personally provide, your own ‘formal training’ yourself. By yourself. No one else is physically needed or required. No money for classes, or in person training by someone else, in order to become ‘formal training.’

In saying all of this, there’s nothing wrong with having the money, time and dedication, to seek out advanced training by others, who yourselves consider to be qualified trainers.

But the person who either can’t afford or has the time to travel and seek out others for formal training? Are no less dedicated if they simply get on YouTube where there are countless trainers and gun gurus, teaching basic firearms fundamentals and advanced training skills and techniques in whatever interests you wherever you are currently at in your own personal levels of training.

As an example, I can easily get on YouTube and find actual teaching videos, of guys like Clint Smith, Dave Spaulding,
Shaun Lamb and many others, doing actual teaching videos free of charge. Bob Staley has teaching videos on YT where he is actually teaching from Gunsite Ranch! Straight to you from the Arizona Desert! :slight_smile:

There is Teaching and there is Training. They are not one and the same. While they both can be combined, they also can be separated and done in succession. Learning an advanced class or technique from a famous firearms personality, is the same, whether in person or on video. But training with that person live and in person? Is great if you can acquire that.

But if you can’t? Take what you learned from the video and then simply map out a training outline from what you ‘learned’ and then go to a range on your own and incorporate what you learned from the video and the training outline you mapped out and written for yourself.

If it’s an advanced technique that acquires a lot of manipulation of the firearm without actually needing to put a bunch of rounds down range? Inert dummy rounds that can be purchased from anywhere are great training tools you can do at home. Then the shooting portion is easily done at the range.

If it requires mobility and shooting? Finding a local outside range or gun club which allows to possibly shoot paper and steel silhouette could be an option that is viable and saves money.

My question is, why wouldn’t or couldn’t all this be considered, ‘formal training’? Because I didn’t pay a self proclaimed expert some money to attend their class? Just curious. I have an inquiring mind. :slight_smile:


Formal training:
Formal training means training that has a structured and defined curriculum, and which provides an opportunity for training participants to have questions timely answered during the training or at a later date. In the context of this part, formal training may include, but is not limited to, classroom, computer-based, correspondence, on-the-job, simulator, or laboratory training.
Cornell Law School definition

To be honest, I wouldn’t count any video, computer-based, simulator or any kind of dry-firing as a formal training, unless these are followed by range time and live round verification.
Do you need to pay for a training to treat it as formal? Nope… but be sure whatever you train and practice has a feedback from Firearm Instructor - that will make your training a formal one.


My last renewal was not “training”, it was about selling their products and how if you don’t do everything he says you’re going to die! If you don’t carry appendix, you’re gonna suck and die.
I think they do drive thru weddings and divorces also

Edit: They advertise USCCA and had a rep come in, she was great.


Here in Illinois we have to go through 16 hr class in order to obtain carry license. After license expiration - 3 hrs.
Is this a formal training? Not for me and I doubt any clearly thinking IL firearm owner will treat it that way.

Convincing students to do something one way, but not another, teaching the Gun Laws… these are not training sessions at all.


I have been doing this so long, I am confident of constructing a training regiment for myself. I also feel qualified to observe myself in my training for self examination and evaluation to know and feel if when and why I have succeeded in said training or failed.

I mean, when you know, you just know. Other then being new to firearms and the training or tactics of such; not withstanding, I don’t think most famous and experienced gun instructors depend on others to know if they got it right?

I would think it would take someone with a huge pair, to tell Massad Ayoob something he didn’t already probably know? It ain’t rocket science and one doesn’t have to have years and years of the most advanced tactical training available in order to judge their own viability in maintaining their skill to CCW?

They can handle their own personal training regiment quite sufficiently on their own. Are we saying, one can never be independent of someone else in our personal training?


There are not lot of people who can do this. It is great if you really know what are you doing and you are fully confident, proficient and knowledgeable with firearm handling, procedures and techniques.
However even such people can do mistakes and without valid feedback those mistakes can be missed.
For sure the level of proficiency dictates who are you training with… so I wouldn’t be surprised that Massad Ayoob get some feedback from Ken Hackathorn or Bill Wilson or Mike Seeklander. Perhaps those guys talk about their training and skills and correct each others all the time?

The point is… whatever the skill level is… we need to train, practice and have a feedback if the training / practice gives any expected results.