I’m wanting opinions from those that have gone through the certifications process or have looked into it. I’m not really interesting in teaching classes, but have learned the sometimes the best way to get deep into a subject, to really know it inside out, is to prepare to teach it to someone else. With that in mind, I’m thinking of persuing an instructors certification. What would be the pros and cons? Thoughts and advice?
That is certainly the LEAST expensive way to do it and probably the most time effective method to gain a huge amount of knowledge all at once. The issue is that when being fed from a fire hose you miss a lot of the water due to just sheer volume of information. I didn’t get my first “real” cert until 1994 but I had been in competitions since 1988 ish. and had been building 1911’s starting at a similar time. Back then the only option was books and I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on, I was also fortunate enough to be in a location where there were some serious gun plumbers that I could invest time with. Being in the Navy and then getting on the Navy Shooting Team REALLY opened a lot of doors for me in the shooting world but did my career no good. My senior’s in my real job (Operating Room Technician) were a bit upset that I kept getting pulled to “deploy” with strange people wearing civilian clothes that showed up with the Command Master Chief who basically said “Give these guys anyting they want.” that was usually me. Over the next 8 or so years I got every “instructor” cert the NRA offered as well as a bunch of others and put well over 1/2 million rounds down range on various platforms including on two way ranges. Long about 1998 I decided to get serious about my REAL career and I was pretty tired of getting shot at for a living, I also had kids.
With the advent of IPSC, IDPA, 3 Gun and Precision Rifle competitions you can lean an awful lot about “near” real world gun handling and shooting. The hard part is not to get suckered into the “gear race” unless you are trying to win a championship or get sponsors. I shoot IDPA and IPSC with my EDC from an IWB holster. I’m never going to win one because I shoot full house 45 ACP from a 3.5" 1911 with only 7+1 rounds but it keeps me sharp. I run a 26" non surpressed 30-06 for long range comps and it is not magazine fed, again a gear disadvantage for winning but it teaches me MY platform. On 3 gun I use my 1911 Officers Model pistol, an 870 pump gun and my go to M4’ish rifle with a 1.5x6 optic, again I am not there to win I am there to train and test myself.
For tactics, movement and adrenaline of force on force interaction I have to say paintball is the best source of training under fire. It has all of the adrenaline, 1/4 the noise and none of the lethality but will incur pain to remind you that you are alive when you get hit.
In summary cert’s are good for getting the bulk of information you need to get a good foundation. Competitions sharpen the blade and additional things like paintball and gunsmithing/armorer courses / certs will hone the blade even more. Reloading will additionally hone the blade as you delve into the “Why and How” it works. Start small and pick a single platform to master and delve into other things as you see fit.
Oh, did I mention this is REALLY expensive unless Uncle Sam is paying your ammo and parts bill?
Lol. When I was there, we called them pop-up, shoot back targets. Thanks for the feed back!
I’m with you brother I am thinking about the same thing. PROS: You can get a certification to teach, you get to do something that you enjoy yourself, the satisfaction of spreading knowledge, you get to be around like minded people, you get to make some extra income, you get to be around different types of firearms, the rewards of teaching people how to protect themselves. CONS: Not too many. One con is probably finding the space to rent to give the classes. Getting to find people who want to be trained. But once you get started I believe if you enjoy it you can become successful.
@Michael554 which Instructor certification were you thinking? conceal carry? I am about to finish the entire process for that under Utah Standards come the 19th.
If this is what you want you must become a certified pistol instructor with the NRA or equivalent. (USCCA is an equivalent). Once you obtain a firearms instructor cert, you then must take the legal certification process with BCI. BCI runs 2 classes a year generally, one in SLC which is not available until next summer and one in St George which is also ran 1-2 a year. After taking that class and passing the legal knowledge test, BCI will issue you a “Instructor permit”. Without this BCI cert, USCCA or NRA certification won’t allow you to teach conceal carry.
If you want to become a USCCA instructor, you must teach at least 20 students a year to maintain the certification. This would be great since you don’t want to do much instructing but it would allow you to get practice in. Now if I or a fellow instructor was running a Conceal Carry and Home Defense class in Utah, as a USCCA instructor you could assist and help teach the USCCA portion of the class but not the legal Utah portion. If two instructors "“team up” you both get credit for teaching the Students as long as the Primary instructor includes you on the roll call via the “instructor USCCA portal”.
Now if you just wanted to be a basic pistol/rifle/shotgun instructor, you could do that via the NRA. With this you could teach weapon classes that are not conceal carry classes. This is another option. Have you taken all the basic courses with the NRA or any shooting fundamental classes with USCCA? These would be a great place to start. You cannot become an NRA instructor in any discipline without first taking the basic courses.
This is great information and a lot to consider. I appreciate the guidance from those of you that have already walked the path. I might need to reconsider what it is I want to get from the instruction. I really have no aspirations to teach or run classes as much as I want an intensive immersion in the whole world of fire arms. I enjoy the culture and the people. I’m not adverse to teaching and have had that experience over the years, but at my age, I’m not ready to come out of retirement. I perhaps I’ll try to clarify and refine what my actual goals really are. I might still decide to go down that path. We’ll see. Thank you.
Hello. I think your goal to learn enough to teach it is a great mindset.
The USCCA concealed carry and home defense certification is great in that it gives instructors a great curriculum, great instructor support, and great resources to teach the material. If you did not plan on using those aspects then it may be a waste of your time and money.
However if you want a deeper understanding of the why in shooting skills I recommend finding a Defensive Shooting Fundamentals class and take that. I just went through the instructor certification for this and it is a top notch course of instruction! Again if you are just going to be an end user I would suggest the non instructor class to everyone. Instead of going for 3 days of instruction for a certification you will not use. I would suggest that you take that same amount of money and take the end user class multiple times from multiple instructors. This will give you an excellent opportunity to review the information and to hear it from another instructors delivery.
a lot of the Instructor certification courses are more based on your ability to provide the knowledge to another individual. A lot of those classes are proof of concept, and also require teaching during the class. They do have solid information but at the same time, they are much more expensive and half the class is based on being able to teach and not actually learning new information. For this reason, I do not recommend taking an Instructor certification class.
I understand your reluctance in teaching but you would be surprised that you can learn just as much through teaching as you would learn as a student. That’s why I recommended an Instructor team up where you could keep the certification and get some experience while not focusing on it.
What kind of information/training are you looking to do? What are you wanting to know? Have you taken any student classes to expand your knowledge? As I am here in SLC, I could point you in the right direction. Let me know if, I can assist in any way.
Just like @Jeff748 recommended, I also recommend the Defensive shooting class. There are only two instructors for that in Utah I believe. I just took the class with one in Kaysville and it was great.