Instructor Notes: Bring the right gear to training

I continue to be confounded by many of the students I have for Defensive Shooting Fundamentals who bring/use the wrong gear/equipment to training. Even after sending them a very comprehensive email weeks prior to class, with pictures of the best types of gear and why it’s preferred. I include links for the equipment so as it’s easy to buy it. A coupon code from the USCCA preferred vendors page as well.

I first off have to apologize for the length of this post, I like generally like to stay short and to the point. If you read the entire post, hopefully you’ll realize that spending the money (a good sum) and spending the time to take a class is not something that you just bring a make-shift or old and outdated/broken equipment to.

Belts: Ladies still love wearing a thin, tiny and in some cases very fashionable Rhine studded, with big fat silver end caps that won’t let a mag or gun holster to be inserted onto the belt. Guys, that super thin belt that you wear to the office that twists and flaps and lets your gun/holster sag out like Barney Fife. Without a thick stiff belt your presentation from holster is affected. The holster will want to follow the firearm up and at worst you won’t be able to retrieve it, at best it will significantly slow you down retarding your presentation.

Firearm Holsters: Ladies, I know many are not going to wear a firearm on the hip. Yes, some will but most intend to carry a firearm in a purse. For training purposes in THIS class we’ll be using a hip holster. Our follow up class to DSF1 we do work with alternative forms and positions of carry as well as cover garments. Guys & Ladies, having quality worn THROUGH the belt loops is essential. The skinny/tiny little holster, best to be described as a little 2 inch tight piece of leather where most of the firearm is exposed above and below the holster won’t work. Non to-form leather is too tight and wont allow the firearm to be extracted and requires two hands open the holster and to look it back into the holster, same with the neoprene or hard rubber. Zero retention is best, and all that is actually required in the state of Texas, as a civilian.

Mag Holsters: All you need is a good secure to your belt magazine holster. Once again retention level 0. No over the top strap sort of Velcro/Snap button holding , thingy. You just need to be able to quickly and with as little motor skills as possible, grab your magazine and get it into service.

The Firearm: Please please for the love of Pete, don’t bring a firearm that is broken! I’ve recently had students with missing front sites, broken thumb safeties, grip missing from one side of firearm, shipping grease never removed and never cleaned and lubed, mag ejection buttons so gunked up they won’t reengage and hold the magazine in the magazine well. Firearms that are so old and poorly maintained they just don’t work!

Accessories: Use the headphones that will stop the sound of a shot being fired but with the pass through speaker/s to be able to hear your instructor talking or giving commands. Clear safety glasses, it’s really tough doing low light engagement drills and all you have are super dark sunglass (you may look cool but why make things darker than you need to). True story: I had a student bring reading glasses as their main eye protection! They couldn’t see a target beyond about 4 feet (Know your target). Bring at least 3 or 4 magazines.

There’s much more but you get the idea. Reach out to your instructor prior to class and don’t be shy to ask them what they think is best to use. Get the most out of your class, bring the right gear.


spot on ,awesome presentation


I hear you. I had one guy whose front sight fell off at the first shot, one whose sights were so far off the point of impact was a foot to the right at 3 yards, and one who just bought a new Beretta, didn’t even read the manual and has no idea how a decocker worked.

1 Like

@Fizbin :clap: :clap: :clap:

Unfortunately a lot of students, mostly a new shooters, don’t realize what the proper and good gear means… until they actually fail during the class.
I gave up sending emails or explaining what the proper gear is. People usually learn on their own mistakes, especially when these mistakes cost extra money.

Any firearm class is gonna verify how good the gear is. :wink:
Better find it in the class, not on the street.


Perhaps that is why he was enrolled in a class…to learn.

No. A range qualification is not the place to figure out how your gun works.

1 Like

Sorry, I thought this thread was about teaching a training class and not range qualification.

You may not have picked up on the fact that you’re dealing with humans. We see the same at our track days. Bad gear, gloves with holes, GoPro mounts on their helmets, brake pads installed backward (how don’t you notice you have NO brakes???), chains falling off and rusty/bound, stuck throttles, and so much more. As I’m so fond of saying, “Humans, the worst!”


The instructor took the time to draft an email with links and discount codes formpeople without proper gear and people still showup without proper gear. Having taken various classes and just signed up for two more, I can guarantee that the class description had information about minimjm gear to have. If people cant read and then listen to a direct and easy to follow email from the instructor, I’d say they have a low willingness to learn.


This happens regardless of the type of class. I used to help teach wildlife tracking in the winter time. We would send out a detailed email with the conditions people would encounter and the gear and supplies they would need. Some people would show up on a -20* morning for a full day class with a fleece jacket and no food and water. I had to carry a big pack full of extra gear, water and food to keep people from catching hypothermia.

In some cases the people would say they read the list but didn’t think they really needed all that stuff. I’ll offer these folks an extra jacket but they stubbornly refuse until about 30 minutes into the class when I see them shivering. Even then some refuse help until the early signs of hypothermia set in and then we have to stop and make a fire to warm them back up.


That’s called “thinning the herd’


Dang thats interesting to read. At what point do you just say “no you cant participate because you may die” and not take these idiots?

  1. Isn’t DSF 1 supposedly for students who already have the skils of CC&HDF. Understanding how a gun works and cofirming your gun works should be part of that skill.
  2. NRA has a course specifically for brand new gun owners, First Steps Pistol is for the instructor to go over basic operation of the student’s specific gun, from scratch, as well as core safety and operations. It is a short customized version of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting.
    3 I have seen some instructors offer their own beginner pistol class, not isted as either USCCA or NRA.

Maybe one of the basics options should be a pre-requisite to DSF.


It is a very frustrating thing to deal with, especially when you go to great length to communicate in advance. Unfortunately it is going to happen. I follow Karl Rhens advice and keep loaner gear (and a lot of it) and travel with it when I travel also. It’s made life much simpler many times. I pick up a holster here, mag carrier here, etc. for various models. You can’t cover it all obviously, but it has helped to have the spare gear around. Nevertheless, your point is very valid.

You have to break it down “Big Bird to Barney style”

Don’t show up without everything on this list in proper working condition. Otherwise you will be made fun of in front of the entire class until you cry and go home licking your wounds.

I was just assisting so it wasn’t my call. The majority of people showed up fairly well prepared. But there are always a few who just don’t get it for whatever reason. Interestingly in some cases it’s the more experienced outdoors people who were unprepared. In one case there was a competitive cross country skier who said this is what they wear all the time when it’s -20. They didn’t realize that there is a big difference in staying warm when skiing as fast as you can for 10- 20 miles vs spending all day walking slowly and stopping constantly to listen to instruction.

Like I said I carried enough extra gear to keep the unprepared alive. Everyone usually showed up much better prepared for the second class:)

You are absolutely right, @Craig_AR .
Unfortunately most of that classes are also for the money.
Instructors, Ranges or Institutions running classes cannot afford low students capacity of the class and bad gear or lack of knowledge don’t eliminate these students.

I was surprised many times seeing shooters attending CCW classes who never handle any firearm. The curriculum of IL CCW class contains very basics of handgun, just for such shooters… but for me it’s only waste of time, which should be used for concealed carry topic.

What I see, only private classes or Instructors who run classes on their terms can afford removing students from the training because of low level knowledge or skills and bad gear that can be dangerous for all participants.

I attended all available levels of “Defensive Pistol” and even the prerequisite were always met (levels from 1 to 5), students were removed from the class if didn’t show the proper knowledge learned on previous level.

1 Like

In my younger days I can see myself doing some of those. Age, gaining experience and making more money solved those problems. Go slow buying the best at the time you’re able.

Out of curiosity, do you give them refunds? Stupid should have a price tag attached.


Yes. The refund is issued, but at the first, we always suggest to take the previous level once again.
Even the students show their ignorance we try not to discourage them from proper firearm training.

The only case of not issued refund is, when the student becomes dangerous for others and doesn’t do anything to change it.
I witnessed one situation when “macho” was removed from class because of constant pointing the muzzle at other students. There is no mercy for such behavior.


Good info to have even if a person is not taking your class.

1 Like