New Shooters Monday: Questions you didn't want to ask?

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Beth Alcazar, author of Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals and associate editor of The Concealed Carry Magazine, describes how most of us want to have some basic knowledge before taking classes or doing something new for the first time. For example, we want to lose some weight and know how to use the gym equipment before we go to the gym so we don’t look like we need to lose a lot of weight and don’t know what we’re doing at the gym.

When you went to your first firearms training class (or your most recent class for that matter) what did you want to know before you got to the class? What question did you want to ask, but didn’t?

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I’ve been shooting seriously for about 15 years and have taken numerous classes and several one-on-one training with competent instructors (not just competent shooters. Big difference). The most recent was just last week, focused on accuracy, slowing down and developing a feel for trigger reset. It made a noticable improvement almost immediately.

I stand by the adage, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

A good instructor will watch you shoot and notice what can be improved. I want to know what I don’t know and be told how to put their advice into practice.


I took my first class pretty early on. I definitely did not know what I did not know. Showed up there a dry sponge and soaked up everything I could. Fortunately it was a very small class and I had a lot of 1 on 1 time with the instructor.


If I’m exposed to too much information all at once it’s like drinking from a fire hose.

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There was definitely a lot of that going on for me during that 2 days of training! I’m still processing and absorbing some of the lessons from that class even though it was over a dozen years ago.


I was brought up with the saying “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.” Is the question foolish? Maybe. Will you be embarrassed? Also, maybe. But what about the other people in that class that have the same question, but are also afraid to ask? I don’t mind being embarrassed if I get the answer to my question. I come out smarter in the end. And maybe, just maybe, so does someone else in the class. So get up on your hind legs, take the bull by the ba, ah, horns and ASK.

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Until you know half as much as Mr. Massad Ayoob you know nothing, when you know three quarters as much you know a little…