We’re all at different points on our self-defense journeys. Some of us have been shooting for years (or decades), and some of us have yet to take that first shot.
I look for certification from tier 1 experts like Mas Ayoob or Tom Givens. I would prefer someone with LEO or military background. I look at published material to see if they have a common sense approach and understand the mission of the civilian defender.
This is a hard one for me to answer. On good Addison’s days I can shoot with best. On bad Addison’s days I’m all over the place.
So one thing is an instructor who understands there are days I can and others I can’t.
Someone who is actually going to teach me something new and not some new fad they read about on line.
Good reputation matters to me.
I personally look for several things. I don’t expect one trainer to know everything. We all need to continually grow. I do expect them to have a lot of experience and knowledge. Preferably close enough to me, not to be a hindrance from taking their training. Someone humble. As with any teacher / instructor they have to know how to engage their students.
I want to take a class with some of the USCCA personnel, Kevin M., Fred Merc, Bev, and the list goes on.
I look for his/her method of teaching, that they are patient, especially in a beginners class, that they enforce strict safety rules, that the material is easily understandable, and they make you feel comfortable and you have to be comfortable around them. The certifications don’t mean anything if you don’t know how to teach. I have learned lots of things about firearms from people who are not certified but there experiences around guns were enough that I trusted them.
Field experience, military/domestic law enforcement experience, honesty, patience, respect and the understanding that every student learns differently at different paces. We don’t need heroic stories and we don’t need gung-ho drill sergeants. Good examples of great instructors are Gunsite and Thunder Ranch.
One with a good sense of humor.
The last thing I need is a no-fun instructor who has a stick up his arse.
I look for instructors, that will tell what they have learned, from other instructors. A wise man seeks wisdom. I stay away from instructors that believe they are the end all, be all of firearms instruction.
It depends on what it is I am trying to learn. First i want real world experience If i was trying to fix my accuracy i would go to someone like jerry mic. If i wanted to learn rifle it would be someone who carried and used a rifle like John Lovell and for self defense there would be no other than James Yeager