November 18, 2021 3 min read

If you're new to shooting, you've probably started searching for classes that can help you learn the basics so you can build a solid foundation. With so many different firearms training classes available, it can be hard to know where to start.

It's important to choose a training class that’s right for you and matches your current skills, and you need to choose a skilled instructor with a solid reputation. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right gun training course.

Safety First

With anything related to firearms, safety always comes first. Find out the instructor's policies on firearms safety to see if they are strict on the rules of handling firearms and how they handle live and unloaded firearms inside and outside of the classroom. It's common practice to not allow any live ammunition inside a classroom where firearms are being handled, so if the instructor allows it, think twice about taking their course.

You also need to make sure they follow proper range safety procedure and don't put students in harm's way at any time. It's also a good idea to inquire about emergency protocols in the event that someone has an accident and if they have easily accessible first aid and trauma kits on the range with them at all times.

Choose the Right Course

Selecting the proper firearms training course is an important step when getting training and starts you off on the right foot. There are lots of different options, so you need to do some research look for a course that's specifically tailored for beginners. You don't want to end up in a class that doesn't cover the fundamentals because you won't learn crucial information you'll be using later to build your skills. You also don't want to be lost and not get any value out of the class. 

Some classes are designed for those who want to carry or shoot competition, while others offer more general curriculum for beginners. It's fine to take more specialized types of classes as long as the course starts with the absolute basics. In this case, it's a good idea to check with the instructor first to find out how much knowledge and skill you need before taking the class.

Find the Right Instructor

One of the best ways to find a good instructor is to ask friends and family members who have taken firearms classes, especially those who started their firearms journey by taking formal beginner classes. Ask who they recommend, and more importantly, why.

You can also look up the instructor online, take a look at their website and social media profiles, and check to see if they have any reviews. Also, take a look at their qualifications and look for current, nationally-recognized credentials like NRA or USCCA certifications.

Decide Between Group Courses or Individual Instruction

There are multiple options for gun training courses— you can opt for individual instruction where you'll get more attention, but it can be more usually very expensive. Group courses are much more affordable, but you might not get the attention you want. 

The type of course you take depends heavily on your current skill level and what you hope to gain from the training. If you've shot before but want more formal instruction to fill in gaps, group training can be a good option. If you're very new or anxious. and want to go over the same skills several times to make sure you get them right, individual training may be be better for you. If you're not sure you fit into either of those categories, try finding a class with a limited-sized group with only  or 3 other students.

Check out a Class Before Attending

Observation is a great way to find out if a teacher will be a good fit for you. Many instructors are willing to give you an overview of the class before you actually sign up. This is a great way to see how the instructor interacts with students and it gives you the opportunity to see if you will be comfortable in his/her presence. Pay attention to see if the instructor's style of teaching would be a good fit for you.