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Who's Right? How to Handle Conflicting Information From Firearms Instructors

So you’ve decided to learn to shoot and you’ve even taken a few lessons from an instructor that you have come to trust.  But now, you’ve decided to take a class that interests you from a different instructor.  So with your current instructor’s blessing, because any good instructor will encourage you to take courses from multiple instructors for a well-rounded learning experience, you sign up for a course with a new-to-you instructor.  Class starts and your instructor is telling you to do things that conflict with the way you have already learned.  What do you do?

Safety First

The first thing you must determine is if the new instruction is safe to perform.  Safety is always the most important consideration on a gun range.  Review the safety rules in your head and if anything the instructor is asking you to do is in conflict with these rules, then stop!  You have the right to walk away if you do not feel safe.  It may mean that you forfeit your tuition, but that is far better than you or a classmate facing injury or even worse.

Know the Reason

If you determine that the class and instructor are indeed safe for you to proceed, but you are receiving conflicting information, ask the instructor to provide additional information.  A good instructor will tell you WHY.  They will give you the reason why they believe this grip or that stance is the best one.  If the only reason is because they say so or because that’s the way they learned and have always done it, then this might not be an instructor you want to continue to use for learning.

Do it Their Way

If they are safe and they have explained why, then do it their way.  Good class etiquette is to use the instructor’s way for at least the duration of that class.  Who knows?  You might find that their way works better for you.  For many tasks in shooting, there is more than one right way.  Any instructor who insists that their way is the only way and everyone else is incorrect may be one that you want to steer clear of in the future. 

We are all different in multiple ways.  We have different learning styles, different physical attributes and different goals.  Learning from multiple instructors is a great way to learn processes in shooting that work for you.   So get out there, get some training and become the best shooter you can be!


Written for GunGoddess.com by Tracy Hughes.  Tracy is a firearms instructor, competitive shooter, facilitator for A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League and the owner of Brilliant Backstraps.  


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