Be Heard: Instructor Background

I have been thinking a lot lately about instructor background. In fact, I was preparing some notes for an upcoming article, but Andrew at Vuurwapen Blog beat me to the punch with a great article on instructor background – military versus competition – that addressed the very questions that I was wrestling with. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to read it. Andrew shares his thoughts and the thoughts of one of the more highly regarded instructors working today, Mike Pannone who is an instructor with plenty of real world experience.

Now it is your chance to Be Heard. Must a firearms instructor have military or law enforcement experience in order to train at a high level? Does (or should) combat experience matter to the average citizen who is attending a training course? Would you attend or have you paid for instruction from someone other than a combat veteran?

Leave a comment below to join the discussion and Be Heard!


5 Responses to Be Heard: Instructor Background

  1. Ben Wentzel July 6, 2012 at 15:06 #

    I personally think the shooting skill itself is the most important aspect of selecting the training course. You can not replicate the experience of being in battle but a good shooter who is a good teacher make you a better shooter. Shooting techniques are something you can practice every day (dry fire, range, etc.) As a civilian shooter if you ever find yourself in a “battle” situation your survival instincts kick in and you’re most likely to benefit from the teaching of the better shooter.

  2. Dave B. July 6, 2012 at 22:01 #

    It depends on the person and their honest claim to experience. If both instructors were honest and decent teachers I would go with one that has real world combat experience over one that didn’t just because there are things (knowledge, tricks, thoughts or feelings during the experiences) learned in those experiences that can possibly be passed on. I also wouldn’t take just one instructors experience as the final word on every situation because every experience is different for every person and there is something to be learned from every encounter.

  3. Paul B July 7, 2012 at 17:33 #

    I am an NRA certified instructor with certification in basic pistol. To take the training for advanced pistol I will need to first attend a session at some other school like top sight.

    I have not been in the army nor have I been a polie officer. I have had instructors from both lines of work.

    It depends in what you want to teach and who your audience is.

  4. John Smith July 7, 2012 at 23:33 #

    I haven’t read the article yet, but I feel like a military instructor with years of real world experience would far outrank a trainer without it. I would much rather take a class from someone that’s been in battle than one that hasn’t. However, for beginner classes, I would feel just as comfortable in a class with someone like Paul B who’s been certified. But for advanced tactical classes I think military experience is a must.

  5. John Smith July 7, 2012 at 23:49 #

    I just read through the article and would like to elaborate on my previous comment.

    An instructor should, first and foremost, know how to instruct. If he or she doesn’t, then they don’t need to be in a teaching role. Being in battle doesn’t make you an instructor. And being arrogant about having been in battle does nothing towards teaching people.

    When someone’s had the experience of battle, they know what it’s like to have surges of adrenaline that make you forget everything except muscle memory. They’ve been there. They can honestly say “When you’re in an actual fight for your life, this is what’s going to happen to you.”

    With that knowledge, they should be better equipped to train someone how to handle themselves in that situation. They should also know, not just reiterate what’s been taught to them, but actually know, what skills are most important, what tactics are most important, and what actions take priority. They should know what to do to stay alive and what to do to make sure you come out of the fight the victor.

    This isn’t to say that trainers who haven’t been in combat aren’t good and capable. As the article states, being in combat doesn’t mean you’re better than someone who hasn’t. There are some very, very good instructors out there who have never stepped foot in battle. However, if I was taking a class from two people whom I had never heard of (as in, they weren’t known in the industry), I would probably choose the vet over the other.

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