Teaching past your ability

Don’t be ashamed to be the guy teaching 2+2=4 at the range. And don’t let your ego get you — or your students — hurt for the sake of looking cool. Because when your student is falling from 10,000 feet and there’s nothing you can do to save him, it’s too late to realize you were out of your lane.

Todd nails it.


  1. Caleb,

    Todd has a great post!

    This should be required reading for all instructors at all levels. I’ve been instructing NRA, CCW, Boy Scouts, and 4H Shooting Sports for 20+ years and I still have things to learn and improve on. I always focus on fundamentals – even when teaching advanced concepts and techniques.

    I’ve taken a lot of courses over the years from NRA basic classes to tactical “kick-in’ doors down” classes. I’ve often observed both instructors and students that were beyond their expertise or comfort zones. It is not pretty.

    A couple things I’ll add from my experience:
    – some time spent in law enforcement or the military does not make you a gun expert or SWAT ninja, and even if you are a law enforcement or military gun expert or SWAT/Spec. Ops. member – it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be a good instructor. (although I do appreciate their service to our country and communities.)

    – the instructor that impresses me is the one that gets to know the students – BEFORE THEY’RE ON THE FIRING LINE WITH A LOADED FIREARM – and adjusts to each student’s needs – even if they have to say, go home and come back for our basic class first.

    – I also prefer instructors who would rather spend time teaching than telling war stories, unless they are directly relevant to the teaching.

    – Finally, teaching a CCW course in full SWAT/ninja gear complete with 14″ blade Rambo knife and so much gear hangin’ on you and your gun you have to shuffle through a regular-sized door sideways (yes, this was an instructor at a CCW course I took a while back) does not impress me.

    Just a couple of my many thoughts.

  2. Great post, Caleb – thank you.

    Back when RO / Instructor was my full-time gig I spent many a quiet hour thinking about that. I was never in a position to push my instruction past my abilities and I’m thankful for that but it was frequently on my mind.

    Again… thanks.

  3. “you have to shuffle through a regular-sized door sideways”

    I’ve done that, going out hunting, going shooting, heck even going fishing!
    I have a serious tendency to bring WAY more stuff than I’ll ever need!

    I have never been an instructor at anything, it is not in my nature.
    I can do it, but try telling someone else how to do it? Forget it.
    My wife and kids can attest to this, I’m more of the “Get out of my way and let me do it” type. I am in awe of those who can teach others because I couldn’t do it to save my life…..

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