I like training classes. A lot. Pistol and/or carbine. I learn things at these classes. Training classes, while (sometimes justly so) derided as “entertrainment” are a quite viable way to learn, to brush up on, and advance your own personal level of skill with the martial art that is shooting. I always point new shooters towards a good two day pistol training class as the most important building block in enhancing one’s shooting proficiency with any firearm.
However, any gun forum observer/participant can tell you that it’s easy to get caught up in training; to follow a “sensei” (instructor) and to only “train.” There are guys out there that treat carbine/pistol training classes as a religion and only train with the leader of their religion, their chosen instructor. Guys, you need to branch out. Try USPSA, USCA or even classes from another instructor. Try competition, your training will help you there and you will see challenges in competition you will have to solve for yourself.
You’ll see the negative effects of only training when folks obsess over the difference between say, “Flat Dark Earth” and “Urban Dark Earth.” Grown men will debate endlessly the merits of various brands of tactical pants and show each other pictures of their “battle belts.” Many of these training addicts will avoid actual shooting competitions and fall into the trap of sneering at “gun gamers.” I myself, love USPSA. It may not be real life but the real life shooting skills you are forced to learn in order to be competitive. It’s somewhat telling when a self professed “gun gamer” is far and away the high shooter at a tactical shooting oriented carbine class (I know, I was there).
As a former infantry Marine, I automatically eschewed playing dress up for training classes. I alway tried to go as “slick” as possible and even did my transitions from carbine to pistol using an AIWB (Appendix Inside Waist Band) mounted pistol. Worked pretty well, actually. No chest rig, no multicam, no $200 hearing protection (the sub $50 Howard Leights are outstanding), as little specialized gear as possible. I was “training like I would fight,” dontcha know.
I did well in the training classes on timed and scored drills. Ironically, one of the best classes I ever took was decidedly not “tactical” and helped me build a foundation to be a better than mediocre shooter. As I always tell folks getting into shooting, take a good pistol training class. It’s much easier to shoot a carbine/rifle than a pistol but skill with a pistol directly carries over to shooting any other firearm. Get a pistol with good sights, a good holster, ammo, some spare mags, and training.
Having been shot in my other elbow, I am very lucky to have received the treatment I did. My friends being my friends, instantly dubbed me “Elbowla Patient Zero,” a title I wear with pride.