When a new shooter is passionate about learning to shoot, he or she looks for training opportunities everywhere. Unfortunately shooting is an expensive hobby and it can break the bank to buy guns, gear, and ammo. As you’re looking for places to cut corners, don’t skimp on a training budget. Even if you’re tempted to solicit firearms instructors to let you audit their classes, here are five reasons you don’t want free training:
1. Mooching Is Disempowering
If your purpose for taking firearms training is to take responsibility for your personal safety, improve your skills, and grow in confidence, but you asked for free training, then you just sabotaged yourself. You have to have skin in the game, so invest your energy and resources into training that you see as valuable. Getting a free ride doesn’t make you empowered; it makes you co-dependent.
2. You Get What You Pay For
You want to take a class from instructors who are highly trained at ranges that are clean and safe. By expecting a free class you are devaluing their product. Whether you realize it or not, you are saying, “I like what you have to offer, but not enough to pay you for it.” If you choose specific instructors because they are reputable professionals who offer quality programs, pay them. If the instructors or training raises red flags, then it’s not a class you want to take anyway.
3. Small Business Is a Big Deal
Teaching is more than just giving pointers at the range. A good instructor has studied adult learning principles, crafted curriculums, and planned activities. He or she has invested in numerous classes, travel, time commitments, cost of gear, range fees, ammo, insurance, etc. By asking them to give you training for free, you are dismissing the value of their investments in their businesses, and more importantly you are taking time from their paying clients. You’re essentially stealing from the people who support them. That’s how entrepreneurs go out of business.
4. There’s a Going Rate
Take a little time to research similar training classes with comparable instructor experience and amenities. Professional services from babysitting to accounting have hourly rates or service fees. It doesn’t matter if other instructors charge slightly more or less than what your instructors are asking, the point is that there is a standard cost for this type of service, and it’s rarely (i.e., never) free.
5. Respect Is a 2-Way Street
Invite people into your life that support you and value your worth, and treat others the way that you want to be treated. Don’t attend a class with the attitude that you deserve a handout, or you know the material already, or looking to market your product, or network for your own business or endeavor. When you attend a class with an open mind and willingness to learn, you create a positive experience that empowers your journey. You not only earn the respect of the instructor and other participants, you will respect yourself. As Margaret Mead said, “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”
Attending an ‘A Girl & A Gun’ Girl’s Night Out is a great way to get pointers and learn about upcoming training opportunities. You may discover that local or national instructors have classes scheduled at your range, or you may want to attend AG & AG’s National Conference or Girl’s Getaways. You may even find that an instructor is offering a discount on an upcoming class because he or she is passionate about the course and wants everyone to have access to the material. Allow instructors to extend discounts or gratis classes at their discretion and don’t expect or request free training. Remember that they do this for a living, and so you can’t expect good instruction to be free. In fact, if it’s good, help them stay in business — the industry needs to support good instructors. In turn, you’ll also be making a valuable investment in yourself.