There are many reasons why working with a Firearms Instructor in private training environment can be key to achieving your shooting goals. Whether they be self-defense based, competitive sports-driven or for just fun recreational time at the range, Here are six critical reasons why you should have a private session or two, or three, as well as the benefits that you are likely to achieve.
1. You Don’t Know Where to Start. Walking into the range for the first time or wanting to go shooting with your family can be a scary task. From choosing a gun and pairing it with the correct ammunition, to knowing the rules and etiquette, to understanding the 5 basics of marksmanship, there is a lot to know. Having a private lesson will give you an introduction to all these things and set you in the right direction to have a fun and safe time at the range.
2. You Have a Specific Illness, Injury, or Condition. It can be as simple as mastering cross-eye-dominate skills or learning how to see your sights again after Lasik. It might be a more complex physical limitation and you need options for how to make it work for you. It can even be an emotional road block or trauma you want to overcome. Working 1:1 with your instructor can be a very personal and private experience, so be ready to answer questions so they can better understand where you are starting from and help you make the proper adjustments.
3. You’re Not Seeing Results. Maybe you have taken a group class or had a family member teach you. At first everything was great, and you are satisfied with your target. Maybe you picked up a bad habit while working on new drills and don’t realize the mistakes you are making that are getting in the way of your progress. Having a tune-up is very valuable to get back on track or in some cases change course with a new gun, different ammo, change the holster, vision assessment, etc.
4. Help You Set Realistic Goals. Just like any task in life you must have a goal and plan to achieve it. If your intent is to get your carry permit or to participate in action shooting sports it can feel overwhelming to get started. Setting goals, especially attainable goals, will keep you on track. This will help you with training as well as purchasing the gear and equipment that you need and avoiding purchasing gear that you don’t need.
5. Fit Range Time Into Your Schedule. Sometimes fitting a group class or event into your schedule is not easy, especially if you work or have kid activities nights and weekends. Scheduling a lesson with a private instructor will give you the flexibility to choose a time that works best for you.
6. Help you develop a Personalized Training Plan. It may not be financially possible to have a private lesson on a weekly basis, even monthly. Your instructor can help you plan for the time you spend on your own and at AG & AG events, so that your range time and dry-fire practice is more meaningful. Use your Shooting Journal to track your progress and schedule a quarterly tune-up session with your instructor.
About Private Lessons
If you are a brand new shooter, your private lesson will start with a “do’s & don’ts” safety brief covering the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, additional rules, and etiquette of the range. You will also be given an overview of the firearm and its parts, functions, and fit. Be ready to talk about why you are taking the lesson, so that your instructor understands your goals, motivations, and expectations. A good instructor will focus on you from head to toe, so don’t feel intimidated. He or she may ask permission to touch you on your back or put their hands on your hands while shooting. It is all part of the process to make sure you are in correct form.
Depending on your instructor and/or facility, you can expect to spend 1 to 2 hours split between the classroom and the range, and shoot 50 to 100 rounds of ammunition. Many times when learning a new skill in a 1:1 environment your brain may get “full” around the 1-hour mark. If your instructor only offers 2-hour blocks, ask for breaks and communicate if you are getting tired or overwhelmed.
Record your notes and progress in your Shooting Journal during your lesson. Document the type of gun(s) you worked with, distances and any other nuggets of information you found especially useful or created an “ah-hah” moment. Take a picture of the target with your cell phone to have a visual reminder of where you started, so that you can measure your improvement.
Private Lesson Success
Find the right instructor for you! Communication before, during, and after your lesson, so that you are sure that you get what you need. Give yourself plenty of time before and after your lesson time. Don’t be rushed or stressed out thinking about where else you need to be.
Avoid negative self-talk. Don’t shake your head “no” if you make a mistake or don’t do the exercise exactly right. Be open minded about learning something new and different. If it doesn’t work for you after a few repetitions, talk with your instructor about modifications you can make that are acceptable and safe.
As with any physical activity, be sure to hydrate! You might be sore after your first lesson, you will be using different muscles in your arms, core, and legs. Practice the skills going forward and you will see an increase in physical and mental strength, confidence, and shooting proficiency.