The Importance of Ongoing Training

Let's say that you have gotten your concealed carry permit, or taken a basic handgun, rifle or shotgun course, and you feel like you are ready to defend yourself with deadly force. What comes next?

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I've been fortunate to a career in law enforcement-and later instructing-for a wide variety of reasons. But one of the most important reasons is that of ongoing access to continuing training-particularly firearms training.

From basic firearms training in two basic training academies, to firearms instructor courses (the NRA's Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Course I took in 1986 was probably the very best) and various tactical training courses, I have been indeed fortunate to take a wide variety of firearms related classes. Becoming certified as an instructor in four different computerized Use of Force training simulator systems also proved beneficial.

In addition to the various training courses, I have had annual firearms qualification courses to keep me in tune as well. Even though the course of fire for qualification is relatively basic, it still counts as trigger time-under the clock, with other officers watching to see how their instructor shoots- which increases the pressure. And, if there is no actual training available, there are always LE related periodicals available with quality information to keep up to date on as well.

So, let's say that you have gotten your concealed carry permit, or taken a basic handgun, rifle or shotgun course, and you feel like you are ready to defend yourself with deadly force. What comes next?

What should come next is continuing education. After all, when the vast majority of you completed first grade, you (or your parents) didn't just say "good enough"-you kept on going through high school and perhaps beyond. As an educator, I can also emphatically state that learning should be a lifelong process, particularly since there is always something new to learn in the area of firearms.

Vance Outdoors offers a wide range of classes, from CCW to advanced firearm training, all taught by industry professionals.

Up until concealed carry passed in Ohio in 2004 (that was a good year because the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 sunset at the same time) there was relatively little in the way of civilian firearms training available beyond basic NRA courses and what some enterprising entrepreneurs were able to provide. The demand for civilian training just wasn't as high as it is now.

Vance Outdoors (at their Alum Creek location) is offering a fairly wide array of training-from hands on classes to lectures. Note that you can learn a lot from quality lecture presentations that can be beneficial-it doesn't have to be all hands on all the time. Here is some of what is currently on the training calendar:

Colonel David Grossman presents "The Bulletproof Mind" - Saturday December 2, 2017

With material once only available to cops and the military "The Bulletproof Mind" lecture is now available to the general public. Colonel Grossman is a lecturer and researcher of some renown (besides being a retired U.S. Army Colonel), and presents material related to what really happens in gunfights that most people are unaware of. His books are a must read-particularly the book "On Combat" which was required reading when I ran our police academy. His presentations are worth every bit of the $100 price of admission.

NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting - December 2, 2017

New to the field of firearms? Want to learn the basics of handgun shooting before getting your permit, or become more capable of defending your home? You can't go wrong with the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course. It will teach you want you need to know about the basics of safe pistol handling. You will receive an NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook and an NRA course certificate of completion. Cost is $95. In my experience you simply cannot go wrong with an NRA firearms course.

Weapon Craft Wednesday - 8 Week Course

Weaponcraft Wednesday is an ongoing series of courses already in progress. As I write this, there are only two sessions left available-on November 15 and November 29-Movement and (Final) Drills. Each course costs only $25 to attend. Students must provide their own ammo-average round count is 150. Previous topics were; Draw and Presentation, Diagnostics, Reloads, Malfunctions, Single Hand and Multiple Targets. These areas are essential in improving your overall capability, and cover the topics usually taught in law enforcement training. Hopefully this series will kick off again soon. While not required, it is recommended that you complete all sessions in consecutive order. I highly recommend this one for enhancing your skill set.

Defensive Handgun 5: Response to Shooter - December 9 and 10, 2017

If you are ready to move beyond the basics and are willing to take a stand against terrorist attacks and active shooter events, Defensive Handgun level 5 might be the course for you. A two day class (first day classroom, second day range), the Response to Shooter course will provide you with the insight needed to intervene on behalf of yourself and others to stop and active shooter event-which is not a decision to be taken lightly. The extensive training day with an approximate 300 round will help put the previous days training into action. Cost is $200.

This is just a sample of what is currently available in the ongoing training provided by Vance Outdoors, which ranges from the basic to higher end material and concepts. The calendar is always upgrading and changing, and the prices appear to me to be quite reasonable for the training you receive. All the instructors are top quality and carefully chosen. While you may not be able to afford continuing training on a regular basis, consider taking a firearms related training class at least once a year from a quality provider like Vance Outdoors. And don't forget to supplement that class with quality instructional and informational materials available online or in print. Doing so will go a long way towards keeping you active and engaged with the community that has chosen to take responsibility for their own protection-the Armed Citizen.