“A gun is an absolute equalizer.” This is a common statement that we hear often. This mantra is very misleading. Only a gun in the hands of someone who is trained is an absolute equalizer. I feel like a broken record as often as I bring this up, but it’s necessary. Anyone who has a firearm needs training to truly understand the gun itself, how to properly run it, carry it and maintenance it. Firearms training should be viewed as essential versus elective, budgeted for over the “if I have the extra money” mentality.
The type of firearms training someone chooses should be applicable to their daily lives and reasons for having a firearm. In addition, research should be done to make certain the trainer you’er entrusting to educate you is qualified, legitimate with sound reviews and feedback. Educational, applicable and fun – three foundational stones that you should always experience in a good training class.
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In addition to being a gun writer, I’m also a firearms instructor with Force Options USA. We hold many classes for almost every firearm platform. Our most recent was our Shotgun Training Class. I want to share this with you, not to push my training on you, but to highlight what to look for in a good training class. Our classes focus on defensive firearm applications for home and self-defense, promoting education on everything from situational awareness to physically running your gun while engaging a threat. In our shotgun class we covered fundamental manipulations of the gun including loading and unloading, effectively running the safety, malfunction clearances and understanding the shotguns shooting pattern. Additionally, we covered a very critical but often overlooked aspect of running a shotgun; how to correctly shoulder and hold the shotgun. This is crucial as so many people do not understand this and in turn fear the shotgun due to the punishing effects of recoil that are absolutely manageable with proper knowledge and understanding of recoil management.
The day of class we fostered an atmosphere where students maintained respect for the firearms, range environment, rules, fellow students and trainers. An atmosphere that built camaraderie and instilled applicable firearm knowledge all while having fun and truly enjoying the class. It’s amazing how enjoyable a firearms class can be, even outside in a downpour of rain, cold gusting wind and nothing but mud.
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For this shotgun class Mossberg gave us a 590M Shockwave to give away to one of the participants. This was quite generous and very exciting for those attending to say the least. We came up with a specific competition to make everything fair which we called the Great Pumpkin Shoot-Off. In this competition the stage began with a small pumpkin on a post. Everyone had the same gun and round count. Once the small pumpkin was hit, participants could then move forward on the range and annihilate the remaining two pumpkins, best time would win. Sounds simple enough but it was more difficult that one would think. Here’s where it gets tricky, the 590M Shockwave is not designed for distance, it’s a compact close quarter gun which is great for home defense, or even a truck gun. Being out 15 yards hitting a small pumpkin wasn’t exactly an easy task but not impossible either. It was a fun challenge that ultimately left one student leaving the range with a brand new gun.
Training is the most valuable asset you could ever incorporate with your firearms. Whether it be for home/self-defense, competition shooting, hunting or just recreational shooting at the range, training is always beneficial. Taking the time to find a trainer and classes that apply to your reasons for having any type of firearm will benefit you more than you could ever imagine. Training isn’t just beneficial, it’s a responsibility. When you begin to exercise your constitutional right to bear arms, you need to do so with the understanding that you have a responsibility to truly comprehend what you’re doing and that there is a need to become properly educated with all aspects that go with it. Investing money into firearms is something we all can do easily; it should be the same with training. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “For the best return on your money, pour your purse into your head.”
Karen Hunter, GetZone.com Contributor