Are you seeking out the firearms training methodologies that are best suited to you and your needs? There are four basic training methodologies available to students who are looking to become more efficient with their firearm. Each of these methodologies are suited to a particular group of people.

There are four basic groups and they are;

1.Military; The armed professional who serves our country and defends her on foreign and domestic soil. They are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Their mission is to fight the enemies wherever they may find them and protect our freedoms. For them the training is designed to support the team or squad and move forward and not give up ground. Training for the military is more offensive in nature even when fighting from defensive positions. The military equips itself for the type of fight they will find themselves in, heavier weapons and gear. There is training for regular units and then there is training for specialized elite units. Training starts basic and becomes more complex and extensive depending on the position held. This methodology is a good place to learn gun handling skills. The military puts it’s emphasis on training for combat not defense.

2.Law Enforcement; The armed professional who gets up and works the streets of our cities and rural areas of the country. They face danger and risk of life daily in there job duties. Also, as the military, sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Add to that the Constitution of the State in which they are employed. Their mission is to protect and serve the public. Another part of that is to uphold and enforce laws. They require a different training methodology. They train for more of a defensive nature to do the business at hand. Equipment is suited to the daily duties and tasks. They don’t carry weapons for combative purposes. They carry weapons for defensive purposes. Defense of themselves and the public when facing criminals on our streets. They are required to act responsibly and protect life and only use deadly force in the extreme case where given no other choice. Using only enough force to stop the threat. Law enforcement is also required to contain and control threats. With law enforcement we have training for the officer working the street and training for the specialty teams. There are those officers who train for and fill both positions. The training follows training standards and qualifications to show competency for the departments liability. These standards are not always suited to defensive skill sets.

3. Private Armed Citizen; They are not armed professionals. They are the individual citizen who takes arms to defend themselves, family, or the innocent. These arms may be kept in the home for home defense or carried concealed on the person in public for defense. In this group the individual may never see the day in which the are required to use force to defend. Still because they have weapons for defensive purposes and have made that personal choice they need to train. Training here is defensive in nature and in many contexts depending on the individuals danger risks in their daily lives and the defensive purpose of the weapon. Defensive skill sets are critical to this group as is training in them in context. Equipment here is more personal and suited to the individuals needs and is not standardized as in military or law enforcement equipment and gear. Training for the armed citizen has no standards or departmental requirements. It is up to the individual to determine the level of training they seek out. For this group not only are skills defensive but even when required to go offensive we have the appearance of defense. The armed citizen also has to act with responsibility just as, if not more so, law enforcement. Strictly looking to stop the threat and no more.

4. The Competitive Shooter; They use the firearm for competitive purposes. Training is geared directly toward the shooting competition of choice. Training driven to reduce time and increase score. Here the training drills and skills are meant for gaming. In competition we know where the targets are, the number of targets, number of rounds required for each target, the movement required on our part, and the time requirements for a good score. The equipment is beneficial to competition and specifically designed to speed up the draw and reloads. Gun handling skills and accuracy are and can be developed through competition. Because we are gaming we find these skills don’t always work well in defensive shooting.

One of the reasons I broke the different groups down is to also let you know that there are trainers out there of different methodologies. We have trainers that are military based teaching skills from the military system. Training for combat in the war zone. Trainers from the law enforcement based will be teaching to those standards and using those qualification standards. Limited in defensive shooting skills and directed more at meeting standards. We have competition based instructors teaching competitive skills and gaming. Gaming is the practice of developing skills to increase score and win competitions.

The common thing with military, law enforcement, and competition methodology instructors is they will often try to pass these methodologies off as defensive. They are not or are very limited in defensive shooting skills. This is not to say they are bad choices in training. The armed citizen who seeks out military, law enforcement, or competition training methodologies will be missing out on the value of training for defense in context.

There is a fifth methodology. The defensive shooting instructor, it’s the one class that is different and stands alone is the defensive shooting instructor who teaches skills and concepts for the private armed citizen in context of defense. This instructor will teach you according to the context in which you are purposing your defensive firearm. Home defense or public concealed carry, or both. Add to the context scenario based training and force on force training to get more realism out of your training. There aren’t a high number of defensive shooting instructors out there. An interesting thing is that Law Enforcement can also benefit from visiting a defensive shooting instructor to improve and expand defensive skills. After all law enforcement officers are not carrying guns for combat but for the first use of defense of him/herself and the public. Defensive shooting instructors are thinking outside the box. Sometimes controversial according to law enforcement because law enforcement follows standards, qualification scores, and liability guidelines as set by the department.

This is just an overview of the firearms training methodologies and by no means did we cover all there is to know about them. Nor did this cover how the different methodologies affect the student or what the student will get from them.

Till next time. Keep training and be safe.