Professional Firearms Training on a Budget
Excellent quality firearms training need not be solely for the wealthy or for elite law enforcement/military but can be had by all.
One of the common issues I hear when recommending various shooting schools is the expense. Not only is the cost of the school alone prohibitive, but when you add in the cost of travel, lodging, and ammunition, it more than breaks the common-man’s budget.
For those of us tightening our belts during these tough economic times but still want to learn how to shoot and defend those we love, there are options.
When it comes to learning something as technical as shooting, nothing replaces the watchful eye and careful instruction of an experienced instructor.
However, if this option is not available, instruction through some well-produced videos can be quite affective — especially if you’ve had training and experience in the basics.
Given the large amount of videos out there, quality and thoroughness of a teaching methodology haven’t always been available.
This has all changed with some of the newer players on the multi-media firearms training scene. Here is a listing of the top video series that I think are excellent for learning:
Magpul Industries, known for their innovative accessories for firearms, has an excellent training division called Magpul Dynamics which is headed by a phenomenal instructor by the name of Chris Costa.
Within the last few years, Chris and Magpul Dynamics have put together an incredible set of instructional DVDs that are extremely thorough and provide the highest level of production quality I’ve seen with regards to firearms training.
Here is a current listing of videos that Magpul Dynamics Offers:
- Magpul Dynamics Art of the Dynamic Handgun
This 4-disc set features over seven hours of actual live fire class instruction that guides the student from the fundamentals of handgun operation, to problem solving, and through complex real-life scenarios. This progression from basic to advanced weapon manipulation pushes students of all skill levels to their failure points.
- Art Of Tactical Carbine, Volumn 1
This 4-disc series covers not only the basic fundamentals and “how to” aspects of the carbine but also the “mindset” required to employ a carbine effectively in dynamic stress situations.
- Art of the Tactical Carbine Volume 2
This 4-disc set takes carbine operation to the next level. An informative and exhilarating Dynamic Carbine class that focuses on pushing your failure points and finding the perfect balance between speed and accuracy.
Using advanced shooters from the firearms industry, law enforcement SWAT, and military special operations, this DVD set will show that no matter what level of the game you’re in, you always have the ability to excel.
- Art of the Dynamic Shotgun
The Art of the Dynamic Shotgun features over five hours of actual live fire class instruction and additional instructional material.
This 3-disc instructional set progresses quickly as it covers the fundamentals of shotgun manipulation, pattering, weapon’s configurations, action types, ammo management, and real life complex scenarios for the Home Defender, Law Enforcement Officer, Military Operator, and Competitor.
- The Art of the Precision Rifle
The Art of the Precision Rifle features nearly ten hours of actual live fire class instruction and additional instructional material on five DVDs.
This extensive instruction covers the fundamentals and “how to” aspects of long range shooting, advanced techniques and formulas, military and law enforcement sniping, precision shooting gear, and the sniper mindset.
Panteao Productions is the new kid on the block when it comes to multi-media based firearms instruction. Similar to the Magpul Dynamics line of instruction, they are making excellent quality, high production-value, extremely thorough firearms instruction.
In Panteao’s case, they have enlisted an ever growing cadre of the top names in the firearms training industry.
Here’s an example list of Panteao’s growing number of DVDs:
Panteao Productions has become the pioneer of this form of multi-media distribution, and I can definitely see that this will become a very popular medium as time goes on.
The great thing about the online streaming option is that you have access to all of their videos (which are constantly growing) at a low price of about $18/mo or a yearly membership for $150.
As a customer and member of Panteo’s monthly online subscription service, I want to stress how great their videos are. They are packed full with a ton of information from some of the top names in the industry.
If you’re interested in checking them out, go to Panteo Productions to learn more.
Airsoft is a growing sport in which participants shoot round, plastic pellets from replica firearms.
I know that many people associate Airsoft as either a bunch of adolescent kids playing “shoot-em-up” or older guys trying to be military wannabes (and believe me, there is a lot of this), however Airsoft is in fact a great training tool.
Before you laugh it off as some kids sport, keep in mind many law enforcement units, military, and even competitive shooters train with Airsoft (see here for an article showing how military units are using Airsoft for their pre-deployment training).
Like any sport, the range of quality and performance of the various guns you can buy is quite dramatic.
From the low end you can go to your local Walmart and pick up a basic plastic $20 gun that will fire only one pellet per engagement (cocking the slide back and spring loading it), or you can purchase the high-end variety that look, feel, weigh, and practically cost as much as the real thing. These tend to be gas driven, have realistic “blow-back” action, and are extremely accurate at short ranges.
Some of the criticisms that people have with Airsoft as a training tool is that they don’t really give you much in the way of felt recoil and their report is very minimal so an element of realism is lost.
While this is true, on the flip side those who support Airsoft as an effective tool for self-defense training argue that in almost all life-or-death encounters, you’ll experience a body alarm response (adrenaline dump) in which the body experiences auditory exclusion (no weapon report or voice commands are heard), as well as a loss of fine motor skill and increase in gross motor skill (little is felt in the way of recoil).
So the argument is, as far as realism is concerned, the lack of felt recoil and of auditory report in Airsoft trainers is largely irrelevant.
If you have the money to pay for all the ammunition you need you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, however, if cost is an issue and training is important to you, Airsoft is a safe, effective, and (compared to the ammunition costs of real firearms) dirt cheap form of firearms training.
The Appleseed Project
A little over a year ago I had the opportunity to attend an excellent civilian marksmanship program called the Appleseed Project. It’s mission: “to teach every American about our shared heritage and history as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills”.
The Appleseed Project is a nationwide event that is inspired by the riflemen of the American Revolution. Back in revolutionary times, the rifleman found his ranks among common, average, every-day citizens. These were farmers and craftsman, not career soldiers. However, many of these “commoners” could shoot a man-size target out to 500 yards with iron sights, using a standard rifle, and surplus ammo.
This traditional “Rifleman’s Quarter Mile”, as it was called, is what the Appleseed Project enables (without scopes using only iron sights!), with the hope that you’ll pass this skill on to future generations.
This event was one of the finest firearms training courses I’ve been to (you can read my review here ) and I highly recommend it.
The cost of the two-day event is $70, which if you look at other comparable training out there it is extremely inexpensive.
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute is a highly respected and well-known firearms training school that has gotten some rave reviews by civilians and professional shooters.
The instruction is “taught by seasoned and professional law enforcement, military, and private citizen instructors to levels that far exceed law enforcement and military standards, without any boot camp mentality or drill instructors attitudes.”
Although the standard 4-day courses are a hefty $2000, the reason I’m including this in this article is that you can purchase a certificate that is good for one of their 2 or 4-day courses for only $100 from eBay. Here are some examples.
Sound like a scam? I thought so too, but in actuality these are legit. The catch is, these certificates are only good for a one-time redemption for first-time students. After that, Front Sight knows that a great number of first-time students will want to upgrade to a life-time membership and that’s where they make their money.
Although it’s a marketing ploy, it’s a excellent chance to get some excellent training at a very cheap price.
Wrapping it Up
I hope after this post you guys now have some options available to you to get some great firearms training at a fraction of the cost.
If you know of some other options/schools that I may have left out be sure to comment. I’ll update this article with those additions.
- Posted in Firearms