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Choosing what type of instruction or instructor is right for your needs.

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Choosing what type of instruction or instructor is right for your needs.

Firearms and self defense training is a fast growing industry so there are many options out there to choose from.

For those of you who have trained with us, we thank you for choosing to train with ADAPT but we are not the only ones out there, and we encourage you to gain as much knowledge as you can and never stop training.

What are your goals?

When considering what style of training is right for your needs you have to think about what you want as your long term goals.

Not all individuals want to be world class sporting shooters, or high speed low drag military operators.... if those are your goals then that is great because you are aware of the direction your path needs to take. "A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step..."

Self discovery can be a great journey, (after all someone had to discover the way to do it first, before it was ever taught to another) however this process can be dangerous, costly, and inefficient..... if a profession exists, such as firearms instruction it is because individuals find a real value in it. (Unlike underwater basket weaving...)

Be prepared to pay more and more as the skill sets become more specialized and the demand decreases (world champions, and tactical gurus)

(Write down your goals right now!)(Examples listed below.)

I want to be safe, and be better skilled so I enjoy my recreational time on the range more.

I want to be able to shoot better than my husband or wife.

I want to be able to bag that Elk, the next time I go hunting instead of always missing.

I want to be a local, State, National, or World Champion.

I want to be able to protect my family from a home invader.

I want to be able to defend myself against a threat outside the home.

I want to be able to defeat any foe that poses a threat to me, my family, my community, and my Country.

I want to be a professional firearms instructor and make lots of money teaching people to shoot because it is really cool.

What kind of student are you?

The average individual receives only the basic level of training, usually something that is required to receive a "permit" or "license" where a governing body is in charge of issuing said permission, and they can charge a fee in order for the student to be allowed that privilege. (ie: concealed weapons permit, hunting license, etc...)

Other individuals are required to receive a higher level of training because their occupation demands it (ie: Military, Police, Security, etc...) However even in these professions most individuals only receive the basic level of training to meet qualification and training standards... and again go no further.

Some individuals truly enjoy learning, perhaps even without a real goal in mind, they simply enjoy new experiences, and can have fun learning something, accomplishing those small goals of being able to see it done, and then replicate it themselves.

Lastly there are the dedicated few who train with purpose and commitment, even when they don't enjoy it, when the weather is hot, or the ground is frozen solid, when they are tired, hungry, hurting, when they have to make a sacrifice and gain no reward, no praise from their peers, no shiny sticker on a piece of paper or a trophy to place on the mantle... only the personal knowledge that they did it.

So what sets the individual apart that spends their hard earned money, spare time that could be spent on entertainment or with their friends and family, and instead decides to pack up their guns, gear, and ammo and head out to the range to train?

What is your motivation? (Like your goals, but practical measurable levels of doing.... not just thinking about it.)

Let's take a moment to define training. We break training down into two parts.

Education and Exercises

  • Education is seeking out professional instructors that have a greater knowledge base than you in the topic you want to learn and the specific skills to be able to relay or teach that information. (Not all experienced or skilled individuals have the training themselves to be able to teach.)(Teaching in and of itself is a skill set that must be learned by the teacher, in order to be able to effectively pass along the knowledge or skills the student is seeking.)
  • Exercises are the cognitive processes, the physical repetitions, the coaching and correction, the moments of self discovery, the blood, the sweat, and tears, the frustration, the accomplishments, the failures, etc...

We at ADAPT always say that whether you spend 2, 4, 8, or 40 hours with us in the classroom or on the range... it is not really "training" it is only education, training is what you do with that knowledge every day when you are not with us.

Are you the kind of person that will continue to use those lessons outside of class and put them into practice each day?

Many people pay for a personal trainer when they join a gym, for a few reasons. 

  1. They are new to exercising and they want to avoid injury from doing it incorrectly. (The safety minded.)
  2. They believe a greater level of achievement can be gained by studying from those who have been their before. (The inspired follower.)
  3. Lacking motivation or willpower to work out on their own. (The lazy butt.)
  4. The trainer is gorgeous, popular, and somewhat of a celebrity in their field, and you want to tell all your friends that you trained with them. (The look at me, look at me, look what I did!)

Now everyone falls into one of these categories to some degree at one point in time (some at the same time, and some more than others) Our goal is that you should be in the 1 and 2 and only 3 when you need a kick in the pants. (Don't be the person who's only reason to train is to meet the guy on the cover of Solider of Fortune, or Top Shot and say you put lead downrange with them.)

Your Instructor

Up until this point we haven't even discussed the qualities, traits, and characteristics of your potential instructor yet, because you have to know who you are and what you want in order to be able to look for the right instructor for you.

Do your own research!

Find the instructor that has experience in what you want to learn, or the ability to teach you through related material. (Can a defensive instructor teach you about competition shooting? Can a recreational shooter teach you about self defense? Can a hunter education instructor teach you about competitions?) Some areas will always overlap because you are using similar tools, but a chainsaw in the hands of an ice sculptor, is far different from a lumberjack.

Instructors come in all shapes and sizes, ages, and sexes and skill levels. Sometimes the content doesn't match the cover.

Reading the professional bios of the instructors (on their own websites) are sure to sound impressive, they have to be because they are selling themselves, their experience, their knowledge, their abilities and they have to be better than the next guy out there with credentials on the wall or hash marks on the side of their scope.

Unfortunately there are many individuals that embellish on their bio's to make them just a bit more grandiose than they really should be. Luckily we live in this digital age, and with a few clicks of a mouse and a careful query in Google's all knowing search engine... sometimes the fakes are revealed. Notice I said sometimes.. some are harder than others.

Some schools make it all about their staff, others don't even mention them by name because they are all generally skilled, but none need be a celebrity to get the point across that it's curriculum is the real star, providing "world class training."

In order to find out the real skinny, read the reviews (again... not just the ones on the company website) look into forums, and blogs, ask your friends and neighbors that train, see if you can contact any of the students that actually trained at that school for their opinion outside of the testimonials on the website.

It is a lot of work, but it may save you from wasting your time and money in the long run.

Appearance and experience are not everything though... lets discuss some of the other attributes that may be desirable or less than.

Demeanor: How does their personality strike you? Are they serious and straight forward? Are they laid back and social? (This industry tends to lean towards the "Type- A" personalities, super egos, and naturally aggressive individuals. Finding an instructor that can be a leader without being an "A" whole of the time, that is confident in their abilities but not overly cocky, and assertive with the students and aggressive with the adversaries is a rare blend of mindset, skill sets, and character traits.)(The industry as a whole is moving more and more into training civilians, so the days of the hard-core drill instructors are numbered, or will only be reserved for Military, Law Enforcement, or individuals who want that "style" of training.)

Attitude: Do you believe that you share the same beliefs with this individual? Do they present themselves in a professional manner? (Core beliefs are different from technical or personal beliefs. If you cannot put your trust in this persons teachings, then progress has stopped before it has begun. Trust is a huge part of ones ability to actively listen and learn from another.)

Delivery: Do they present themselves in a professional manner? Are they able to clearly communicate the subject matter? When posed with a question, are they able to restate the material in a different fashion to clarify? (The instructors experience and depth of knowledge really come to the surface when they are asked to answer or do something that may not be carefully studied and rehearsed.)

Demonstrations: Do they themselves have the abilities that they are attempting to instruct? Do they possess the ability to show more than one way of doing things?

Adaptability: Can they work with you? Can they improvise, expand upon, or experiment and do so safely and productively? (This is one of the abilities of a master trainer... not to simply relay information to the student, but to learn from the student on how to teach them better.)

We could go on and on about facilities, resources, props, tools, and teaching aids... but we wanted to focus on the man or woman behind the curtain. We hope this gives you more to think about, and we want you to be engaged with helping us better ourselves for you our students.

One more thing....

Judge your education and training on these 3 "S's"

  1. Is it SAFE? Does the technique have a great risk of injury compared to the potential learning reward? 
  2. Is it SIMPLE? Is the technique easy to learn and master so that your body can replicate the performance under adverse conditions like stress?
  3. Is it STREET PROVEN? Does some legitimate firearms training facility ie: Military, Law Enforcement Training Center, or Nationally recognized school teach these techniques? Are these techniques approved to be used legally in the area in which you plan to operate? (Examples: Shooting from a moving vehicle is illegal in many States, and probably highly unlikely in a civilian role.)  


Please leave your comments, questions, and discussion items below. Or if you prefer to contact us privately to share your thoughts email us at info@adaptacademy.com

Thank you. Stay safe. Train hard. ADAPT <

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