by Brandon Butler, Director/Chief Instructor TRS
Choosing the place that you get your concealed carry instruction from should be an educated decision and one that is well researched. There are hundreds of Concealed Carry “Instructors” certified each week. This leads the idea that you need to be careful who you spend your money with. Some people look for the instructors who are not ethical instructors and just take your money and give you your paperwork and move on. Others realize the seriousness of actually carrying a weapon for personal protection and seek out instructors who actually teach more than just enough to get by.
So how do you filter out the good instructors from the bad ones? Here are a few tips:
- First ask what you are getting for your money. A lot of times customers are only charged for the instruction and will separately charge you for range, ammunition, rental fees and miscellaneous fees.
- Most instructors do not collect the application fees for the registering agencies for background checks and the licensing. These should be researched prior to looking for an instructor. Be sure to check with your local registering agency to see if this is legal in your state.
- Ask around and research. Look for a professional instructor that has ethics in training and customer service. Look for reviews and don’t be afraid to email and ask the instructors. If you are on social networking sites, be sure to ask your friends and get opinions.
- Check to make sure you will be receiving instruction for licensing in your state. Some instructors give classes but do not license you in your home state, rather they license you in other states that you are not a resident of. Very rarely do they tell you this up front. Out of state licenses are allowed in some states, but you must check you local laws and regulations.
- Check with your registering agency (such as your state police) and see if any complaints have been filed about a particular instructor. Some agencies have lists of complaints online.
- If you do not yet own a handgun, ask if they have rentals or samples for you to try or use while in class.
- Ask about their course of fire (range time) and see what is required. Good range instruction is needed by an instructor to evaluate you with your weapon, the laws and give you critical feedback on your skills.
- Check for follow up classes. Do they offer more advanced classes where you can hone your shooting and concealed carry skills?
- Do they offer ladies only classes or female instructors. This may not seem important to some, but being able to hone your skills and learn in a comfortable environment or with an instructor you are comfortable with is quite important.
- Most importantly use common sense, ask questions and just don’t hand your money over to anyone.
The investment of becoming licensed for concealed carry can be somewhat expensive and you should use good judgment in your training and services related to that field.
Remember that at the moment when you might have to use your handgun, your adrenaline will be pumping, your mind will be racing, your body shaking and all you will have to fall back on is the training you have received and the skills you practice. If you do not have proper initial instruction to educate you in what is involved in carrying concealed, you may be leaving yourself open to get killed, hurt an innocent, go to prison or have your license taken away. Be sure to research your instruction just as you would any other product!