Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Training Tuesday - Teaching Tactically

Today we have another post by everyone's favorite co-blogger Pudge.  And he's gonna talk about how to be a better trainer. I figure this important because I have a hunch most of my readership does some form of firearm instruction.

Square Pegs in Round Holes-

Some people think that with a big enough hammer you can make this happen. Sure, you can, but then
you are altering that peg forever, and not in a good way. I was recently chatting with Mack about what
to write about and he mentioned something that it is near and dear to my heart- Teaching and training

The point that he wanted me to make and something I’ve seen both good and bad, is how a
good instructor can change his teaching style based upon the abilities/knowledge of those he is

The other day Mack said he saw an instructor who was very skilled struggle to teach a new shooter the
basics. I’ve seen this same thing countless times. An instructor who can teach you how to run and gun
like John Wick but can’t explain, or gets beyond frustrated, how to employ basic principles to a novice
shooter. Why is this? Someone who is used to teaching at a certain level has to realize that not everyone
is at that point. This takes self-assessing and some think they are too good for that. Forgetting to
remember that they too were once someone with no idea of what they were doing. The hard part is
recognizing this and thinking hey, I need to adjust my style because this person isn’t getting it. You also
may need to alter your expectations and define what a “win” is. If the person has never shot a gun
before, a “win” may be as simple as teaching them how to safely and properly hit their target. You don’t
need to make everyone a competitive 3-gun shooter on their first outing. But you do need to make them
safe and enjoy the experience. This will ensure that they continue training and maybe one day reach or
even surpass your skill level.

This is why I see it as our duty to do what we can to teach others on their
terms so that it is an enjoyable hobby and makes them want to bring others into the shooting sports.
Being employed by Uncle Sam to make others do what needs to be done so I don’t have to has garnered
me lots of experience with teaching at all levels. The biggest takeaway I have is; be prepared to start
from the very basics, but also have a plan to progress past where you think they might achieve. An
example of this is when we plan to train another force for 4 weeks, we will actually create a 6-8 week
training plan. This gives us the flexibility to tone down or ramp up the training based on how our
partners are doing. I’ve shown up and those we were supposed to train didn’t even know how to
properly load a magazine. On the contrary, I’ve also shown up where they could shoot just as well as all
of us and if we hadn’t prepared for further progression both units would have lost training value. Yes, it
may seem like a lot of work, but we owe it to those receiving the training to give them the best product

Just like an instructor owes it to every single person he teaches to give him the best
information possible. I’m not saying that everyone is training to conceal carry a gun and needs to be
ready for a fight, but just like those who may entrust their lives with our training one day, we need to be
ready to teach the good ol’ boy proper techniques so that he can teach his son or daughter the correct
way while being safe. This ensures not just the good name of gun owners but also our freedoms of this
great country.

So, with all that rambling, I please ask of anyone who may work with others in the use of firearms,
please prepare in whatever way you need to take care of them the best way possible. Listed below are
the 11 rules I live by whenever I am instructing others. Please feel free to steal them and make them
your own.

Rules for Instruction
1. Never close a student’s mind
2. Leave your ego at the door
3. Prepare for each class
4. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
5. If you don’t know, ASK
6. Fix 2 items every class; make each class better
7. Explain, train, rehearse, evaluate, critique, rehearse
8. DON’T SAY “This is the only way to do things:
9. Believe in the tactics + techniques you use…otherwise don’t use them
10. Keep yourself ready for the fight


  1. Hey Pudge;

    Very true, I have had to adjust my teaching style to my audience, I talk to kids way differently than I talk to adults. You gotta relate to your audience or they ain't gonna get anything out of the training.

    1. Mr. Garabaldi,

      I always try to find good common ground so others can relate and understand why I am teaching what I teach. Even as a student I like to find common ground because then the instructor will be more invested in training you.


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