As a student and an occasional firearms instructor myself, I find that some defensive shooting instructors out there are teaching shooting in a “MODERN” way that leaves much to be desired.

Some instructors go to classes that teach different ways of doing things that may be very effective on a static range where targets are not shooting back. Then there are other instructors who are combat experienced who fail to analyse what they used in order to survive a gunfight. They continue to preach methods they never used and which are forgotten and even useless when applied universally.

retired Delta Force operator Dutch and current firearms and tactics instructor

This is not to say that every instructor is this way, and in fact there are plenty of big training facilities that follow realistic, simple, and effective shooting practices that are focused on simply “getting it done” when it comes to shooting. This article is going to just be a discussion on the instructors and schools that are having trouble keeping it real and being versatile to help teach ALL students. Video below:

There are tons of different issues I have with some instructors teaching so-called defensive shooting techniques. Instead of talking about EVERYTHING that I see wrong with teaching methods, I want to focus on a single important point of hypocrisy among many different instructors. This point of focus will be on the fact that many INSTRUCTORS lecture their students about how the fundamentals will help them shoot effectively no matter what firearm. I have seen that many of these instructors preaching their methods to be universal end up proving that they do not follow the advice or lessons that they themselves preach.

It is on the instructor, in my opinion, to be a shining influence of how well you can shoot with any firearm if you apply the fundamentals. This includes the claim that the fundamentals work regardless of the firearm used. Many of these instructors, when they preach this, use modified firearms with red dot sights and hair triggers. This to me, screams hypocrisy.

former Army Ranger and Spotter Up writer Jon D; current instructor at Sage Dynamics

A credible instructor, in my view, should be able to use a variety of different stock firearms in order to prove their point. This could go as far as to use a students firearm to show how the firearm is not the issue, but the shooters ability to follow the steps required to hit right where they want to hit.

I have found few instructors out there who will teach a student how to effectively use any firearm other than a striker fired trigger system. Failure to understand and be able to use firearms with varying trigger systems does not speak well to the credibility of an instructor. Basically, this failure of theirs seems to leave a lot of students “hanging” when it comes to them understanding what they are doing wrong and how to correct the issue.

This is not to say that an instructor can not be allowed to modify their firearms, but I think the classroom is the last place they should use a firearm that is not stock. As I have always learned, it is better to learn the hard stuff and master it so the less difficult stuff becomes a breeze and you become more versatile.

It is not much different from learning to drive and manual transmission when learning to drive. Master the stick shift and everything is open to you. If you understand the idea behind the manual transmission, learning to drive a big rig truck will be a less daunting task. This goes for combat and general firearms training too. Train yourself to be ready for the worst possible situation so that way you can be prepared for anything. When you train to a higher standard, the real thing becomes simpler.

I personally have long been a believer that it is wise to stick to teaching universal skills, especially when it comes to firearms basics. It makes no sense to teach a basic class to shoot accurately, but with techniques that only apply to one type of pistol. If an instructor learns to master several different guns, I think they will learn how to teach their classes in a more streamlined way. Not all guns are the same, but the instructors should be able to demonstrate that the fundamentals are always the same.

Main image of Matt Graham of Graham Combat

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.


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By David Donchess

David Donchess served in the Marine Corp as an infantry assaultman for two deployments before being medically retired. He moved with his wife to Alaska and now runs a YouTube channel while fostering, training, and rehabilitating rescue dogs.

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