Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Training Program/Schedule?

    As my name suggests, I am new to firearms. My goal is to be proficient with all firearms. I want to be pretty good, though not an expert.

    I took an introductory 3 hr lesson at SPAG Club last week. Though I did not receive any certificate , I think that it is suppose to be similar to the NRAs FIRST Steps program.

    My question is: Now what?

    Do I go the range every week for an hour, and put 200 rds down range? What stances do I go through? Do I practice with a 22 and then move up to 9 mm, and then to .45, or do I do them all at once? When should I start with a shotgun? When should I take the Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, and Basic Pistol courses? Any other training besides NRA in the Philly area?

    For weight training, or for musical instrument, or other activities where practitioners get better with practice, there are plenty of training books that set up a schedule for a person to follow (so many reps per bench press every other day at 60% max,...). In view of my goal, what book (or a website) do you recommend?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    We all know the website!

    www.google.com

    the questions is..

    what keywords do you recommend?

    I'd say, "Mossad Ayoob", "Shooting tips", "Shooting lessons", "Gun Training", and so on, and so on..
    ==============
    If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
    ~Samuel Adams

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
    ~Thomas Jefferson, 1791

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LorDiego01 View Post
    We all know the website!

    www.google.com

    the questions is..

    what keywords do you recommend?

    I'd say, "Mossad Ayoob", "Shooting tips", "Shooting lessons", "Gun Training", and so on, and so on..
    Telling people to use google is really counter-productive, google simply indexes information but someone has to provide that information. Those people should be us.
    Daniel Pehrson, Founder & President, Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalNewbie View Post
    I took an introductory 3 hr lesson at SPAG Club last week. Though I did not receive any certificate , I think that it is suppose to be similar to the NRAs FIRST Steps program.
    I believe the course they offer there is pretty much just a general safety/operation course and does not carry with it any sort of certificate (although such certificates are really just for show for the most part)

    Quote Originally Posted by TotalNewbie View Post
    My question is: Now what?

    Do I go the range every week for an hour, and put 200 rds down range? What stances do I go through? Do I practice with a 22 and then move up to 9 mm, and then to .45, or do I do them all at once? When should I start with a shotgun? When should I take the Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, and Basic Pistol courses? Any other training besides NRA in the Philly area?
    Obviously the more you practice the better your skills will develop, however if you can get to the range once a week and do 100-200 rounds that would be great.

    As for calibers, I'd start with what you are comfortable shooting for self-defense. The fact of the matter is while a .22 is a great cheap way to get started, it's not really a useful round for anything except plinking and shooting squirrels. I would suggest you practice with at least a 9mm.

    Once you've found a gun that you enjoy shooting stick with it for a while. You want to become accustomed to the act of shooting and switching around guns/calibers is going to make you waste time learning the gun itself as opposed to the skills needed to shoot accurately.

    Once you've gotten comfortable with the overall act of breathing, aiming, firing, and hitting what you aim at consistently and accurately then try out different guns.

    The one exception to this would be for different classes of guns, practicing with a rifle probably isn't going to mess with what you've learned with your handgun and it is always useful to have experience with all 3 types (handguns, rifles, shotguns.)
    Daniel Pehrson, Founder & President, Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalNewbie View Post
    As my name suggests, I am new to firearms. My goal is to be proficient with all firearms. I want to be pretty good, though not an expert.

    I took an introductory 3 hr lesson at SPAG Club last week. Though I did not receive any certificate , I think that it is suppose to be similar to the NRA’s FIRST Steps program.

    My question is: Now what?
    Continue to attend formal training courses. The greatest benefit is having a competent, qualified and experienced instructor observing you and constantly correcting errors in technique. All too often a new shooter will be committing more than one error and it takes a trained and experienced eye to analyze several that may be occuring at once.

    Do I go the range every week for an hour, and put 200 rds down range?
    Every shot fired in a training environment or informal parctice should have meaning and purpose. Otherwise you're wasting time, money and ammo. I would suggest practicing the techniques you learned in that class until you can perform them to a satisfactory level.

    What stances do I go through?
    Limit stance to that which you learned in the class. To experiment on your own at such an early stage in your development would be counterproductive.

    Do I practice with a 22 and then move up to 9 mm, and then to .45, or do I do them all at once?
    It depends on whether you are recoil sensitive or not. If you are then stay with the .22 for a while. If not then either the 9mm or .45 ACP would be suitable IF they are at least medium frame handguns, especially in the case of the .45 ACP else you will likely develop flinch.

    The other issue in favor of medium frame handguns as opposed to pocket or belly guns is longer sight radius. Don't *penalize* yourself when you're just learning by using the most difficult firearms to shoot, namely the J Frame S&W, the smallest Kahr's, and Keltec's, etc.

    When should I start with a shotgun? When should I take the Basic Rifle, Basic Shotgun, and Basic Pistol courses?
    I'd wait until you get a bit more experienced with a handgun but if a decent training course is available on another weapon platform I'd suggest enrolling. There is generally allot of crossover that can result in positive transfer of info and techniques.

    Any other training besides NRA in the Philly area?
    Follow this link.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=30&t=204021

    It is a state by state training directory of schools and instructors I assembled at AR15.com that has several opportunities in eastern PA. To name a few, Manny Kapelsohn, Steve Silverman and then there is Greg Hamilton of Insights (in Washington state) who offers classes at West Shore Sportsmen's in Harrisburg which is by the way where the NTI is held every year.

    For weight training, or for musical instrument, or other activities where practitioners get better with practice, there are plenty of training books that set up a schedule for a person to follow (so many reps per bench press every other day at 60% max,...). In view of my goal, what book (or a website) do you recommend?
    Without a doubt, the best books on the subject are Jim Crews' ".. some of the answer" series. Dunno if he is still printing them but check his website for details.

    http://www.marksmans.com/

    Thank you!
    Good luck with your training.

    ETA: Most all of the trainers listed in the directory at AR15.com will come to you if you can find a suitable range willing to host the class and if you can get 10 to 12 other students to commit to enrolling.
    Last edited by TonyF; October 2nd, 2006 at 10:24 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by danp View Post
    Telling people to use google is really counter-productive, google simply indexes information but someone has to provide that information. Those people should be us.
    I heavily disagree Dan, if somebody doesnt know the answer to a question, they will google it, and then paste it on the forum either way.

    I do understand where you are coming from though, being that there is a big difference between saying "Where can I find X & Y?", versus "I found X & Y, check this out."
    ==============
    If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
    ~Samuel Adams

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
    ~Thomas Jefferson, 1791

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalNewbie View Post
    My question is: Now what?

    Do I go the range every week for an hour, and put 200 rds down range? What stances do I go through? Do I practice with a 22 and then move up to 9 mm, and then to .45, or do I do them all at once?
    The answer is: practice AND training, at usable intervals. Training is a nutrient-dense environment, so you'll want to take a training class, then spend range time (once a week might be a good rate) consolidating your gains.

    There are 3 levels of training for the citizen CCW holder / gunowner:

    1. Your local 3 hr NRA class. You learn safety and get some rudimentary idea how to grip and aim.

    2. Local training one notch up from that. A lot of the local pistol ranges have training courses, usually taught by the range instructors, local veteran cops, etc. Taking these at reasonable intervals will be the best way to power up the learning curve. Try:

    www.classicpistol.com

    www.rafire.com

    www.pistolpeople.com

    www.targetmaster.com

    Also:

    www.personaldefensesolutions.net

    and of course SPAG. ...I'm sure there are more I'm not thinking of.

    Expect to spend a year or so taking these sort of classes, interspersed with some months of practice time.

    3. Then, the big leagues: the various top shelf trainers that come to this area. At a minimum, John Farnam and Jeff Gonzales are regulars to SE PA:

    www.defense-training.com

    www.tridentconcepts.com

    Regional instructors also include:

    www.f-r-i.com

    www.insightstraining.com

    Note that when you get to this level, they will insist only on real self defense calibers and equipment. Indeed, virtually all CCW type classes or any class where you draw, move and shoot, will require real gear: service caliber handgun, real holster, etc. If you take the .22-only route at the beginning, it will be hard to integrate that with training classes. So, IMO, starting with a .22, while it has some merits, also has disadvantages. If you plan on training, you'll need a real gun. Personally I recommend a mid- or full-size 9mm semi-auto in a reputable brand.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotalNewbie View Post
    Do I go the range every week for an hour, and put 200 rds down range?
    It's not practice that makes perfect, it's perfect practice that makes perfect. Loading up your mags and blasting away will not make you better. Concentrating on specific things will. The real instructors on this thread will tell you the same thing.

    At first, 200 rds is way too much. Practice is only valuable for as long as you're able to concentrate. Once you reach burn-out, you lose focus, and practice becomes first a waste of time, then rapidly actually counter-productive (you start flinching, etc, which is entrenching a bad habit you'll have to spend time unlearning). So shoot for only as long as you can retain focus, then stop.

    A friend of mine just started shooting, and at first he too was simply blasting his mag dry. I had him load just one round in the mag, get a good grip (clamshell grip is what I showed him), take careful aim, fire one round. Then reload and do again. This provided forced time between shots to breathe, regather focus. He then spent a fair amount of useful time, got tangibly better in the one range trip, and only went through one box of ammo.

    Once he has that down pat, I'll have him fire one round, hold the trigger back after the shot, breathe, then trigger reset and fire one more round, etc.

    Even now, I would consider 300 - 350 rds the absolute upper end for me on a range trip. Usually it's more like 200 - 250 rds per trip.

    This is why I preach training at the earliest opportunity. Then you have something concrete TO practice. Random practice will not move you forward rapidly, if at all.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LorDiego01 View Post
    I heavily disagree Dan, if somebody doesnt know the answer to a question, they will google it, and then paste it on the forum either way.

    I do understand where you are coming from though, being that there is a big difference between saying "Where can I find X & Y?", versus "I found X & Y, check this out."
    People will generally stop once they've found the answer they are looking for, I wouldn't expect someone to come back to the forum with what they've found, also this is the Question & Answer forum:

    "Question & Answer Ask a question, get an answer! Try to keep it firearm related."

    I guess I don't consider 'use google' a useful answer in most cases, only in the completely braindead ones like "What's Glock's website".

    By telling people who come here to "use google" we're basically saying "We don't have the information you need or we don't want to give it to you" which in turn makes people go "Well why am I wasting my time here then?" which defeats the entire purpose of the forum.
    Daniel Pehrson, Founder & President, Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by danp View Post

    I guess I don't consider 'use google' a useful answer in most cases, only in the completely braindead ones like "What's Glock's website".
    Yeah, thats what I was getting at. Otherwise I agree with you.
    ==============
    If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
    ~Samuel Adams

    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
    ~Thomas Jefferson, 1791

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