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Firearms Training: What You Need to Know - Part 1: Introduction

How to get the biggest “bang” for your buck when seeking professional firearms training and instruction, while avoiding the rip-offs, wannabes, and con-men.

So often, “professional” firearms “instructors” keep missing the mark.

NOTE: The following is the first essay in an ongoing series regarding professional firearms instruction and training, and what information those who are considering hiring an instructor need to be aware of and take into consideration to avoid both bad actors and bad instruction, which can result in not only being ripped-off financially but could also result in extensive criminal and civil liability, or could even get you killed.

TRIGGER WARNING: This is a straightforward narrative directed at readers who are interested in developing tactical, technical, and legal proficiency with their defensive firearms. This essay, along with many others in this series, takes a very frank look at the current state of firearms training in a variety of contexts. The author pulls no punches in the interest of sparing the feelings of those easily offended. Those with easily-easily bruised egos, or those suffering from “illusory superiority” are advised not to read any further. Asses are likely to be chapped.

This series of essays comes from an e-manual that I am currently authoring which was born out of absolute necessity, pure and simple. Far too often, when it comes to members of the general public who seek training with their defensive firearms, my training cadre and I encounter students that have been flat-out deceived into paying for services they haven’t come close to receiving from “instructors” who were neither qualified (due to lack of knowledge, experience, or both) nor properly credentialed to instruct on the topics/courses they advertised. Many times, it’s a combination of both. What makes the situation even worse is that students often lack a basis for establishing a standard of comparison, therefore students often don’t know what questions they should be asking a prospective instructor to properly ‘vet’ them. In other words, you don’t know what you don’t know. This series of essays is intended to teach you exactly what you need to know, what you should plan to ask… and what to look for.

I for one believe that educated students are empowered students. Our right to keep and bear arms comes with inherent responsibilities. Seeking the best training, the most relevant training, and frequent training are among those responsibilities and are most certainly in keeping with the intent of our cherished Second Amendment. That being said, let’s dive into this important topic!

THE MYTH OF POLICE “PROTECTION” They do not exist to protect you!

Perhaps you are one of the millions of Americans who have chosen to take your personal safety and the safety of your family into your own hands. You’ve read the news articles, watched the stories on the six-o’clock news, and seen the countless nuggets circulating on social media, and you realize that our society is — literally — going to hell in a handbasket. Moreover, the realization that the police are NOT there to save you, and oftentimes CANNOT save you is beginning to solidly crystalize in your consciousness. The first absolute truth that you must come to understand is this:


The vast majority of people I encounter are under the false belief that public law enforcement agencies have some duty or obligation to provide them (and society) with protective services. After all, isn’t the motto of the police “To Serve and Protect”? The answer, which comes as a shock to most, is a frank NO!

In the matters of DeShaney vs. Winnebago County {489 U.S. 189 (1989)} and Town of Castle Rock vs. Gonzales, {545 U.S. 748 (2005)} the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that police agencies are not obligated to provide protection to citizens. In other words, police are well within their rights to pick and choose when to intervene to protect the lives and property of others — even when a threat is apparent.¹ Moreover, The US Supreme Court has made it clear that law enforcement agencies are not required to provide protection to the citizens who are forced to pay the police for their “services,”¹ in the form of local property taxes and state income taxes.

The solution is very simple. If you want your ‘nouns’ (people, places, and/or things) protected, then you must either protect them yourself or hire private security. A binding contract with a recognized, bona fide security provider establishes a legal (and legally-enforceable) obligation to protect those nouns which are specifically named or enumerated in the contract. No contract means no liability, generally speaking. Private security providers, upon entering into a contract with a client, establish a legally-enforceable obligation to protect certain named or enumerated nouns. However, they have NO legal mandate to enforce laws.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers (police, sheriff’s deputies, troopers, constables, etc.) exist to enforce the laws. However, they have NO legal obligation to protect any nouns, therefore there is no legal liability if and when they fail to do so. (This is vastly different from the liability that officers and their employing agencies face if they act in a grossly-negligent manner, or if they willfully violate the rights of the people with whom they have contact.)

Think of it as the classic Yin Yang symbol:

One side represents the enforcement of laws, while the other represents the protection of people, property, and objects. What one side does, the other does not do, and vice-versa. The bottom line is this: YOU are responsible for your safety. Period.

(Further, I cannot think of a more ‘ivory tower’ concept than the notion that if one is facing a violent criminal, that they’ll simply call someone else (a law enforcement officer) to willingly enter the equation and either protect the victim, the victim’s family, or deal with the situation in some other fashion; putting their life on the line to protect someone else’s. It’s akin to saying, “Don’t worry about it. The maid will take care of it.”)

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already arrived at that understanding, or are getting pretty close to doing so.

Perhaps now you’re at the point where you’ve decided to purchase a firearm for personal protection, home and family protection, or both. Perhaps you’ve already made that purchase. This series of essays will educate and empower you to understand the different disciplines that exist in the firearms world, the various types of training programs you may be exposed to, the questions you absolutely must ask of anyone from whom you are seeking training, and how to avoid getting ripped off or ‘burnt’ by the many fakes and charlatans that are simply engaging in a side hustle designed purely to take your money.

References and Additional Reading

  1. Ryan. (n.d.). Police Have No Duty to Protect You, Federal Court Affirms Yet Again. Mises Institute.

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