I had long been an Army primary marksmanship instructor, but it was during my tour in Afghanistan in 2009 that I began thinking about teaching others outside the military to shoot. I figured that I had solid skills and credentials to do so. After all, I was Army expert-qualified on the rifle and pistol. I had my NRA instructor certification. I thought I was a good shooter, because the Army told me I was. I thought I was a capable instructor, because the NRA told me I was.
Turns out I didn't know anything.
Then I met some mentors who really knew what they were doing, people who had a level of skill with a gun that I had never seen before. And best of all, they were more than willing to share what they knew with me. I had the incredible privilege of being able to work for and with several of these fantastic teachers for a number of years at a private shooting school. I soaked up everything they would teach me, and learned more than I ever thought I would about how to effectively use a firearm for self-defense, and how to teach others to do the same. As I helped others gain these skills, I found it incredibly rewarding. I was helping my students, including brand-new shooters, learn more in just a few days than I had learned in years with Army training.
Then came a moment where I realized I had found my calling, a moment I will never forget. It involved a middle-aged couple named Joe and Emily. Joe was a long-time shooter, but had never been properly trained. Emily had no gun experience at all. They were very enthusiastic and attentive students, and both showed excellent progress while taking my class. They were the kinds of students that make teaching a joy. But the real kicker came a few months after the class when I bumped into them again. They spoke excitedly about how much they had appreciated the class, and how it had given them a new-found sense of peace and confidence. “It changed our lives,” they said.
I was blown away. I had never thought I would change someone's life by helping them learn to capably handle a gun. But as it turned out, they were only the first. I had numerous students over the years tell me similar things: “This training made such a difference.” “I have so much more confidence now.” “I have a peace of mind like never before.”
I soon realized why this is the case: preparation is the antidote to fear. When you know (and I mean really KNOW) that you have the ability to protect yourself and your loved ones, it changes your outlook on life. Having the ability to take control of a deadly situation and come out on top ensures that you no longer have to be afraid of the unthinkable happening. When you are truly prepared, it give you an indescribable sense of peace and self-confidence.
Developing this level of skill isn't rocket science. It doesn't require years of practice. It just requires that you know a set of key techniques and concepts, and then practice them enough to be able to perform them consistently. But unfortunately, most training programs, including most law enforcement and military training, will not give you this level of proficiency.
This is why I and some fellow instructors founded Guncraft Training Academy in 2014. We want to raise the standard of firearms training, and help as many people as possible find the life-changing peace of mind and self-sufficiency that come from being highly skilled with a firearm. Drawing on our experience collectively training tens of thousands of students, we have put together a training program that allows you, whether you are an experienced shooter or brand-new, to quickly and efficiently learn the skills you need to be able to protect themselves and those they love with a firearm, while having a great time in a positive and supportive learning environment.
When you're ready to find the life-changing peace of mind that comes from true proficiency with a firearm, we're ready to help you get there, with the weapon of your choice. Click here to find out more about our training program.
If you have any questions, simply post them below or send us an e-mail. We're happy to help in any way we can.
Aaron Marshall is a master trainer for Guncraft Training Academy and former range master at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. He is a training officer in the US Army Reserve, and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.