Over the weekend, I held one of my many permit classes. It is amazing to see the variety of different people that attend. In this last class, I had twenty six people in attendance. I get brand new shooters, experienced shooters, people who can shoot well, and those that need a lot of help. Usually when people call me up to register for the class they give me a quick synopsis of their shooting history. Every now and then I get a person that calls me and immediately starts to tell me about their credentials. They start listing them off one by one. It usually goes something like this— My name is so and so and I am an NRA certified instructor, I am a range master, I used to teach in POST academy; in fact, I’ve taught the class that you teach, and by the way have you ever been to Gunsite because if you have not you really should. This immediately sends up red flags. I then spend the first part of class listening to them interrupt my teaching every 10 minutes so that they can add their two cents every chance they get. Then they spend the class breaks trying to push the NRA on anyone who will listen. And if that is not bad enough that is only the first half of the class. The really interesting part is the range portion. This is where they really shine.
I spend a lot of time teaching and reviewing the basic gun safety rules and range safety rules multiple times throughout the class. It is really interesting when the person who is supposedly credentialed by the NRA is the first person to break the major gun safety rules in class. I have seen it all from finger on the trigger, to horrible muzzle awareness, even to approaching the firing line and handling the gun on a cold range when someone was down range fixing a target. It is completely mind blowing what I see.
I do not have a very good way with words, and I find it hard to explain myself in this blog, but I guess what I am trying to say is just because you are NRA certified that does not mean you are above the rules. Your NRA credentials do not mean crap to me. Your POST certs do not impress me. If you are retired Military or law enforcement, again, it does not matter. I do not know you and I do not care who you are. You could be Rob Pincus, you could be Massad Ayoob, you could be Jerry Miculek it makes no difference to me. I will still treat you the same, the safety rules apply to you just like everyone else. It is my class and I will run the line the way I see fit so that everyone is safe and returns home at the end of the day. I do not need your help. The other students do not need your help. You will wait your turn just like everyone else.
Come to class with an open mind and be ready to learn. Ask questions if you have them and be open to new ideas. Pay attention to and practice the gun and range safety rules. If you have questions about them, ask the instructor. If you see the instructor break these rules, by all means call him out and question him. But remember you come to class to learn, not to show off. Please do not be that guy.