410 – Make Sure You Are Prepared for Your Defensive Training Course
When it comes to defensive firearm training you need to approach it like you would approach an investment. Like any investment, you are making a choice to exchange your resources in return for an outcome that you are interested in.
Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or increase your personal safety, or even gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have the tools, skills and willingness to deal with violence should you be forced to. Your goal is to take value from a learning experience.
If there are things that you can do to gain more from your training course you should consider doing those things especially if you only need to make a small additional investment to gain significantly more from your course.
Today we are going to take a look at actions you can take to get more from your defensive training course.
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Select Your Course Carefully
Context is key when you are selecting a defensive training course. Take the time to consider what your goals are for the course that you are going to take and then search for a course that you believe will meet those goals.
Make sure that you enroll in a course that is going to help you to get closer to your goals. If you just want to have fun, then take a course that is going to be fun. If you want to take a course so that you can spend time with your son, then you need to consider what your son’s goals are and take a course that matches his goals.
If you are interested in increasing your personal safety and the safety of those around you then you need to consider your context. Look at what holes you have in your personal security and the likelihood that you are going to face a threat in that area and then consider the severity of the threat. Start with the most likely worst case scenario and work back from there.
If you are serious about safety the class that seems like it will be a ton of fun might not be the best bet.
Sign Up Early For Your Defensive Training Course
Getting enrolled early can help you maximize your course in lots of different ways.
When you sign up early you have an opportunity to prepare for class by reading after action reports from other students, investigate other resources that the instructor or school has published such as social media posts, video content or podcast appearances.
It is also an opportunity to go through the on-boarding process that many folks use to help make sure that students are prepared for class. This can include custom content that is delivered to you via email.
Early sign up also gives you the chance to make any purchases of gear you need to make, check on the weather and assemble clothing for the expected environment, scope out locations to make sure you know where to go and maybe even enough time to convince a friend or two to join you in class.
Take the Preparatory Content for your Defensive Handgun Course Seriously
Many quality instructors take advantage of modern tools such as email lists, online educational tools and more.
One of the things that I do is send out emails to my students with links to content that they might find helpful before they come to class.
- The links cover topics that might help them:
- Understand what gear they need to assemble
- And what gear they need to stay away from
- Learn what they can expect from class
- Lay the foundation for expectations at class
- Introduce the concepts that we will be exploring.
What ever information you receive before class needs to be looked over carefully so that you are as prepared as possible.
Make sure to note start times and locations. Enter addresses into your gps and start times into your calendar. You might even want to set reminders.
Assemble the Gear You Need for Your Defensive Training Class
A few weeks before class, it is time to get to the fun stuff (at least for most people.) You need to take the time to assemble the gear that is on the gear list from the instructor so that you know what you have and what you need to get.
Don’t wait until the night before the class to assemble your gear. Even a couple of days might not be enough time if you need to locate some hard to find items.
Lay it all out and check items off the list and then get on the procurement process of what you still need. Make sure that you leave enough time for shipping.
Consider taking spares. This can be a huge saver of your investment in class. For a firearms class, consider brining a second gun, a spare holster, extra magazines. Maybe even a second helping of ammunition (from a different manufacturer) so that you can deal with any surprise incompatibility.
Your spares could also come in handy for a class member that didn’t listen to this podcast. It is a pretty great feeling to be able to save the day when someone runs into some gear trouble.
Make Sure That Your Gear is Functional
Get out to the range and make sure everything is functional. This is a key step that many forget. Unless you are certain that the ammo and the gun work together, you need to test them. What about your optic? Is it zeroed? When was the last time you replaced that battery?
Make sure that the pieces of the puzzle actually fit together. Often times courses are held in locations where there is little hope to find replacement gear. Make sure you have it and make sure it works.
Get Some Rest Before Your Defensive Handgun Course
One of the most important factor in learning might be how receptive your brain is to new information. Assuming you have the foundation for the material you are about to learn and have an interest in learning it, you need to make sure that you have an amount of rest that is helpful for learning.
In the days leading up to class, get some extra sleep. Trim back on your schedule to make sure that you can get to bed at a reasonable hour. Imagine if you can learn or perform at a rate that is 10-15% higher than if you are tired and worn out. Isn’t that an increase in value of 10-15%?
Getting rest will probably help you to feel better and lead to you enjoying class more in addition to learning more.
Make sure to plan your travel so that you can get to sleep early. Staying at a hotel when a class in 60 minutes from home might make sense. That would save 2 hours on both ends of class. Time you might need to study, or clean gear, or take care of yourself.
When you are in the midst of class you need to take care of yourself as well. Staying up until 3am chatting with other classmates might not be the best decision when you have an 8am start time the next day.
Get to Your Training Course Early
Being at class ahead of time sets the foundation for a great day. Having an extra 30 minutes gives you time to meet your instructor, make sure you are in the right place, use the bathroom or other issues that can help with your comfort. Heck, being there early might give you the seat that you want in the classroom or the spot on the bench where the rain won’t blow in on your gear.
The other advantage of planning on arriving to your defensive training course early is that if something goes wrong on the way you have built in a cushion. That flat tire isn’t as big of a deal if you have extra time to handle it. The same goes for when the GPS decides to take you on some crazy detour.
Get there early.
Provide Feedback to Instructor
This one isn’t as much about you getting the most out of class as it is helping others to get the most out of class. In your research leading up to class you may have encountered feedback that students left about the class that you are about to take. In some way you probably found that feedback to be helpful. Reading another students account of a course can tell you a lot about the quality of the course and the goals that the course is trying to meet.
In addition, feedback can be important to your instructor. I would guess that your instructor has a passion for what they do and are on a journey to develop the best course that they can. Your positive and constructive feedback can be critical in the instructors professional development progress.
If your instructor doesn’t ask for feedback you might want to rethink your choice of instructors. I would guess that I learn as much from my students in a class as they learn from me and some of that learning comes from direct feedback.
Safety Solutions Academy’s flagship defensive handgun course is Critical Defensive Handgun and I try to make the course as accessible as possible when it comes to preparing for class. Sign up and you will have a great couple of days on the range as well as a pleasant experience getting ready for class.
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