There are a lot of training companies in existence, but evaluating them is a tricky process. Before spending your hard-earned money on sub-standard training sessions, consider these 3 things first. Each one of these categories represents a serious red flag.
The Training Calendar Is Not Up To Date
A telltale sign that a training company is struggling to remain relevant is an outdated, online training calendar. If the training sessions on the website are mostly expired, or there are sparse sessions scheduled, it probably means that the company is unable to secure sufficient participants to hold regular training sessions. Anyone considering training with that company ought to be curious as to why this is.
When a company is unable to fill slots, there’s usually a reason. Sometimes it is the pricing and the economy, but usually it is a sign of bigger problems. Perhaps it indicates that they aren’t offering training sessions and content that most people would value. Or maybe their training methods and/or prior training courses have been problematic.
Bad news travels the fastest … and when it comes to training companies, it seems that bad news moves at the speed of light. Without repeat business or strong personal referrals, a training company cannot survive the competition.
The Training Cadre Lack Meaningful Credentials
Anyone can start up a training company, and when Illinois passed concealed carry, it certainly seemed like everyone did! There were many people teaching concealed carry with little to no firearms instruction background, let alone any real personal experience that would be relevant for students.
Why might this matter? Well, if you take a class for concealed carry or personal defense and actually use those skills against someone, guess who comes to testify about what you were taught? That’s right … you can expect that the person who trained you in those skills will be the testifying at your hearing. If you utilize a trainer that has no legitimate background in self-defense, law, or who doesn’t adhere to commonly held principles of training — you should not attend their training.
Testifying in court is an art. It requires talent, finesse, knowledge and confidence to be convincing and successful. When it comes to your potential freedom, don’t you want to make sure that you have hired someone who can defend his or her instruction?
The Training Session Is Unsafe
This is something that is often overlooked — but is one of the most important aspects of training — your safety. You should never feel like you are in an unsafe environment when you train. The definition of “unsafe” depends on the type of training that you are attending.
If you are attending training in self-defense, you should be comfortable that the mats being used are clean, that they are the right kind of mat for the activity you are doing (mats that are too spongy can result in injuries to the ankle and foot), proper safety equipment should be present and instructors should be ensuring that participants have been searched for any potential concealed weapons that could be accidentally drawn under stress (it happens!).
When it comes to firearms training, it is important to ensure that the trainers have control over the shooting line and behind it. There should be zero tolerance for horseplay. And, under no circumstances, should anyone ever be in front of a muzzle. It seems hard to believe that this needs to be stated but there are training companies that run training with no lesson plans, no safety protocols and without a proper student-to-instructor ratio. The proper ratio, by the way, is dependent on the experience level of the shooters.
If you find yourself in a training session that is unsafe, assert yourself and request a refund. Regardless of your ability to successfully secure a refund, I recommend you leave promptly when a training session is unsafe.
Not all training companies are created equal. When it comes to investing in your skills, make sure you are investing in the right training company. If in your research you find companies that have outdated training schedules, or they employ instructors that lack ability or credibility, or they run their training sessions without adhering to proper training protocols, you should immediately discontinue your relationship with that particular company.
Bad training is more harmful than no training at all. Be sure to research and select your training wisely… there’s a lot at stake!