My good friend and mentor Michael Bane recently talked about the evolution of the shooting sports. His contention (which sounds about right) is that all the shooting sports eventually evolve into something that the customer wants, rather than what the founders of the sport want. For example, IPSC started out as a way for Jeff Cooper to test the merits of one gun versus another. However, the first practitioners of that sport turned into an obstacle course with pistols. It’s then further evolved to a different sport, but it did so because the people who were shooting it wanted to have fun at the range, and not set themselves up against the ultimate tactical challenge.
If shooting sports evolve towards the needs of the consumer, then it stands to reason firearms training should as evolve towards the desires of the consumers as well. Except that’s not the case. Training hasn’t evolved towards the needs of the consumer in a significant way. It is still stuck in the four day, 800 round $1000+ class mode at worst, or the one day, 5000 rounds, $300 dollar and up mode at best. Thus we have the 1% paradox, in that only 1% of gun owners get any significant training.
For the other 99%, it’s not a question of a Givens class or an Ayoob class or Gunsite. Rather, it’s a question of “Should I go out to the range or go paddle boarding this weekend? Should I take a 4 hour long, $150 class and use up 300 rounds of my precious ammo, or go play golf with my buddies, spend $100 of tee fees and beers, and have a good time?” For most people, it’s the latter. Most trainers don’t incentivize classes as fun or create classes that require a small investment in money and time. There are a few, but we need more.
And hopefully, I’ll be one of those few. I’m rolling out a series of six short-form pistol classes for the people in my community. Each is just two hours long, costs just $60 per person, uses only one box of ammo and focuses on just one skill. The first class, the Concealed Carry Draw, will be in October, and future classes will cover topics like increased speed and accuracy, home defense scenarios, dry fire, etc.
Will it work? I think it well. If not, I’ll try something else.