Everyone can use some quality firearms training. Here are a few places where you can get it.
When a person buys a handgun, whether it be for home defense, concealed carry, or the shooting sports, the first thing they should do (after buying a cleaning kit and a good holster) is start shopping for some quality training. In fact, that goes for any gun purchase.
Firearms training schools aren't just for law enforcement. There are many top-flight instruction centers in the United States with excellent curriculums in gun safety, self defense tactics, and marksmanship, all of which can benefit a new shooter and gun owner greatly.
Basic handgun courses will teach general firearm safety and gun handling. Entry level personal protection classes will typically include CCW training and defensive handgun tactics, while more advances training courses will teach everything from low-light shooting, speed reloading, and complex shooting drills.
Some schools even offer training simulators to get people comfortable and develop some basic shooting skills before moving on to live-fire range time.
The following are some of the best firearms training facilities in the country:
FTW Ranch in Barksdale, Texas
Shooting schools aren't just for handgunners and tactical training. This location is a dream for the hunter who wants to be a better shot and a better all-around hunter.
In addition to fair-chase hunting experiences on 12,000 acres in the southwest region of the Texas Hill Country, FTW offers SAAM training courses that cater to hunters of all levels, and can prepare them for a hunting adventure anywhere in the world.
The training facility features diverse and there are many unique shooting ranges all over FTW Ranch that offer angled shooting, wind calling opportunities, and an exclusive animated life-size animal target system. All courses are designed to sharpen skills, decrease reaction time, and maintain alertness on the hunt.
SIG Sauer Academy in Ebbing, New Hampshire
The concepts embraced at SIG SAUER Academy began to take shape in the late 1980s with input from SIG and officials from various federal agencies. They determined there was a strong need for a dedicated training outfit to help train various agencies as they switched from revolvers to semi-automatic handguns. Today, SIG SAUER Academy has evolved into a premier firearms training facility for both armed professionals and responsible citizens.
The facility is located on 140 acres in Epping, New Hampshire and features state-of-the art indoor and outdoor ranges, tactical training areas, urban environments, a shoot house, a maritime training area, and a force-on-force village. They offer a comprehensive selection of more than 110 courses for civilians, law enforcement agencies, and military professionals.
What separates the Academy from other firearms training facilities in the country is the amazing mix of instructors and the teaching principles to which they adhere. To read about the four SIG principles, go here.
Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona
This privately-run firearms training facility offers instruction in handgun, carbine, rifle, and shotgun shooting, along with specialty firearms training.
Gunsite is located on a 3,000-acre facility with classrooms, indoor and outdoor firing simulators, and various pistol and long gun ranges, including 2,000-yard ranges for precision rifle training. There is also an on-site pro shop and gunsmith.
The academy was originally founded by Col. Jeff Cooper as the American Pistol Institute (API) in 1976 to teach Cooper's modern technique of shooting, a method for using a handgun for self defense that broke from many traditional teachings. The technique, or variations thereof, is now standard for defensive handgun use. Cooper also developed similar doctrines for the use of rifles and shotguns, and these courses were added to Gunsite's curriculum.
Today, Gunsite offers a wide array of firearm training courses for all skill levels and for pretty much any application you can imagine, including hunting.
Thunder Ranch in Lakeview, Oregon
With a variety of facilities and courses spread across 900 acres in Southern Oregon, this premier destination for world-class firearms training offers a diverse variety of training environments and experiences.
The Upper Ranch Deck includes all handgun courses and the sub-100-yard rifle course ranges with paper and steel targets, both static and moving, allowing for a variety of drills. The Terminator 3 is a two-story indoor shoot house with tons of obstacles that allow for firearms training while using cover and concealment. The Adam Brown Range on the eastern edge of the ranch is for long range training with a variety of targets from 10 to 700 yards. For precision rifle training, the Collins Ridge features targets out to 1500 yards. The Jungle course has a host of camouflaged targets and the The Punisher is a collection of real-world object and fixtures on its shooting courses.
With a creative array like that, there's literally something for everyone at Thunder Ranch.
Rogers Shooting School in Ellijay, Georgia
Teaching firearms instruction for 45 years, the Rogers Shooting School was founded by Bill Rogers, chief instructor and former FBI Agent, police instructor, and inventor. He has been a world rank IPSC shooter, a state trap champion who invented the target system and the method of instruction used at the school.
The facility is located in the mountains of north Georgia and operates from March through November. It offers three-day rifle classes and five-day handgun classes for groups and individuals, the latter including a night shooting course. It also offers training for organized units through its Group program and open or individual classes throughout the year. They also offer instruction in submachine gun use, as well as carbine and shotgun shooting.