As a Martial Artist/Combatives Instructor and Firearms Instructor I take self defense and firearms training seriously. My background in both areas started about 30 years ago just prior to entering the United States Military. Back then I dabbled in Tae Kwon Do and loved it. Shortly after I got involved in the Martial Arts I entered into the United States Air Force where I was trained to be a Small Arms Instructor. At this time my Martial Arts studies had stopped as I had to concentrate on my Air Force career. The Air Force had taken pretty good care of me. While in weapons school I learned the working parts and had to shoot expert in the .38 cal handgun, 9mm pistol, M-16 rifle and the M-203 grenade launcher, Shotgun and the M-60 Machine gun. After the technical part I learned to teach. Once I graduated from school I was off to teach at my first base. After 6 years in this career field I left the Air Force and almost the next day entered into Law Enforcement where I just retired after 28 years. Amongst other areas of my Police Career I worked as the Lead Defensive Tactics Instructor and Assistant Firearms Instructor, SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. During my Police career I travelled and attended firearms instructor classes in different parts of the country under the guidance of several well-known instructors. I can say that I learned a lot over both careers.
Now that I am retired I own Progressive Self Defense Systems in Boca Raton, Florida. There at PSDS we train Krav Maga, Combatives and also have a 2000 sq. ft. Simunition/simulation house where we do our close quarter/In-home self-defense classes and Simunition Force on Force handgun training along with a Basic handgun course and CCW License training and qualification.
Since I have been teaching Pistol courses at PSDS I have been noticing students with CCW License who come in to take my Basic Pistol course having a difficult time with certain aspects of the course.
I’ll start with loading the magazine! Many students have come in and after the classroom portion of my course I have them load their magazines with a pre-determined amount of rounds. This small event at the beginning of class seems to be a hard thing for the student to do. I tend to make notes on my classes and who has trouble in certain areas. I try to work harder with these students and educate them by taking my time with them on actual hands-on training.
Another area that I have noticed students have a difficult time is in clearing stoppages. To me this area of instruction that I teach is very important. A stoppage is an interruption in fire of the pistol. In order to stay alive in a gun fight (God forbid you get into one) you MUST need to know how to clear a stoppage and get back into business. Some of my students have never seen how to clear a stoppage let alone know what the term means!!
I can go on this rant about other areas I have seen that CCW License holders have no Idea about but this isn’t about me or the CCW License holder! It’s about the Pistol Instructors out there who either lack the basic knowledge of what they are teaching or they are too lazy to go the extra mile. When I hear that the Florida CCW classes are 2 to 2.5 hours long that rattles my cage!! What can you teach someone in 2/2.5 hours! Get further education and go above and beyond. Get rid of the “cattle call” classes that I have heard about from students attending at local Gun Shows.
Let the buyer beware!! No matter where you go to get it, get the proper handgun training. Your life and possibly the lives of others may depend on it!!
John Riddle –
Progressive Self Defense Systems