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Demonstrating as a trainer


redwoods

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I am teaching a handgun class as a LE Firearms Instructor. We are training this year with the rest of the county and two nearby towns. It gives us more flexibility and less overtime if we do it as a group.

My range master for our dept. tells me that I cannot show the students how to shoot the qualification by live fire.

The rule is that no instuctors will shoot in front of the students. They are doing this so in case you have a bad day and don't shoot well, you will not loose the respect of the students. Also, he said you don't need to be a good shooter to be able to teach it, and you are there to teach.

I agree that in pro sports, like golf, basketball and skiing, the best teachers are not always the best athletes, otherwise they would be out there making the big bucks and not just teaching the pros. But....In shooting, I believe you need to be able to demonstrate the proper techniques and should be able to shoot well, but not necessarily be the best shooter. At our last trainers training, there were some instructors who could not group their shots at 10 yards. But, the worst shooter had a new gun.

What are your thoughts? Should instructors not live fire in front of students?

Randy

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What are your thoughts? Should instructors not live fire in front of students?

Randy

If you can't shoot it might be a good idea.

If you can shoot, there is no need to shoot to impress, just shoot well with your ability to demonstrate proper technique, not to show off.

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What are your thoughts? Should instructors not live fire in front of students?

Randy

If you can't shoot it might be a good idea.

If you can shoot, there is no need to shoot to impress, just shoot well with your ability to demonstrate proper technique, not to show off.

+1

BK

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You have to be able to demonstrate what you are teaching. However, that does not mean you have to use live ammo. What are you teaching: Grip, stance, sight picture, break, creap, reset...You don't need live ammo for that. It's real easy to get caught up in the Ego trip, Matt Burkett taught a class here and did not fire a shot till the class was almost over, borrowed a pistol and smoked the lesson. I was impressed. He did not come out to the range to show us his greatness, but to help us find our own.

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Well, I spent about half of my 20 years in the Army training one thing or another. For some things demonstration was necessary for some it was not. For example, I taught CPR and that pretty much involved hands on training. On the other hand, when I taught Blood Banking, I didn't actually need to demonstrate the techniques.

FWIW, I have been through a lot of hours of firearms training, both in the military and as a civilian, and in all that time I cannot recall more than one case where the instructor found it necessary to actually shoot anything. And that was a demonstration of some machine guns that we would not be shooting ourselves - and then, only to demonstrate muzzle climb with sustained fire and why it was important to shoot short bursts.

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If you can't walk the walk, then I don't want to hear you talk the talk.

Like Graham, I did a ton of teaching of everything from the basics of CPR to basic & advanced trauma skills to medics, flight medics, nurses and doctors. The reality (for me) is that you don't have to show off, but you do need to be able to demonstrate what you're teaching. Someone is always going to be or faster, but that's not the point.

From a sports perspective, you don't have to be Tiger Woods. But even he used to go to Butch Harmon to fix his swing. And while Butch is not a "pro", he has an awesome swing and he ain't hurtin' for money.

Rich

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I agree with shootingchef quite a bit here. I have done a lot of teaching in the hands on, and honestly, it depends. People learn very differently. For me, I HAVE to see it. And I want to see it at both demo speed, and performance speed. Not because I want to see the ability of the shooter/teacher, but because I am a visual learner. The instructor does need to have the ability to perform. But I know for me, when I am demonstrating a technique, I perform at roughly 75% speed because I want the students to see the details and minutia of what I am doing.

In the shooting world, it is definitely different, but I think Max Michel did it very well at his class. He showed us the techniques at a pace we can perform and see the details then at the end of the class he put all of the techniques together into the course of fire and shot LAST showing his ability as a shooter. It completely left ego out of it (on purpose) and then at the end when we had made huge strides, showed what can be accomplished simply through hard work and practice.

Kevin

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I have approximately 17 years of experience teaching adult learners, both as students and as peers. As stated above if it is a practical technique there is almost always a necessity to demonstrate to some degree, however, there are two caveats.

1) The demonstration must be (in this case) at a "speed" that the students can witness the technique being applied.

2) The technique must be exactly as the instructor wants it performed. That does not mean the demonstrator has to shoot a single string of one hole groups, however it does mean that the instructor cannot afford to demonstrate a "do over".

As to the basis of your rangemaster's theory, my opinion is that it is BS. I agree that you do not always have to be the best/fastest/most talented to instruct, however you had better be able to solidly demonstrate and express a comprehensive mastery of the subjects you teach. Short of that you are simply "sharing" a magazine article.

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I've trained leo's as a reservist on the county SO, and been an NRA Firearms Instructor since 1992. I've shot with my students in some classes and some not.

It depends on who you're teaching and what material we're talking about. While training LE, I would shoot with them to demonstrate how easy it was, not to impress...just to take the edge off their nerves. To say, "Hey, you can do this..."

I'll shoot with students that I'm training in IPSC, ICORE and Steel. You have to demonstrate techniques that can't be easily explained.

Now, if we're talking about an NRA Basic Handgun Course, then, no...I won't. No real need to unless they take a more advanced course later.

Each student is different. You have to get inside their head in a helpful way, because no two people are alike.

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Bullshit. When I have a bad day and some of my great students beat me there is nothing better, for them or me! You want to talk about bragging rights for your personnel...... :cheers:

After 17years in the business I am getting pretty damn tired of egos when it comes to lifesaving training....I guess we dont need qualified mechanics working on the brakes in our squads too......just showing us how to do it ourselves, right? :rolleyes:

Good luck and tread lightly....politics at work....

DougC

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You have to be able to demonstrate what you are teaching. However, that does not mean you have to use live ammo. What are you teaching: Grip, stance, sight picture, break, creap, reset...You don't need live ammo for that. It's real easy to get caught up in the Ego trip, Matt Burkett taught a class here and did not fire a shot till the class was almost over, borrowed a pistol and smoked the lesson. I was impressed. He did not come out to the range to show us his greatness, but to help us find our own.

Agree 100% with above.

Also lessens the chance of an inadvertent A.D./N.D. while demoing technique.

Don't need to hear it go bang to see your grip, etc...

You can always shoot at the end to satisify any person who will not pay attention untill you demo your "qualifications" to teach.

JK

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First thing I do is explain verbally, the demonstrate, then start coaching through dry fire, and eventually when they show some basic understanding of what I'm looking for, move them to live fire. If at any time in live fire they start showing issues, I immedietely move them back to dry fire until it's fixed.

I usually shoot 3 rounds or less when I'm teaching someone, unless they ask for more.

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An instructor like Matt Burkett does not need to demonstrate his skill. You are taking his class because you know he has won a lot more championships than you. Therefore, you can learn a lot from him. If your students are not sure of your abilities, they will be more likely to question your techniques. If you are able to show them that your abilities far exceed theirs, they will be more likely to listen. If you show them that their abilities far exceed yours, you are in trouble as an instructor.

One of the best ways to get better is to see someone do something that you thought was not possible. If you can shoot faster and straighter than your students you will be raising the bar for them.

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An instructor like Matt Burkett does not need to demonstrate his skill. You are taking his class because you know he has won a lot more championships than you. Therefore, you can learn a lot from him. If your students are not sure of your abilities, they will be more likely to question your techniques. If you are able to show them that your abilities far exceed theirs, they will be more likely to listen. If you show them that their abilities far exceed yours, you are in trouble as an instructor.

One of the best ways to get better is to see someone do something that you thought was not possible. If you can shoot faster and straighter than your students you will be raising the bar for them.

I think this is exactly why I am not allowed to shoot in front of the students, because some of the instructors from the other agency probably can't shoot. In fact, I wrote a lesson plan and walked the other instuctors through it. Our first exercise in live fire was to warm up by standing and shooting groups, focusing on trigger press and sight alignment. One of the instructors was all over the place. I could not believe it. Later he stated he was using a new gun. But I don't think that should have kept him from shooting all the rounds in a group the size of a basketball at ten yards. If he was my instructor, and I saw him shoot like that, I would probably loose respect for him. Thanks for your reply.

Randy

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It isn't always necessary to demonstrate something you are trying to teach.....but you should be able to. I teach part time at our state police academy and in my experience there are some students who you can merely tell them how to do something and they will understand and be able to perform the skill. Other students need to be shown how to do it. Therefore, an instructor needs to be able to demonstrate any skill / technque they are teaching, and do it well. The first reason for this is so an instructor can show the correct way to execute a skill to a student who is a visual learner. The second reason an instructor needs to be able to demonstrate the skills / techniques they are teaching is credibility. If an instructor is asked by a class or student to demonstrate something I cannont think of a faster way to lose the confidence and attention of a class than to bomb a demonstration. I think as an instructor you have to sometimes be able to sell the technique by showing your students how effective it can be.

With every class that comes through the academy the instructors do an exercise where they check the students pistols for damage and zero. As part of the execise the instructor fires six rounds from the students pistol at a three inch dot at a distance of five yards....not an exceptionally difficult thing to do. Some of the instructors are able to shoot one ragged hole in the dot from any pistol all of the time, and others can barely keep all six rounds on the dot. It seems the students respond better, and are more accepting of instruction from the instructors who shoot the one ragged hole groups than from the instructors who are not able to shoot as well.

For the instructor who is also a competitive shooter, developing the skill and mental toughness to be able to demonstrate any skill on demand is a terrific asset that translates well to competitive shooting and the mental game involved with it.

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I personally don't wear a gun when I'm teaching folks. I'm usually the lead instructor with a group of folks who are geared up. I explain what we're going to do, have the other instructors demo and then teach the class through dry fire until they are starting to get it.

If someone starts blaming their issues on their gun or equipment I just do a simple demo with what I want done with their gun; let them see it's not the gun and then show them how to do it. Every now and then, it actually IS the gun, and it's nice to get that figured out and fixed for the student as well.

when I originally started training folks, I'd have my gear on but,

A: shot so little it was more a PIA to carry it all around all day and;

B: after doing a demo with my full on Limited gun, someone said the only reason I was able to do that was because I had a $2,000 pistol and couldn't do it with their $400 Glock. I showed them with their glock too... but the class isn't about *me* or *my* gear so I just took the gear out of the equation. Being able to do any drill, on demand, with someone else's gear always seems to be more eye opening to the student than doing it with my own gear.

But anyway, rarely, if ever, do I get to shoot when I'm teaching a class, and that's ok - it's not about me it's about my students. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

In over 16 years of law enforcement, I've never been in a firearms training class where the instructors shot the course. I went through the Nebraska law enforcement training center in 93. Only students shot the courses. Working for a sheriff's office with over 135 sworn deputies, only deputies shot the course. I don't understand why an instructor would even have to shoot the course. I guess in a smaller class setting where you might have the luxury of time and space, it might happen. If the instructor is shooting he's taking up the student's time to learn. He's already been there done that, that's why he's instructing. If I was in a firearms class and the instructor started shooting the course I would loose interest real quick. I know at my dept., the instructors were constantly at the range trying out new guns, ammo and stuff they had learned somewhere else. But, when the guys arrived for quals the instructors were busy setting things up, getting the course ready and then explaining what they wanted done.

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I think demonstrating stuff for students is a very positive thing. It doesn’t take much time, it gives the students an idea of what doing it right looks like, and it gives them an idea of what is possible with their firearm.

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They are doing this so in case you have a bad day and don't shoot well, you will not loose the respect of the students. Also, he said you don't need to be a good shooter to be able to teach it, and you are there to teach.

Years ago, early-on in my gunwriting career, I attended a law enforcement training class taught by a local cop who also owned his own shooting school. After the class I asked him, "I noticed you never did any shooting yourself, never demonstrated the techniques live fire. Why?" He replied, "That's just asking for trouble. Either the technique doesn't work, or your gun malfunctions, and then you look stupid." I could only think, "Oh my God. You're teaching people techniques to use in a life-or-death fight, and you have so little faith in them that you're not sure YOU can execute them on the range. Jesus wept."

As an instructor myself, I never bought into that. For one thing, while even good shooters have "bad days," even on our bad days we can still shoot better than most other people on the planet. To feel otherwise, for an instructor to refuse to shoot in front of students because the instructor doesn't think they can shoot well enough to turn in a decent performance, shows an extremely low - probably correctly low - opinion of their own skill level. It also shorts the students in three areas. (1) One of the best parts of the class for students, I am firmly convinced, is watching the instructor shoot. People want to be impressed, they want the experience of watching someone shoot who is really good at it. (2) It shows the students that the techniques you're advocating really do work, in a manner far more impressive than simply telling them that they work. (3) To refuse to shoot in front of the students robs them of an important way of learning: mimicry. There are X number of people in the world, I find, who are very visually oriented, it's like their eyesight plugs straight into their muscular and nervous systems. They can, pretty much effortlessly and instantly, mimic any physical action they can see. This GREATLY shortens their learning curve - assuming of course the instructor is up to the job of demonstrating good technique.

My opinion: instructor who won't shoot in front of students = bad instructor, and probably bad shooter on top of that.

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You can always shoot at the end to satisify any person who will not pay attention untill you demo your "qualifications" to teach.

Um...if the person will not pay attention until you've demoed your "qualifications" to teach, isn't shooting at the end a bit too late?

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As a Nationally recognized instructor for rifle, pistol, and shotgun, we are encouraged NOT to shoot. Most people that I teach know I can shoot, and can do the drills. When I have someone having an issue that verbal and visual presentation does not effectively do the job of instruction, I MAY opt to show them in live fire, but that is not my time to impress anyone with my shooting skills, nor is it a time to tear down the rest of the class. If I ever do offer a live fire presentation of the drill, I do it at 50% speed, and I do not draw the attention of the entire class. It's not for me to show off, but for me to be a better instructor, and I use it as that tool.

I've been to a lot of schools, offered to civilians, military, and police. I have received instruction from some of the best. I use them as a guide for how I want to present the lesson to any class I teach. Most instructors that I have been to that do it for a living do very little live fire. There's no room for ego on the range.

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Demoing techniques live fire = ego....

Live fire = showing off....

Live fire = tearing down the class....

....are not axiomatic.

axiomatic = self-evident or obvious

Huh? Just exactly what in the world does that mean? :roflol::wacko:

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