TRAINING TIPS, TRICKS, & HACKS: How I Gear Up For A Class. By:


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If you’re already part of the training circuit, you probably have your packing list dialed in. However, if you are new to training, learning how to gear up for a class is important. Over the course of my training career (as a student) I’ve developed some best practices and tips that I thought I’d share.

I start by talking about inert training gear because I genuinely feel it’s essential for anyone who carries defensive tools. The only way to truly know if your choices work is to test them against resisting opposition. Dummy guns, training knives, and inert OC allow you to do this safely and repeatedly.

If it’s financially doable, having a dedicated training pistol is useful. Not only does it reduce wear and tear on your carry gun, but in the unlikely event that you do experience a mechanical failure, you’ve got a backup on hand so that you don’t miss out on the class.

Speaking of missing out, bringing food so that you don’t have to run by a drive-thru will allow you to get more facetime with the instructor. There’s a big difference between “war stories” used to build up the instructor’s ego and professional anecdotes that are relevant to the course material. That being said, I’ve never really experienced the former. All the “back in the day” or “no shit, there I was” stories I’ve been present for have been applicable on some level.

Being able to refer back to the material covered has been invaluable for me, so I’ll always recommend having a notebook and taking as much video as the instructor is cool with.

Plan for inclement weather. There’s nothing noble about suffering. The more uncomfortable you are, the more distracted you’ll be, and the less material you’ll be able to absorb. “Toughing it out” is grossly overrated, especially when you’re paying to be there. So, take the appropriate steps to ensure you’re suitably warm, dry, etc.

It’s always a good idea to have “training clothes,” the same way you have a training gun. This allows you to go closer to 100% without risking damage to your street clothes.