My First Firearms Training Course Experience

My First Firearms Training Course Experience

I would like to share my first experience at a firearms training course. Not necessarily a review of the course itself but rather my observations, thoughts, and analysis of what went well and not so well.

As a brief background, I’ve been shooting firearms and an avid gun owner over the past decade. But my buddies and I decided how to improve our shooting and learn new drills. Thus, we went to a more intermediate rather than a beginner-friendly course.


Gun dudes are usually prepared, right? Wrong. 

A big mistake my brother and I made noted was that we were vastly underprepared for the course when compared to other participants. 

Take my buddy, for example.

  • He spent time checking his gear, cleaning every crevice of his gun.
  • He ran his ammo and equipment right up until days before the course.
  • His bags were checked and double-checked.
  • He had enough ammo, batteries, eyes & ear pro, gloves, and a complete tool kit.
  • He had enough outerwear and extra clothes to handle the environment.
  • He made the drive the night before and rented a hotel. 

While we had ample ammunition and mags, my brother lacked gear, and I lacked reliable equipment or spare parts. I was running on all of 4 hours of sleep and many cans of Red Bull as I just worked the day before and had to do the tenuous drive after work. 

My rifle? It started the course off great, then began to malfunction and fail to cycle rounds.

Admittedly, my rifle was not cleaned and lubed well. It also may not have liked the new ammo I purchased for the course, yet never fired through my gun until that point.

And the worst kick in the balls was that I did contemplate bringing a second rifle to use in the event of a failure... but didn’t do so.  

We could not troubleshoot the issue with my rifle during a 5-minute break I resorted to using my brother’s rifle for drills. 

I wound up solving the problem. The folding brace on the rifle at the time was loose and likely leaking too much gas. This was fixed with a single twist of a screwdriver. I could only diagnose this after the course was over and I made it back home. ran the ammo from the course just fine and operates without issue now. 

In terms of gear, I was well off and had suitable clothing for the environment. I also had enough spare parts and a tool kit, so some preparedness was had that day.

Lesson Learned: Bring an extra set of everything, even your weapons. Don’t change any variables that you are comfortable with before the course. Make sure your job and travel arrangements align with your hobby.

Expensive Kit is Not Required

Unless you’re going to some night operations course requiring a full night vision setup, most courses just require you to show up with your guns, ammo, and some lunch. 

I would say the best-performing person at the course rocked a budget $700 AR with a Holosun optic.

Yet what he lacked in monetary value, he made up with extensive comfort with his weapon’s platform and extensive physical fitness. The other people in the most expensive kit didn’t even compare. 

Lesson Learned: You don’t need $15,000 in kit and gear to train. Sign up for some courses and improve yourself, even if you’re a beginner.

Come with the right attitude

Leave your ego at home.

I fucked up a reload with my pistol. I didn’t get butthurt or embarrassed when the instructor pointed it out. I acknowledged it and told myself that I should work on it at home later.

While I struggled at some points, I did well at other drills, so there was a good mix of constructive advice and encouraging feedback. 

I also kept an open mind. If you think you know everything, then there is no point in signing up for the firearms class. Be ready to learn new techniques and be open to training. Even if you think something is silly – try it. You don’t necessarily have to implement it at home. 

Lastly, while some healthy competition is good – it’s not competition. Everyone in that course was there for a different reason and had a different firearms background. Some were in law enforcement or retired/active military. Others were interested in such fields. Some were competitive shooters. And a few were just civvies looking to touch grass and leave Mom’s basement. Whatever the reason for being there, the focus was on self-improvement.

Lesson Learned: Set course goals and ensure you have fun doing them! We had a ton of fun and bonding during the firearms training course.


Overall a firearms training course can be an amazing experience. Be prepared, keep an open mind, and run your gear hard. I hope this quick article helped showcase a few things I experienced at my first firearms training course. 

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