I have the greatest job in the world, in that I am a professional firearms instructor. I get paid to teach people to shoot, and give them various skill sets which allow them to persevere in worst case scenarios. As a result, I’ve been fortunate enough to train with some of the best people our country can produce, as well as elite personnel from other parts of the world.

I can say to you that people have used things they’ve learned from our group, and applied them. To have a person return from deployment and tell you how they used something from training is moving. To have the grizzled cop realize that he can shoot a bad guy at 100 yards plus with a pistol is an epiphany for him, but something I’ve known and practiced for decades.

In order to teach, you must have the propensity to learn. The concept is known as “wearing your Humble Hat”. Things change all the time, and as a result, if you do not stay current in your proper skill set, the world moves on. I’ll give you the crux of things, but not EVERYTHING. My career involves teaching, not enabling.

Back to the Humble Hat concept. It was last fall, 2017, and our cadre had to get re-certified as Handgun Instructors. Having done this a few times over the decades, here’s a little advice,if you’re not the dirtiest, most tired person on the range at the end of the day, you’re not doing something right.

You are the one your department has selected to get your people squared away, and if you believe that you can accomplish that by putting in the same 8 hour day as your trainees, well, you either have the luxury of operating with a bunch of chrome dipped studs, or you’re delusional.

The same concept is even more important if you’re hosting a class. Weekends are made for setting things up- not breaking out the old ‘Wham” CD’s and relaxing. Hosting a class means the guys teaching don’t know your set up, and you facilitate them 200%.

We had a pair of trainers to get us through the class, knowing full well that we would get pressed to prove our abilities. Do not ever think you’re too cool for the Instructor, he didn’t get the job because he swoons over students. Here’s another tip- if your classes revolve around a “puppy mill” mentality- you’re merely pencil whipping a requirement, and that kind of mindset promotes complacency. Complacency kills, in the worst case.

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I’d not met either of these men, but again, this type of class was/is nothing new for us. It is truly awesome to be able to say this, and it’s not boasting-it’s gratitude. A class is a chance to learn  things, whether good, or bad. A bad class may be the chance to learn that what’s being taught won’t ever be used by you, again. I’ve attended a few of these, as well. A bad class can test ideas you may have been wondering about in the first place. Once the idea has been verified, it can be laid to rest.

Suffice to say, it was a good class. Our range was used, which was good for us; we have intimate familiarity with it, and this allowed us to keep the required items on tap. This also allowed me to get some insights from the Trainers, and give them insights, as well. This is part of the Humble Hat philosophy- a professional listens, and tries. If what you’ve given him is rubbish, he knows it, and will still thank you at the end of the day. Especially if he’s burning your ammo to make up his mind that you were full of beans from the onset.

What genuinely struck me the most was that I was asked if I’d ever considered writing articles for the general population out there in Internet Land. I had not considered this, at all. My departmental requirements keep me more than occupied, but the request also kept buzzing around in my head. I learned that this guy asking me to write was from a galaxy way above my stature, but he felt that a lowly person like myself had something to offer.

The word is “gobsmacked”- Google it. I grew up in the woods plinking things, and shooting handguns at ridiculous distances because I didn’t know any better. One day, my wife saw an ad in the paper saying that people were needed for a certain skill set, and that I might fit in. That job led me to all of the wonderful things I’ve typed for you with both trigger fingers. The moral of the story is this- you have 2 ears, and 1 mouth for a reason. Listen, then speak.

This is another reason to wear your Humble Hat- you have no idea who may be in attendance in your class. Over the years, I’ve rubbed shoulders with some amazing people, and all of them were “nondescript”. They are masters at imparting knowledge, and will lay out what works- embrace it, or not. To embrace their methods will save a lot of unnecessary time and money. Ultimately, in the worst case scenario, it can save lives.

So, here we are. I ultimately embraced the suggestion to type for you with both fingers. I was fortunate enough to listen to a guy who is the Real Deal, and he possesses the knowledge to see that I have some things that may help you. I’m extremely opinionated, and due to requirements that exist in my career capacity, some will argue that my insights are limited.

I will agree, with a caveat- there are literally hundreds of different firearms out there, so I’ll try not to preach up one brand. I will also fail repeatedly. I’ve been an armorer for several firearms systems out there, and I like what I know is proven. My pledge to you,  is to not call people or products out for negative reasons. I’ll also try to steer you into looking at everyday items with a new set of eyes. A goal of mine is to help you shoot more, and better, while saving money.

Having been extremely fortunate in being allowed to procure things, and beat the bejeepers out of them, I’ll let you know what works. I’m an inveterate fan of the Under Dog, as well as a crusader for the Anti-Logo people out there who wish to separate you from all of your money in order to swagger with the right amount of Tacticool strut because you possess an item that you likely don’t need in the first place. I will also try to close every article with a list of ten things we may have learned.

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As an instructor, for a specific career with a specific mission, you must operate within the parameters to maintain the safety of yourself, and your people. You are responsible for your actions at all times- not me. If you have to fire on someone, know your Lethal Force parameters, chapter and verse. Also know that there is a lawyer taped to every bullet you fire. Also know, that the mission is to prevail.

So, what did we learn?

Be professional

Profession aside, there is more than 1 way to do virtually everything

Wearing your Humble Hat may keep you from appearing as a fool in a class environment, and allow you to meet some amazing people

Have the propensity to learn- life is an unending education

Pursue life as a student

Put all of your energy into all of your pursuits

Listen twice as much as you talk

New opportunities may appear before you, regardless of age

If you want to write articles for a website- learn to type. Overthinking everything you do, and recreating/parsing it multiple times with 2 fingers is TEDIOUS!

There are still Wham cd’s out there, and people still listen to them