Is This The Real Cause Of Bad Firearm Training?


As a gun owner, you know that firearm training is essential to firearm safety. But, sadly, it’s no secret that firearm training, like any other kind of training, has good and bad options.

Now, many would argue that bad firearm training is caused by incompetent instructors, and, certainly, like any other group of instructors, some will be better than others. However, Lee Williams says that something else is the primary cause of bad firearm training.

What is that primary cause? The government.


Now, before you write Williams off as simply some anti-government protester, read what Williams has to say about it:

Unless you live in one of the 14 truly free states that allow Constitutional Carry (AKA permit-less carry), if you want to exercise your God-given right to self defense and carry a concealed firearm legally, the government is forcing you to buy poor quality firearms training.

In other words, the government is subsidizing bad training.

How is this possible?

Concealed carry permits are the root cause.

Most state governments require a certain amount of training before they’ll issue a carry permit, and they only recognize certain types of credentials for instructors who teach these basic classes.

Almost always, the states require the instructor to be certified by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA and other credentialing organizations only allow their instructors to present a very specific course, with no deviation from the approved curriculum. If an instructor deviates from the lesson plan, there can be consequences. Remember: Once credentials are issued, they can be revoked.

To be clear, these introductory courses are a joke. The techniques they present are antiquated, stale and some are even downright dangerous when compared to modern best practices. These classes present very little real-world information, because most of the lessons have been scrubbed of any possible liability and lawyered to death.

There are far better training options, but they aren’t state-approved and therefore offer no certificates that can be exchanged for carry permits.

There is a group of instructors out there — a mere handful compared to the 100,000-plus NRA certified instructors — who don’t care about credentials or certification from NRA or anybody else. They teach gunfighting, and they don’t bother teaching the government-approved lesson plans.

The difference between the training they present and the state-approved dogma is night and day. They teach from experience not textbooks, and they’re not prohibited from showing students what really works and what really doesn’t.

Now, whether you agree with Williams that NRA-approved firearm training is useful or not, he does raise a valid point: if the government determines what is valid training for you to obtain a permit, then, to a large extent, they control the information you receive about effective self-defense with a firearm. Just like in the mainstream news media, limiting who provides the information also limits access to potentially valuable perspectives and insights, and this can be dangerous.

What do you think: Is Williams right or is there another primary cause of bad firearms training? Tell us below.



  1. I think Williams is wrong, both about the NRA training programs and about the government’s mandating bad training. First off, the required training for a CCW license is rarely about firearms handling or shooting skills, and, where it’s even required, it’s focused on the legal aspects of the state’s concealed carry laws. This doesn’t prevent anyone from taking any classes they choose in gun handling or shooting skills, tactical or otherwise. There are probably some instructors out there who teach a program better than the NRA’s, for some people and some purposes; however, since they aren’t certified by anyone, there is no good way to know whether they are really good or not. Going to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch, or Frontsight is probably going to provide very good training, but will be very expensive too. Going to a cheaper locally available instructor is much more feasible for most of us, but is a crapshoot unless someone (like the NRA) can vouch for them. There are always choices.

  2. Old shooter. I agree with William’s in alot of ways. I also see your point also. Alot of people doing certain kinds of training of real life situations and critical training are either us who have lived through it and have been trained in it..

  3. I will not say he is right or wrong but, my original PA permit was not honored in OH because PA has no training requirements.

    So to be legal to carry in OH I went through the ‘training’ to get a FL permit.

    The ‘training’ I had to do you ask – I was taken upstairs to a range and handed a semi-auto .22 cal pistol – asked if I know how to operate and handle it – I replied yes and was given one bullet to fire into a paper target 10 feet away then upon hitting paper was relieved of the weapon and ‘passed’.

    Sure there was some talk about liability and the standard about gun safety basics ad self defense standards, but most of the time was how to fill out the paperwork for the FL permit.

  4. Of course, no rational person is going to disagree with the proposition that good training is required to be a skilled shooter. Isn’t that plainly obvious? However, I did not gain my best skill from mere training alone. My skill developed when I put that superior training to actual use by shooting, shooting, and more shooting. Of course, corrections of bad behavior and substitution of better habits learned in training added to my ultimate skill level. But, it was also a great deal of shooting that put the cherry on top the sundae. How many thousands of rounds? I have no idea and did not keep count. But, at age 77, I can still shoot a 2-inch group at 10 yards, offhand and that is the result of ingrained habits derived from quite literally thousands of rounds of practice. On a good day, I can still manage a 4 or 5 inch group at 25 yards. Good training? Absolutely. Lots of good practice putting that training into muscle memory and automatic skills — even better. First, learn to shoot. Then, get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot, while emphasizing all the best aspects of good training.

  5. I’m going to keep shoving this down your throats till you puke. And this includes YOU Caleb. Why shouldn’t the corrupt come after us? I stand guilty as charged as well. I supported a gun control rouge unconstitutional so called law at one time. NO LONGER. But I see these chest beating so called patriots. (you know who you are.) That still do. It came straight out of the 68 GUN CONTROL ACT. I won’t go into what it is. High time you all figure it out. A few of us have. I want it THROWN OUT. Anti gunners got it passed ages ago. And the sheep on both side sucked it up. And I’m appalled that these individuals STILL DO. It was a backdoor scheme to strip the rights from the people. Everything got turned around. And hate to say this. But it makes everyone a SITTING DUCK. I’m highly ticked that the N.R.A. supports it and will not call on everyone to repeal it. And now that we are in the early stages of a police state. We are at risk like never before. I myself are now doing what I never thought would happen. I’m hiding my equipment. I trust few. Very Few. I’m spending large sums of money to supply up. I see the end coming. I will do what I can. But the few of us who see all this for what it is knows we are a stones throw away from being taken out by according to the so called powers that be for getting carried away according to them. We have abandoned GOD’S NATURAL LAW for man’s million failed ones. I hope everyone enjoys the bitter taste of their harvest. Take care.

    • As I mentioned to one of my friends: It’s time to start wiping down the cosmoline! With the latest threat by Pelosi, things are really starting to get serious.

  6. In a state that requires a CWP or not it is just a leaners permit if you will. it’s then up to the person to further his or hers training by any means available including night shooting. I’m sure there are those who get a permit and never shoot another day. Being a retired Marine and former sniper and law enforcement, my state were a permit is required my instructor wasn’t even going to make me shoot but I said no way I’m doing everything that the other students are doing. I also belong to a fulltime shooting club and shoot a lot, except in the winter things slow down. So the permit or not is a license to keep you legally safe but train,train you may never need it but the feeling of I can be safe and effective when the time comes goes a long ways.

    • Totally concur that the CWP requirements for a state issued license is just the starting point to truly becoming
      competent in defensive shooting (just like receiving a drivers license). This fact should be obvious to everyone. Getting good further training and experience is highly desirable but not always readily available or immediately financially possible. Continued practice, however, is always desirable to maintain/improve accuracy and gun handling skills. Dry fire should be a continual routine.

  7. As far as questioning the quality of instruction is concerned I have to agree. The NRA approved instructors that gave my training were sorry excuses for instructors. But I accepted their gross incompetence because I just needed my ticket punched (my bad). I guess I’m partial since I instructed small arms training in the Army for twenty plus years. In my opinion whoever is “certified” to sign off someone for a CCW should be a certified instructor.

  8. Actually, I don’t see teaching to a predefined curriculum as a straitjacket, but instead as establishing a minimum level of proficiency. The challenge is getting folks to want to rise above the minimum. (This goes for both instructors and CPL holders.)

    Teaching from a predefined curriculum can become very “cookie cutter”, but only if the training facility and / or instructor lets it. The curriculum sets a minimum, just as everyone needs a certain minimum level of skills to drive a car. My wife’s CPL instructor leveraged the NRA Personal Protection in the Home curriculum along with our state’s requirements to create an extremely good class.

    A big issue is getting people to want to pursue additional training. Unless a person pursues shooting as a hobby, such as competition, there’s little incentive to pursue additional training. The average CPL holder (hopefully) is not going to apply their skills in the real world, hence the lack of incentive. OTOH, my first CPL instructor strongly encouraged advanced training, and said that a CPL class by itself will get you killed out on the street.

    Training requirements and certifications by themselves are inherently neither a silver bullet nor a recipe for mediocrity. They’re like any other tool, and can be used well or poorly.

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