I had a conversation via Facebook this week with a potential customer for the Holiday Special Class I am running in January 10th, 2016. This customer asked a simple question, “Is this a CCW class?” I told him no and it turned into a conversation back and forth lasting maybe 45 minutes about what training will available and what training will be offered in the Holiday Special Class. We talked about pricing and that was the last communication I had with him.
So why is training so financially expensive? The answer is … well it depends. What are you getting out of it? Even here there are several training companies around and some gun shops offering training out the backdoor. Some are looking for a quick buck, and they do not care about their customers or their quality of education. Others love it, are in a constant quest to be better, teach better, and bring the highest quality of firearms education to their students. Look at it this way, you have some people teaching Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) classes in 4 hours to satisfy the minimum state of Maine requirement to get your permit, without anything more than the provided material. They run this class without firing a round and charge students $95 dollars for the class. In this case your right this is a COMPLETE waste of your money.
First of all, it is a business or should be. If your trainer is doing their job they should be compensated for it. There are cost to the class, books, range fees, rental space, printing, shipping, advertising, materials, targets, insurance, and other materials given. For instance, everywhere I go I am always giving away the NRA Eddie Eagle stuff to provide parents with a soft entry to talking to their young children about firearm safety and help keep kids safe, I will not stop but there is a cost. A good instructor also has to make financial compensation for the hours and time placed into instructor and curriculum improvements.
Second, is your preserved value of the training, as the saying goes we are a society that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. People when required by the state to take training have no value to it, it is just a obstacle to overcome in getting their permit. Most people just starting out have little idea about what training will even look like so their preserved value is quite low until they get through the class and then it is all about quality. I have talked to many people who have taken training from other trainers and have found their money wasted and a stain left on the entire industry. My students tend to tell me two things at the end of classes. One that they had no idea what they didn’t know; and two that they realized they should have taken the more basic class and they should have waited to buy a gun until after they learned what to look for in a defensive pistol. Also, is the idea that hunting or military firearms use and defensive shooting are the same thing. I teach classes in Maine, Maine is a state with a long and proud hunting tradition. People who have grown up around firearms, and around hunting tend to fancy themselves very experienced and safe around firearms, and many of them are. But defensive shooting and hunting is about the same as apples and walnuts. They grow in trees and you can eat them, end of similarities. We as defensive shooters are never “hunting,” we are reacting to a horrible situation with the express goal of protecting our families, ourselves, and others. The military has a very well defined, dangerous, and important job to do. The military’s goal is to locate and identify, close distance, and terminate the enemy; that’s their job in combat. Again, this is very different than that of a concealed carrier.
Third, training is an investment in yourself. People with enough training tend to see that, oddly enough. Skills require practice to build and keep proficiency. The old adage of a “Practice, practice, practice.” As we perfect a skill we tend to seek out ways to improve and training and practice. These high level classes are normal at a premium price due to the clientele and level of skill. Add to this ammunition costs, hotel, travel, food, and time away from work and family.
So why is training so expensive? It is a investment in yourself and your abilities to cope with the horrifying reality that is a violent encounter. And it is a business, where someone is trading their time, talent, and knowledge in exchange for a profit. That being said there is a wide range of levels of talent and knowledge, pick your instructors carefully call and ask questions and get a feel for the instructor and how they run their classes.