2019 is a good time for some great training

As an airline pilot, I am required to complete several hours of training every quarter. I also travel to a training center for 3-4 days of in-person training every nine months. Training consists of a review of the basics and information we are familiar with, lessons learned from incidents our airline and others have experienced, and skill building to make us better pilots. It is part of how as an industry, we have amassed an amazing safety record over the decades.

As a concealed handgun license (CHL) -holder who carries a firearm daily, I also like to attend some self-defense training every year. The life of my family is worth it.

Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) taught me the difference between “shooting” and “training.” I used to safely discharge hundreds of rounds down range believing I was “training.” I was not. I was just wasting my time and money while instilling bad habits. habits. As so many students say after attending a good training course, “I wish I would have known what I learned here years ago.”

This weekend I will head down to TDI to take the Partner Tactics class with a friend. It is my second time taking the class. I’ve taken many classes multiple times and find I often learn more the second time than I did the first. Good instructors will make you better, no matter what your skill level. Another friend takes their Handgun I-III every year.

Over the past few years, training classes have filled up quickly, leaving people who don’t know their work schedules months in advance to miss out on training opportunities. TDI's schedule is a bit more open this year, creating an opportunity for everyone to register for some great training.

I used to think these classes were not for me. I was never going to be a cop or a soldier and thought my ability to shoot safely was all I needed to protect myself with my firearm. I had to be pushed to attend a real training class, but driving home from my first TDI class I had two thoughts:

  • How did I ever think I was prepared before taking this class?
  • I wonder what they cover in the next class?

I was hooked. I started taking firearms classes, then a knife class, then a “close quarters personal control” class (hand to hand, no weapons). With every class I have improved my knowledge, my skills, and my ability to keep not only myself, but those around me safe.

Getting your CHL or carrying every day should not just be a choice about which gun suits you best; it should be a lifestyle change. It’s a decision that you will not be a victim, that you can protect yourself and your family. It’s the decision that you will be professional in your knowledge and skills - not because it’s your paid job, but because of the people most important to you (or even the ability to save a complete stranger).

Considering school safety and the global war on terror, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is right, “You may not just be saving your life, but our way of life.” How much is that worth?

TDI also has classes for handguns, rifles and shotguns. They have classes in knife defense, impact weapons, hand to hand and classes that combine multiple disciplines. They even have classes on emergency medical care. No one trick is the answer to every problem, and the more quality training you do, the better your overall skill set will be.

Consider taking a class with a loved one, or maybe giving them a gift certificate. TDI prides itself on being a family-friendly facility that is now training second and third generation gun owners. Others travel across the country to train there, but for those of us in the Midwest, it an easy drive.

If multi-day classes are too much for you, check out excellent classes offered by other instructors. No instructor has a monopoly on good training or ideas, and the more good training you take, the more you will get out of the time that you spend training.

Warm weather is here. Ammo is cheap again. If you have never taken a class beyond a basic NRA or similar class to get your CHL, make this the year. Learn something new and improve your existing skill. Train like your life depends on it, because you never know which day it will.

I’ll see you on the range.

Jim Irvine is Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award and CCRKBA's 2012 Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.

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