Building A Shooter’s Ability – Slow Progression vs Taking Shooting Courses

    Let’s face it, whether it’s in a large open field or at an indoor range, we all had to learn how to shoot at some point. None of us wake up having amazing fundamentals without firing a shot. I get a fair amount of questions from new shooters asking what the best method of learning how to shoot is and where they should go. The two most common methods of learning how to shoot are slowly with a close friend or family member at a shooting range, or taking classes from a professional instructor. Honestly, both ways can be beneficial but we can run through each method and talk about the pros and cons to each.

    Learning To Shoot Over Time

    Probably one of the most common ways to learn how to shoot is by learning slowly over time. I learned by my dad taking me out to the range when I was 8. He showed me the fundamentals and basics and we practiced how to shoot. Learning with a family member or close friend can be a really natural and comfortable experience. You can become comfortable with firearms in your own time and can process failing drills easier when you’re around people more comfortable. I remember growing up and enjoying being able to learn at my own pace when I was comfortable. When you begin shooting in the very beginning, it’s important to be comfortable and take things slow to develop skills and confidence.

    TFB Writer Alex C shooting his Q Honey Badger SBR on our range day.

    Taking Classes as a Beginner

    The other option is to take classes from the start and be trained by a professional from the beginning. Typically in a learning environment with other new shooters, you tend to fully concentrate on fundamentals and shooting mechanics. Typically it’s more stressful for shooters but the shooter learns at a faster rate than if they were to practice on their own. Another positive of taking shooting courses is the ability to learn without developing major training scars or bad habits. One of the biggest issues with learning on your own is how easy it is to develop bad habits over time that are difficult to break.

    With training, the shooter is much less likely to develop bad habits initially if they are disciplined and focus on learning to shoot. The main problem with beginner shooter courses is finding a quality instructor that is competent. If I had to stress one thing about training courses is finding quality instructors and doing your homework before diving into a program. I plan on writing up more shooting courses this summer from different instructors so stay tuned for those.

    My Thoughts

    I think it’s important to do both honestly. I’ve talked to people who think you can self teach shooting skills and there are examples of people who are great shooters in the industry who are self-taught. Shooting on your own helps to build confidence and works your skills at your own pace. I know how beneficial training courses can be and if you can find a legitimate instructor, you can definitely become more proficient. Personally, I try to take pistol or rifle courses where I can learn new drills and skills, then go back to my private range area and work the newly learned skills until I feel proficient enough to take another class and repeat the process.

    Utilizing the resources you have access to will help you become a more proficient shooter in less time than learning everything through trial and error. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel when you have the tools and resources to learn an easier way. The key to being a great shooter is consistency and the determination to better yourself. Whether it’s going to the range and putting in the work on your own or taking classes, at the end of the day if you are motivated and driven to become better you will, if you put the time in. Let me know what your opinion is on learning to shoot in the comments below.  If you have questions, feel free to message me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.
    I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.