Private Lessons versus Firearms Training Classes: Is one better than the other?

Private Lessons versus Firearms Training Classes: Is one better than the other?

American firearms ownership has proliferated in recent decades, and the training industry has surged accordingly to meet the need for education.  Responsible gun owners realize that it is incumbent upon themselves to seek out good quality instruction, so a logical question we’re often asked here at Bellevue Gun Club is: “Should I take a class, or would one-on-one private instruction (or maybe one-on-two, in the case of a couple, or a parent/child) be a better option for me?”   The truth is, both are absolutely excellent, and which is “better” really hinges upon the objectives and specific circumstances of the person seeking out training.

Classes operate on an established curriculum, which is great to hit a number of key points, build skills, and streamline training under the guidance of excellent, qualified instructors.  Students walking away from a properly set up class can expect to absorb a lot of extremely relevant material that has been carefully honed over time with expert input.  Students in class have the benefit of socializing with their peers, which can create a sense of community that is powerful in its own right.  Finally, students can build on their knowledge base and travel a clear pathway to other, more advanced classes that build systematically upon the skills they are gradually mastering.  This is without question one of the most compelling reasons for getting on board with the classes such as those offered at Bellevue Gun Club.  

That said, private instruction offers a degree of flexibility that classes can’t quite match, both in terms of time spent to cover material, and the specific elements to be focused on during the session.  A private lesson can, at the client’s option, incorporate all, or nearly all, the content a class does, but can omit certain parts if the student feels them redundant based upon their background, or, is not relevant to them.  As an example of the first point: our Entry Level Handgun class is three hours in duration, and for a group of 12 people, we generally need every minute of that.  However, for 1 to 3 people, the same material can generally be comfortably covered in two hours or slightly less, all with more individualized attention and time for more extensive Q&A along the way–something that classes simply can’t allow to the same degree with schedule in mind.   The same applies to longer, advanced classes that go over 5 hours: not everyone can focus well for many hours of shooting, or want to expend that much ammunition, or are able to make the time commitment needed; here, a pared-down session of private instruction, hitting the highlights, can be a useful alternative.  Private instruction can also allow a student to refresh or exercise elements they went over in a prior class, but need more intensive coaching on to fully be comfortable with.   

Students in a private setting have complete control over what firearms they work with.  They can bring their own if they like, they can focus on a specific model, action type, or brand in the rental fleet, or simply have fun trying different options at their leisure within the time frame of the lesson.  Specific drills can be addressed, if the student wishes, or the lesson can be more relaxed in nature and simply focus on enjoying the process of shooting–something that is particularly valuable to more anxious individuals who face “newbie nerves” related to firearms handling, particularly in a group setting where they may feel overwhelmed or less at ease with guns in the hands of those they perceive as strangers.  Another point to consider is that in a private lesson, the client has the option of selecting a specific instructor who’s qualifications, personality, and other variables meshes best with them, and what they wish to learn. 

For those with extremely busy schedules, where attending standard classes is difficult, private instruction can fill the gap.  All of that said, a combination of class training, and private instruction is likely the optimum situation to advance for many, and we’re pleased to be able to offer both to our clientele.  It behooves the individual to assess their objectives, concerns, and situation; an honest look at these criteria will help each individual select the best modes of training to maximize their shooting proficiency and enjoyment. 


By:  Adam Keith. – RSO and Instructor at Bellevue Gun Club

If you, your family or organization is interested in private or group training please contact us.

Private Lessons

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